CAIN Newsletter Supplement: 15-Apr-94 #0102

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 05/25/94-12:54:33 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: CAIN Newsletter Supplement: 15-Apr-94 #0102
Date: Wed May 25 12:54:33 1994

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                        \ April 15, 1994  Vol.I No.2 /
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Commentary by: Len Stys
I don't like to criticize Atari Corporation.  I like their products and
I enjoy the excitement the company brings to the members of the Atari
Community.  But when I see things taking place (or not taking place) that
may jeopardize my enjoying Atari products in the future, I am going to say
something.  What?  A negative article about Atari?  Even though you will
probably never see an article like this in other online Atari covering
publications, I do not consider this a negative article.  I believe this
article is full of positive criticism (from others and myself) and if
this positive criticism is well taken, it could help insure that we will
be enjoying Atari products for years to come.
Atari Corporation seems to have "restructured" itself for the better in
many areas.  These areas include public relations, publication relations,
developer support, software/game development, etc.  Some of the areas that
the company has had major problems with in the past such as manufacturing
have been left to a company with a very good reputation--IBM.  But there
are also some areas which I feel Atari Corp. has not improved itself, one
of which is distribution.
Atari Corp. is spending a great deal of money on advertisements in certain
areas where Jaguars are nowhere to be found!  I remember Atari doing this
with the Lynx a few years ago.  The result was that consumers would go to
retail stores looking for the Lynx without finding any.  The retailer
either did not carry it or was in the process or reordering it.  Since
the retailers did not want to lose business, they would convince consumers
that the Sega GameGear was the "same thing."  The consumer would buy the
GameGear and the money Atari spent on advertisements generated profit for
the company's main competitor.  The funny thing is--Atari continues to do
the same thing today.
TRUE STORY:  I was recently in Babbages to see if there were any new games
available for the Jaguar and to my surprise, someone was in the store asking
the salesperson if they had any Jaguars.  The person mentioned that
he saw an advertisement for it on cable and was interested in getting one.
I was excited!  I thought to myself that Atari's advertisements must be
working!  The salesperson said that they did not have any and he did not
know when he would be getting more.  The salesperson then quickly showed
the customer the new Panasonic R.E.A.L. system and John Madden Football for
it.  The man paid for it with his credit card and went home 3DO happy.
OK...  I thought.  Perhaps it was a freak occurrence.  No way.  I went to
two other stores.  The first one was Electronics Boutique.  I asked the
store manager (since I bought my Jaguar from him) how well Atari's
advertisements have been helping sales.  He told me that in all honesty,
they are not helping sales.  This is because the store gets VERY FEW units
in and many people that see the advertisements do not want to wait weeks for
the Jaguar.  I then asked him what they do if they don't wait.  He bent
his head down and said, "They get something else."  After seeing the
Panasonic R.E.A.L. next to him with its new $499 price tag, I had a feeling
I knew what he meant.  The second store that I visited was Software Etc.
The store manager informed me that he would NEVER carry the Jaguar because
and I quote: "Atari has a very BAD reputation in supporting the products
that they manufacture.  We would be hurting our customers by selling them
an Atari Jaguar."  I asked if the company felt the same way.  And he said
that Software Etc. will never sell the Jaguar.  All during this time, there
were four people gathered around the Panasonic R.E.A.L. with a demonstration
of John Madden Football.
Atari Corporation sponsored a Lynx mall tour a couple of years ago.  I was
curious to see how it was done so I visited a mall that had 32 Lynx systems
set-up for people to test.  There were two stores in the mall that carried
the Lynx at this time.  At the beginning of the Lynx demonstrations, one of
the stores had three Lynxs in stock and the other had two in stock.  There
was also a Toys'R'Us not too far away that had two in stock.  At the end of
the weekend, all Lynx systems were sold.  A success?  Not quite.  The
benefit of selling these few Lynx systems did not outweigh the cost of the
mall tour.  I also found something else that was very interesting.  The
first store in  the mall also had eight GameGears, the second store had six
GameGears, and the Toys'R'Us had eleven GameGears--all of which were sold at
the end of the weekend as well.
Atari is advertising nationally but the advertisements are reaching areas
where there are no Lynxs or Jaguars to purchase!  If a company is going to
advertise a good product, the product should be available to be purchased in
mass quantities.  No ifs, ands, or buts.
