Industry Interview #034: Douglas Bogart (Co-Founder of Limited Run Games)
Do we have a treat for you today! We had the opportunity to bombard Douglas Bogart, Co-Founder of Limited Run Games, with questions that YOU sent in. What did he have to say? What may have been teased? Read on below!
Want to learn more about Limited Run Games? Then check out our Spotlight video here.
Doug, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you tell us about yourself? My name is Douglas Bogart, born in Atlanta, now living in North Carolina. I love Dragon Ball and video games. The Dreamcast is my favorite console.
What was the first console and game you remember playing? The first console I remember playing was NES with my cousin Michelle and her showing me how to play Super Mario Bros.
What is your fondest childhood video game memory? Playing Phantasy Star Online with Josh (co-founder) as kids.
Learning about Limited Run Games
For those who don't know, can you describe how Limited Run Games formed and what its mission is? Limited Run Games is a publishing offshoot of Mighty Rabbit Studios that was formed in October 2015 with the goal of preserving games and helping developers.
What sets you apart from your competitors? Our deal terms, our commitment to our fans, our line-up and that we are true collectors. We are our own fans, we buy rare games, display them, etc. Just about everyone here at Limited Run is a true collector of something.
How do you feel about the rise of competition in this market? Do you welcome it? Feel we are reaching over-saturation? Somewhere in the middle?
I definitely feel like we've reached over-saturation. Thankfully the competition doesn't affect us much. We haven't missed out on any games we've really wanted, we still have the best terms, best audience, and the best line-up.
After nearly a year of having adopted the open preorder model for regular Switch releases, do you feel you made the right decision? Or are there any thoughts to going back to the first come, first serve model?
We feel like the preorder system is definitely the way to go. For example, Celeste is our highest selling game of all time right now and there is no way we could have predicted the unit size.
Would you ever consider doing an open preorder model for the collector's editions? If not, how come? We can't for collector's editions since the costs are too much, plus the lead times are longer. If we have it up for preorder it could add months to the production time vs having a lot of the CE stuff already manufactured and ready. One of our big focuses for 2019 is to decrease lead and shipping times, having CE's as preorder would just hurt us. The trick is to find a better balance of CE vs standard.
Any plans to adopt an open preorder model for Vita and/or PS4 titles? We can't for Vita due to the cart situation. We do open preorder for PS4 when we feel like it makes sense, like Celeste. But for the most part PS4 will stay limited as the audience has shifted more to Switch.
If a game was coming to the PS4 or Vita, but also on the Switch at a future date, would you disclose that in advance? In a lot of cases, we don't actually have Switch versions signed. The Switch version will usually depend on how well the PS4 version does.
Would you ever add a time limit/waitlist option for your checkout process, similar to how Amazon handles Lightning Deals during Black Friday? The problem with the time limit system like Ticketmaster has is that it holds games hostage. If a bunch of people have the game in their cart and change their mind, the people waiting for a chance might just give up and not come back to the store.
How are you going to combat bots and scalpers as they appear to be on the rise? Right now we put up fake listings that trick the bots, we also have ways to go through our order list and identify bots. I can't give too much away or they will figure it out!
Would you ever consider a loyalty club to existing customers or some sort of membership to help ensure your customers could get a CE without issue? We tried announcing a loyalty club a long time ago and met a lot of backlash. We also saw a few other companies try this and meet the same backlash. I think it's more fair to customers to not offer one. It keeps everything on a more even playing field. We have other loyalty things in place and coming soon that won't cost our customers anything.
Is it possible to turn your tickets in for the new points system? Not at this time, we are actually having trouble with the new points system as it can't handle our volume.
How come LRG doesn't wait until the games are in hand (near the end of production) to offer them for sale? It's tougher now because of our space issue, but it's been a lot easier to get games in when we actually need them for shipping. We are starting to order some games ahead of time though to fix our shipping times.
