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Arkzein
03-12-2007, 09:48
Must admit I'm only returning again after a break from the hobby (When last I was around it was before the annual report and the discussion on a director dumping a lot of shares was going on) and I haven't been following the fortunes of the company at all, but did have to sit up and take note of the news. Didn't find any mention that this was on the cards when searching here.

http://www.advfn.com/p.php?pid=nmona&cb=1196674443&article=23571500&symbol=L%5EGAW

Guess I have some reading to do, catch up on the last six months. Left me wondering if we will see a change in direction though, I imagine it also signals the interim results aren't going to be up to much.

The annoucement from GW.


APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE

The Board of Games Workshop Group PLC (‘Games Workshop’ or the ‘Company’) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Wells to the Board as Chief Executive of the Company with immediate effect.

Mark joined Games Workshop in 2000 from Boots plc and has been Head of Sales at the Company since 2006.

Tom Kirby, who has been Chairman and Chief Executive of Games Workshop since 2000, will continue as Chairman of the Company.

Tom Kirby said: ‘Mark has the vision, ability and passion to lead Games Workshop in its next phase of growth. He not only understands Games Workshop’s business model and its special culture and spirit, but he is a strong advocate of the values that are so important to the Company.

‘Mark and I share the same vision for Games Workshop, and we have ambitious plans for growth and value creation. I trust Mark absolutely to do the right thing for the Company, our shareholders and our staff.’

No additional information should be disclosed under paragraph 9.6.13 of the Listing Rules of the UK Listing Authority.

Gaebriel
03-12-2007, 10:14
For the uninitiated - what's the difference between a CEO and Chairman? Or put another way - what kind of influence does a Chairman have?

fsssh
03-12-2007, 10:25
Mark joined Games Workshop in 2000 from Boots plc and has been Head of Sales at the Company since 2006.

perhaps the space marine shaped bottle of shower gel is finally coming to a GW near you? ;)

I trust Mark absolutely to do the right thing for the Company, our shareholders and our staff.’

hmmm, thats making the customers, newbs and vets, happy so they buy shed loads more stuff right?

Wyatt
03-12-2007, 10:42
Rofl. I just got a vision in my head of a Space Wolf shaking his hair and going "Because I'm worth it".

I always thought Chairman and CEO were the same thing. But there shouldn't be much change if what he said about their visions being the same was true.

Osbad
03-12-2007, 10:52
Ah! So the "gamer" steps aside in favour of the "businessman" with regard to operational decisions.

The right move in my view, but probably a tad too late!

It'll be interesting to see how the markets take this news. On the close on Friday the SP was down to 198, so the news that this change was in the air may have been the reason for that decline - markets always get jittery when there's change at the top!

I like the corporate doublespeak here:


Mark has the vision, ability and passion to lead Games Workshop in its next phase of growth.

I take that to read: "Mark has the vision, ability and passion to lead Games Workshop back into a phase of growth which will be better than the absolute caning we've taken from our customers every year for the last five!"

Guys, call a spade a spade!

More floundering? Or a step in the right direction? Time will tell. I predict a modest profit for 2008 due to better than anticipated Apoc sales this Christmas and strong Ork sales in the New Year being larger than the Exceptional Losses caused by the redundancies and store closures. Whether 2008/09 is a return to a decline now no longer relies on Kirby kicking butt. Whether Mark Wells can shake the ship up and revitalise the incestuous and redundant corporate culture at Lenton which is what is needed if 5th edition is to do anything other than be a final nail in the coffin remains to be seen!


Rofl. I just got a vision in my head of a Space Wolf shaking his hair and going "Because I'm worth it".

I always thought Chairman and CEO were the same thing. But there shouldn't be much change if what he said about their visions being the same was true.

No one really challenged Kirby's "vision" (although personally I never really thought he had much of a vision beyond a large pay cheque with lots of zeros at the end of it). What was the problem was implimentation. If the new guy has the ability to discern poop from shinola and identify the right course, then all to the good. What is needed beyond that is the guts to stick with it and fight the "fat and lazy" corporate culture which has historically promoted the mediocre and rejected the challenging at Lenton. Whether the new guy has the cahones that are required to bring in such a "root and branch" corporate change remains to be seen.

Tetchy
03-12-2007, 11:05
So. Was he pushed or did he jump? My guess is he jumped before he got pushed. I suspect the knives have been out for him for a year or so (ever since the dividend was cancelled in January), but that he has managed to brazen it out until he could get someone he trusted in post who could convince the shareholders not to disappear.

OrlyggJafnakol
03-12-2007, 11:23
Change is as good as a rest, or so they say. Whether this news will result in any changes is another thing. There was no mention in a change of buisness model. No mention of anything really. Here is hoping for an increase in profitability which will result in decent coverage appearing in WD and some new ideas appearing in the miniature ranges!

Tetchy
03-12-2007, 11:34
I'm thinking the promotion of the guy in charge of Sales in 2006 was a good thing! Isn't he the guy responsible for the good things happening to US Retail at the moment? Someone who can reap that kind of cultural change within established GW mindsets can only be positive.

Hlokk
03-12-2007, 11:38
Personally Im chuffed at the news theres a new CEO. Kirby, while he was good in the beginning, has made a complete hash of things over the past 4-5 years. Under him, GW's business model seemed to consist of three things:

1: adopt a "lalala, Im not listening" approach to the customer base
2: Raise prices in the vain hope that people will blindly buy in the same quantities
3: Blame falling Lord of the Rings sales for everything, including the disappearance of the squats and JFK's assassination.

Im really hoping this new guy realises a few things, firstly that a big shakeup is needed in the company, secondly, that GW need to do something to address the pocket money element of the market beyond paintbrushes and paints (seriously, what do GW do thats cool for a fiver?). And thirdly, I hope he realises that market penetration is no substitute for real innovation in terms of models and games rules.

@Tetchey: My guess is he jumped. A person in HR at Lenton once told me he had a substancial 7 figure golden parachute which would have been a big blow to the company.

Brother Loki
03-12-2007, 11:46
Hmm. The share price is under 2 quid now as well.

Patriarch
03-12-2007, 12:13
For the uninitiated - what's the difference between a CEO and Chairman? Or put another way - what kind of influence does a Chairman have?

Think of the CEO as the General, and the chairman as the Commissar.

The CEO (or Managing Director) is the top man in charge of day-to-day running of the company. He is an employee (the top employee) who gets to order all the other employees around, hence an "executive" director.

The chairman runs the board of directors, including the executives and non-executives. The board sets general company policies, and oversees the decisions of the CEO.

The chairman's job is to represent the interests of the shareholders, and keep an eye on what the CEO and GW are doing with the shareholders' money. Generally he also gets to oversee Director's pay package/bonus, see the company is following best practice, and usually provides lots of useful contacts in outside industry.

It is regarded as best practice in the UK (and possibly the US as well) that these two roles should not be carried out by the same person, particularly for a PLC. Otherwise the CEO gets to be his own "policeman".

Chaos and Evil
03-12-2007, 12:29
If Mr. Kirby has changed from being CEO to Chairman, and this new chap is stepping up as CEO... who was the previous Chairman, and where is his corpse?

EvC
03-12-2007, 12:46
So uhh is this basically a promotion for Kirby then?

Karnage
03-12-2007, 12:49
If Mr. Kirby has changed from being CEO to Chairman, and this new chap is stepping up as CEO... who was the previous Chairman, and where is his corpse?

