Is Heroclix Dying?

heroclix logoHeroclix is a miniatures game, published by Wizkids, based on various properties that mixes collecting and strategy for a fun combination that allows you to play out various battles you’ve only debated about with friends or used your imagination to experience. It’s a game I’ve always wanted to get into myself, but never found a local group that really clicked for me.

It’s possible that it might be a bit too late for me to get into it, if Washington, DC local store Game On! Comics would have you believe. The store owner sent out a passionate email entitled “Why Heroclix is Dying” explaining his stores recent change on stocking the line of games, blaming online sellers and too high a cost to carry the structured game scenarios but out by Wizkids to promote the games.

Hello Heroclix players.

I thought it was important to reach out to you and explain some things that I have seen in the clix world over the last year.

As you may, or may not, notice HC events in our store have dropped.  We do not have much clix product nor are our events well attended.  This has happened for a few reasons and I thought you should be aware.

As a business, all of our products have to be profitable for us to sell them.  If they are not profitable then they just take up space that another profitable product could be using.  Clix has not only has not been profitable but we actually lose money with them.

Let me explain, the cost of running a store is very substantial.  We are not an online company with very little expenses.  We have to pay rent, utilities, employees, insurance, and so forth.  Because of the expenses involved we can not compete with the prices that online dealers are selling clix for.  We need to make a profit in order to pay for all of the expenses listed above.  If we don’t then we close.  Many people are now buying their clix online.   I understand the reasoning behind this because they are cheaper.  BUT, they do not have to pay the expenses like a brick and mortar does.  It can be a one-man show run out of someone’s basement or, at best, a warehouse.  Because of this they can sell their product at a much cheaper cost because they are only trying to make a few bucks.  Because of all of this our customers have not been buying clix like they did about a year ago.  We used to have tons of pre-orders before a set actually came out.  But because people have decided to purchase them elsewhere, or people are not buying them at all, we come to this problem.

OK, so now we are not selling as much product as we did before BUT there’s more.  If we have events that simply do not have any prizes for clix then people will show up in very small numbers.  The only way to really have a big turnout is to offer a good prize.  We can’t get prizes without buying an OP kit.  Each OP kit runs anywhere from $30 to $150 depending on the kit.  If a store puts up that money for an OP kit where do they get the money to buy it?  It comes from running paid events.  But if you don’t get enough players for the paid event then you don’t even cover the cost of the OP kit.  Imagine this, each person buys 2 boosters for a paid event.  Let’s say they cost $24 for 2.  Our wholesale cost is about $14.40 meaning we make a profit of about $10.  For even the cheapest OP kit we need at least 3 players to play to simply break even AND the average kit is about $50.  So, the first 5 people playing simply pay for a $50 OP kit.  THEN, after the OP kits is paid for (in theory), do we make a profit.  BUT, once you factor in the amount it cost for rent, utilities for that day, paying employees, and such you will see that there is not much profit involved.  Now, throw in a $150 OP kit, like Fear Itself, and you will see how we actually lose money.

So, we must do pay events just to pull in a profit, but people don’t necessarily like pay events so they don’t come, but people want the prizes, but the store can’t afford OP kits, so people don’t come, in addition people are not buying clix in the store anymore, so now a year later Heroclix events are not well attended.

Now you see where we are.

My job as an owner is to make sure the store makes a profit so that it can exist.  I have to put out a fire if I see one and I see one.

  • WizKids is charging way too much for their OP Kits
  • Customers are choosing to buy Clix elsewhere
  • Attendance is low

The problem with purchasing clix online, or elsewhere. is that it doesn’t help the store that is actually having events.  The people selling clix online are not offering to host events.  But, I understand why people would rather pay the cheaper prices BUT it forces store to make decisions.  This is exactly what happened with Borders Book store and Barnes and Noble.   Amazon came along and sold everything for a cheaper cost.  People decided not to buy at the brick and mortar shops.  Now they are gone (or will be in the next 5 years).  No longer can you browse a bookstore, sit in a chair and enjoy deciding which book to buy, have a warm beverage on a cold day and enjoy the book store atmosphere.  Personally, I would have rather paid the higher price and not lost all of the Borders Books stores.  But the majority of people will still buy from Amazon.  This is the way of Heroclix.  Because the brick and mortar stores will not carry them if people don’t buy them.  This leads to them not having clix events anymore.  This leads to people buying their clix online but will have no place to play them.

Game On! Comics can no longer support clix.  We have been trying to cut our losses because clix is a losing battle right now.  We will not be buying anymore OP kits after AvX month 2.  We will continue to have clix play days on Saturdays and Tuesdays for now but we will not be continuing AvX or War of Light.

For now, you can still find other stores hosting these events BUT, take my word for it, when they realize what I see now, they will also have to make decisions.  I have spoken with other store owners across the country to find out that they are seeing the same things.  GOC are going to have to be the leaders and pull out while our losses are low, others won’t be so lucky.

The future of Heroclix is in YOUR hands.  Do you want it to go the way of Borders or will you do something about it?

Louis Meyer
Game On! Comics

P.S. You have my permission to reprint and/or post this wherever you like.

So, how has Heroclix been performing in your area?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.