Does Atari realize that there is a problem finding Jaguars?  Here is a
small part of Bob Brodie's April 1st Dateline with Atari GEnie Conference:
= <[Iver] I.POSSEHL1> This question comes from a long term friendly
= supporter, but it has an edge :-> Bob - Here is a theory I have on
= buying a Jaguar. When the machine and games are available in my
= retail community, then I will buy it. Why should I drive 200+ miles or
= go mail order for a game I have not seen or been able to check out
= first hand? What can you say to reduce my fear of becoming an Atari
= loner again?
= <BOB-BRODIE> May I ask what area of the country you are in?
= <[Iver] I.POSSEHL1> Minnesota N. Dakota
= <BOB-BRODIE> You shouldn't have to drive 200 miles to purchase a
= Jaguar. We have already gone National with Electronic Boutique and
= Babbages. Soon, Toys R Us will also be on a national basis with us as
= well. We also have distributors selling the products to independent
= retailers throughout the US. Those same distributors are also selling
= the Jaguar into Canada as well.
= <BOB-BRODIE> As far as buying mail order, that's an evaluation that
= you have to make. Many companies conduct mailorder business in a fine
= fashion, such as STeve's Software in California, or TOAD Computers in
= Maryland. It is a perfectly viable way of doing business. You are
= the only one that can decide if you are comfortable with doing that.
= Many people are. As far as a concern about being an "Atari loner"
= again....I suggest your friend check out some of the latest video
= games magazines. I don't get a sense from any of them that the Jaguar
= is going to be anything other than a success.
= <[Iver] I.POSSEHL1> Believe it or not The closest EB, Babbages, TRU
= IS 200 miles away in Minneapolis.
This is very interesting because Bob Brodie claims that the Jaguar is
available at these retailers, but all of the retailers that I checked in
the Cleveland area did not have it.  As you will see in the following
messages, many of these individuals cannot find Lynxs, Jaguars, or
Atari merchandise in their areas as well:
= From: (JBBJR)
= Newsgroups:
= Subject: Re: How's Lynx and Jaguar Distribution in your area?
= Date: Tue Apr  5 17:29:01 1994
= Here in the Boston area, I have yet to see a Jag in the store. The ones
= that get them get 3 to 6 a week and have a waiting list.  In my travels to
= see a Jag, I see no signs of Lynx in the stores.
= I don't understand why Atari doesn't require the stores that distribute
= the Jag to keep a Jag on display to promote it.
= -------------------------------
= Date: Tue Apr  5 14:11:58 1994
= From: (Tim_Emmerich)
= Subject: Re: How's Lynx and Jaguar Distribution in your area?
= :Please let me know how many places near you each of the systems are
= selling at.  None!  The closest TRU doesn't carry Lynx.
= : Also tell me how many games they have available, etc.
=        None!
= : Tell me if any third-party companies such as Beyond Games' games are
=   selling in these stores.
=         None!
=       US, Corvallis, Oregon
= Date: Tue Apr  5 14:13:56 1994
= From: (Yes)
= Subject: Re: How's Lynx and Jaguar Distribution in your area?
=       I live in salt lake city, utah (usa).
= : Please let me know how many places near you each of the systems are
= selling at.
=    1 confirmed: "The Game Peddler". several unconfirmeds: Toys 'r'us
= can never quite decide, Gamer's Edge is reported to have units and
= reported not to have units (depending on who you talk to), etc. possible 3
= : Also tell me how many games they have available, etc.
=        4, not counting cybermorph, but to find copies of these games
= that they "stock" is rare.
= : Tell me if any third-party companies such as Beyond Games' games are
=   selling in these stores.
=        Nope.
= -------------------------------
= Date: Tue Apr  5 14:47:29 1994
= From: (Skip Sauls)
= Subject: Re: How's Lynx and Jaguar Distribution in your area?
= I'm in Oxford, Mississippi, located approx. 45 miles North-Northwest
= of Tupelo, MS (birthplace of Elvis) and 60 miles South-Southeast of
= Memphis, Tennesse (where Elvis died).  There is a Babages in Tupelo
= selling Jaguars and a Babages and a Electronic Boutique selling them
= in Memphis.
= >Also tell me how many games they have available, etc.
= The Babages in Tupelo had 3 games in stock, including 2 T2k's (one of
= which I bought) and a TMF.
= The Babages in Memphis had 1 Dino Dudes and 1 TMF, but had sold out
= all of their T2k units already.
= The EB in Memphis had 1 Dino Dudes and 1 TMF, along with 3 Jaguars
= remaining of the 4 that had been received the previous day.  They had
= also sold out of all of their T2k units.