He was both, now he is just one. :D

Easy E
03-12-2007, 13:03
I'm glad Mark will do the right thing for the "Company, shareholders, and staff."

What about the consumer? Will he do anything right for us?

dancingmonkey
03-12-2007, 13:03
this could be really good news...
Perhaps GW will rise phoenix like from the ashes, and I fall back in love with the company that has stolen 13 years of my life..
pity he ain't gone completely, but its a start... bet he didn't take a pay cut :(

DonkeyMan
03-12-2007, 13:28
Personally I doubt anything will change, but then again I really don't care that much anymore.

With PP and others around, I honestly wouldn't care if GW would go bankrupt.

Sad in a way, as I still like the Fantasy and 40K Universes.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 13:33
Think of the CEO as the General, and the chairman as the Commissar.

The CEO (or Managing Director) is the top man in charge of day-to-day running of the company. He is an employee (the top employee) who gets to order all the other employees around, hence an "executive" director.

The chairman runs the board of directors, including the executives and non-executives. The board sets general company policies, and oversees the decisions of the CEO.

The chairman's job is to represent the interests of the shareholders, and keep an eye on what the CEO and GW are doing with the shareholders' money. Generally he also gets to oversee Director's pay package/bonus, see the company is following best practice, and usually provides lots of useful contacts in outside industry.

It is regarded as best practice in the UK (and possibly the US as well) that these two roles should not be carried out by the same person, particularly for a PLC. Otherwise the CEO gets to be his own "policeman".


Given that expect to see bussiness as usual from GW. The new guy will be shot if he tries to alter from the existing plan. Bussinessmen that BoD are not, and GW's coperate culture is totally oppossed to change, and designed to be resistant to change.

OrlyggJafnakol
03-12-2007, 14:43
Adapt or die to paraphrase Darwin. The world is changing and GW have to change to keep up with it. Judgement will have to be reserved to 6 months from now, even 12 months, to see if the new guy can improve things. IMO the quality of the miniatures has been improving of late, as has WD (though it is miles away from the glory days of a few years ago).

Tetchy
03-12-2007, 14:53
Given that expect to see bussiness as usual from GW. The new guy will be shot if he tries to alter from the existing plan.

You mean that you call their existing mismatch of ballsups a "plan"? Nah.. in the past GW have never had anything remotely resembling a "plan" to operate. At least not one that lasted longer than 3 months before being replaced with a new Pinky and the Brain-style scheme for world domination!

Brandir
03-12-2007, 14:53
Tom stepped down as CEO in 1998 due to a 'lack of skill set' and was replaced by a professional CEO. In 2000 Tom returned as this professional CEO basically had no idea how to run a gaming company and failed to appreciate that gamers cannot be treated like 'normal retail customers'.

Bear in mind that a 'professional' taking over a company from a 'hobbyist' does not always work, as GW have found out 1998 - 2000. Another example was Apple. Jobs was forced out by shareholders and replaced by a series of 'professional' CEOs that nearly bankrupted the company until Jobs returned and saved Apple.

I think Tom was a very good CEO and am sorry that he has stepped down from that role.

ankara halla
03-12-2007, 15:17
I think Tom was a very good CEO and am sorry that he has stepped down from that role.


Really? Of the past 7 years he's been in charge GW's been plummeting for 5.

I wouldn't call him "very good" by any stretch of the imagination.

His Master's Voice
03-12-2007, 15:19
Isn't Mark Wells the guy responsible for the recent change in GWs attitude towards independent retailers? If so, I'd like to see more business decisions of that kind implemented throughout the company.

As always, remaining carefully optimistic.

Tetchy
03-12-2007, 15:26
I think Tom was a very good CEO and am sorry that he has stepped down from that role.

To my understanding the only positive thing that Kirby did for GW since 2000 was taking on the LOTR franchise which saved their bacon. Nothing that has happened to 40k, WFB or SG in that period has been for the better for the gaming community at large: Generally, the rules have been botched, the models have gone all plastic priced at the same levels as competitors "premium metals" models, and they have really lost their way.

The new CEO may not "understand gamers", but all he really needs to understand is that "The Customer Is King"... anything else can be learned.

Slave2darkness
03-12-2007, 15:28
Doesn't surprise me in the least. Tom made no secret that he was only in it for the money and that he'd happily leave once he had enough cash in the bank. He tried to step down in the late 90's but came back to help put the old girl (GW) back on course. Guess he just had enough. Tom will still remain Chairman for the time being.

Art Is Resistance
03-12-2007, 15:29
MArk Wells, it has to be said, has looked after a business that was also failing at the time when he took over.

Boots was in a very similar position to GW - high prices, disenchanted customer base, demoralised staff - he then turned it around and made Boots into a takeover target due to it's success rather than a failing lame duck takeover.

His appointment should be seen as a good thing - as long as he has the transferrable skills set, and listens to his customer base (which is what he did at Boots) the Wells years could come to be seen as a second 'golden age' for GW.

Brandir
03-12-2007, 15:31
Did Wells do anything at Boots apart from be part of the board that saw it slump? Mark Wells has been with GW since 2000 - so he is part of the present regime and not, as far as I know, part of the team that help arrest the decline of Boots.

Art Is Resistance
03-12-2007, 15:39
Mark wells was there when I worked for a subsidary of Boots - he oversaw the change from a large deficit to a profit making situation - sa I would say that he does know what he's doing - in fact, I would say that the reason he hasn't before now is more down to Tom Kirby running GW like a dictatorship, rather than being part of a loss making machine.

Brandir, whichever way you cut it, Tom Kirby was not a good CEO - it's very rarely a good idea to have a Chairman who is also the CEO - generally, one would be the conscience of the other - situations like what Gw have found themselves in recently happen when you don't have a moderating voice at the top level to stop vanity ruining companies.

Aurellis
03-12-2007, 16:01
If Mr. Kirby has changed from being CEO to Chairman, and this new chap is stepping up as CEO... who was the previous Chairman, and where is his corpse?

There is no difference between a CEO and chairman, it is the same job :) Kirby was chairman, ie. the acting CEO - (Chief Executive Officer)

The chairman/ceo is the highest ranking corporate officer in a firm with unlimited liability

The term, Chairman, comes from the fact he chairs the board of directors due to the fact he is the CEO

Magwa
03-12-2007, 16:05
.................................................. .................................................. .......

Brandir
03-12-2007, 16:10
Members of Warseer and other assorted forums do not have a good opinion of Tom Kirby as CEO of GW. And I suspect that no matter what I say members will continue to hold a negative opinion of Mr Kirby.

However, check out interviews with Tom in the Financial Times and Daily telegraph and one will discover that in the financial world he is well regarded. Check out various MBA courses and you will find that Tom Kirby is a contributing lecturer on good practice as a manager. Look at how he turned GW into a multinational company, especially from about the early 1990's when he led the management buyout and subsequent floating on the LSE. It was Tom in his annual report preambles and AGM statements that banged on about the LOTR bubble. The 889p peak was due to stupid investors; 200p is a realistic price for a company of GW's size and turnover.

Anyway, at least Tom is still on the board as Chairman.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 16:22
You mean that you call their existing mismatch of ballsups a "plan"? Nah.. in the past GW have never had anything remotely resembling a "plan" to operate. At least not one that lasted longer than 3 months before being replaced with a new Pinky and the Brain-style scheme for world domination!

Now lets be fair...

Pinky and the Brain had a number of characteristics that made thier plans easier.

