Turning off the retail channel...
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach and the console title Fight Night: Round 3 both launched during the last week. Area retailers stocked 5-20 copies of FNR3; of DDO, absolutely no unreserved copies. Ethec addresses the pre-order scheme used almost exclusively by brick-and-mortar retailers and game developers for MMORPGs and other PC games. It's pre-orders, shrinking inventories, and Ethec's thoughts on why PC games are losing the retail war to the console.
Publishers and retailers should rethink how they distribute these games if the MMORPG genre is ever going to keep pace with the present new player growth fostered by WoW. Unless there's more marketing and more excitement when players walk into the game boutique, they're going to stop with the loud sounds and pretty flashing lights of the console demos. Keep up the cliquish "pre-order" framework and beta gamer word of mouth marketing schemes and we'll lapse into the recycled core market that describes most of the first half of this decade.
Check out the latest TenTonHammer editorial: MMORPGs by Appointment Only, right here at TenTonHammer main.