Board-game price-fixing

A board-game publisher has begun engaging in price fixing, a practice newly liberalized in the US in the wake of a June Supreme Court decision. Yehuda sez,

In June, 2007, the U.S. Supreme court struck down a major 97 year old law on price fixing, which prohibits manufacturers from coercing retailers on how to set their prices.

The new ruling essentially wrote that the old law was too rigid, and each instance of price fixing would now be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if it harmed or helped the consumer.

This went relatively un-noticed for a while.

But last week, Mayfair Games, US publisher of the popular board game Settlers of Catan as well as other games, sent letters to all of its retailers demanding that they limit any discounts on their games to 20% off the suggested retail price.

This is purportedly to boost struggling brick-and-mortar stores against the spread of deep-discounting online stores which have been stealing their business.

Lots of discussion on Board Game Geek about this, split about evenly down the middle. Half the people say that deep discounters are good for the consumer, because people can buy more games and people without access to local stores can buy games. Half the people say that deep discounting is bad for the consumer, because local game stores server many more people than online stores do, and discounting games leads to their undervaluing.


(Thanks, Yehuda!)