1. PatB recognised their position as a minor players initially. GW may be huge as a minature company. Other minature companies are not the competition... despite managment's apparent beliefs. The competition is anything which that entertains people. A single videogame hit (FFVII for example) can make up to 10 times GWs profit, a good game will occupy the poeple's time for a long time as well, so GW really is competing directly against HALO and Warcraft, which all players are aware of, but GW doesn't seem to be, prefering to gloat how much bigger they are then other minatures companies. Not a good longterm strategy.

Why isn't Dawn of war in GW stores? Lack of competence and confidence. If a other companies can role forward 15 differnet lines of products and expect staff to figure out whats going on, GW should be able to. Despite complaints here, redshirts aren't as a collective stupid, by birth at least. There is an attitude I have seen from at least one management sort who has posted here that flet retail staff had slipped since LotR. The problem is that GW had a easy product to sell, and the competition for dollars is getting worse. It's not the staff quality, its the product. One store losing money is staff, 34 is a product issue (10% of stores). How many other stores are making a marginal amount of money?

The company is esentially conservative in it's strategy and the managment team is committed to the GW model of sales, because it worked in the past.I remember being told by a black shirt in Ottawa 7 years ago that the company wasn't willing to risk carrying computer games, and that philosphy has carried forward.

2. PatB did not have internal strife. Ask Starscream about internal strife. I think I read him say something about that in an earlier thread. Suffice it to say empire building appears to be a problem, as do interactions between the "seperate" companies.

3. Clarity of purpose. Not something I can comment on but PatB understood at least on the surface what the objectives were. The plan implementation changes so regularly at GW that PatB don't actually look so bad, and let's ignore the muddy objectives that come with shareholders.

blongbling
03-12-2007, 16:22
well put brandir



The company is esentially conservative in it's strategy and the managment team is committed to the GW model of sales, because it worked in the past.I remember being told by a black shirt in Ottawa 7 years ago that the company wasn't willing to risk carrying computer games, and that philosphy has carried forward.


I dont believe it has anything to do with that, and i wouldnt trust a black shirt to say otherwise. i think it comes down to the support you have to offer when you sell computer games....you ahve to offer a certain level of IT awareness for computer specs and problem solving and GW doesnt have that and neither should it.

They sell toy soldiers, why muddy the waters and sell something else? if you sell one game then you will have people coming in forever and a day asking for other titles.

There is also another angel to consider, the cost that it would have to be sold at. GW has a policy of holding its own RRP, how would that sit with a computer game where every where discounts and sell, at times, cheaper than cost?

Things are not always as black and white as it seems at first, its not due to a lack of foresight, or being scared of the consequences but i believe from having a business model and knowing not to deviate too far from it.

floyd pinkerton
03-12-2007, 16:40
Hmm, previously being a shareholder myself, all I can say is this is good news. I remember a while back, when the company was in strife (as it still is) and he was generous enough to only thake 60% bonus rather then 80%

forthegloryofkazadekrund
03-12-2007, 16:46
Now lets be fair...

Pinky and the Brain had a number of characteristics that made thier plans easier.

1. PatB recognised their position as a minor players initially. GW may be huge as a minature company. Other minature companies are not the competition... despite managment's apparent beliefs. The competition is anything which that entertains people. A single videogame hit (FFVII for example) can make up to 10 times GWs profit, a good game will occupy the poeple's time for a long time as well, so GW really is competing directly against HALO and Warcraft, which all players are aware of, but GW doesn't seem to be, prefering to gloat how much bigger they are then other minatures companies. Not a good longterm strategy.

Why isn't Dawn of war in GW stores? Lack of competence and confidence. If a other companies can role forward 15 differnet lines of products and expect staff to figure out whats going on, GW should be able to. Despite complaints here, redshirts aren't as a collective stupid, by birth at least. There is an attitude I have seen from at least one management sort who has posted here that flet retail staff had slipped since LotR. The problem is that GW had a easy product to sell, and the competition for dollars is getting worse. It's not the staff quality, its the product. One store losing money is staff, 34 is a product issue (10% of stores). How many other stores are making a marginal amount of money?

The company is esentially conservative in it's strategy and the managment team is committed to the GW model of sales, because it worked in the past.I remember being told by a black shirt in Ottawa 7 years ago that the company wasn't willing to risk carrying computer games, and that philosphy has carried forward.

2. PatB did not have internal strife. Ask Starscream about internal strife. I think I read him say something about that in an earlier thread. Suffice it to say empire building appears to be a problem, as do interactions between the "seperate" companies.

3. Clarity of purpose. Not something I can comment on but PatB understood at least on the surface what the objectives were. The plan implementation changes so regularly at GW that PatB don't actually look so bad, and let's ignore the muddy objectives that come with shareholders.

brain was a genius, most of gw high end staff are more like pinky but less loyal and intelligent :)

Brandir
03-12-2007, 16:49
Are you sure The Brain was the genius of the pair? Remember the opening song -

One is a genius
The other's insane

Now, one would immediately think Brain was the genius. But just watch the programme and, well, I'm not so sure that Pinky is insane ......

Anyway, on two occasions Tom has turned down his bonus despite his entitlement to one.

Not many CEOs do that. In fact, I can't seem to think of any CEOs that have turned down an entitled bonus.

I wonder if he uses his staff discount to buy his kids their Christmas presents?

Damien 1427
03-12-2007, 16:50
Lets see how the new boy handles it. I don't loathe Kirby like some here seem to do, but the company has taken a turn for the worse in recent years and that was on his watch.

Let's see where GW are in five years, and we can probably compare. As it stands, Wells may turn the company around. Or it may continue a steady slide into the plop.

Let us see.

Jedi152
03-12-2007, 16:51
Are you sure The Brain was the genius of the pair? Remember the opening song -

One is a genius
The other's insane

Now, one would immediately think Brain was the genius. But just watch the programme and, well, I'm not so sure that Pinky is insane ......
Since they occasionally end up injured and the plan always fails, i'd make a case that Pinky is the genius for wanting to stay in the cage.

Brain must be insane, he's tried to take over the world and it's failed so many times most normal mice would give up...

:D

efarrer
03-12-2007, 16:54
I dont believe it has anything to do with that, and i wouldnt trust a black shirt to say otherwise. i think it comes down to the support you have to offer when you sell computer games....you ahve to offer a certain level of IT awareness for computer specs and problem solving and GW doesnt have that and neither should it.

They sell toy soldiers, why muddy the waters and sell something else? if you sell one game then you will have people coming in forever and a day asking for other titles.

There is also another angel to consider, the cost that it would have to be sold at. GW has a policy of holding its own RRP, how would that sit with a computer game where every where discounts and sell, at times, cheaper than cost?

Things are not always as black and white as it seems at first, its not due to a lack of foresight, or being scared of the consequences but i believe from having a business model and knowing not to deviate too far from it.

I love people like you. Really I do. See I have this waterfront property I'm looking to sell.

Do you know what your talking about? Really? If it's too difficult for the retail staff, who you really don't seem to respect get them to call the trolls and have a troll who's job it is to handle any troubles with the game. How many redshirts don't have dawn of war and the other GW games. Show of hands, please.
Muddy the waters, my eye. You make profit where you can.
Train the blinking staff for the computer stuff then. They should have atleast low normal IQ like any other sales spot. For crying out loud, if a monkey can be taught so can a redshirt.
Have sales.
Do what it takes to clear wall space if the stuff doesn't sell. The reason for those stupid auctions was to clear dead inventory (stuff that would have sold at a 25% of 50% discount elsewhere instead of 5-25%).
Hire managers who can take the independent action required to do those things, and allow them to do so.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 16:56
Now, one would immediately think Brain was the genius. But just watch the programme and, well, I'm not so sure that Pinky is insane ......