= Skip Sauls
= -------------------------------
= Date: Tue Apr  5 15:24:37 1994
= From: (Jeff Schlicht)
= Subject: Re: How's Lynx and Jaguar Distribution in your area?
= >Please let me know how many places near you each of the systems are
= selling at Chico Toys R Us 15 miles away, next closest is EB in Sacramento
= 100 miles
= >Also tell me how many games they have available, etc.
= Chico TRU just got Raiden last week, that's all the got besides
= about 12 systems just sitting there. EB in Sac has 1 or 2 of
= each title except tempest
= --
= Jeff
= -------------------------------
= Date: Tue Apr  5 16:07:02 1994
= From: eo543@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Sean Michael Williams)
= Subject: Lynx and Jaguar Distribution
= Lynx and Jag distibution that I've seen in Orange County, Ca. (suburb of
= L.A.)
= (4) Babbages - NO Lynx or Jag units
=                dozens of software titles
= Good Guys (electonic super-store) - Jag and Lynx units and many titles
= there are about 6 stores
= Electronic Boutique - Jag units and titles, no Lynx
= Toys 'R' Us - adding Jag units and software, no Lynx
= Montgomery Ward - a few Lynx titles
= Video Games Plus - dozens of new and used Lynx titles
=                    new and used Lynx units
= -------------------------------
= Date: Tue Apr  5 17:18:02 1994
= From: ah499@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (John Daniels)
= Subject: Re: It's been a while..
= The Parma store vacated their Lynx section entirely last time I was there
= (shortly before the Atari offer) and just had all the game-boxes that they
= had hanging from pegs near the Sega/Nintendo replacement-hardware area. I
= left >$100 there that day but the games they had were nearly all $7.90.  I
= picked up some games that weren't on my Want List just bacause they were
= so cheap.
= I dunno what the situation is at the North Olmstead store but nearly all
= the games were $7.90 or $9.90.  At both stores they passed through a $13
= price point a couple of months ago.  Right while I had my first Lynx on
= order.  Started buying games right then.
= The Babbages and Walden Software at Parmaatown both have Jaguars
= sporadicly.
= Video Game Exchange purports that they are going to be carrying the Jag
= too but I haven't seen it in any of their stores yet.  They do have the
= 3DO though.
= later                                                   John
= -------------------------------
= Date: Tue Apr  5 21:22:00 1994
= From: (David L. Northcliffe)
= Subject: Re: How's Lynx and Jaguar Distribution in your area?
= In article <2ns32b$> you write:
= >
= >Please let me know how many places near you each of the systems are
=  selling at.
= In College Station, Texas there is one that I know of, Babbage's.  TRU has
= no Atari stuff at all, but our store is brand new and never had any Atari
= stuff to begin with.
= The only Atari stuff at Babbage's (and Babbage's is the only place in
= Bryan or College Station that still carries Atari stuff) is Jaguar stuff.
= They stopped carrying the Lynx last summer.
= The folks at Babbage's also say that the Jaguar (and the 3DO!) has been
= outselling the Genesis in recent weeks.
= >Also tell me how many games they have available, etc.
= >
= Two.  Dino Dudes & Raiden.  They got a few copies of T2K which disappeared
= instantly.  (I got one :-)  They can get TMF if you really want them to.
= Also a few controllers on the shelves.  The Jags themselves (they've been
= getting about a half dozen a week since mid February) all disappear within
= a few days after their arrival.  Still can't keep them on the shelves.
= >Tell me if any third-party companies such as Beyond Games' games are
=  selling in these stores.
= No.  They hadn't even heard about the Cat Box yet.
= .......................................................................
=                                                       David Northcliffe
= -------------------------------
= From: (Chris Wickman)
= Newsgroups:,
= Subject: Jaguar rollout?
= Date: Sun Apr  3 11:59:13 1994
= Does anyone have any information as to when the Jaguar will be shipping
= in mass quantities around the country? I want one really bad but they
= sell out within hours of a retail store getting them in! :)
= When will Wal-Mart start getting Jags in?
= chris
= -------------------------------
= From: (Tom Sherwin)
= Newsgroups:
= Subject: Where to buy lynx games
= Date: Tue Apr  5 08:46:25 1994
= I live in the middle of Suffolk County (Long Island, NY) and have found
= that there is a shortage of places which carry a wide selection of Lynx
= games (fancy that!).  TRU has some good titles but most are around $40 a
= pop.  Babbages @ Smithaven carries the same stuff all of the time and few
= places have even HEARD of the Lynx.  Even the Wiz wants $40 per game.
