Jump to content

This was bound to happen...gray market VF's?


Recommended Posts

I get where you are coming from for the most part. When it comes to a companies viability they always have a delicate balancing act they need to perform. Release just enough of a product to satisfy demand but leave them wanting more. Innovate enough to give us the next step in the evolution (the next 'great thing') but not so much that there isn't any room left to improve or that they are bankrupted by R&D. A company also needs to do both of those things regularly enough to keep the customers loyal and not look elsewhere to get their fix.

A company that releases too little or too much of a product isn't going to last long. A company that has one great innovation but never improves upon it in regular intervals will soon be surpassed by other companies. 

I wouldn't mind if other industries were a little like the pharmaceutical industry. When a new drug is put on the market the original manufacturer has sole domain over it for a number of years (10 I think). After that it becomes open to everyone to produce and the 'generics' (i.e. knock offs) flood the market. People then have the choice of paying for the higher priced original or paying less for a potentially lower quality/effective product. In order for the pharmaceutical company to remain in business they either need to improve their formula or come out with something even better.

So yes, Arcadia could have done a better job to prevent this from happening. Over the years the only VF-1's they have released are reissues of Hikaru or Roy valks without a single improvement over the previous releases. They have also released them at a pretty slow pace. They were overly cautious not to fall like Yamato and now others are taking advantage of it. I don't know if them doing the premium versions or finally releasing M&M all in the same year is a way to stop the bleeding before it gets out of hand but, if it is, I hope it's not too little too late.

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Slave IV said:

Excellent post and segment! Pretty much exactly what I'm talking about.

Theft? Lol! To me, scouring the world for places you can exploit people by paying the lowest wages possible and then charging more and more for a design that is decades old and you already made more than a fair share for is much more criminal than someone using those designs to give people what they want at a reasonable price. If people doing that puts you out of business, again, I say you probably shouldn't be in business. And I'm saying this as a fan of Arcadia. 

 

Love the Chinese. this video makes me feel like resuming my study of Mandarin Chinese and leaving North Uhmerica for Shenzhen...

Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, jvmacross said:

Although I am not sure what this has to do with the current debate about IP infringement.....you totally captured why Arcadia is a poor KO itself of the former Yamato.....

Arcadia Premium Finish VF-1 = Regular release Yamato VF-1

Arcadia Regular Release VF-1 = Pre-built Yamato VF-1 kit

;)

That part was in response to "what would I do if I was Arcadia's head honcho".

47 minutes ago, Boobytrap said:

I get where you are coming from for the most part. When it comes to a companies viability they always have a delicate balancing act they need to perform. Release just enough of a product to satisfy demand but leave them wanting more. Innovate enough to give us the next step in the evolution (the next 'great thing') but not so much that there isn't any room left to improve or that they are bankrupted by R&D. A company also needs to do both of those things regularly enough to keep the customers loyal and not look elsewhere to get their fix.

A company that releases too little or too much of a product isn't going to last long. A company that has one great innovation but never improves upon it in regular intervals will soon be surpassed by other companies. 

I wouldn't mind if other industries were a little like the pharmaceutical industry. When a new drug is put on the market the original manufacturer has sole domain over it for a number of years (10 I think). After that it becomes open to everyone to produce and the 'generics' (i.e. knock offs) flood the market. People then have the choice of paying for the higher priced original or paying less for a potentially lower quality/effective product. In order for the pharmaceutical company to remain in business they either need to improve their formula or come out with something even better.

So yes, Arcadia could have done a better job to prevent this from happening. Over the years the only VF-1's they have released are reissues of Hikaru or Roy valks without a single improvement over the previous releases. They have also released them at a pretty slow pace. They were overly cautious not to fall like Yamato and now others are taking advantage of it. I don't know if them doing the premium versions or finally releasing M&M all in the same year is a way to stop the bleeding before it gets out of hand but, if it is, I hope it's not too little too late.