Anyway, on two occasions Tom has turned down his bonus despite his entitlement to one.

Not many CEOs do that. In fact, I can't seem to think of any CEOs that have turned down an entitled bonus.



Shareholder revolt impending?

forthegloryofkazadekrund
03-12-2007, 17:02
if it goes below 175 there will be a revolt imho

Rikens
03-12-2007, 17:06
Is it just my imagination, or does Kirby's confidence in Wells' ability to toe the party line mean it'll be business as usual?

lanrak
03-12-2007, 17:13
I belive you may be right Rikens...
Now Kirby has another area to lay blame on... its the CEOs fault!!!

(Golden Parachutes at the ready...)

Vic
03-12-2007, 17:36
I think GW missed an opportunity with tie-ins with the computer games LOTR Battle for Middle Earth and DOW.

GW did a half-a$$ed attempt back when Firewarrior came out by having Tau snipers appear at the same time. First, the game was an abysmal failure (PC version), second, GW should have offered to sell the PC game right next to their other product (their version of Army Builder) and maybe made an effort to release a mini-dex that tied in with the game and its missions. I think since that foray bombed, GW concluded that they couldnt successfully pursue this tact. What they should have been was critical of their attempt.

Now, in regards to selling computer software and needing someone versed in compu-speak: ********. I've been a computer gamer far far longer than I have been a TT gamer (30 years of console/PC gaming), and I now work in the IT management field. I cringe whenever I have a salesman coming up to me in an electronics store or computer gaming store because 10 times out of 10, I know ALOT more than the acne riddled lout who is trying to sell me something. I sometimes throw them a question just to see them struggle with it. The point being that ANYONE can sell computer software.

That said, GW should sell GW licensed product next to their own produced product. They should go a step further and produce mission codecii "inspired" by the game. So not only can the gamer play the game on the computer, they can relive it on the TT. Gamers are notorious for knick-knacks (look at all the game tie-in toys at the Babbages and Electronics Boutiques). Offer something game related so that the gamer can festoon their gamespace.

GW's marketing is anemic. They have a monthly rag with which they could generate revenue by including ads for other than GW product. They have a website with which to offer GW licensed computer games and they dont. They have retail space with which to merchandise GW related product in addition to their gaming product. Oh, having slicks (glossy inserts in the computer game boxes) about the TT game doesnt do it.

I hope this new guy can get them moving.

Agrip. Varenus Denter
03-12-2007, 17:49
I look forward to this being a positive change for the company - as I'm just a layman with no inside boardroom grasp of how they do things on paper, I'm going to remain positive and not play armchair CEO. Pretending that I know how to run their company even after almost 17 years in the hobby seems rather pointless when compared to simply hoping that they are successful with this move.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 17:53
I think GW missed an opportunity with tie-ins with the computer games LOTR Battle for Middle Earth and DOW.

GW did a half-a$$ed attempt back when Firewarrior came out by having Tau snipers appear at the same time. First, the game was an abysmal failure (PC version), second, GW should have offered to sell the PC game right next to their other product (their version of Army Builder) and maybe made an effort to release a mini-dex that tied in with the game and its missions. I think since that foray bombed, GW concluded that they couldnt successfully pursue this tact. What they should have been was critical of their attempt.

Now, in regards to selling computer software and needing someone versed in compu-speak: ********. I've been a computer gamer far far longer than I have been a TT gamer (30 years of console/PC gaming), and I now work in the IT management field. I cringe whenever I have a salesman coming up to me in an electronics store or computer gaming store because 10 times out of 10, I know ALOT more than the acne riddled lout who is trying to sell me something. I sometimes throw them a question just to see them struggle with it. The point being that ANYONE can sell computer software.

That said, GW should sell GW licensed product next to their own produced product. They should go a step further and produce mission codecii "inspired" by the game. So not only can the gamer play the game on the computer, they can relive it on the TT. Gamers are notorious for knick-knacks (look at all the game tie-in toys at the Babbages and Electronics Boutiques). Offer something game related so that the gamer can festoon their gamespace.

GW's marketing is anemic. They have a monthly rag with which they could generate revenue by including ads for other than GW product. They have a website with which to offer GW licensed computer games and they dont. They have retail space with which to merchandise GW related product in addition to their gaming product. Oh, having slicks (glossy inserts in the computer game boxes) about the TT game doesnt do it.

I hope this new guy can get them moving.


Thank you for saying everything I wanted and tried to say regarding computer games.

Brandir
03-12-2007, 17:57
I have always found it strange that GW does not offer their video games in their online and real shops. Maybe it is because the age ratings? Maybe it is because of the terms of the licence, a clause preventing GW from selling them?;)

dodicula
03-12-2007, 17:59
Sales guy gets put in charge, and the countdown to pre-painted minis begins

Vic
03-12-2007, 18:01
I have always found it strange that GW does not offer their video games in their online and real shops. Maybe it is because the age ratings? Maybe it is because of the terms of the licence, a clause preventing GW from selling them?;)

Im betting it is because of a licensing issue, and if that is the case, it in no way exonerates management, rather it would amply illustrate their incompetance if they accepted licensing terms that would restrict their marketing of their own IP.

Jim30
03-12-2007, 18:25
The line that they only sell GW stuff for quality issues may have worked in the pre-internet days, but now other companies have caught up, GW are going to have to do something to keep people in their stores. Selling PC games would work - particularly a tie in like buy Dawn of War and get Ģ5 off the WH40K rulebook (as an example). Also they could do a deal with the devil and consider working more closely with Battlefront and putting FoW in their stores. Flames is a different genre to most GW stuff and is rapidly increasing in popularity - why not try and nick some of the revenue from selling it at the same time?
I think the way forward is to move towards being a more generic gaming store, with a strong core product line but also with other companies work in there too.

Agrip. Varenus Denter
03-12-2007, 18:50
Who drew post number #48 in the mention-of-pre-painted-minis sweepstake? If so, you are a winner.

Now, all we need is someone to start gibbering about Hasbro in post #54 and I get a fondue set.

ROTFLMAO... As soon as I read the title... I just knew it was on the way... but so soon in the thread? My number was 67. :)

40kdhs
03-12-2007, 18:55
GW lately has expanded its business. Have you noticed that it is selling hobby tools, cases, and other things.?

i sure hope new CEO will bring new ideas to the teams and change the way GW doing business.

a new year starts with better products and excellence customer services.?

a old CEO doesn't step down. He steps up to Chairman position. How can he do it after the company stock has been failing for years.?

talking about good management skills, heh.?

Sarevok
03-12-2007, 18:57
I remember games being sold in store at one time - Final Liberation or Rites of War maybe.

Agrip. Varenus Denter
03-12-2007, 19:01
GW lately has expanded its business. Have you noticed that it is selling hobby tools, cases, and other things.

They've been doing this for years. And years.

@Sarevok - I have a vague memory of that as well - that's been about a decade, right?

Llew
03-12-2007, 19:02
...

i think it comes down to the support you have to offer when you sell computer games....you ahve to offer a certain level of IT awareness for computer specs and problem solving and GW doesnt have that and neither should it.



My local Wal-Mart, Target, Staples, Office Depot and K-mart all make this point look pretty weak.