= Mail order is certainly the way to go for price and selection but
= sometimes I need that "immediate gratification".  Does anyone know of
= somewhere in my area where there is a decent selection for decent prices?
= Please respond via email ( 'cuz I don't have read access to
= this group.
= Thanks in advance!
=                        -Tom
= -------------------------------
= Date: Wed, 6 Apr 1994 16:29:18 GMT
= aa399@cleveland.Freenet.Edu  writes:
= >Please let me know how many places near you each of the systems are
= selling at.
= |sf>  As far as I know of, only one place here in Omaha, Nebraska sells
= either the Lynx or the Jaguar.  It's a locally owned chain of 2, owned and
= operated by video game fans (the store is called Gamer's).
=        TRU & Babbage's used to sell the games, but they stopped last year.
= Software Etc. is now carrying 3DO, so I guess they might carry Jaguar in
= the future.  I think Mongomery Wards might have had one game left on
= clearance.
= > Also tell me how many games they have available, etc.
=        There were about 3 or 4 games for the Jaguar which I saw for the
= first time when I was last at Gamer's (Feb. or March).  Most of the Lynx
= games that they had were reserved from waiting lists, so I couldn't count
= how many they had last time.  Usually they have very few Lynx games or
= game systems that haven't already been reserved.  I think the most non-
= reserved number of them I've seen is 3 or 4 titles (and they are a pretty
= good store for getting games in.)
= > Tell me if any third-party companies such as Beyond Games' games are
= selling in these stores.
=         I don't know.  I didn't get a close enough look.
= > If you are from another place other than the U.S., you may let me know
= also, I might use it.
= --
= Suzanne Ferree
= E-mail:
= From: Luke@sccomp.UUCP (Luke Kleykers)
= Newsgroups:
= Subject: Atari Lynx History? Soon Jaguar?
= Date: Tue Mar 29 09:51:42 1994
= Hi,
= just back from 2 weeks California and didn't find a shop in Silicon Valley
= that sells Atari Lynx games. This is frustating. Atari could have make
= sure that at least the bigger shops in their own neighboorhood do have
= Lynx Games. Same for Jaguar. You probably have to be an expert to locate
= the shops that sell Atari stuff.
= If this continues Atari products do not make any chance... This is a
= simple marketing issue which Atari seems to fail to understand...
= Rumours about a revive of Lynx lasted already too long.
= Luke
= -------------------------------
It is apparent that Atari Corporation is not requiring retailers that carry
the Jaguar to also carry the Lynx.  There are no retailers selling the Lynx
in the Cleveland area that I am aware.  This means that Atari's Lynx
national advertisements in gaming magazines are not helping to sell Lynx
systems in areas where the Lynx cannot be found.  In actuality, it may be
helping to sell similar color portable game systems.
A comment was made by a user during Bob Brodie's GEnie Conference on
April 1st concerning the Babbages near him not displaying the Jaguar:
= <[Network 23] R.MARTIN22> about the Jag stuff, they pull things out
= of the back room!
= <BOB-BRODIE> Is the Babbages in Springfield?
= <[Network 23] R.MARTIN22> yes, in White Oaks Mall.
= <BOB-BRODIE> I'll call them on Tuesday. We'll chat.
Are problems with retailers displaying Atari products suppose to be
anything new?  I cannot remember ANY retailer in the Cleveland area that did
not hide the Lynx and its games behind the counter or on distant shelves
somewhere.  I have heard time and time again from users around the United
States that have reported similar sightings.  Even when the Lynx was being
displayed in Toys'R'Us in my area, it was never displayed properly.  If
there was a game being demonstrated on the unit (which was unusual) then the
screen would be out-of-focus.
Since I am on the subject of displays, Nintendo pays for all Nintendo
related displays in retail stores.  Bob Brodie made the following comment
in the April 1st GEnie Conference on the Jaguar kiosks after this question
was made by a user:
= <[Gary] G.DULLECK> I've yet to see the Jag displayed well at a store.
= What is Ataris policy on getting kiosks into stores. Also what game is
= due out next and when (for the jag) ?
= <BOB-BRODIE> Gary, we are making some very nice kiosks for the stores
= to use to display their Jaguars. They were used at CES to display all
= of the games, and include stereo speakers, and a secure method for
= displaying the Jaguar to minimize the risk of theft, and yet be
= attractive, and utilitarian.  They are available for order, and can be
= ordered from us now!! We have several Jaguar games under development
= at this point, Club Drive looks like it is the furthest one along at
= this point.