Don't get me started on the pharmaceutical industry:lol:

32 minutes ago, Skypoet said:

 

Love the Chinese. this video makes me feel like resuming my study of Mandarin Chinese and leaving North Uhmerica for Shenzhen...

Haha. It's funny to me when people see them as copycats or producers of low quality when everything from the highest quality tech to pure garbage is made there. It all depends on what you want and the steps you take to get it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Big West should really rethink the pricing of their license fees.  Their legal stand off/stalemate/status quo with HG means any potential licensee's market is severely limited from the get go, forcing them to charge a premium for smaller production runs.  The high individual price of a licensee's product then makes cheaper KOs more attractive.   If these KOs turn Arcadia and Bandai off from the Macross license, then Big West will be left with a lucrative license but no takers.  Better to lower the license fees to more realistic levels (possibly shifting more revenue to a larger, but fair, percentage of the licensee's actual sales?), encourage more licensing, move more product and make KOs irrelevant.  Licensees should also maximize the widest distribution available (e.g. give HLJ, et al. more access to stock) rather than force artificial scarcity and demand (e.g. making products only available through web stores that can solely be accessed by Japan residents etc.). 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The licensee fee is probably a function of demand. Arcadia, Bandai, and who knows who else probably bid it up. As KOs come in to play they may be less willing to do that so the cost should drop organically. As for wider distribution, all these manufacturers are deathly scared of duds so they'd rather underestimate demand and then have to do a reissue a year later than flood the market with a stinker. That's a benefit to being a KO, someone else takes the risk of laying an egg and then you get to just produce the successful toys. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-05-31 at 10:40 AM, mark-1s said:

Found this on the 'Tube the other day and considering the thread topic, thought I'd share.

 

 

Thanks for sharing... it's very informative! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, if Arcadia diversified their business enough to have that cash to spend on the constant innovations needed to stay at the top of their game they could keep their premium products' prices in check and keep the KO/3P competition in their rear view mirror.  As it is, they seem to have an unfortunately narrow business ideology and that leaves them ripe for this kind of exploitation.

Arcadia needs to vastly expand their Macross product catalogue with less expensive yet desired items and cushion the part of the business that relies on the hard to make, hard to QA, and hard to sell high-end valks.

I mean look at Bandai.  They sell everything from super expensive toys to super cheap models to complete "garbage" quality nonsense.  It all adds up and allows the riskier products they design to stay competitive and innovative while not jeopardizing the jobs of the people making them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bandai also has several orders of magnitude more customers, licenses, and product lines, and several decades of existence to fall back on.  If one of their products doesn't sell, they have thousands of others that do to soften the blow.

Arcadia doesn't have those options, products, licenses, markets, or financial solvency.  Yamato's early years provided the backbone for what they were able to build up to, but their early Macross products filled a relative market vacuum that doesn't exist anymore.  Arcadia doesn't get that luxury, and if they don't build products that compete with Bandai's quality level, no one's going to buy them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I say awesome for 3P and KO Macross. The business model Arcadia have going (especially for the VF-1s - but thats been discussed enough) isn't sustainable, for them or us. It leads to resentment.

It should make them take notice and change how they do things - competition is good.

Plus if they're not total crap (which will have consumers look for alternatives again - either real or other KO), they're great for customizing. I have a few VFs I'd love to customize but the perceived rarity and initial price i got them for make me NOT want to touch them at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Sandman said:

Isn't that the point of Arcadia's creepy dolls. Don't they sell like crazy?

I wish I knew. I mean from what I can tell people were all over the Yamato VMF50 creepy doll line. Every time I see those things listed they seem really expensive.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

Bandai also has several orders of magnitude more customers, licenses, and product lines, and several decades of existence to fall back on.  If one of their products doesn't sell, they have thousands of others that do to soften the blow.