Print specs on box. Customer grabs box. Customer asks stockclerk about game. Stockclerk points blankly at specs on box. That's all the support you need to sell computer games. The developer's website and tech support handles the rest.

selfconstrukt
03-12-2007, 19:04
Having Mark Wells step up could be a good thing. I've met him a few times and got the feeling he really wants to get GW going and back on its feet.

Unfortunately the one flaw I found was being a typical "corporate guy", as in being to "chummy" with his pals (managers), some of which are Master Bootlickers.

Hopefully he will not be "smokescreened" by his pals when they make mistakes and when something goes wrong, look past the friendship and put things right.

40kdhs
03-12-2007, 19:08
They've been doing this for years. And years.



I know and they make it bigger. Do you see 120 US dollars for a complete hobby tools and 95 US dollars for a big rectangular case.?

Llew
03-12-2007, 19:14
Well, at this point I'd say just about any change is welcome. Kirby brought a nice cash infusion in with the LotR license, but it just covered up underlying problems. Mismanaged companies can actually have very good short-term results but be cutting their own throats the entire time. I feel like a lot of this has happened at GW.

I'll keep an eye on them and see what happens. I think they *need* a sales guy in charge right now though. Being thrilled with your niche is another way of saying "giving up" on growing.

Personally, I'd love to see them do basic pre-paints, a simple game with some McFarlane-style models that could get kids involved, games in mass-market stores. Put decent quality stuff in those and use them to suck kids and new blood into gaming. The Alphanerd idea that they're somehow superior to kids who want to play is one of the most foolish and destructive elements of the hobby. Get over the fact that the cool kids in school picked on you for playing with toy soldiers and get on with your life!

You know...the Shakers weren't fond of getting kids involved in their religion either, and how many Shakers have you seen lately?

Wolf Scout Ewan
03-12-2007, 19:49
I wish the new bloke well. He cant do any worse than kirby.

On a side note... you dont need "know-whats" to sell software. Just look at Game! They employ people for looks.

IJW
03-12-2007, 20:26
Who drew post number #48 in the mention-of-pre-painted-minis sweepstake? If so, you are a winner.
Bingo! Now I just need someone to mention a discredited German political party in post #72 and I've got a full house. ;)

On a more serious note, any sales guy is going to look at the other major players in the pre-painted TTG market:

Rackham - currently in bankruptcy protection,
Mongoose - lots of complaints from their SST players, discounted goods in stores, delayed releases of EVO, yet more complaints

and conclude that it might not be a very good idea...

Anyway, back on topic, given how long the production period etc. is for anything GW produce, we'll have to wait a good six months before seeing much effect even if the new CEO makes big changes.

Killgore
03-12-2007, 20:31
lets hope they dont announce the dreaded 3 phase plan!

phase 1 Make Models

phase 2 ??? we havnt figured that out yet

phase 3 Profit!


lets hope this new head nob has the balls to make some positive changes to the company

zak
03-12-2007, 20:56
I, unlike some others on this thread, hope that this new guy turns things around. I have been buying GW products since the early 90's I have seen the decline. I hope that GW improve and focus on their customer base, which in turn will improve their profit. Alternatively they may focus on their profit and alienate their customer base. I for one am hoping for the former.

dodicula
03-12-2007, 21:00
Bingo! Now I just need someone to mention a discredited German political party in post #72 and I've got a full house. ;)

On a more serious note, any sales guy is going to look at the other major players in the pre-painted TTG market:

Rackham - currently in bankruptcy protection,
Mongoose - lots of complaints from their SST players, discounted goods in stores, delayed releases of EVO, yet more complaints

and conclude that it might not be a very good idea...

Anyway, back on topic, given how long the production period etc. is for anything GW produce, we'll have to wait a good six months before seeing much effect even if the new CEO makes big changes.

Just cause it hasn't worked does not mean GW won't try it.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 21:15
Bingo! Now I just need someone to mention a discredited German political party in post #72 and I've got a full house. ;)

On a more serious note, any sales guy is going to look at the other major players in the pre-painted TTG market:

Rackham - currently in bankruptcy protection,
Mongoose - lots of complaints from their SST players, discounted goods in stores, delayed releases of EVO, yet more complaints

and conclude that it might not be a very good idea...

Anyway, back on topic, given how long the production period etc. is for anything GW produce, we'll have to wait a good six months before seeing much effect even if the new CEO makes big changes.


You are using a false arguement.

Look at the major player on that market and it's neither of those. It would be Wizkids who were worth a huge amount (29.5 million Us ) when Topps bought them out.

Just saying.

BigRob
03-12-2007, 21:21
If Kirby was CEO and Chairman....did he get two paycheques?
Surely if the Chairman is supposed to police the CEO then the same guy cant do both jobs??

Hmmm.....Clever man:p

Is this a sign GW is sinking (didnt another big shareholder dump his shares recently?)

I hope they bring things around and boost the company. I'm all for new ideas, even pre paints, but slightly lower prices and the return of a few old classics such as Space hulk and Man o war (taking advantage of the awesome new tech with plastic) would be a start.

Brandir
03-12-2007, 21:21
Look at D&D Miniatures. These add quite a bit to the bottom line of WotC.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
03-12-2007, 21:24
Which equally suggests that the market, at this time, is too hard to penetrate.

Seems the new boy was Marketing for Boots, so we might see bundle deals and that come out around Chrimbo and maybe even Summer Campaigns. Something to boost the sales a little, whilst giving the gamers a little extra.

Someone mentioned he may be the one responsible for their policy shift in the States. If so, and the $5 thing for Christmas was his brainchild, I'd say we're looking at someone extremely shrewd! Think about it...You get a $5 voucher with your stuff, which, if spent by a certain date, becomes $10. Granted, to us thats not great, as we can buy cheaper online still, but to someone starting out, that $5/10 dollar voucher means GW are likely to see a bigger chunk of their ill gotten festive gains from unimaginative relatives.....

leonmallett
03-12-2007, 21:25
If the new guy is already immersed in the basics of the hobby, as it seems he is, then why go the route of changing the established business model which is based around models, paints and tools, peripherals and gaming? Can't see that happening (ie going the way of prepaints). What I can see is closure of more of the marginally profitable stores, work on growth in emerging markets, work on licensing in other media, and greater emphasis on new technologies that ultimately may pass on some cost savings (ie more plastics maybe?). More of the same in other words, but perhaps with an even greater emphasis on economising and cost-cutting. The interesting issue will be what happens when the LotR license finally expires - whether they (GW) will limit their emphasis to just two games, or whether something will fill the gap (SG promotion, or a new or old third core system).

Brandir
03-12-2007, 21:28
I wonder how long it will be until we are pining for the 'good old days' when Tom was in charge?

leonmallett
03-12-2007, 21:36
I wonder how long it will be until we are pining for the 'good old days' when Tom was in charge?


Fair point. I struggle to see that he has done that bad a job. Considering where GW was at before his tenure compared to now, I think he has done a fair job. Comparing the high watermark LotR days to now is not fair since as posted earlier, Kirby was able to identify that as very much a short-term situation.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 21:36
Which equally suggests that the market, at this time, is too hard to penetrate.


No. It suggests the market is there and it is for the money crunchers to determine what level of leetism (and I use that spelling in derision) the company wants to promote. Doing the starters as prepaints might not be bad. Charge a premium for the prepainted stuff.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 21:42
On a more serious note, any sales guy is going to look at the other major players in the pre-painted TTG market:

Rackham - currently in bankruptcy protection,
Mongoose - lots of complaints from their SST players, discounted goods in stores, delayed releases of EVO, yet more complaints


Both companies are victims of managment, from what I understand.

