Discussion Pokémon TCG, the Coronavirus Pandemic, and Future Events

Card Slinger J

So I'm sure you're all aware that stay-at-home orders have been issued for all Local Game Stores (LGSs) due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. Unfortunately the LGS as we know it won't survive. You can't be shutdown for two months or even a year when your business is already weak and somehow expect to stay in business. As for the implications this will have on the Pokémon TCG it's going to be pretty severe. Players will be forced to play PTCGO, there will no longer be any Pre-Release events for new Standard sets, no more Pokémon League, Nationals, Regionals, Worlds, etc. as the Secondary Market for the TCG will completely collapse. The original Base Set, Jungle, and Fossil cards from Wizards of the Coast will probably still be worth more money especially 1st Edition Base Set Charizard.

I was hoping to get back into the Pokémon TCG after being on a long hiatus from being pre-occupied with Magic: the Gathering and Cardfight!! Vanguard. With all the LGSs in my vicinity being closed perhaps indefinitely due to the global pandemic there doesn't seem to be as much hope that they'll ever re-open their doors again after the quarantine ends. The risk of owning and operating these types of businesses to provide play space for players especially for VGC events which I was planning on getting back into as well with Pokémon Shield on the Nintendo Switch doesn't appear to be worth the reward. One of the LGSs I go to for Pokémon TCG has been having trouble firing Standard tournaments for so long that everyone else seems to be stuck playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch instead.

Another problem I've been noticing lately is that LGSs are already having difficulty competing against online retailers like Amazon where they don't have overhead. In other words Local Game Stores are still paying rent since they signed a contract with their landlord and that rent is still their overhead. Even If they laid off every employee you didn't buy anymore stuff since you'd be at a HUGE disadvantage. Even If you went online only because you're still gonna have to pay that rent on your store which is totally useless right now. It's sad since we've all grew up in Local Game Stores (LGS's). We could see 50-80% of all Local Game Stores go out of business permanently by May 10th and we don't even know If it could be longer. I just don't see how Paper TCG's / CCG's can survive without the LGS.

This truly is the end of an era.


The wise fool?
I think that is an overly pessimistic view... or is it overly optimistic, because weren't those businesses already dying before the pandemic? I know comic shops were, and those often double as gaming/hobby shops. As many of these businesses are themselves hobbies, or someone trying to turn a hobby into a living, I think others will take a stab at it sooner or later. No, that does nothing to help all those business - and the people behind them - finished off by the pandemic.

While TPC could just sit and wait, I am hoping this will be a wake-up call for them, and how they need to evolve their own business model. Long story short, I think they need to be looking for alternate venues for Organized Play, even if some of those are always going to come with a cost.

Card Slinger J


ICv2 said:
The two stimulus bills passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), passed late last week, have provisions that can help retailers and other small geek culture businesses stay afloat through the coming months. The best summary we've seen of all the programs for small business from both bills is on this page from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce site, and the linked pages from it. Here are some of the key elements:

The Paycheck Protection Program provides for Small Business Administration loans through banks, without a personal guarantee or collateral, for small businesses to fund key expenses. The portions of the loans that are used for payroll, mortgage, rent, and utilities in the eight weeks following origination of the loan will be forgiven.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available not only to small businesses, but to individuals operating as independent contractors, and can be approved based solely on credit score. Loans under $200,000 do not require a personal guarantee. Emergency grants of $10,000 can be forgiven if spent on paid leave, maintaining payroll, increased costs due to supply chain disruption, mortgage or lease payments or repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.

Some businesses may be eligible for both the Paycheck Protection Program and the EIDLs.

The CARES act provides for tax credits of up to 50% of wages up to $10,000 paid to employees between March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020, for businesses that lose revenues, suspend operations, or have higher costs due to coronavirus.

Businesses can defer paying payroll tax obligations and instead pay them over the next two years (does not apply to wages supported by a Paycheck Protection loan forgiveness).

Businesses are required to provide paid sick and family leave for coronavirus-related absences, but can receive reimbursement for expenses beyond those normally offered via tax credits or direct government payments.

This is only a partial list; check out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce page linked above, or for another list of government small business programs and helpful hints, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund page linked here.

Also it turns out my local area isn't eligible for the Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Bill that my Government passed last Friday. Why you ask? Because it doesn't meet the 500,000 resident threshold since the area is too small. Here's the kicker, government officials and lawmakers won't be able to fix the problem until the quarantine ends which could end up lasting for months or even up to a year when the stimulus bill is already in effect 3 weeks from now. With the bill's effects only lasting for 8 weeks after it goes into effect we may still be under quarantine by the time it expires without a cure or vaccine for COVID-19. The global economy has already entered recession with people spending less due to the quarantine though there were some upsides to it such as reducing air pollution for restoring the planet's ozone layer. Animals are returning to their natural habitats where man built properties over them If not for a short while.
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