Arcadia doesn't have those options, products, licenses, markets, or financial solvency.  Yamato's early years provided the backbone for what they were able to build up to, but their early Macross products filled a relative market vacuum that doesn't exist anymore.  Arcadia doesn't get that luxury, and if they don't build products that compete with Bandai's quality level, no one's going to buy them.

You couldn't have re-emphasized my point better if you meant to.  They (Bandai) have all those customers because they have all those products because they have all those licenses because they have all those customers because... etc etc.  That's like business 101 right there.  It's like with BMW bought MINI and the first thing they did was started designing new chassis for the MINI brand.  MINI is now doing better than it ever has.

You can't grow a business and offer competitive prices on new and innovative products if you don't have but a few things to sell.  Unless you have absolutely no competition.  Fact is even with KO, Arcadia does have very good competition: Bandai.

Why spend $200+ on a 1/60 when a 1/100 HMR is a damn good toy, a much larger and diverse line, and is only $60-90?  Probably 8 out of 10 collectors would just stick to HMR.

But if suddenly 1/60 costs $90 again and they fill their line with more than just the same reissues over and over..  Like Kurisama said, what they're doing isn't sustainable.  Especially if Bandai comes out swinging with a larger VF-1.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, jenius said:

So what is a less expensive but desired item? 

Non-transforming anything from SDFM.  Fan racers.  Enemy fighters.  Lancers.  Character figures.  Little scale ARMD carriers and capital ships in scale with each other like the Eaglemoss Star Trek lineup.  If they had a lineup of products of those items in the $25-$50 range, they wouldn't be able to make them fast enough.

That Lancer they're doing is one step forward and 5 steps backward.  Same with the 1/60 Regult.  frakking stupid of Yamato to make that niche within a niche within a niche and charge out the nose for it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, ZorClone said:

Non-transforming anything from SDFM.  Fan racers.  Enemy fighters.  Lancers.  Character figures.  Little scale ARMD carriers and capital ships in scale with each other like the Eaglemoss Star Trek lineup.  If they had a lineup of products of those items in the $25-$50 range, they wouldn't be able to make them fast enough.

That Lancer they're doing is one step forward and 5 steps backward.  Same with the 1/60 Regult.  frakking stupid of Yamato to make that niche within a niche within a niche and charge out the nose for it.

I'd say the problem with the argument is the perception that 1) people who want non-transforming fighters (or other mechs) will buy models (which would be better than a $25 toy) and 2) Yamato tried the GnU Dou line and failed spectacularly. The lesson learned from Yamato's failure seems to be that there's a super premium niche for Macross toys and models and the model makers have the rest. Bandai seems to feel similarly since they've consistently gone very premium on the HMR line (like with the destroids) rather than trying to make a budget version to try to increase sales volumes. You see the same phenomenon with their DX pricing. It appears there is very little price elasticity of demand so manufacturers are much better off going for margin than volume. 

This could also be seen as an argument for why knock offs won't be too bad for the hobby. If most Macross collectors have the disposable funds to buy new releases and have been trained to stop waiting for Black Friday sales, then knock-offs will hurt secondary market sales which doesn't bother manufacturers very much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gn-U failed spectacularly because it was a terrible product line, but not because of the price point or the quality of the items.  The items they chose for the line were just one mistake after another.

Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, ZorClone said:

Non-transforming anything from SDFM.  Fan racers.  Enemy fighters.  Lancers.  Character figures.  Little scale ARMD carriers and capital ships in scale with each other like the Eaglemoss Star Trek lineup.  If they had a lineup of products of those items in the $25-$50 range, they wouldn't be able to make them fast enough.

That Lancer they're doing is one step forward and 5 steps backward.  Same with the 1/60 Regult.  frakking stupid of Yamato to make that niche within a niche within a niche and charge out the nose for it.

 

So how're they gonna fund making these $25-$50 items? 

Are you that sure that the japanese market will buy them in droves and stuff to make and sustain profits and revenues?