Rackham decided to switch horses mid stream, and made a number of ill advised annoucements. Really the company committed public suicide. I'm optimistic FFG may buy them out, but that same protection that prevents creditors from killing them might be hampering thier ability to hype thier new game, or at least respond with clarity to inquiries about thier current health.

AFAIK At 43 continues to sell well and some signs point to Fire Industires being a possible point of grace.

redbaron998
03-12-2007, 21:44
Hmmm, this is intersting.

We know he a Sales Businessmen but what Kind is he

1. Sale Sale Sael at all cost to our customers and logic

OR?

2. Make a great product and respect our customers makng them happy and more willing to spend

It would be nice to see the latter for a change...all Luck to the new guy, its not like it can be run to much worse than it already was.


As for Pre-paints? I wouldnt mind, some players are like me and absolutly love Playing the game...but arent really into painting. Still it would have to be Eavy Metal quality for me to say yes to it and not to overpriced. I still might not go for it, I like to pick my own color scheme and the models pose.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 21:51
Fair point. I struggle to see that he has done that bad a job. Considering where GW was at before his tenure compared to now, I think he has done a fair job. Comparing the high watermark LotR days to now is not fair since as posted earlier, Kirby was able to identify that as very much a short-term situation.

The problem is it was his job to strengthen that and move above that. Corperate managers who fail at doing so haven't done thier job. Pretty simple that. If a liscence makes you money get another whenthe first isn't making you money any more. Whore yourself and your company if you have to to get the liscences.

Jones movie coming, make Jones, Nazis and tanks. Play as everyones favorite historian/graverobber. Make it compatabile with a Tomb Raider expansion. Use the LotR engine, calling it the Imagine Engine gaming system. Sell both products. Then pursue the Potter liscence (seven potters, easy money, each a different look for each school year, even better then frodo and sam)

The failure of the bubble was lack of effort, not the fault of the liscence. Glad I didn't get GW stocks when I had the chance.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
03-12-2007, 21:52
No. It suggests the market is there and it is for the money crunchers to determine what level of leetism (and I use that spelling in derision) the company wants to promote. Doing the starters as prepaints might not be bad. Charge a premium for the prepainted stuff.

I'm not sure you quite got my meaning there, which is the eternal trouble with the Internet when no suitable smiley is available!

At the moment, Wizkids more or less *is* the pre painted market, much in the way GW could be in the kit market for wargames.

That Rackham and Mongoose had pretty loyal followings, if small, and they haven't done well at all. Even more so, GW sells itself as a hobby. Prepaints hardly qualify here.

Indeed, as a former staffer, I can tell you that many parents are happy to pay the prices, as it means there son/daughter is doing something semi-educational in their spare time, and which promotes patience. Prepaints don't do this either.

I'm not saying they won't, but when a company is used to being the biggest fish in the pond, why jump ponds and start on a shark?

Rikens
03-12-2007, 21:59
Mad Doc Grotsnik: So don't use smileys. Use words. They're old fashioned but they can get point across if you use them right!

effarrer: Heck yeah. Have you seen the reception their new monkey army for AT-43 is getting?

efarrer
03-12-2007, 22:07
I'm not sure you quite got my meaning there, which is the eternal trouble with the Internet when no suitable smiley is available!

At the moment, Wizkids more or less *is* the pre painted market, much in the way GW could be in the kit market for wargames.

That Rackham and Mongoose had pretty loyal followings, if small, and they haven't done well at all. Even more so, GW sells itself as a hobby. Prepaints hardly qualify here.

Indeed, as a former staffer, I can tell you that many parents are happy to pay the prices, as it means there son/daughter is doing something semi-educational in their spare time, and which promotes patience. Prepaints don't do this either.

I'm not saying they won't, but when a company is used to being the biggest fish in the pond, why jump ponds and start on a shark?


Rackham and mongoose both are and were largely irrelevant. Rackham screwed up. Bad. It made a mess of the change over. Gave too much time for it to happen, and made too many changes.

Selling as a hobby is actually a barrier to some sales though. That is the double edged sword of the elite hobby. You eliminate the semicasual player.

As a former staffer myself I can' say if most of the parents wanted to give thier kids an educational experiance. Parents more or may not see educational benifit in the hobby, with or without painting. I always felt the majority of the parents were just happy Johhny wasn't at home reading linux guides, or polishing a rifle while muttering "I'll get them for that". Not everyone wants to do the hobby aspects (hence the silver and grey armies of the tournaments of yesteryear, including some staff tournaments)

Lets face it, anything which represents even a partial barrier to sales, will reduce the number of sales. Giving the very casual player the option of prepaints will not kill the company, in fact it may open roads to new customers, which in the world of sales is known as the promised land.

Gw's problem is that the company doesn't recognize it is a sardine in an ocean. That ocean is entertainment, and in that ocean GW doesn't even rank as a bit player.

efarrer
03-12-2007, 22:08
Mad Doc Grotsnik: So don't use smileys. Use words. They're old fashioned but they can get point across if you use them right!

effarrer: Heck yeah. Have you seen the reception their new monkey army for AT-43 is getting?

Yup. I'm a con 3.5er myself, but the karmans look darn good.

Llew
04-12-2007, 01:19
Selling as a hobby is actually a barrier to some sales though. That is the double edged sword of the elite hobby. You eliminate the semicasual player.

...

...Not everyone wants to do the hobby aspects (hence the silver and grey armies of the tournaments of yesteryear, including some staff tournaments)

Lets face it, anything which represents even a partial barrier to sales, will reduce the number of sales. Giving the very casual player the option of prepaints will not kill the company, in fact it may open roads to new customers, which in the world of sales is known as the promised land...


Exactly. If GW wants to stick around and keep any of it's gains over the past few years, it needs to be easy and cheap for new blood to play at least some version of the game.

Unlike an earlier post though...prepaints shouldn't be the premium product. Mass produce basic troops in decent (not exquisite) detail for a couple armies and let players get drawn in from there. Maybe core Marines and Tyranids for 40k...Orcs and Empire for WFB. Make enough stuff that you can have a decent, not uber, army for cheap and make it appeal to kids who don't want to paint but might be interested in playing an advanced game of toy soldiers with their friends.

The current model of GW as only some elitist hobby falls short of being a sustainable model as recent events have shown. If you're a company with a vision and a plan you can cater to different segments of the public.

IJW
04-12-2007, 10:15
Bingo! Now I just need someone to mention a discredited German political party in post #72 and I've got a full house. ;)


Jones movie coming, make Jones, Nazis and tanks. Play as everyones favorite historian/graverobber
Only three posts out... :(

Bugstomper
04-12-2007, 10:41
tbh i don't really see what difference it will make, it's not just the CEO but the whole mentality of those at the top these days.

I was at warhammer world the day after games day this year and was listening in (heh, i'm nosey and they were talking too loud :P ) on a conversation between some suits, one of them was in charge of part of games day and the other i'm guessing was some kind of investor or something as he didn't have a staff badge and was being lectured on the hobby by the staff suit.

Anyway, the staff suit was saying he was angry with the fact the warhammer historical guys had set up a table in the arena as it "was a distraction from what we should be doing, pushing the apocalypse sales and the core games", he said a load of other stuff about they need to be taking advantage more of the kids that had taken their money etc.. it was quite shocking really just how cut throat this guy was, everyone else in the bar was staff too so i'm guessing he thought he was in a safe crowd to be open about their tactics.

