SlotForum banner

1 - 20 of 79 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious if anyone else wonders this, and whether there is any basis?

It seems that Scalextric was not prepared for the December holiday buying with the Digital setups here in the US. Many stores are out of the sets they were allloted, and the chips for converting existing cars are nowhere to be found. IMO, this is not good planning or business practice.

The Sport World system, initially promised for this time of year has been put off until sometime next year.

I'm getting ready to expand my home track from 85' to 100'+, and am not sure which way to go. I was going to buy a Digital set, but am concerned that the Digital system will be made outdated by the Sport World. But if Sport World is delayed again... what's its real future? Plus, I don't really just wantt o race the two stock Digital cars...

Anyone in the know about what's going on with Scalextric and the future of the Digital and Sprot World systems?

TIA
 

·
Scott Brownlee
Joined
·
4,275 Posts
Although you would think a toy company would have 25 December pretty fixed in its mind the truth is they showed Digital and Sport World at the toys fairs in January and it was a bit of surprise - i.e. they had not been planning it for too long before.

They have only really had since then to do development, source supply and start production. Then there is the small matter of shipping from China.

Sure, they will lose money (but think how much Sony will lose by not having Gran Turismo 4 ready?) but I wouldn't worry about the system's long term viability.
I suspect they have been trying like mad to get sets, cars and chips out ASAP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
Our local lads are sold out of all Digital sets and say they cannot get replenished this side of Christmas.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,400 Posts
I've heard that the sets are shifting nicely but I can't help but think this has been a typical British botch job - insufficient supply before Christmas and pee-poor availability of required extras after Christmas is going to lose them momentum and up into the loft those sets go.

I guess things like tankers wedged in the Suez canal don't help matters one bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
QUOTE the truth is they showed Digital and Sport World at the toys fairs in January and it was a bit of surprise - i.e. they had not been planning it for too long before.

You don't get to the stage where Hornby were at the Toy Fair without at least 9-6 months development, and that would be really pushing it. I am sure they had been considering digital for quite a long time even before that. Just my opinion, as a designer.

I suspect they have just encountered more development problems than expected. After all it is a completely new technology for them.

As far as the delay with Sport World is concerned I think a change in strategy is behind that delay. Possibly they have either decided to make it digital compatable, which would make so much more sense. Or they decided launching two incompatable products at the same time was just slightly too confusing for Joe Public.

Just my thoughts,

JS
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,083 Posts
The toy industry in general and Hornby/Scalextric in particular has a long history of missing marketing opportunities. Every Christmas some manufacturer fails to judge demand correctly and doesn't get enough product to the shops in time.

Scalextric has already dropped a major clanger this year by producing the Maserati/Vanwall in special Goodwood packaging and then only providing 200 for sale at the actual event. The rest of them arrived about a month later!

At the Hornby/NSCC weekend in October 2002 Simon Kohler, Marketing Manager, dropped sufficient hints about this year's plans for me to believe that they were already working on the Digital concept over 2 years ago.

I suspect that the lack of Digital sets available at the moment is partly production scheduling cock-up and partly lack of confidence in its sales potential. There are already 3 conflicting systems on the market with Ninco to follow next year and I will certainly not be buying one until I have assessed all of them and made a decision as to which is the Betamax and which the VHS. I will also bear in mind that Dixons have just stopped selling video recorders and possibly wait for the slot-car equivalent of DVD!

Brian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
Interesting point the DVD equivalent of slotcar.

Scalextric have made their car backward compatible, Digital cars will run on no digital tracks, at this point in time i am not aware of any other manufacture that has done this or even considered it.

For example SCX digital only digital car will run on digital track.

So i do not see any slotcar make becoming like betamax, we the people that race have the control, manufactures make new pieces every year to please us and ultimately make money, if they did not the sport in itself would soon become old.

With the question about supply and demand, the one point we all seem to be over looking it that these item are not made on home soil, there are produced in china, this requires the items to be shipped over, they then have to be cleared from custom then to margate i believe to then be distributed to the uk retailers. There are so many parties involved that this could and never will be a smooth process.

so i think time and patients is required from us all, as we have all been the person taking flak for just doing our job even if it not what the customer want to hear.

Hope this helps

ScalextricRacer
 

·
Brian Ferguson
Joined
·
3,652 Posts
QUOTE So i do not see any slotcar make becoming like betamax, we the people that race have the control, manufactures make new pieces every year to please us and ultimately make money, if they did not the sport in itself would soon become old.

