Microsoft & Sony give small retailers the shaft, focus on “Big Box” Stores

Microsoft & Sony give small retailers the shaft, focus on “Big Box” Stores

Sorry Mom & Pop Stores, but Walmart needs this more than you do.


While Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and GameStop sit on what’s already a fairly low number of Next Gen consoles, some Mom & Pop stores we’re taken out of the loop, and got nothing.

I reached out to a local Video Game Store Owner, who preferred to remain anonymous due to punishment from Microsoft and Sony. “I have one of the biggest distributors in the market……I’ve been calling once a day, every day, for the last 30 days asking about PS5’s and Xbox’s”. The local store owner went on to say that his distributor was told by Sony that they would be receiving 2,000 units of PS5s, for the entire United States. Microsoft did one worse, and refused to give any information to the distirbutor and went completely radio silent. "This affects my business…” said the store owner, who went on to state that he makes very little off selling the next gen hardware. “I buy PS4s and Xbox Ones for about $20 off MSRP. They won't even give me a price for current gen yet”

     Meanwhile our local GameStop even got a few to hand out but not many. “I think they got two Xbox Series X’s” He stated. Even if the profit margin of the consoles is thin, simply having them in stock gets people into his store and they might make an impulse purchase or buy a few controllers. “I have the biggest video game store in the county and they sent me zero”. After talking to him for a good 45mins, it was pretty clear that Microsoft and Sony shifted what limited inventory they had away for smaller distributors, and gave priority to the “Big box” stores like Walmart. “It sucks, because I have to call the people that pre-ordered and tell them I can’t get them their consoles till 2-3 weeks after launch, and I can’t even promise them that…I’m going to lose customers over this”. I asked him if he could go directly to the manufacturer and purchase them there. “I’d have to order like 10,000 Xbox’s, even if I had the money to buy 10,000, I doubt I could sell them all in my area”

     It’s really unfortunate that bigger stores are getting priority in this case, not only is his store effected, but hundreds of others as well as the distributor itself. That’s revenue lost across the board and negatively impacts these small businesses. Obliviously COVID-19 is a big factor in this situation, but in the end small stores are the ones effected the worst. Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and GameStop will survive, well maybe not GameStop, but you get the idea. If you’re reading this try to shop small if you can, support your local store, they need all the help they can get right now.


From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 16, 2020 10:43 PM

    I did investigating Journalism!

    Read more: Microsoft & Sony give small retailers the shaft, focuses on “Big Box” Stores

    • reply
      November 17, 2020 2:37 AM

      It sucks that is happening to smaller stores, it reminds me of wizard's of the coast's relationship with board game stores.

      A few small copy edits:

    • reply
      November 17, 2020 2:48 AM

      Well that sucks for the little guys.

    • reply
      November 17, 2020 3:50 AM


    • reply
      November 17, 2020 7:01 AM

      I'm not surprised, but I definitely would have gotten a new console and some other items from my local game store if I had the option. I had just started playing Magic there a bit before Covid and was starting to get to know people.

    • reply
      November 17, 2020 7:17 AM

      Sure that sucks for the local shops, but is supply constrained right now? Microsoft and Sony have to make business decisions to distribute based on limited supply (and likely even more limited that a normal launch).

      It’s super unfortunate small business get impacted by this, but it’s hardly a decision that’s punitive.

      • reply
        November 17, 2020 4:42 PM

        I mean, they couldn't give small store a few? Seems shitty, you're still selling the consoles. You'd think they could spare 10,000 and give some small owners as little as 2 or 3 per store. Instead of shipping 75,000 to walmart exclusively

        • reply
          November 17, 2020 4:50 PM

          All I’m saying is that you seem to attribute this to maliciousness , where it could be some other logistical / cost issue. Everyone is out to make money, there are undoubtedly costs associated with distributing to small versus large stores. Even the big retailers can’t seem to get a consistent supply to sell, right?

          I get it, gamers have this affinity for the local store just like I have an affinity for my local small restaurant. But think about the incentives- what incentive does Microsoft or Sony have to send 1 or 2 consoles to a shop, when they can send 75k to Walmart and Amazon and Best Buy?

          I’m not a gaming console supply chain expert so maybe I’m way off base.

          • reply
            November 17, 2020 5:30 PM

            I mean the isn't that the point of a Free market system? If you refuse to give a small stores products, and only give it to the larger ones how is that good for the market? but you're right, It is a bit malicious. I guess I relate to it from a Gaming Website viewpoint. We'll give a game 9/10 or whatever then you see IGN's 8/10 score broadcasted that into the universe non stop. It can be frustrating and Demoralizing to see this stuff happen. Our Political leaders love pointing to Small Business owners to prove that our Capitalism system is still "Working Great!" but it's really just starting to collapse IMO. We are 10 years away from all working for amazon, living in Amazing Houses, and being paid in Bezo's Bucks as currency.

    • reply
      November 17, 2020 4:48 PM

      The profit margin for retailers is likely razor thin on console hardware, so I can't imagine this is a big blow for anyone.

      And honestly, in this crazy time of ridiculously limited supply + ridiculously high demand + pandemic making retail shopping a public health hazard, big ticket items like this should just be direct shipped to consumers from the factory anyway. Let the middleman go on stuff like this.

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