Collectible Maker Says Sony Ordered PlayStation Merch Destroyed

A video game-themed collectible storefront claims Sony ordered it to destroy all of its licensed PlayStation-themed merchandise, chief among them being statues based on The Last Of Us Part II, God of War, and Bloodborne.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong-based collectible storefront Gaming Heads posted an open letter on its official Twitter account and on the home page of its website alleging that Sony had suddenly requested the destruction of its PlayStation collectibles, which Gaming Heads claims Sony had already received royalty payments for. In the open letter, which states that Sony offered no reasoning for the decision, Gaming Heads name-dropped PlayStation’s commercial partnerships manager, including her email address and encouraging customers to reach out to her about their “(now canceled) order, payments, refunds.”

“We have worked with Sony PlayStation for more than 10 years to bring you some of the best video game collectibles and have been trying hard to get them to change their mind,” Gaming Heads wrote. “They know you have paid your hard-earned money for items that are ready to ship to you or that are in production but unfortunately, after doing all that we can, they have told us not to ship your orders to you – ‘our business priorities remain unchanged’ (a recent direct quote from Sony).”

Kotaku reached out to Sony and Gaming Heads for comment.Despite Gaming Heads’ assertion that “this is Sony PlayStation’s decision, not ours,” some customers replied to the company’s post in anger at them, saying they’re the ones being scummy for trying to route refund inquiries to Sony, the licensor, instead of handling it themselves as the storefront they had purchased the collectibles from.

“When I preordered the Joel and Ellie statue, that was a transaction with Gaming Heads. Not Sony,” Trevor Adams replied on Twitter. “You need to refund the money we all gave Gaming Heads to produce these products. Don’t tell us to go to your licensor to get it. What you’re doing is illegal.”

“Telling customers to contact Sony for refunds and giving out Judy’s email address seems very shady and unprofessional,” Twitter user NextGenPlayer wrote. “Customers transacted with your company, not the licensor Sony. This reeks of fishyness and isn’t the whole story here.”

“Customers made business with Gaming Heads, not with Sony. So you guys have to refund. It’s as easy as that,” Thomas Mueller wrote under Gaming Heads’ open letter Facebook post.

“Refund YOUR customers!! They have nothing to do with Sony. They bought a product from you. Not them. How dare you make your problem the customers’ problem!!” Melanie Willems wrote.

Gaming Heads responded to many comments of this nature on Twitter and Facebook, asking customers to reach out to Sony about refunds.

Updated: 10/02/23, 10:15 a.m. ET: Article was updated to remove the name of a Sony employee at the company’s request.

Pokémon Van Gogh Museum Collaboration Merch Raided By Scalpers

I woke up today hoping to buy a cute plush of Pikachu wearing an outfit inspired by world-renowned artist Vincent Van Gogh, but scalpers got to it the second it went up on the Pokémon Center website. I’m frustrated, and that’s the general sentiment a lot of Pokémon fans are feeling right now, as scalpers and resellers have poached the limited-time collaboration and left no scraps for the average fan.

If you’re just tuning into this whole mess, Pokémon and the Van Gogh Museum are collaborating right now. The Amsterdam museum has an exhibit on display featuring art of Pikachu and friends made to look like some of the artist’s signature works. When the on-site exhibit opened, the Van Gogh Museum store was flooded with huge crowds, several of whom were reportedly bragging about reselling the merchandise online to those who weren’t lucky enough to be there. Rather than relying on scalpers, many folks who can’t visit the museum were looking forward to the official online sales of merchandise launching today, September 29, on the Pokémon Center, as a way of buying a little piece of the exhibit for themselves.

Unfortunately, however, any such hopes have now been dashed, as mere moments after the landing page went live, several products were already sold out.

As you can imagine, this has left a lot of Pokémon fans with disappointment and scalpers with fat wallets, as these commemorative pieces are already showing up on auctioning sites like eBay. At a glance, the Pikachu Van Gogh trading card bundled with each purchase is selling for around $200+ on most listings. Some other products, such as the Pikachu plush, are starting to show up on the site as well, often bundled with the card.

Several eBay listings show the Pokemon x Van Gogh merch selling for hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / eBay / Kotaku

If you scroll through social media posts on sites like Twitter, you’ll see plenty of folks who either couldn’t access the Pokémon Center website when the sale went live, or were just too late to the sale before scalpers ravaged each listing. It’s disappointing, but hardly unexpected given how prevalent scalpers have become in the Pokémon community.

The Pokémon Company responds after Van Gogh Museum merch sells out

Following the fiasco, The Pokémon Company released a statement on its own social channels apologizing to fans disappointed by the whole mess. It says it plans to provide more ways to receive the promo Pikachu card, but doesn’t mention if it has plans to restock any of the merchandise.

The full statement reads as follows:

We apologize to all the fans eagerly awaiting our Pokémon Center x Van Gogh Museum release today.

Due to overwhelming demand, all our products from this collection have sold out. We understand this is disappointing to many who were looking to our official email and social media channels for guidance on how and when to purchase. We are actively working on ways to provide more “Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat” promo cards for fans shopping at Pokémon Center in the future. Details will be released at a later date.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Even outside the Van Gogh Museum collab, limited-edition Pokémon merch is often reselling for ludicrous prices, such as a recent series of Santa Cruz skateboards featuring various Pokémon selling for over $20k.

The Van Gogh Museum collaboration will last until January 7, so fingers crossed we see restocks at the Pokémon Center between now and then. I just wanted the cute little painter Pikachu to sit on my shelf, for fuck’s sake.

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