Seeing a game store with an “out of business” sign is one of the saddest sights in the gaming world. The solution to this problem is so simple, but so many gamers do not see where the root of the problem is. With so many games available for purchase online, it isn’t too hard to see that online business has the potential to kill small businesses. While I cannot say that all game stores are capable of getting in every game that you may want, they should at least be given the chance.
Most game stores thrive on the business of those around them, but if everyone is exclusively getting their games online, then the store suffers. When you go to visit that store and find it out of business or struggling and you ask “why”, the answer is probably among online purchases that may have been a few bucks cheaper. Is that to say that one should never buy games from online sources? No. On occasion, I will get an Amazon gift card. I can’t use it at a local game store, so in that situation, its possible that I would order something offline. Personally, I usually only buy games or items that are more difficult for stores to get, but never something that I’ve already requested a store to order for me.
Not only are local game stores important to keep the spirits of the gaming community thriving, but they provide important social aspects as well. I’ve met so many great people over the last couple of years through these stores that I would not have met otherwise. The same applies to being introduced to games that I may not have heard about. Local game stores provide a key meeting point for seasoned gamers as well as newbies to convene, share knowledge, and add to libraries by the in-person recommendations of the other shoppers!
The owners and employees of these stores have bills to pay, families to provide for, and a passion for gaming that they want to spread to the community. Supporting them also supports tabletop gaming as a whole, and I don’t think that anyone would want to see this wonderful hobby sink. So, if you frequently buy games online, consider giving your local game stores a chance at ordering in the games you need. They provide so much more than games, and only customers can keep them alive!