I was surprised to see that they are available to order.  At a time when
video game companies are fighting each other for space in retailers, the
kiosks benefit Atari more than the retailer.  I wonder if retailers will pay
for these kiosks when they will most likely be getting them for free from
Nintendo and Sega.
Ah, just when you thought the criticism would never end...  Atari's most
recent advertisements are looking a lot better.  I have not yet seen the
Tempest 2000 commercial, but I have heard many good reports from people that
have seen it.  Also, by running the Tempest 2000 commercial, Atari's target
audience becomes those kids that have grown up since Tempest was popular
in the arcades (18-25 year olds).  An age group that remembers the "good'ol
days" of the Atari 2600.  An age group that have jobs and can afford to go
out and buy a $250 game machine.  Atari's latest 4 page print advertisement
looks a lot better than previous print advertisements.  And I have heard
Troy Aikman Football radio advertisements from TradeWest that tells everyone
to look for the game on the Jaguar in the Fall.
The one thing that really irritates me is when someone complains about
something but offers no solutions.  I would never do that.
The main problem seems to be that there are not enough Jaguars to meet
demand.  There were not enough Jaguars to meet demand in many areas before
Atari started advertising nationally.  Atari Corp. needs to either increase
production of Jaguars or encourage retailers to order a higher volume.
Atari Corp. also needs to increase the number of retailers that carry the
Jaguar.  If Atari Corp. fails to do this, they are losing sales and in some
cases--putting money into their competitors pockets.  If retailers in
an area can only get a total of twenty Jaguars during an advertising
campaign by Atari, the sales of these twenty Jaguars will not be able to
cover the cost of the advertisements.
The second biggest problem is the distribution of the Lynx.  The Lynx is
a very good color portable video game system, but it is not available in
many retail stores.  Atari Corp. can be making a nice amount of money on
sales of Lynx game cards, but they cannot be found anywhere to be purchased!
The Lynx national print advertisements are almost a waste.  The solution is
to require all Jaguar dealers: Toys'R'Us, Electronics Boutique, and Babbages
to carry the Lynx as well.
Another major problem is third-party Lynx and Jaguar products availability
through retailers.  They aren't available through retailers!  Beyond Games'
Battle Wheels is one of the best games available for the Lynx and yet it
cannot be found in any retail stores.  Atari Corp. should help distribute
these products since they will help increase sales of their systems.  But
I can imagine that this would be difficult to do since Atari Corp. is having
a hard time distributing its own Lynx products.
Atari Corp. has Jaguar and Lynx kiosks available for retailers to order.
I suggest that Atari Corp. arrange for the largest Toys'R'Us, Electronics
Boutique, and Babbages stores in each major city be loaned a Jaguar
kiosk free of charge.  I also suggest that the second largest Toys'R'Us,
Electronics Boutique, and Babbages stores in each major city be loaned a
Lynx kiosk free of charge.  But require each of these stores to carry
large quantity of systems in stock.
Jaguar and Lynx displays are yet another problem in retail stores.  Atari
Corp. should have an agreement with each retail chain that carries the
Jaguar and Lynx to properly display the Jaguar and Lynx.  Atari Corp. should
follow up the agreement every other month by sending each store manager
a letter reminding them to keep the Jaguar, Lynx, and related merchandise
properly displayed.
One pretty effective way to get consumers to try products is a mall tour.
Atari Corp. had the right idea when they displayed a bunch of Lynx systems
at several malls around the country.  It would be great to see a Lynx and
Jaguar tour again!  But this time, local retailers should be warned ahead of
time to have a large amount of Lynxs and Jaguars in stock.  The idea is to
increase the company's sales of products by the mall tour, not the
competitor's products!
I'd like to close this article by saying that a lot of the problems that
I mentioned above are not because of Atari's financial situation.  These
problems can be corrected by Atari's management.  The success of the
Jaguar, Lynx, and Atari Corp.'s future depends on it.
 |                                                                         |
 |  Commentary included in CAIN Newsletter is that of the individual and   |
 |  is not necessary that of CAIN Newsletter or the Cleveland Free-Net     |
 |  Atari SIG.  Reader commentary is welcome!                              |
 |                                                                         |

   [C]entral [A]tari [I]nformation [N]etwork Newsletter  April 15, 1994
   Copyright (c) 1994 All Rights Reserved                No.002.
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