How much should they pay the laborers and factories for these?

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are two main successful business types. One is to make the cheapest (usually lowest quality) products possible and sell in large quantities for as much as possible. The other is to make the highest quality products that warrant the premiums you sell them for. IMO, the first style of companies are the bane of existence because they mostly make garbage and create markets using marketing. They create false demand by putting all their resources into marketing smoke. Arcadia is part of the latter group and in order to stay successful, they need to maintain and further push in that direction. Basically they need to make the best products that are undeniable and therefore, people will continue to buy. Some high end car companies started to make even more premium versions of their already top of the line cars but only after years of constant improvement in their regular products to prove they are top of the line. Arcadia is trying to do the same with their premium line but IMO, could backfire because their so called premium line is something that was done long before and much better so they are just diluting themselves. What they call premium is what people expect they should do normally. 

@Arcadia, my advise to you is to make the very best products you can, especially when we are talking about an old design you've been milking for 10 years. It's disgraceful to come to this day and call a few tampos that you should have included from the start, "premium". Every VF-1 you put out should be decked out with tampos, details, accessories, features, etc. that put the old Yamato versions to shame. Each release should make owners of the old versions chomp at the bits to get the new one because it's so much better. Instead, you have people who already own the old versions contemplate why they would want to spend twice as much and get something they don't even consider as good as what they already got years ago and in many cases, completely pass on the new one.

You are making products that are too easy and practically begging people to copy and beat you at your own game with. Make something truly outstanding and people will be too eager and busy trying to secure a preorder to pay attention to a copy of an inferior version of something made 10 years ago. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how really easy it is to copy Arcadia's VF-1 and stuff, but it'll be quite interesting how the rumored bootlegs will compare.

Even more interesting will be the "premium"-editions of these rumored bootlegs.

Guess one can only hope the materials used on these rumored bootlegs aren't toxic and stuff. 

It'll be kinda funny for these rumored bootlegs to actually have actual governmental approvals regarding product safety and stuff...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect most KOs of high end toys like this to be inside jobs in the sense that they are either produced by people who have access to the official factory or they could be produced in the same factories by the same people. Especially with a design that's been around for this long, I doubt it would be very hard at all. As for quality, it is yet to be seen but it seems as the people behind KOs are a new generation who grew up around the same time as all of us fans and could be fans of the product themselves. These people seem to understand what the market is looking for and quality is something that is more and more prevalent in Ko products. They are able to analyze the market and deliver quickly, making them very successful. Depending on their level of success, it could lead to them surpassing the official company and eventually doing their own R&D to develop new, original (although unofficial) products.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Slave IV said:

I suspect most KOs of high end toys like this to be inside jobs

Some fans speculated that Daban, TT Hongli, and other Chinese KO companies that started producing KO Gundam kits in the late 00s-early 10s were Chinese arms of Bandai itself, selling "KO" kits that were simply product that had failed to meet quality control standards to be a legit Bandai kit. They based this opinion on a sudden major jump in quality of the knock-off kits: They had gone from horribly imprecise copies with terrible fitment issues to being nearly as good as the real thing.

That is, of course, highly unlikely. It's way more likely that third parties simply got better at manufacturing. Better 3D scanning/modeling software, better molding technology, etc. Better tools to KO with.

Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, kajnrig said:

Some fans speculated that Daban, TT Hongli, and other Chinese KO companies that started producing KO Gundam kits in the late 00s-early 10s were Chinese arms of Bandai itself, selling "KO" kits that were simply product that had failed to meet quality control standards to be a legit Bandai kit. They based this opinion on a sudden major jump in quality of the knock-off kits: They had gone from horribly imprecise copies with terrible fitment issues to being nearly as good as the real thing.

That is, of course, highly unlikely. It's way more likely that third parties simply got better at manufacturing. Better 3D scanning/modeling software, better molding technology, etc. Better tools to KO with.