I realise this is nothing new, they're in the business to make money, but those of us that have been playing this stuff since the begining and remember the more hobby orientated company live in the vain hope that it will return one day when all the suits ****** off, but sadly this shattered my hope for the future :)

The problem is, the investors want to see their profits back up to the lotr bubble times, but it's just never going to happen, GW will always be a niche product, imo what they need to do is get back to what they did pre-bubble, encourage people to stay in the game for a long time, veterans don't buy as much as new players on a short term, but my shelving units, loft and garage are testament to the amount of money i've poured into the company over the past 20 years, it's that which keeps a company going.

leonmallett
04-12-2007, 10:55
Short, medium, or long term, as a veteran I spend more on the hobby than I could as a new hobbyist. The new hobbyist vs veteran paradigm is not necessarily a factually-based view, in my opinion, or rather it is an over-simplification.

yabbadabba
04-12-2007, 11:14
I have to ask a question. If this guy is the saviour of GW and has been in a position to be comsidered a successor for Tom Kirby, why haven't we seen a turn around in performance based on his influence?

Jedi152
04-12-2007, 11:21
Jones movie coming, make Jones, Nazis and tanks. Play as everyones favorite historian/graverobber. Make it compatabile with a Tomb Raider expansion. Use the LotR engine, calling it the Imagine Engine gaming system. Sell both products. Then pursue the Potter liscence (seven potters, easy money, each a different look for each school year, even better then frodo and sam)
The problem is that many licences don't make good wargames, and they rely on significant investment to start with.

How would you do Indy? One person gets an army of Nazis and the other gets an archaeologist, a museum curator who gets lost in his own museum and a small Chinese boy?

Potter could work, but it'd probably cost them so much to acquire the licence in the first place they wouldn't bother, and it's about 5 years too late.

Brandir
04-12-2007, 11:35
GW could never secure the Harry Potter licence. Why? Because Joanne Rowling does not want her IP to become diluted. She turned down a large sum of money from Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, who wanted to do a Harry Potter RPG. She didn't want in print anything other than her own words - the nature of an RPG/tabletop wargame is such that they need additional 'fluff'. Computer games and films can slightly alter the story but the underlying fluff is still there.

It is easy to say on a forum such as this 'go and get xxxx licence'. The real world is far more complicated.

The only licence out there that has the scope for tabletop wargames on a massive scale is Star Wars, which is firmly in the hands of Hasbro/WotC.

GW need to concentrate on their three core lines. The new CEO needs to look at why sales of WH40K and WHFB slumped during the LOTR bubble. The previous one accepts that one of the major reasons was that GW staff became lazy with all that cash rolling in. Apocalypse is a start.

On the subject of historical gaming I think that GW has the right idea and is not producing minis. This is because the range would consume so much time and money for very little return.

What I think the new CEO should do is use their shops to stock the RPG lines. I suspect that 40KRP will sell in huge numbers if it was in the shops; the present way of selling RPG books is limiting exposure to these lines.

OrlyggJafnakol
04-12-2007, 11:40
Potter could work, but it'd probably cost them so much to acquire the licence in the first place they wouldn't bother, and it's about 5 years too late.

I don't think new licenses are the answer. It would just create another 'bubble'. LOTR was a one off, the suits at GW need to understand this and develop a different strategy. WHFB and 40K IP is good enough. IMO it just needs moving forwards. New races, models etc. Now that we have apocolypse, 'balance' for the tournament gamer need not be so important.


What I think the new CEO should do is use their shops to stock the RPG lines. I suspect that 40KRP will sell in huge numbers if it was in the shops; the present way of selling RPG books is limiting exposure to these lines.


Agreed. I would like to see a return to GW stores selling all of their products. Currently its the core games and Black Library books. I'd like to see Forge World, Talisman, WHFRP, 40KRP, the computer games. I understand that some of the smaller shops wouldn't be able to fit in the whole range, but that is true of many retail chains. GW need to get themselves to appeal to as many punters as possible and provide as many opportunities for them to spend their cash if they are going to stick with these stores.

Rekmar
04-12-2007, 11:48
What I think the new CEO should do is use their shops to stock the RPG lines. I suspect that 40KRP will sell in huge numbers if it was in the shops; the present way of selling RPG books is limiting exposure to these lines.

Totally agree with the above. Trying to get the WFB Roleplaying books is a bit of a nightmare, let alone trying to find a copy of Talisman.

Seem to remember when GW Norwich opened in the early 90's they did stock virtually every product that GW produced at the time (eg. Blood Bowl plus all the available teams etc).

Obviously this isn't practical in some of the stores (anyone been to GW Bluewater??), but surely they could have at least weekends where you can go to the store to buy the stuff without the hassle of having to mail order everything and then trying to work out if you'll be at home to get it when it turns up...

leonmallett
04-12-2007, 11:56
There are so many niche products (full SG range,full Fw range) that stocking everything is not practical or cost-effective. The headline stuff could and should be viable: BL novels (as is the case now), IA hardbacks, a small rpg section, but not FW, because when that dreadnought/heirodule/whatever turns out to have a damaged component it becomes a hassle. Stock that sells slowly should not be focused on, but a few peripheral items (BL books and novels, Talisman, WHFRP and Dark Heresy) could feasibly be catered for without massive space requirements: stocking everything is not an option nor is it economically sound.

OrlyggJafnakol
04-12-2007, 12:03
Talisman is a must. I work as a school teacher. My partner and I have enjoyed many a game of Talisman since buying the 4th edition. I was talking about the game last week in the staffroom and several other teachers there commented that they had also bought it or had heard about it through word of mouth and wanted to play.

Considering there has been little or no advertising of Talisman outside of WD and the internet I was surprised how far word of mouth had spread product knowledge. IMO any 'new-style' GW should capitalise on such products.

Jedi152
04-12-2007, 12:22
GW need to concentrate on their three core lines. The new CEO needs to look at why sales of WH40K and WHFB slumped during the LOTR bubble. The previous one accepts that one of the major reasons was that GW staff became lazy with all that cash rolling in. Apocalypse is a start.

I don't think new licenses are the answer. It would just create another 'bubble'. LOTR was a one off, the suits at GW need to understand this and develop a different strategy. WHFB and 40K IP is good enough. IMO it just needs moving forwards. New races, models etc. Now that we have apocolypse, 'balance' for the tournament gamer need not be so important.
I'll agree 100% with both of you that GW's future doesn't lie in licences.

Stocking the entire range isn't realistic, but surely stocking a few WFRP books would work. It has enough of a market to sell (even non players like me buy the books), especially so when the 40k RPG comes out.


anyone been to GW Bluewater??
Surely it can't be smaller than GW Derby, which is a few square feet smaller than a phone box. :D

Tetchy
04-12-2007, 12:43
GW need to concentrate on their three core lines. The new CEO needs to look at why sales of WH40K and WHFB slumped during the LOTR bubble. The previous one accepts that one of the major reasons was that GW staff became lazy with all that cash rolling in. Apocalypse is a start.

I'd contend that if he searched the archives of Warseer he'd realise that there were always two main gripes.

1/ Prices. GW are stubborn on this, but I really do think they are overvaluing the little pieces of plastic. Everyone thinks plastic toys should be cheap, so why do GW think they can convince the world otherwise? Its a complete waste of time, it doesn't matter how much love and design has gone into it, a plastic playing piece 28mm tall is still just a little piece of plastic 28mm tall, and it will never be worth Ģ10. So make them cheap and adapt your business plan accordingly and move on.