Careful! We, the people, do not have any more control than we did with video cassette technology! Beta was the best format, but lost out to superior (and smarter) marketing to VHS. Rather than suggest we somehow have more influence with slot cars than we did with video tape formats, I would suggest that we need to keep a careful eye on the whole scene. It's always possible that Scaley will become the Beta of digital slots. If history repeats itself..... watch out....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,634 Posts
smaller cassetes, longer playing times, better picture quality, amongst other things, if I remember correctly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
522 Posts
Interesting discussion. I get the impression scalextric was playing catch up with Carrera's digital racing system. Carrera sales have been strong (judging from ebay) and they have provided a whole field of classic nascars and F1. Lane changes are also for sale. On the down side, only the aftermarket currently offers a computer-based timing and scoring system for carrera (SCRM for Pro-X)

Having had time to play with carrera, they did several things right which scalextric does differntly. For one, the dip switches are the only viable method of programming cars. The scalextric system requires that you stop racing and remove all the cars frm the track. Cars are individually coded and unlike carrera, cannot happen in parallel. Everyone waits in line. This means that if someone else comes to the clubhouse, everyone needs to stop, take their car off the track and wait for newbie to program his car. This will be a huge stumbling block for scaly digital. Also, this will not work for race formats used by many clubs.

Additionally, they made the decision to use the digital sensor for lap counting. The carrera system has used a (much maligned) "holes in guide blade", that the aftermarket has already taken advantage of using standard optical sensors. This shows that existing club software can be adpated to work with carrera digital. Unless scalextric provides an API for interfacing with their black box, SSD is a "closed" system.

Also, while scalextric was first to market a scoring computer, it is integrated with power delivery to track which means if there is a short, the whole system shuts down and race results are lost. It appears the carrera scoring system is separate from the power delivery.

The carrera suystem is not without its faults, namely the lack of dynamic braking. But scaly only provides a R2 90* lane change. Both these problems will be remedied.

If anything, scalectric has shown that they are the VHS of the slot kingdom and likely will survive with an inferior product but superior marketing and brand recognition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
911 Posts
scalextric will win the christmas sales as newcomers to the hobby buying for there kids and stuff, have never heard of SCX of Carrera, therfore will all buy scalextric. if u go into any mainstream toyseller, toy r us for example, u will see the only scx, nico, or carrera stuff they have is a few cars, if that. the only boxed set ive seen in any shops around me (Plymouth) have been scaley
 

·
Jim Moyes
Joined
·
5,002 Posts
QUOTE (darainbow @ 10 Dec 2004, 01:54)If anything, scalectric has shown that they are the VHS of the slot kingdom and likely will survive with an inferior product but superior marketing and brand recognition.
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's certainly what they've done for their first 45 years.

Recently, though, their product has improved dramatically. Not unconnected, I think, with the fact that they have employed "one of us", an enthusiast, to help steer the ship. Something which, I always felt, helped put the Spanish ahead.

Mr.M
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,634 Posts
I think there has definately been a digital arms race between the major manufacturers to get digital out, and has probably meant that products were released before they were ready.

As darainbow pointed out, Scalextric digital has some drawbacks for club racing, it has been designed for home racing. I am not sure that the scalextric/SCX method of programing is the problem that darainbow thinks - in the clubs I have been too, an analogue 'race' is preceded by no one being on the track, then all the people who are going to race assembling, letting the computer race manager know who they are etc, and placing cars on the track. As in 1:1 racing, people do NOT join in a race at lap 3...

It will change free practice seesions a bit, although those sessions are often broken up into sessions of only a few minutes, where the race manager calls 'all change' to let other people have a go on the track...

Scalextric were (and probably still are) planning a Digital Pro system, with a removeable pod and full computer communication and software, This is most likely to solve a lot of the club issues.

SCX have released the most COMPLETE digital system, with a fantastically versatile range of track accesesories. None of us seem to like that one though!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
522 Posts
QUOTE (astro @ 10 Dec 2004, 12:16)It will change free practice seesions a bit, although those sessions are often broken up into sessions of only a few minutes, where the race manager calls 'all change' to let other people have a go on the track...
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, the biggest impact will be on practice sessions and informal racing. Instead of everyone unpluggging their controller, picking up their car and moving to the next lane, everyone will have to coordinate their actions and program the cars as a batch.

This is probably also why scaly does not offer a ghost car, becuae it would need to be programmed up front with the other cars. With carrera, you decide you want a ghost car, you can take a car, flip the switches and put it on the track. No one has to stop driving.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,400 Posts
QUOTE With the question about supply and demand, the one point we all seem to be over looking it that these item are not made on home soil, there are produced in china, this requires the items to be shipped over, they then have to be cleared from custom then to margate i believe to then be distributed to the uk retailers. There are so many parties involved that this could and never will be a smooth process.

Um? How long have they been dealing with China? I mean, these delays shouldn't have come as a big surprise to 'em.


Off at a wee tangent, whatever cost advantages there may be in outsourcing to China it certainly seems to restrict a manufacturers flexibility. Fly give the impression that they bang out lots of repaints in any given year where Scaley don't seem so prolific.

Back on track, I can sympathise with the fear and lack of confidence in the sales potential of digital gubbins. I think that very understandable; there was/is the potential to lose sales at this time of year by confusing the punters and putting them off. The shareholders won't be very forgiving of that if they see their precious numbers for market share or turnover slip.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
447 Posts
Anyone interested in a dealers point of view here ? There are two issues to address, firstly the difference and popularity between the systems.

