What's the Point of Exclusives?What's the Point of Exclusives?Ask MFC

SkyBlueEyesSkyBlueEyesVor 4 Jahren
I can understand that if a figure or part of it is exclusive or made in a limited quantity, then it makes it more special to have and better guarantees that there won’t be a bunch of extras left sitting around waiting to be sold. I can’t really understand much reason for it beyond that though. When companies choose to make figures or parts exclusive or limited, all that does is limit the number of people who can buy them. It seems to go against what any company would want, which is to sell as much and make as much as possible. Are they able to price figures so much higher simply for the fact that they’re exclusive or limited that they determine they’re making about the maximum they would have made if they released the figures regularly?

I do know how some figures have exclusive versions that come with minimal extra parts but a high increased price that’s not really justified. These figures have a standard version that gets released everywhere, and it’s just the special little extra parts that are for an exclusive version. It still doesn’t make sense for these extra parts to be exclusive. All they have to do to benefit is sell the version that comes with extra for more money, which they already do. It seems like they must lose out by making exclusive places to buy these special versions, just like any other exclusively sold figure.

If something is exclusive to a place that doesn’t ship internationally, then it’s always still possible to buy from them using a proxy or forwarding service. Of course, it’s annoying having to do an extra step when the company could have just not made the figure or some part of it exclusive. It also adds extra cost to use a proxy or forwarding service, and going through the extra trouble and costs probably makes some people decide not to buy them when they would have otherwise.

As an example, I’ve been looking at a set of Nendoroid Petits for Touken Ranbu ENCYCLOPEDIA #92295 that were exclusive to the Good Smile website and were supposed to be available to buy for about a month. Limited amounts of time to order things is also something I find annoying and obviously limiting on how many people can place orders. I was planning on buying them, but I really would have preferred if they were available elsewhere because of what I’ve heard about the bad packing with Good Smile. I checked the page for them a few days after they were put up for sale, and they were already sold out. They really meant it when they said “Limited stock of this product is available for preorder.”

They said they were considering releasing the set again, and I guessed that a second release wouldn’t be exclusive, only they did make a re-release and it’s still exclusive. It’s actually worse than before because the first release was exclusive to the Good Smile website that ships internationally and the re-release is available from two companies with stores in Japan. Both of them have websites in Japanese and I doubt they ship internationally. That means it would be even more annoying to try ordering from them.

It’s not just the fact that the second release is also exclusive. The first release comes with special decorated bases, while the second set still has the designs on the bases, but with them colored differently.

I originally went on the Good Smile shop ready to buy these, but now I’m so annoyed with the lack of availability for the second release that I’m just going to wait. What good does it do to make things exclusive?


Good points that have been mentioned so far for exclusives in general:

-People outside of Japan just don’t matter as much to the companies. That’s not their main point of interest. (Although it always seems better to reach as many people as possible. I can also understand how people in Japan don’t get as upset about exclusives because they don’t ever have the problem of needing to work around no international shipping. Things are just plain easier for them to get and they do clearly get priority, so there’s nothing to complain about in that respect.)

-People pay more attention to companies that make exclusives (you have to if you want to get them) and develop loyalty.

-Exclusives obviously cause less worrying about things not selling out because people are quicker to buy something exclusive that’ll be harder to get later and because they aren’t making as many as a regular release.

-Exclusive releases are especially good for things that aren’t really popular and don’t have a huge following because there’s less demand and they might not do so well with a regular release. Releasing them this way might be the only way for them to be made, and the few people who do care will be willing to buy them.

-If exclusives are being sold directly through the company’s website, then they can sell at full price and make more money off of them rather than another company getting part of the money and possibly selling at a discount.

-Selling things exclusively and at high prices can compensate for things that don’t sell so well.

-Some things have strict creator rights and licensing limitations.

I still don’t understand why the Nendoroid Petit set I mentioned was released exclusively again for a second time, and why the second release is available at shops that are not the Good Smile shop. Since they aren’t being sold directly through Good Smile like with the first release, then that must mean they’re losing money and not drawing as much attention to the company.

Touken Ranbu has become pretty popular and it also has other figures available, Nendoroids and scales, and those have been selling pretty well, some of them really well. Although I did notice that fewer people want the Nendoroid Petits, possibly because they’re small figures and also because people saw they were exclusive. It also seems like they really limited it beyond necessary if they were trying to stay safe and not have extras left over since they originally ran out within two or three days. It’s not like it’s a really amazing garage kit.

Most of the time when I see that something is exclusive, I generally lose interest and don’t pay too much attention to it. The case where it seems the least worthwhile is when there’s a regular version and the exclusive has something minor added. If an entire figure is exclusive, then that’s a bit different.

I would also like to point out that I clearly do not expect companies to make figures so that they’re always available. That’s absurd to ask of anything. I’m only comparing exclusive releases to regular releases in amount of the item that gets made, cost, and ease of acquiring, and the fact that sometimes it’s confusing why they choose to make things exclusive. I was genuinely under the assumption that companies might sometimes be losing money when they choose to make something exclusive rather than a regular release. I guess it can also go the other way where they make something as a regular release when they would have been better off making it exclusive. For regular releases, don’t pre-orders also help them to gauge how many to make to an extent?

