By Billy Bolt
In 2009 Yu-Gi-Oh was named the top selling collectable card game of all time. The Japanamation power house has sold over twenty two billion cards worldwide to date. Things seem to be looking great for “The Game King”. In America one would be hard presses to find Yu-Gi-Oh cards any place but bargain bins. Local Yu-Gi-Oh hot spots seemed to be scrambling to find new product to keep their Duelers from abandoning the collector lifestyle. This lack of customer confidence in the States could be hard for Konami to overcome.
This year Konami and Upper Deck could be found “Duelling” it out in a nasty litigation battle over copyright infringement and counter fitting. The website www.next-gen.biz reported this statement “At this point, Upper Deck doesn’t have a lot of Life Points. We’re talking about behaviour that, from a defence attorney’s standpoint, I can’t defend and I am not going to defend,” said attorney Richard Howell, who represented Upper Deck. “I’m here defending a counterfeiter. And now I have to deal with that issue.” This comic book like story started when Konami filed a lawsuit against Upper Deck. While in this legal battle Upper Deck continued to print and distribute without Konami’s consent. With all that litigation it’s hard to believe that any new products could come out of such chaos.
To look at the products available to the American public this year, one may conclude that there was a lot to offer the public. Cards only printed in Japan before could be found in new boosters available in the states. Hard to find cards went to reprint making it easier for players to build tournament worthy decks. New sets found their way to shelves, some boxed in collectors’ tins. The new product available this year was very hard to find.
Store owners and player have mixed feelings about this year’s selection. The long time Yu-Gi-Oh players could be found complaining about the $80 card they bought on Ebay could now be found in a $10 Gold Series box. New players excited about playing the once hard to find cards could be found complaining about the pour selection of new cards. Store owners could be heard complaining about customers trying to return counterfeit cards. The same store owners stopped buying new sets to display, holding tournaments and selling singles. Consumer confidence at an all time low made it very hard to sell a card for its estimated worth.
The once booming secondary market took a hard hit. Hard to find cards that where once selling for large amounts of money could now be found for pennies on the dollar. People seem to be unloading there whole collections for just pennies. Large card lots could be found for just $.99 in online auction houses. The highly sought after Ghost Rare cards once selling for hundreds could be found as low as two dollars. It looks like the end for “The Game King”.
If there is something Yu-Gi-Oh has it is the shelf appeal. The cool Dragons and unique characters is the standard for Japanamation in the state. You will not find a more eye catching package that just screams “BUY ME”. No matter how useless the cards playability might be the cards always look cool. The cards have always appealed to kids that have no idea it’s a game. No matter how uphill this battle of winning over the American consumer might be, the next generation of players will be ready to buy the next checkout line booster pack.