I think both are highly likely. When you go to another country for the sole purpose of exploiting the people there with low wages and other inhumane practices, it gives them a hell of an incentive to come up and do it in a way that shoves it back in your face. Modern technology makes it easier for them to do so. 

Edited by Slave IV
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Slave IV said:

I think both are highly likely. When you go to another country for the sole purpose of exploiting the people there for low wages, it gives them a hell of an incentive to come up and do it in a way that shoves it in your face.

I'd agree, but I'm fairly certain Bandai does all of its model-making in Japan. Could be wrong, though. I think it'd be easier to make that argument for something like their Robot Damashii line, which I believe IS made in China. Though the cheapness of RD kind of deters knock-offs in its own way...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Exploiting?

That's a heck of a bizarro reason for bootlegging.

Especially these days.

Aren't there any government and laws in those countries that are supposed to protect their people from being exploited and stuff?

International companies are required to follow their host countries' labor laws and stuff.

If people are being exploited, they should get their respective governments to investigate and get them to stop the exploitation.

Regardless, it will never be a valid reason for bootlegging.

Heck!

It'll instead prolly be a more valid reason for the price-hiking coz the host-countries are requiring alot of legal stuff (various laws and fees)  to supposedly protect the workers...

 

Edited by treatment
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can guarantee you companies don't go to China and then move to other countries like Vietnam because they want to help the people there. They go for the sole purpose of getting what they want for the lowest prices possible. Anyways, this is starting to go in circles so I'm not going to keep repeating  

All I know is I've never bought an unofficial Macross product, I work in a creative industry and take pride in my work but I never knock someone else's hustle. Others try to copy the work I do all the time and I don't care because I still do it better. If someone else can do it better, I'll give them my business, lol. If someone gives me good reason to buy an unofficial product by making a superior product for less, I'm in. Any other logic to me is just a self centered cop out. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh?

Business is never a charity.  Not really sure where you get that idea. 

As such,  haven't come across any bootleg toy that is actually superior and costs really significantly less than the official.

At least, ime.

If these supposedly upcoming 1/60v2 bootlegs will cost me $10 and are guaranteed safe and superior and includes expedited trackable shipping, then I'll most likely get one or two.

Just for curiosity's sake.

Fwiw, and I think I mentioned it once before, these upcoming bootlegs will be much more a competition to the scalpers that have been pricing the old yammies to ludicrous levels. 

I think Arcadia will still have enough base willing to afford their pricing. At least, during PO times...

 

 

 

 

Edited by treatment
Link to post
Share on other sites

just for comparison, the Bootleg or copy of the Metal build gundam (seven sword) usually cost 40% of the SRP of Bandai. The quality is almost the same (it has better joint but the clear piece is not that clear). Price of the the Original toy from our local scene drop a lil bit but not much. Japan pricing is still the same, Mandarake can still sell it at high price. The price of the legit one only changed when Bandai made a pseudo re-issue of Seven Sword (with the /G) with a slight price increase and afaik, Bandai has sold out its Pre-order slot.

 

I think most of you are correct that these KO or Bootleg will not really hurt arcadia since we all know, we all jumped on getting VF-1J Miria and will do the same for VF-1J Max.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, treatment said:

Huh?

Business is never a charity.  Not really sure where you get that idea. 

As such,  haven't come across any bootleg toy that is actually superior and costs really significantly less than the official.

At least, ime.

If these supposedly upcoming 1/60v2 bootlegs will cost me $10 and are guaranteed safe and superior and includes expedited trackable shipping, then I'll most likely get one or two.

Just for curiosity's sake.

Fwiw, and I think I mentioned it once before, these upcoming bootlegs will be much more a competition to the scalpers that have been pricing the old yammies to ludicrous levels. 

I think Arcadia will still have enough base willing to afford their pricing. At least, during PO times...

