Spooky has nothing short of elite and incredible customer service. If you have an issue with a Spooky game Charlie stands behind his product 100% and his family will work with you and get you squared away. Heck, if you have a problem with TNA and Scott Danesi himself will try and help you…try getting help from John Borg if your X-Men nightcrawlers stop working…even the idea of that is absurd. Spooky’s model works because Spooky is Spooky.
Stern is simply not that way, their culture is to do as little for you as possible unless your distributor backs you. You aren’t a customer of Stern’s when you buy a game, their distributors are their customers. Look at how screwed all the JJP GnR owners are that bought direct from JJP and had playfield issues? The ones that bought through distributors at least had a chance of getting something beyond a washer.
Quoted from pcprogrammer:
One of the main issues that impacts us little guys is with getting a hot LE title through a Stern distributor. It's pretty much impossible at this point, you need an already established relationship with a distro and be on the "list".
So, this is a good point but it is also a very recent development with demand crushing supply. It will balance out in a year or so, once the market isn’t so lopsided. Mando was also a super hot title that hit at peak industry demand during a shortage…it’s instant sell out was a guaranteed event. Metallica was very similar with the instant sell out and not being able to get a game unless you had an inside track but the very next game (Star Trek) was available NIB for six months.
Killing the distribution network for “fairness” just means everyone will suffer equally. Stern doesn’t want it anyway, they want their distributors calling their contacts and selling product for them, Stern isn’t going to want to bring a sales team in house…they could never replicate the relationships their distributors have with their customers.