Event exclusives make me think of the traffic cone incident, and that’s a funny, but sad story about what exclusives can do to people.
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I honestly know where you are coming from.

Sadly, from what I have read around the internet and the like, the Japanese Industry tend to like being inclusive with their goods and would rather cater to their small audience who tend to buy the products in bulk to support whatever merchandise they are crazy for.

Companies like Good Smile are at least improving in this situation by making English manuals and having an English section on the website, however they still rely heavily on their domestic audience first.

Now, in regards to exclusivity, I find it ridiculous as like you said, they don't seem to cater into the worldwide audience when making certain figs limited (they make x amount for the Domestic audience mostly because they tend to buy them at the inflated prices).

I personally think it's a bad way to do business, as it promotes a small company mentality when they have shown that their products are a high quality at reasonable prices (if you consider them to be at $20/40 and having customized items makes them very valuable).

If I were them, I'd have one factory creating the newer Nendoroids an their other factory doing re-releases whenever there is demand for x Nendo.

I do honestly think that locking your consumer base from outside of your domestic country isn't a good way to potentially grow your business, because the domestic consumers can and will always look for better alternatives if you don't consistently revolve your new product lines (they are getting better at this, but 10+ figures of Miku doesn't promote diversity).

I wish they had separate Nendoroid lines because the "more" range is extremely limited that people have to constantly split nendoroids just to obtain items (a similar problem to yours), so for anyone who wants props, they should be consistantly available and at a great price as they cost pennies to make, and they should divide their Nendoroids so that overall, you have Anime, Manga, Western and Video Games, it makes finding Nendos easier (at least to me, as how the hell do you know which Nendo is 103?).

I agree with your points, however I do think they are improving. It will just take a few years before their consumer base worldwide outgrows their domestic audience.

Regarding the niche stuff, I do think they should make the quantities smaller, but never exclusive, as you never know if they will become popular.
Vor 4 Jahren
I am kind of too lazy (or rather too busy) to hunt for exclusives. I have my regular stores and I just order it, sometimes, immediately. That is mostly done in my 10 minutes after the alarm clock rings prior getting ready for work. Taking my time, browsing the latest announcements and eventually click on pre-order. Though, I'm not buying addicted (although it might look like). Those 10 minutes in the morning are most of the time I spend for browsing stores. I'm 15 hours on the run for work, coming home late and don't feel like browsing stores for hours then.
Anyhow, even if I find out that there were some exclusive offers (like this morning), I just let it pass by if I have ordered it already; if not I weight out if the extra is worth the extra money. Given an example: Once I found a "book" which was distributed in eight different stores and each store got its own exclusive tapestry for the book. Though, crazy collectors would have spent around 30000 Yen (I think that was the sum) on all of them. (I did buy neither since my "monthly budget" was way over-exceeded).

In the end, for me it's like:
* is the item exclusive to a store and I want it -> buy
* is the item coming with exclusive extras, depending on the stores, and I have not bought it yet -> evaluate if the extra is worth the extra money (incl. proxy) and eventually buy it, otherwise go for the regular edition

It's just matter of personal taste, and money, if you go for it or not. The main clients are the Natives after all and so most of the exclusives are sold in their stores. Without a proxy, no chance to get them. Imagine stores which have no online store and selling exclusive. You'll never get hold of them (besides knowing about the offer (if not for a cosmic coincidence)). (For example Mandarake, I was in like five stores from them, I think there local offer is much bigger than what they offer online. Same goes for stores like Melonbooks and KBooks. I was overwhelmed by all their vast offers). We, the Western faction, are offered the regular goods and sometimes special editions... You just can't call us their "regular client base", we're an "extra" to them. So, in my humble opinion, ungatherable exclusives are nothing to get highly upset about. (And for the passionate collector it might be like a "trophy".)

Before I forget about some "exclusive speciality": some exclusives, especially in the media industry, are due to their tax system. Media (e.g. music CDs) have high taxes, but for imports these taxes are not applied (or not fully; just can't recall it right now). Anyhow, to sell their "local version", which costs (much) more, they offer them with some exclusive stuff which the import (naturally) does lack. (Can't find the source, but I read that somewhere long time ago)
Vor 4 Jahren
rubyserpent_720Vor 4 Jahren#5334131Eh. I always thought petites are for people who loves the character but are not willing/have space/have money to buy nendos/scales. Similarly it's a great way for companies to test out popular characters and spend less money to produce. Win-win situation for everyone.
Unfortunately it looks like the limited edition is GSC's way to milk Torabu for all its worth (and their strategy for competing against online sites that gives discounts eg amiami/Hobby Search etc). If you live in Japan, it's not that much trouble to order but overseas customers lucked out because we have to pay that much more for it.
Personally I'm not going to bother with petites because I prefer to buy their nendos/scales but if GSC decides to release a petite line of all the tantous I'll be on it like white on rice because they'll look adorable with Ichi-nii nendo XD

I've actually bought all the Nendoroids and scales so far. I was basically just powering through them all, until I got stopped by the problem with the Petite ones.

