Throughout 2021, all TCGs have had their fair share of delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but with scattered region releases happening more often in the Digimon TCG, will these types of delays eventually ruin the TCG?
One of the first delays of the Digimon Card Game was seen with the first three starter decks, which were pushed back to mid-February after an initial January 29th release date. This meant that they arrived after the release of the first booster set, which wasn’t ideal for those who wanted to jump straight into the competitive side of the brand new TCG, as the first three starter decks came with some early key cards that are still being used today. One of the next delays that hit the game was with the reprints of Special Booster 1.0 and 1.5, which was the first time North America was hit the hardest. This was followed by delays of Starter Decks 4 to 6, the Premium Pack and the Great Legend booster. With that set, it was Latin America who were forced to wait the longest, with many fans of the game blaming the Coqui Distribution company for not fulfilling store pre-order requests, despite people paying months in advance. Back in August, Bandai announced that the Battle of Omni booster would be pushed back by two weeks in Europe, while the rest of the world would still receive theirs on July 30th.
The latest delays of the Digimon TCG have come with Starter Decks 7 Gallantmon and Starter Deck 8 UlforceVeedramon, which were originally slated for a September 30th release but were pushed back to October 15th for Europe and Latin America. Although those living in Oceania had to wait until October 29th, it was North America that pulled the short straw, unfortunately, with the release pushed way back to December.
Although every set seems to have been met with delays for certain regions this year, it is the Double Diamond booster that has seen the biggest gap during its staggered release. Although the set was released in parts of Europe and Latin America on October 15th, North America had to wait until November 26th to get their hands on the booster. This has caused a lot of upset in the community, and I can’t say that I blame them.
Choosing to stagger releases may be Bandai’s way of coping with the pressures of releasing everywhere on the same day, opposed to having to postpone later on down the line when issues arise. The problem with this is that some people, depending on where they live, will know in advance that they will have to watch others enjoy the pre-release and official release, while having to wait weeks for themselves. This takes the fun out of things and means they will miss the initial hype of a set, unless they are willing to pay jacked-up prices or expensive delivery charges.
Some people buy booster boxes with the intent of keeping what they want and selling off the rest to keep their hobby somewhat self-sustainable. As the market is always at its highest during the pre-release and first weeks of a set’s launch, those receiving their products weeks later will be at a disadvantage and will struggle to make some of their money back so that it can be put back into their collection.
Bandai said it was shipping problems that delayed the Great Legend booster, while other products were pushed back because of freight logistics, without going into any real detail. So how could Bandai fix this issue? Well, the obvious answer would be to adjust their distribution strategy and ensure they manufacture enough products in the first place, but as Bandai has stated in many of their delay posts, they are a result of restrictions brought on by the pandemic. It’s no secret that the pandemic has put a lot of pressure on the freight and shipping industry in the last year and a half, which has no doubt reduced the allocated shipping space and timings for Bandai products. Although Bandai hasn’t gone into great detail about where their delay issues lie, if they haven’t been able to find an efficient way to release products on time after a year, it could be a problem that can’t be fixed while the pressures of the pandemic continue. Let’s face it, Bandai won’t be taking great pleasure from apologising for every delayed set or having to stagger releases so that some regions have to wait longer than others. Upsetting fans doesn’t only make them look bad but is also bad for business as it could lead to players cancelling their pre-orders or leaving the TCG entirely. The question is, as the rest of the world continues to adapt to the pandemic, will Bandai be able to stick to their original release dates, or will we have to accept the uncertainty if we want to continue playing and collecting the Digimon Card Game?
If you would like to learn more about the sets and products coming up for the Digimon TCG, check out one of our articles below –
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
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