Future Shop Being Consolidated Under the Best Buy Brand

News

Some of you may have already heard, but some sad news broke over the weekend.

If you read my weekly Canadian Video Game Deals posts, you might have noticed that often, Future Shop and Best Buy would have many of the same deals. Some weeks were even the same practically verbatim. For those unaware, this is because– or at least likely due in some part– to the fact that both companies have been under the same ownership since March 2001, when the American-based Best Buy bought the Canadian Future Shop chain for $580 million Canadian.

Future Shop continued to be run as a subsidiary of Best Buy Canada, who would curiously not only go on to open their own big box retail stores (and later smaller “mobile” outlets) across the country, but even do so in very close proximity to their Canadian-born cousins– sometimes with each store operating in the same block, the same parking lot, or even the same building (as seen above)!

That said, in some ways this felt almost inevitable. Nonetheless, it came as a surprise to many that Best Buy Canada abruptly shut down all 131 of their Future Shop stores on March 28th, 2015. Of those, 65 are to be reopened following rebranding as Best Buy on April 4th, while some 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time employees will be left without work as the company offers affected employees severance and outplacement support assistance.

The end result of this $200 million Canadian reorganization, which will also go towards adding the sales of large appliances to its stores and improving e-commerce operations, should see the Future Shops which were already near Best Buy stores closed, while those on their own are rebranded. The Future Shop website has an FAQ posted to address customer concerns, with the Best Buy store locator being positioned to help customers identify which stores are available near them. For what it’s worth, I’ve not found any Future Shop locations listed there that aren’t reopening, leading me to suspect that stores which are closed will no longer be listed.

Sources: The Globe and Mail, via Consumerist

For further reading, CBC News has an article on how this, along with the closure of Target, reflects the changing face of retail in Canada.

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Editorial

Well, I can say this much: Updating the weekly deals will be a little bit easier from now on, at least, but I never would have wanted this, nor is this the way I’d have wanted it. Speaking of which, it appears any sales which caught your eye in Future Shop’s flyer will be honored by Best Buy.

To be quite frank, if only one store/brand could survive, I’d rather it had been Future Shop. That one, to me, feels more like “Canada,” and it wouldn’t really be any different from the way GameStop in the U.S. continues to operate its stores as EB Games here. Perhaps Best Buy learned from that experience, as GameStop attempted to slowly push their brand onto the EB Games stores in operation here before Canadian customers pushed back. By making this change so abruptly, there’s really no time or ability to push back; within one week, the deed will have been done.

On a more personal note, I do have some fond memories of Future Shop. During my period of working at PetSmart, I would often venture over to the Future Shop next door as my schedule allowed. The parking lot even played host to a big Halo 2 launch event, complete with guacamole Doritos, a giant Master Chief statue you could win, and a chance to get a picture with the Chief himself… oh, and to play the game, of course. I’m not sure if anyone ever won that statue, as it would go on to reside inside the store for some time to come.

That location was also where we got a new television when our old one busted. It was bad timing, as high definition still wasn’t a thing quite yet, and so that new style of television was out of our price range. We did manage to get a good one, along with a copy of Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube. It’s also where we picked up our Hot Rod Red Nintendo DS with Mario Kart DS when that game launched, and I think I nabbed a copy of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 there, too.

Sadly, that location would prove indicative of the problem Best Buy seemed to invite upon itself, as the lot behind this location did indeed soon come to house a Best Buy store as well.

Other fun launch events included the Nintendo 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, both at the Yonge-Dundas location. Well, sort of; the Skyward Sword early play was at the Eaton Centre (which has its own Best Buy), while the early purchases were made across the intersection at the Future Shop location.

Before all of that, though, was probably my favorite Future Shop memory: When Nadia and I were out to hunt down a special launch deal for Super Mario Sunshine, one where you would get a free copy of Luigi’s Mansion and a tote bag with it. You can read all about how that went down here.

If you’re interested in further shots of Future Shop nostalgia, you can check out this entry on their blog, for however long it lasts. It was made in 2012 to celebrate their 30th anniversary, which is all the more sad now, when you look back at it. The photo albums on their Facebook page also provide a nice trip down memory lane, with not only a look at items and sales they’ve had over the years, but some other fun events and stuff, too.

amiibo_rosalinaWith the recent announcement that Target Canada would be ceasing operations in Canada, there was one question on the minds of Nintendo fans: Will they still be carrying the Target-exclusive Rosalina (and Luma) amiibo figure?

The answer, simply, is no. No, they will not.

However, their loss is effectively a gain for everyone else. In response to my query, a statement from Nintendo of Canada reads “The Rosalina amiibo will be available soon in limited quantities at the following retailers in Canada: Best Buy, Future Shop, Wal-Mart, EB Games, Toys ‘R’ Us and Amazon.ca. Please see your local retailer for more information on timing and availability.”

As of this writing, however, only Amazon.ca has any listing on their website for the figure of the Cosmic Travelers, and even those only appear to be from scal– er, resellers who have marked up the price considerably, rather than from Amazon themselves.

