Online tabletop retail major CoolStuffInc is quitting the board game and RPG markets in favour of more profitable CCGs such as Magic, Pokemon and Lorcana.
US-based CSI has been a stalwart of the modern board games industry since it was founded in 2002, making a name for itself as a price competitor to Amazon in online board game selling.
But customers have been questioning the company’s commitment to board game sales since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with many items frequently out of stock on its website.
Speculation had been rising over the past two years that CSI was shifting its business model towards collectible card games such as Magic and the Pokemon TCG, which offer better profit margins than board games or RPGs.
BoardGameWire reported in May, for example, that board game giant Asmodee saw “modest” 2.1% growth in the tabletop market in the 2022/23 financial year – but that it largely came from distributing trading card games including Pokemon, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, with board games sales declining by 4% in that period amid what it called a “hesitant market environment”.
CSI, which runs six retail and live gaming CoolStuffGames stores across its home state of Florida, diversified into tabletop games shipping and fulfillment in 2016 with the launch of Quartermaster Logistics.
That side of the business was boosted earlier this year with the creation of global sales and distribution service Quartermaster Direct under James Takenana and Erica Sanders, who it brought in amid the closure of their previous employer Funagain Logistics.
The company is headed up by CEO Jerry Sunkin, who created the business in a friend’s house in 2002 before launching its first retail store a year later.
A statement provided to BoardGameWire by CSI marketing manager Evan Erwin said,
“CoolStuffInc.com, a beloved figure in the tabletop gaming community since its inception in 2002, has made the strategic decision to phase out its board game and RPG offerings and emphasize its very successful collectible card game (CCG) offerings including Magic: the Gathering, Pokemon, and Lorcana.
“As the tabletop gaming industry evolved into a thriving market, attracting interest from major
retailers and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, CoolStuffInc.com took a proactive step by
establishing Quartermaster Logistics, a sister company dedicated to connecting board games
and role-playing games (RPGs) with passionate gamers all over the world.
“Additionally, we have expanded our reach through Quartermaster Logistics and the recently
established Quartermaster Direct. These entities will continue to facilitate connections between
game publishers and retailers, ensuring that unique games find their way into the hands of
eager players, even in cases where traditional distribution channels may not be available.
“As we embark on this exciting new chapter, CoolStuffInc.com reaffirms its dedication to our
shared love of gaming, now with a heightened focus on CCGs. We look forward to continuing to
serve the gaming community with enthusiasm and optimism.”