In the MRE shop the Scalextric brand is well known and is the one people ask for in the shop. We also have an SCX demo set and can show customers the difference between them. In a lot of cases people change their mind and choose the SCX system when they see some of the differences. The major factor is the space and cost of the changeovers, SCX allowing cars to swap lanes in either direction within the length of a single straight while Scalextric needs a 90* curve plus a half straight to do a single swap. The cost of the Scalextric changovers at £20 each is putting customers off when they realise the amount of space and cost compared to the SCX system, combined with more bits to potentially go wrong. Another deciding factor is the difference between the lap counters and displays, the SCX version getting preferential reaction. It will be more interesting (???) when the Carrera and Ninco sets are available. Please note I am not batting for any side here, at MRE we are main dealers for all brands and I am just relating the experiences we are having in the Xmas sales.

There is another potentially more important issue, with regards to compatability and survival in the marketplace. The analogy between Beta and VHS is only one of a long list of marketing and product competition which has seen a single survivor. What amazes me is that we are dealing with a hobby product here, and a lot of the manufacturers are also involved in model railways. We are also main dealers for model railways at MRE, and have experience of Hornby, Bachmann, Farish, Dapol, Fleishmann, Marklin, etc etc, including digital equipment. When Digital first hit the model railway scene a few years ago there was a sinilar situation with many different systems being developed by different manufacturers, and little or no compatability. It took the efforts of the NMRA to devise a set of standards to which their members (the buying public !) would be guided towards as giving the best results. Such is the buying power of a large enthusiast organisation that all manufacturers had to comply with the suggested standards or no longer exist in the railway digital marketplace. Now we have a very happy situation with many manufacturers making digital equipment which is all compatable. The winner is the consumer, who gets a choice, more competitive prices, and the assurance that his digital equipment will work perfectly at his club or his friends house.

In the UK we already have two systems in the shops, Carrera will arrive in the spring, and as usual Ninco are not saying anything except that they intend to produce a digital system. That makes 4 separate costly developments, with the arrogance that each is the best in the manufacturers opinion. Only one will survive, as proved by Beta/VHS, cassette/8track, etc etc. How many heads would you bang together to make them see sense ?

Ho hum, another day another point of view.........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
QUOTE (MRE @ 12 Dec 2004, 12:37)It took the efforts of the NMRA to devise a set of standards to which their members (the buying public !) would be guided towards as giving the best results. Such is the buying power of a large enthusiast organisation that all manufacturers had to comply with the suggested standards or no longer exist in the railway digital marketplace. Now we have a very happy situation with many manufacturers making digital equipment which is all compatable. The winner is the consumer, who gets a choice, more competitive prices, and the assurance that his digital equipment will work perfectly at his club or his friends house.

Is there a comparable consumer organization for slot car enthusiasts? Several folks here are working toward developing a standard digtal spec; wouldn't it make sense to form a standards organization based upon that work?

{rb}
 

·
Brian Ferguson
Joined
·
3,652 Posts
Gary, as a dealer, do you see the bulk of digital sales going to informed enthusiasts or to more casual consumers? I bring that up as it may play a key role in whether any sort of standards will arise and in what sort of timeframe. Let's remember that the bulk of model railroading sales go to hobbyists and not casual buyers (at least that is the case here). If, as I suspect, slot car sales are the reverse of that, then manufacturers may not be so concerned about an enthusiast-driven, NMRA-style organization in the slot world and may just fight it out amongst themselves.

If NMRA had been involved in the Beta/VHS war, I think Beta would have won hands down. But we all know it didn't work that way. I would hate to see the future of digital slots take a similar course, but are we a large enough part of the market to actually lead the manufacturers down the road of standardization?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
Can someone answer me the following question...

Why does there have to be only one to survive.


I am, if noone has guest a die hard Scalextric fan, have been for 15 years now.

But let put the cars on the table for the current system

Scalextric (UK)

All brands of cars can be converted to run on this track,it can also support 6 cars people complain that the change overs are on the bends (but when scalextric made the crossover on the bends SCX were soon to follow the idea), a minor problem if you ask me and one that scalextric can change over night if the need be. .I have also heard people complain about the programing of car, ie all cars have to be off the track to program a car.

SCX (Scalextric Spain)

Only scx digital cars will run on this track, supports 6 cars no conversion kits for other brands of car. again programing of cars has to be done with all the other cars of the track.

Carrera

only carrera digital cars will run on this track and it car only support 4 cars

Each system has item pro and cons, but even i believe that all systems should survive.

I also think that if we are to help the sport that people need to be objective rather than trying to pull manufactures apart.

Posting out opinions on here will help everyone.

Hope this helps

ScalextricRacer
 
1 - 20 of 79 Posts
Top