KORG DS-10 appeared to get off with a good start. When it was announced for release in North America people were excited to hear more about it. You can’t buy that kind of buzz. Nintendo of Europe was impressed by KORG DS-10 too and stepped in to publish the music creation software overseas.
Raving commenters and a Nintendo publishing deal in Europe doesn’t guarantee sales here in North America, but KORG DS-10 launched last week and it can only be found in a few stores. Major video game retailers including Walmart, Best Buy, and even Gamestop – more specifically Gamestop USA – passed on stocking KORG DS-10. Why was there a lack of retail support? I got in touch with Ken Berry, Director of Publishing at XSEED, to find out.
Even though KORG DS-10 isn’t a game I thought it was a neat piece of software to play with and a reasonably priced synthesizer equivalent. Have you thought about promoting it by recording US DJs or electronic artists making music with it?
Ken Berry, Director of Publishing at XSEED: We would love to have as many DJs, electronic artists and any other musicians playing with KORG DS-10 as possible. We didn’t have an established base of musicians to reach out to as this was our first music-related software release, but we’re doing what we can on the PR side to reach out to those people and hopefully you’ll see some cool coverage with established musicians in the near future.
KORG DS-10 had a wave of positive buzz even before XSEED announced they were publishing the game, but now that it’s out few retailers are stocking it. What happened?
Being such a new concept of actually being a musical tool rather than a game on a gaming console has presented difficulties with retail buyers.
They are used to catering to gamers and though the buyers all thought KORG DS-10 was a very cool piece of software, they just weren’t sure if their core gaming audience was the right target for it.
What factors could have helped KORG DS-10 get into more stores?
Hitting a price point of $29.99 to be in line with typical game prices on the Nintendo DS may have helped, but we were also being told that it should sell for $59.99 to be more in line with music creation software.
We thought that $39.99 was a fair price as musicians think of it as a bargain for all the features it offers, while not being an overly high barrier for entry for aspiring musicians that want to dabble with creating original music for the first time.
We would love to use other distribution channels, but the musical instrument retail channel is very different from the retail video game channel. Not only does it involve a different set of stores, but it involves different buyers even within the same store for the large retail chains that stock both video games and musical instruments. It then becomes a question of stocking it in the video game aisle or in the music aisle, but something that we will continue to work on. XSEED is not set up to sell it directly to consumers, but we can steer anyone that’s interested in the right direction so that they can pick it up from one of our retail partners.
Do you think KORG DS-10 will be a rare or hard to find game in the future?
We hope not. If the intial sales are strong enough, we can go back to the retailers that passed on it initially and show them that there is indeed a market for it and hope that they decide to stock it at a future time. Even if that doesn’t happen, online retailers like Amazon.com will always stock new copies so hopefully it never becomes too hard to find for the average consumer.
Images courtesy of XSEED.