How do you deal with the constant harassment regarding your business practices, considering you are very upfront about product updates, customer orders, etc.? We try our best to acknowledge legitimate complaints, as far as actual harassment we have a zero tolerance rule in place and will ban anyone who threatens an employee of the company. But there is a huge difference between harassment and being upset. If someone is upset I want to fix it, but if they are telling me to kill myself or that I should be killed we will block/ban that person.
How are the games you ultimately release physically chosen? Can you walk us through the process? We tend to go after games we are really excited for. It used to be solely games we reached out for, but now a lot of developers reach out to us.
Is it more common for you to reach out to developers or vice versa? It's definitely 50/50 now.
What's the most challenging part in the process of making a limited release for the Switch? Getting the game.
Can you explain how your partnership with Best Buy formed? Are there plans to expand to additional retailers? Best Buy actually reached out to me on Twitter asking if we'd be interested in doing a partnership with them. As an ex-Best Buy employee, it's pretty neat! We have some games we are shopping around to other retailers that would be retail exclusive.
Any plans to sell some of the original covers for Switch releases similar to how you are offering the Best Buy exclusive covers? Not at this time! But not a bad idea.
Any plans to sell the steel books separately for a set price similar to how they were available during your New Year's Day Sales (except not as a blind box)? We typically don't have enough extras to sell them by themselves as some of them are more desirable than others.
Would you consider bringing digital only titles from the Wii Shop, PS3, or Wii U physically?
We are looking into PS3 and Wii U, nothing for Wii at this time though!
With the PS Vita on its way out, will this mean an increased focus on more Switch games? We are actually going to start doing more PS3 games to make up for Vita.
What would LRG do if the next generation of consoles did not have even an option for inserting physical media into the systems? Thankfully we've started doing digital games and doing physical versions on older consoles, so we should be good for another 5-10 years.
Would LRG consider trying to release a physical of a non-traditional game/software like KORG Gadget as an example? Not sure!
Is there any chance of seeing a partnership with Microsoft to release Xbox One titles? We are doing our best to make this happen.
Fun & Random
Would you publish/share your final sold figures for your Switch titles? We typically announce those numbers every so often, it's not really a secret.
Have there been any titles that you've gone after, but couldn't license? There have definitely been a few games here and there where the developer or publisher wasn't interested or wanted to go full retail.
When will you join the Nintendo Switch Physical Game Collector's FB group here? We will tell the team and get some of us in there!
Any updates to the long rumored Wii U game? Should have some information soon!
A while back, Josh had alluded to a special game (correct me if I'm wrong) for customer's who purchased EVERY single one of your releases of a specific console? Was this true and any tease as to what it could be? It's true, it won't be EVERY single release but most, we aren't going to scrutinize people if they are missing a few here and there. No clues right now!
Can you comment on how much it would be to produce 1,000 cartridges from Nintendo? Or is there a minimum that needs to be met? Unfortunately, we are under NDA so we can't go into detail about this. 1,000 is definitely not the minimum though.
What have been your top 5 favorite releases since LRG was formed? Senran Kagura Bon Appetit, Outlast 1/2, West of Loathing, Phantom Breaker, and Celeste. I love a pretty big chunk of our releases so it's a bit hard to pick...
What's been your favorite Switch release so far? Favorite Switch? Probably the Outlast games. I wanted to do them the minute LRG formed for PS4. Another favorite is Celeste, and West of Loathing. West of Loathing was a big surprise for me personally because Josh was all about the game and I really just didn't get the hype, then I played it and couldn't put it down!
If you could release ANY Switch digital game, which would it be? Now that we have done Celeste, I'd say Night in the Woods!
Of the approximate 25 releases so far for the Switch, which one surprised you the most in terms of most/least sales, customer reaction, etc.? Celeste. I knew it would do well but man it did really, really well.
If you could be any Dragonball character for one day, who would it be? Vegeta!
Finally, we would get a lot of angry comments, haha, if we didn't ask this: Are you able to tease an upcoming Switch game. We got something in March that is the bomb!
Follow Limited Run Games
Want to learn more about Limited Run Games? Then check out our Spotlight video here.