Hey everyone and welcome back to ChannelFireball, your favorite trading card website! I am back with another article on the Pokemon collecting world and boy do I think this will be a good one.
Scalping is certainly a touchy subject in the community, as it should be, and recent developments have shown the effects that scalping has on the hobby. Not only has it led to prices being slightly increased online – or in some cases greatly increased – but it has created tension in a wholesome community that just wants to have product available on the shelves. Up until recently, this is the worst it has ever been, but now it’s gone a step further. Pokemon cards and possibly some other trading card games are reportedly not going to be sold at Target and Walmart stores anymore due to the trouble they are causing.
This is a huge announcement, as I feel like most of us can remember getting that first pack of Pokemon cards off the shelf as a kid. Truly great memories! Anyways, up until very recently, these stores served as a great way to get product since they almost always had cards available but scalping and an increased demand had changed that before the sales were suspended. I will have more on all of this throughout the article, trust me, as that is the entirety of what I want to talk about today. While this is a touchy subject and one that can get people fired up, trust me when I say that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I would love for you to leave this article with a better understanding of things and a positive attitude. Regardless, I encourage you to read this in its entirety. Time to get started!
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I am sure everyone is aware of this by now, but Pokemon is absolutely booming and has been since right before the pandemic started. It was advertised by celebrities, people were looking for things to do, nostalgia finally kicked in and it was already wildly popular to begin with.
This popularity has affected the game in many ways and while it has certainly created some poor experiences and negative situations, I feel that the growth Pokemon has seen during the pandemic has been very favorable for the hobby. It absolutely sucks that Pokemon enthusiasts are having a hard time finding product in stores, which has led to increased prices on the secondary market, which is not a good resolution for the customers either. The fact of the matter is that Pokemon is just in too high of a demand, meaning that there are many people buying it for themselves and then many people buying it to make a profit.
Sealed Pokemon product is performing very well right now and some of it is difficult to obtain at a reasonable price. I do have some bad news and some good news for you Pokemon fans out there that I will be sharing in this article. Time to move on to the bad and then we can wrap things up in a positive manner.
This is the bad news, though it is not as bad as some people might think. It has been reported that Target and Walmart will not be selling Pokemon cards in their stores anymore due to the rampant scalping occurring across the nation. While I am sure these stores are stoked about how well the product is selling, situations like two grown men fighting in the parking lot over Pokemon purchases are not something they want to put up with. This was apparently the last straw for Target, as soon after they reported that Target would no longer selling trading cards.
For Target, it seems like they will only be selling cards online. As for Walmart, I am not entirely sure if they will be offering that or not. This whole thing is still in the early stages. I will say, though, that some stores have reportedly still been carrying product, so I am not sure if product will be pulled from the shelves or if they just plan not to get more in the future. It seems like the latter, but honestly there is not a huge difference between the two.
As for selling cards online, I think the difference between selling in store and online is marginal when it comes to fans being able to obtain product. The demand will still be there and so will scalpers, which likely means product will not be a whole lot easier to obtain. We have seen launches such as the Pokemon Center merchandise drops get rescheduled due to wild popularity and botting attempts, which I would largely contribute to people trying to make some money.
Time to tackle the elephant in the room, the fact that stores likely will not be carrying Pokemon cards in stores anymore. The fact of the matter is that while this sounds scary, it is not as big of a deal as people think. The distribution situation for Pokemon is not good at all now, which means a lot of stores don’t have product readily available to begin with and it sells out very quickly in large amounts to the people that are able to obtain some. For the general population, this sort of does suck because kids might have a harder time discovering the world of Pokemon, as it all it takes is one pack off the shelf at Target to get things going sometimes. However, for a large portion of the community, I feel like they were already purchasing their product online anyways. Even if they did not want to do that, it is not super likely that an individual could consistently get products from Target and Walmart anyways, so I feel that loss is relatively minimal.
I have more to say about all this of course, but I want to talk about the bright future ahead of us now, ending things on a good note.
Okay, so there is obviously a lot going on here, though I think at the end of the day it is a bit simpler than things look.
There is not a great replacement for finding Pokemon cards at Target and Walmart, but I have already expressed that those options were not great to begin with. This leads me to believe that most people will not be affected as much as they might expect. However, there are local options in the form of local game stores that could gain some traction from this change, which would be great for trading card hobbies, Pokemon included. More local game store success means more involvement in the hobby, more competition in the hobby and a more accessible hobby as well. While there might not be a huge upside to local game stores seeing an uptick in traction, nothing bad can really come from it either.
If you want Pokemon cards, some products might be hard to find at a reasonable price, but the removal of products from stores is going to have a minimal impact on that since you likely were not going to be able to find it there anyways. This means you were probably already looking at online prices, some of which are reasonable and some of which are not in my opinion. My opinion of reasonable would differ from just about everyone else’s, as that is just what happens with a situation like this. Some people might want to buy all the products and some people might want to buy none of them.
When I think of sealed product, the set boxes are the items that I consider to be the most affected, which means packs and things of the like are as well. However, one of the most hyped products in recent memory in the form of Shining Fates Elite Trainer Box, is currently sitting at around $85 online right now, which is close to MSRP. Additionally, Battle Styles booster boxes are sitting at just over $100, which is only a slight increase when compared to the normal pricing on a product like this. It seems to me that things are being controlled relatively well already and I have the upmost confidence that TPCI will continue to improve the distribution of their products. This mostly means just printing more of it and possibly reprinting certain products, which they already committed to in an announcement earlier this year. If this truly does happen, I believe the supply will match the demand, which should decrease the amount of scalping going on, which would then help the pricing of things a bit. Additionally, once this point is reached, I expect stores like Target and Walmart to be carrying product in stores again if they have not already. This could happen anywhere from twelve to eighteen months from now, but it could also take longer if additional supply does not start rolling in for future releases. I do not blame Pokemon for being slow about this, as it takes a lot of time and money to get additional factories setup to handle something like this, which is what has been rumored that they are doing.
Overall, it seems like Pokemon is on track to be carried in stores again and have additional supply available, which I expect to increase the exposure the game gets and keep people interested. If anything, it would be great for the game as people would expect and I do not think there is a world where it would hurt the game. If Pokemon did print too much product for any given release, they would simply have to adjust for the next one. I find this highly unlikely to happen due to the sheer popularity of the game now, which is not something I expect to fade anytime soon, nor do I expect it to ever drop down to pre-pandemic levels.
Hopefully, today’s article has provided some clarity to you all, as I really feel like the public has made this out to be a miserable occurrence. While it is not great and does not provide any immediate benefit, other than the safety of individuals apparently, the future of Pokemon continues to look bright in many ways. I am confident cards will be sold in stores again one day and that Pokemon will fix its supply issues, as that is only beneficial for everyone involved. They get to make more money and keep customers happy, and customers just want to obtain products at the prices they are normally able to get them. Truly a win for everyone around, expect for the scalpers I suppose but they had to always know that this was going to be a temporary thing anyways. All of this would be great for the hobby and I am excited to see how things turn out, as I am sure everyone else is too. This is another topic that I would love to update you all on in the future, so maybe I will do an in-review article of Pokemon in the 2020-2021 era in the future, as that would certainly be a wild ride and a fun article to write. As for my future articles, I will be back next week with another one and I hope you all will check that out as well. If you have anything you really want to read about just let me know down below! I hope you all enjoy the world of Pokemon and stay out of Target parking lot fights while I am gone.