Still, now fans don’t have to rely on the small spread of Target stores across Canada to get Rosalina, though it sounds like the quantity will still be rather limited. But then, that’s nothing new with these figures, though at least the good and the bad seem to balance each other out.

Worth noting is that Rosalina and Luma are scheduled for a 2/1 release date in the U.S., but with the change in plans here, it’s difficult to say whether it will be available here on the same day. As per Nintendo’s statement, we’ll just have to check with the retailers to find out what we can. If you learn anything, feel free to drop me a tip!

new3dssneakpeekFollowing the recent Nintendo Direct which revealed the New Nintendo 3DS XL and a release date for The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Nintendo of Canada has announced that from January 22nd to February 8th, 2015, fans can get a sneak peek at both the system and the game at preview events scheduled before the February 13th release of both.

At selected Future Shop and Best Buy locations across Canada, you’ll not only be able to check out the new game and system, but Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate as well. “There will be sign-up sheets on site, and time slots will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.”

Those who attend will also be able to get a Majora’s Mask keychain (while supplies last), and be eligible to enter to win a $50 gift card from Future Shop or Best Buy accordingly. Details for the latter will be available at the on-site events.

Following is the list of locations and times:

Ontario:

January 22: Best Buy, 6075 Mavis Rd, Mississauga, 4 – 7 pm

January 23: Best Buy, 5000 Highway 7, Markham, 4 – 7 pm

January 24: Best Buy, 65 Dundas St W, Toronto, 12 – 3 pm

January 25: Best Buy, 2500 Winston Park, Oakville, 12 – 3 pm

February 6: Future Shop, 2210 Bank St, Ottawa, 4 – 7 pm

February 7: Best Buy, 770 Gardiners Rd, Kingston, 12 – 3 pm

February 8: Best Buy, 480 Progress Ave, Scarborough, 12 – 3 pm

Quebec:

January 29: Future Shop, 460 Rue Ste-Catherine, Montreal, 4 – 7 pm

January 30: Best Buy, 8871 De L’Acadie Blvd, Montreal 4 – 7 pm

January 31: Future Shop, 1540 Boul Du Corbusier, Laval, 12 – 3 pm

February 1: Future Shop, 7400 Boul des Roseraies, Anjou, 12 – 3pm

February 5: Future Shop, 25 Chemin de la Savane, Gatineau, 4 – 7 pm

British Columbia:

January 22: Future Shop, 5300 No 3 Rd, Richmond, 4 – 7 pm

January 23: Best Buy, 2220 Cambie St, Vancouver, 4 – 7 pm

January 24: Best Buy, 4805 Kingsway, Burnaby, 12 – 3 pm

January 25: Best Buy, 10025 King George Blvd, Surrey, 12 – 3 pm

Alberta:

January 29: Best Buy, 9931 – 19th Ave NW, Edmonton, 4 – 7 pm

January 30: Future Shop, 10304 109th St, Edmonton, 4 – 7 pm

January 31: Best Buy, 17539 Stony Plain Rd NW, Edmonton, 12 – 3 pm

February 1: Future Shop, 9560 170th St, Edmonton, 12 – 3 pm

February 5: Best Buy, 350 Stewart Green SW, Calgary, 4 – 7pm

February 6: Best Buy, 3221 Sunridge Way NE, Calgary, 4 – 7 pm

February 7: Best Buy, 8180 11th St SE, Calgary, 12 – 3 pm

February 8: Best Buy, 5111 Northland Dr NW, Calgary, 12 – 3 pm

If a location convenient for you is not listed, Nintendo says they will have the New Nintendo 3DS XL available to play at select locations in the near future. Stay tuned to this page and check back as more locations are added.

In something of a surprise announcement today, Nintendo of Canada has revealed three new designs for the Nintendo 3DS XL (four if you count the one that’s in two colors) as they go into the holiday season.

Red-Super-Smash-Bros.-Edition-Nintendo-3DS-XLBlue-Super-Smash-Bros.-Edition-Nintendo-3DS-XL

First up is the one-two punch of the Super Smash Bros. Edition Nintendo 3DS XL. In advance and honor of the October 3rd release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, these special edition versions of the Nintendo 3DS XL hardware are going on sale September 19th with a suggested retail price of $199.99 each. You won’t find them just anywhere, though; EB Games has a lock on the red version, whereas the blue can be found at either Future Shop or Best Buy.

Unlike the European version, however, which is scheduled to be released on October 3rd, a copy of the game will not be included in the Canadian/North American release, be it pre-installed or physical.

Persona-Q-Edition-Nintendo-3DS-XL

Next up is the Persona Q Edition Nintendo 3DS XL, which is presumably coming out on November 25th alongside the game which inspired it, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. Per the press release, “The design evokes the essence of Persona Q with the iconic Grimoire styling on the front – the tome used by the attendants of the Velvet Room and containing information on the many Personas – and the new style of character art represented on the back.”