 

 

 

 

Exactly! Business is about money and the rest is just smoke. That's why I think it's funny when people bring up fair, theft and other things. No business gives a crap about anything other than getting the cheapest labor they can when they outsource manufacturing to other countries (which is what Arcadia does). If you go to a country that doesn't care about your IP, it's all fair game to me. 

The only Ko/bootleg experience I have is with Transformers and those are typically 50% less and comparable or better than the officials. 

These KO VF1s should be out soon so will see how it goes. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Slave IV said:

Exactly! Business is about money and the rest is just smoke. That's why I think it's funny when people bring up fair, theft and other things. No business gives a crap about anything other than getting the cheapest labor they can when they outsource manufacturing to other countries (which is what Arcadia does). If you go to a country that doesn't care about your IP, it's all fair game to me. 

The only Ko/bootleg experience I have is with Transformers and those are typically 50% less and comparable or better than the officials. 

These KO VF1s should be out soon so will see how it goes. 

I agree. Its about sharing an idea and making something even better.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Slave IV said:

Exactly! Business is about money and the rest is just smoke. That's why I think it's funny when people bring up fair, theft and other things. No business gives a crap about anything other than getting the cheapest labor they can when they outsource manufacturing to other countries (which is what Arcadia does). If you go to a country that doesn't care about your IP, it's all fair game to me. 

The only Ko/bootleg experience I have is with Transformers and those are typically 50% less and comparable or better than the officials. 

These KO VF1s should be out soon so will see how it goes. 

Not trying to change your mind, because you're pretty set in how you view the issue (which is fine, we don't agree).

But for my point of view, it's not about what's fair - it's a matter of integrity, and apparent lack thereof. The folks producing these bootlegged/stolen items aren't doing it to better the conditions of any exploited class of people, they're doing it for a quick profit. In many ways it's way more unscrupulous than the businesses you're willing to hurt or lecture about going with cheap labor or not being innovative enough.

Arcadia or Bandia could produce their items in a market with more expensive labor, but what do you think that will do to the price of these items? It's going to drive them up, as you say they're for profit entities, so we consumers get 'relatively' inexpensive Valkyries made in China. Or we could get really expensive Valkyries made in the United States (or wherever).

With that logic - what business-related comeuppance would you see fit for the folks producing goods off of the stolen IP?

33 minutes ago, monishb said:

I agree. Its about sharing an idea and making something even better.

No, this isn't what's happening at all. Not even a little bit. These people aren't making anything better or differently at all - nor is it 'sharing'. 

-b.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Slave IV said:

Exactly! Business is about money and the rest is just smoke. That's why I think it's funny when people bring up fair, theft and other things. No business gives a crap about anything other than getting the cheapest labor they can when they outsource manufacturing to other countries (which is what Arcadia does). If you go to a country that doesn't care about your IP, it's all fair game to me. 

The only Ko/bootleg experience I have is with Transformers and those are typically 50% less and comparable or better than the officials. 

These KO VF1s should be out soon so will see how it goes. 

Well, not really all smoke at all, and it's kinda weird that you're only focusing on the cheapest labor factor and that you somehow think that's enough of a valid reason for bootlegging.

Companies have to comply with both their home-country's and all the host-countries' laws and regulations. These are all international trade/labor/environmental/financial agreements and stuff.  Regardless of which countries they are doing or outsourcing their business with.

Bootlegging is not a "fair game" and it is totally incorrect to say the host-country does not care about IPs.  All countries are expected to care and uphold IPs, per international trade agreements. 

Only the bootlegging people do not care about IPs, laws, trade-agreements and stuff. 

They only care about stealing money. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good conversation! I enjoyed it and I'm pretty much done for now. I'll just reiterate one last time that I think our entire for profit model we are all slaves to is unscrupulous so if people want to argue what is more imoral than another, go for it but it's all the same to me. Some people will go out of their way to make their business as consciously moral as possible and I commend them but we are all feeding the same monster in the end. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...