Friday, 10 May 2013

Opinion: Spirit of Hordak

Bear with me as I have a bit of a rant. I'm not allowing comments for this post as I don't want to turn it into a debate - you can do that elsewhere. I just want to get a few things off my chest.

Recently a Masters of the Universe figure appeared for sale on - Spirit of Hordak. The figure had never been shown before and there was no notification of the sale. After around 40 minutes the figure was taken off sale again, with the purchase screen replaced with the message 'You're too late. Hordak is back in hiding.'

A number of people were a little annoyed about this. I was one of them.

Why? Well...

Mattel essentially forced me to become a Completest of the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline when they insisted that if not enough people bought the subscription the line would end. 'Cherry picking' (i.e. buying just the figures you want) is incredibly hard these days. Mattel charge more for toys bought out of the subscription, plus they're reducing the production runs on some figures so that they're only available if you bought the sub.

If that's the stance, then fine, I want the line to continue as long as possible and if a subscription-only model is the way to ensure it's longevity  then I'll accept that. It was fans who pushed for the sub in the first place since going online every single month was getting a bit annoying.

However, if Mattel are going to insist on the sub then they need to ensure that all subscribers, in some way or another, have the opportunity to get hold of everything Masters that's not in the sub.

Last summer, when Mattel were pushing sales of the sub for 2013, they announced 'Early Access', i.e. all subscribers would be able to buy all the extra items that were on sale outside of the sub before everyone else (it was specifically stated 'all' items).

Early Access has so far been pretty much pointless. All the figures available for Early Access have simply been rereleases of figures. Figures that most people will already own. Strobo was the only 'new' figure to appear in Early Access, but Mattel made very few of those available so a lot of people missed out.

Spirit of Hordak has not been included in any Early Access sale.

I'm willing to accept that the point of having Spirit of Hordak go on sale in the way he was, was to give the line loads of promotion online. In which case a cryptic 'heads up' to subscribers with a time to be online to find out about this secret item would have been nice. There would likely have been the same amount of promotion online afterwards, but loads before the sale too as people speculated about what was going to happen.

I might even accept him going online at a random time with no notice to anyone, if a statement had been released immediately afterwards stating something along the lines of 'don't worry, Hordak will be back at suchandsuch a date'. Of course there has been nothing along these lines.

I buy these toys for enjoyment purposes; to have fun with the toy, not the chasing it down. It's not fun having to check the website every hour just in case a figure has been put on sale. That's as bad as the 'old days' of having to keep visiting toy shops to see if things were available. One of the big 'pluses' that Mattel stated about the online sales was that fans would no longer have to waste their time in this manner.

I'm not angry about this. I'm a little annoyed, but I'm more disappointed that something stupid has once again happened with this toyline.