This EB Games exclusive will also retail for $199.99, and you guessed it: It doesn’t come with a copy of its game, either.

Last, but certainly not least, is this beauty:

NES-Edition-Nintendo-3DS-XL

The instant I saw this one, a flurry of curses rushed through my mind with the knowledge that though I already own a Nintendo 3DS XL, this was the one I wanted to own, yet probably won’t be able to afford. “Oh my god” was how my mouth translated it to those around me.

One other thing instantly rushed into my mind upon seeing this as well:

gbaspnesclassics

Several years ago, Nintendo released a limited edition version of the Game Boy Advance SP that was similarly inspired by the NES. Naturally, it was the one everyone wanted, myself included. Unfortunately, unlike the limited edition platinum GameCube, this one was gone and gone quick, thus eluding me (and probably many others). I had hoped that the Nintendo DS would feature a similar scheme, but no luck there. Who would have imagined we would see it again on the Nintendo 3DS XL– and with a box designed to look like the NES itself, no less?

This thing of beauty goes on sale October 10th for $199.99, and unlike the others, it will be available at retailers everywhere.

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With all of that said, it’s only right to note that Nintendo of Japan recently announced the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL. These iterations of the system upgrade the hardware in a number of ways, including an analog nub on the right side of the system (think of the C-stick from the GameCube controller), additional shoulder buttons, a built-in NFC reader for amiibo (versus the external one for the current hardware), Micro SD card support, and a sensor which adjusts the “sweet spot” of the 3D visuals depending on where you look at. In addition, the regular-sized version will feature interchangeable faceplates, similar to those seen on some cell phones.

There is a little more power under the hood as well, though only one game so far has been said to make any use of it in such a way as to be exclusive to the New model: A port of the Wii title, Xenoblade Chronicles, whose protagonist, Shulk, was recently revealed as a character in the new Super Smash Bros. titles.

Scheduled for an October 11th release in Japan, no date has been given for markets outside of the country, save for it being sometime in 2015. Oh, and before you think of importing: Yes, it’s region-locked.

The timing of these announcements and releases is at best questionable, as word of the New Nintendo 3DS has quickly spread over the past week or so. So whether what is being offered in the new model with its unspecified release has more value to you than the aesthetic appeal (and whether upgrading is viable, should the time come) is a call you can only make for yourself.

mldreamteampreorderdecals

Nintendo of Canada has revealed that if you pre-order Mario & Luigi: Dream Team at Best Buy (in store only), Future Shop (in store only), or Amazon.ca (online, of course), you’ll receive Mario & Luigi-themed decals for your Nintendo 3DS or, according to their Facebook page, your Nintendo 3DS XL. These are available while supplies last, and you receive them when the purchase is paid off in full.

More participating stores are said to be added here, so keep an eye out if none of the above three do anything for you. As for the game, it’s slated for an August 11th release. In the meantime, check back here soon as I’ll have impressions of this game and more of Nintendo’s 2013 releases from E3!

Image courtesy of The Consumerist

Image courtesy of The Consumerist

While this news may not be directly video game-related, it no doubt relates to where many of you purchase your games, and so here we are.

To the surprise of many customers and employees alike, Best Buy and Future Shop (which is owned by Best Buy) have suddenly shut down several of their stores across Canada with little or no warning. This is apparently “the first phase of a long-term transformational strategy to optimize the company’s retail footprint across the country,” according to a statement made on Best Buy Canada’s website.

(more…)

Fireemblem_bonusLGIf you’re interested in purchasing Fire Emblem Awakening for the Nintendo 3DS upon its release on February 4th, you may wish to put your money down for a pre-order– particularly if you like the character art for the game, or are just a fan of Fire Emblem memorabilia.

Purchasing the game at EBGames, Future Shop, or Best Buy will allow you to receive a special limited-edition character art book for– what else? —Fire Emblem Awakening. In addition, Future Shop and Best Buy are each carrying an exclusive Nintendo 3DS console bundle with a special Fire Emblem-decorated version of the hardware and the game pre-installed for $199.99, and that’s eligible for the deal as well.

Just make sure you arrive early– supplies are limited, and go on a first come, first serve basis, so if you want to take part, don’t miss out!

i_35134After reading all this, you’re undoubtedly wondering where you can get a Wii U Deluxe Set of your very own, including a copy of Nintendo Land, which I haven’t reviewed yet (spoiler: I like it. I’ll elaborate on why later).

Well, thanks to a tip from Nintendo of Canada’s Facebook page, both Best Buy and Future Shop stores across Canada are guaranteeing that the Wii U Deluxe Set will be available in their stores between January 18th and January 24th. And if they don’t have it in stock, then you get a $25 gift card (in the form of a coupon code) when you go to pick up the console as it becomes available.

Not too shabby, as that can help shave down the cost of a number of games or accessories (Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is only $15 more), or perhaps even a Nintendo eShop card, effectively getting you a game or two for free!