I’ve been a long-time reader of Penny Arcade and even been an Enforcer at PAX for the first six years of its existence. I have a ton of respect for the folks behind Penny Arcade including Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins and Robert Khoo among others. Today, Mike tweeted, “… Gamestop is a greedy fat cat that didn’t do shit.” I have very specifically taken this quote out of context because I find the comment itself interesting as an indication just how much the Internet has changed things in our world.
When I was younger, the supply chain behind bringing a good (as opposed to a service) to market was pretty much assumed to be: manufacturer, distributor/wholesaler, retailer and customer. Each step in the chain provided some benefit to the customer. The manufacturer created the good. The distributor or wholesaler was good at getting a certain class of goods from various manufacturers to tons of locations around the country or the world. The retailer provided a clean, stable, safe and (sometimes) knowledgeable environment from which you could inspect, sample and purchase the good. I would not have known about a great many computer games in my youth had my local Egghead Software not stocked them.
The role of the retailer has certainly changed significantly in the last few decades.