It would be so fitting to have all the tantous in mini, huddled around Ichigo. If they made all the swords as Petites, it would be easy to get them all because they'd take up so little space and cost so little. Some swords that I don't care about as much *coughkakakacough* I wouldn't really bother with as Nendoroids, and definitely not as scales, but I wouldn't mind them in mini. And that way they could be complete. Because isn't everyone trying to get them all?
Vor 4 Jahren
Eh. I always thought petites are for people who loves the character but are not willing/have space/have money to buy nendos/scales. Similarly it's a great way for companies to test out popular characters and spend less money to produce. Win-win situation for everyone.

Unfortunately it looks like the limited edition is GSC's way to milk Torabu for all its worth (and their strategy for competing against online sites that gives discounts eg amiami/Hobby Search etc). If you live in Japan, it's not that much trouble to order but overseas customers lucked out because we have to pay that much more for it.

Personally I'm not going to bother with petites because I prefer to buy their nendos/scales but if GSC decides to release a petite line of all the tantous I'll be on it like white on rice because they'll look adorable with Ichi-nii nendo XD
Vor 4 Jahren
lazymez 捨て駒だよね。。。
I don't think main target audience, Japanese collectors, have ever whined so much about exclusive releases as we foreigners do. It's sometimes hard to separate people who genuinely don't understand how business works and who are just being silly/self-centered/idiots. I can understand why foreigners, including me, can feel bummed about exclusives (IF they are stores who don't ship to your country) but that is when we just have to accept we are not intended audience for those releases. You have to think outside consumers point of view sometimes.

The more niche the figure is, more risks there are.
Exclusive releases are basically more safe way to produce niche products.
NAISOR has made very good points, and main reason for exclusives is indeed to lower the risk of losses.

-> make exclusive release
-> you will know exactly what the demand is because all orders are concentrated to one or few stores and there is predetermined preorder window
-> you don't overproduce
-> you don't have to bargain bin your excessive stock thus making losses
-> you're now not going bankcrupt and can securely continue to make more products

But they also cannot take more orders than their factories (own or contracted) can produce!

You can't really blame companies for not wanting to make losses.
In the end, exclusive releases are very valid business model for Japanese figure companies.

Store exclusive bonuses are completely different topic, though.
Vor 4 Jahren
Simple. To trick you into buying from the original company who creates the figure, not other shops who can offer the same figure with discounts.
Take GSC: Ordering a Nendo or set of Nendo Petits off AmiAmi is almost always cheaper than buying it from GSC, since Ami gives a discount whereas GSC sticks to the retail price. Since AmiAmi takes a part of the earnings as well, GSC makes more money from products sold directly through their own store.
But how do you get people to spend more money on the exact same thing they could get way cheaper?
Offer something extra that they cannot live without.
(Or don't distribute the figures at all)

Licenses may be another reason.
Vor 4 Jahren
because we women falls into the EXCLUSIVESSSSS trap all too oftenly and the production team know this. it has been a problem for us since forever.
Vor 4 Jahren
Vor 4 Jahren
I feel like it's just a cheap way of getting people to buy things more than a standard release because with standard there's more ways of obtaining an item once it hits the aftermarket. Once you see "exclusive" you want to buy it as soon as you possibly can. Though I know all Touhou figures are exclusive because of how strict the creator is with the rights to the series so that could matter too.
Vor 4 Jahren
One thing you need to consider is that, figures (as in one particular figure floating the the vast market) are not consumer products; they're not made regularly over indefinite periods of time for people to regularly "consume" them as apples or meat. They are not trendy gadgets, like the latest iPhone that will guarantee you more the 40 millions sales before the year ends. Figures are just niche market products that a modest amount of people happen to want. Thus, thinking that "the more they make, the more they will sell" is not exactly a wise business model in this kind of companies.

Max Factory in particular, even on the GSC umbrella, makes they exclusive items mostly for the purpose of having to buy directly from their shop at full price. Why is the reason for that, we might never know, but speculation based on observing their products might suggest to me that they have to compensate their less successful products by inflating prices on their most successful ones by any nasty trick possible; like the case of adding one single additional face-plate to a figma for the exclusivity.

Nevertheless, some other companies, like Bandai, practice exclusive item most of the time out of very little demand under the already small niche market, which allows items to still be made at higher prices for the people that really want them.

Event exclusive items are event exclusive items, duh, that's the point of them being exclusive.

That said, there's a lot of reasons why exclusives exist; depending on the company, their business model, the demand, the possibilities and the market response. Japan is still the greatest market for Japanese products, so there's nothing strange in pampering their primary source of income.

And, besides, I have always felt that collecting implies a little bit of hunting; and I'm not afraid in finding ways to hunt for things I want most of the time. >: )
Vor 4 Jahren