2/ Quality. 3rd edition was broken. 4th edition didn't fix it. With a broken game, what are you selling? A lie! And that's never a good business plan. 7th edition wasn't broken, just old fashioned. WFB has had its day, time to shunt it to SG and bring in a game fit for competing in the 21st century to replace it. LOTR is nearing the end of its licence. It has evergreen IP, so provided they can keep it fresh then it'll wash its face, but it'll never again be big enough to save the company like it did a couple of years back, so its become a sideshow.

So, if he gets 5th edition right and he manages to not increase prices over the next couple of years he has a hope. If he doesn't address those two core issues, then anything else he does is just peeing into the wind. You can have the most fantastic manufacturing process and distribution network in the entire world, but if you're selling a **** and charging for gold you're surely wasting your time. Get the basics right and cut the BS! That's what he should be saying.

Brandir
04-12-2007, 12:56
I'd contend that if he searched the archives of Warseer he'd realise that there were always two main gripes.........

But how representative of the GW customer are Warseer members?

efarrer
04-12-2007, 13:04
Only three posts out... :(

What did you want them called? Nazis were the classic villians in the Jones Movie. That's no reference to the party, that's a reference to the specific villians from a pulp movie series.


I don't think new licenses are the answer. It would just create another 'bubble'. LOTR was a one off, the suits at GW need to understand this and develop a different strategy. WHFB and 40K IP is good enough. IMO it just needs moving forwards. New races, models etc. Now that we have apocolypse, 'balance' for the tournament gamer need not be so important.

Do you know why Fasa dropped out? The games had reached thier saturation point and remained steady year after year. No growth, just replacements. I feel that GW has reached that point with 40K and fantasy. Liscences bring people in. Yes it creates a new bubble. That's what management is for riding the bubble to higher profits.

Sarevok
04-12-2007, 13:13
2/ Quality. 3rd edition was broken. 4th edition didn't fix it. With a broken game, what are you selling? A lie! And that's never a good business plan. 7th edition wasn't broken, just old fashioned. WFB has had its day, time to shunt it to SG and bring in a game fit for competing in the 21st century to replace it. LOTR is nearing the end of its licence. It has evergreen IP, so provided they can keep it fresh then it'll wash its face, but it'll never again be big enough to save the company like it did a couple of years back, so its become a sideshow.


Quality of rules is dreadful. And what's more the same guys who keep messing up the rules get allowed to keep writing them with seemingly no punishment.

I think it's time for some new blood and fresh faces, and get rid of the old guard. Guys who preferably understand high school math.

OrlyggJafnakol
04-12-2007, 13:28
No growth, just replacements. I feel that GW has reached that point with 40K and fantasy.

I cannot see why new races, units, concepts cannot be added to WHFB and 40k. The possibilities are endless. The obsession with 'balance' seems to have (IMO) created an atmosphere of sterility among the designers at GW. There was a time that you opened the pages of WD and there would be a new vehicle, monster or unit advertised along with the rules and fluff... As long as it was fun, who cared? Apocolypse was an execellent idea that has apparently resulted in a great deal of sales (especially at FW)... I would like to see more of them.

Jedi152
04-12-2007, 13:33
But how representative of the GW customer are Warseer members?
My guess is not very. I'd say you have to be pretty well into it to post here.

Glabro
04-12-2007, 13:35
. They should have atleast low normal IQ like any other sales spot.


Considering the pool of applicants, I donīt think GW hires many "low normal" people. "Hobbyists" like these tend to have, as a rule, a higher than normal IQ simply because those kind of people tend to drift towards hobbies like these.

OrlyggJafnakol
04-12-2007, 13:39
But we are still a percentage of that customer base. A good leader of a commercial company should create a business model that provides for ALL customers, be they forum-posting nerds or the bloke on the highstreet.

Llew
04-12-2007, 13:40
I would guess that a Warseer poster probably spends (or has spent) more than your average GW consumer, and probably gets more involved with the game and hobby than most. You won't find a lot of posters saying, "Space Marines and those Alien-things look cooooool!" They'll be more involved than that.

As such, they'll tend to be more passionate about the game. Hell, I'm completely disappointed with GW and their prices have recently driven me out of playing. (It's not that I can't afford it, but that it no longer seems worthwhile to pay their prices for toys.) But I'm here because I'd love to see them right the ship and expand and turn my beloved hobby into a wide-ranging, popular game with a great ruleset.

Just because I see few signs that they are capable of it doesn't mean I don't want it to happen.

efarrer
04-12-2007, 13:40
I'd contend that if he searched the archives of Warseer he'd realise that there were always two main gripes.

1/ Prices. GW are stubborn on this, but I really do think they are overvaluing the little pieces of plastic. Everyone thinks plastic toys should be cheap, so why do GW think they can convince the world otherwise? Its a complete waste of time, it doesn't matter how much love and design has gone into it, a plastic playing piece 28mm tall is still just a little piece of plastic 28mm tall, and it will never be worth Ģ10. So make them cheap and adapt your business plan accordingly and move on.

2/ Quality. 3rd edition was broken. 4th edition didn't fix it. With a broken game, what are you selling? A lie! And that's never a good business plan. 7th edition wasn't broken, just old fashioned. WFB has had its day, time to shunt it to SG and bring in a game fit for competing in the 21st century to replace it. LOTR is nearing the end of its licence. It has evergreen IP, so provided they can keep it fresh then it'll wash its face, but it'll never again be big enough to save the company like it did a couple of years back, so its become a sideshow.



Point 1
What gets me is the price difference between LotR plastics and regular GW plastics. I cannot be convinced that the slightly lower quality is soooo much lower that the price differential is justified. Currently the price to value ratio between GW figures is not good enough to defend against the secondary market. New figures may be nice, but the old figures are still legal and can be obtained for 25% of the price. Any figure after about 1990 is relatively good in quality so that makes it even easier to hit the secondary market.

Point 2
Yup. LotR will never again bubble, but it's blisters are pretty prominent in the top 20 blisters sold, and the new books have been good. It's a good choice for the core.


Considering the pool of applicants, I donīt think GW hires many "low normal" people. "Hobbyists" like these tend to have, as a rule, a higher than normal IQ simply because those kind of people tend to drift towards hobbies like these.

I suspect you give far too much credit to gamers as a whole, but ok. I was just trying to indicate why I felt the too complicated for staff to explain was a dumb arguement. It's an arguement that may have been valid in the early days, but in the first world computers are everywhere. Any relatively intelligent person can figure out the basic stuff with a five minute warmup.


The problem is that many licences don't make good wargames, and they rely on significant investment to start with.

How would you do Indy? One person gets an army of Nazis and the other gets an archaeologist, a museum curator who gets lost in his own museum and a small Chinese boy?

Potter could work, but it'd probably cost them so much to acquire the licence in the first place they wouldn't bother, and it's about 5 years too late.

Works the same way as the LotR does.

Remeber first off don't get obbssessed with the details. The game has a one year shelf life, so don't get attached to it.

Base it around scenario play, like LotR

Scenario 1
Chased by Natives, Dr Jones must make it across the table

Scenario 2
Jones Escapes capture by a squad of Nazis.

Scenario 3
Jones and female hero escape Gestapo on blimp

Scenario 10
Jones and the Ancient Order of the Moon fight the Germans outsde of teh Holy Temple of the Flying Spagttie Monster

Scenario 11
Inside the Temple of the FSM Jones, the Female Hero, Tthe Leader of the Order of the Moon, and some members of the OTM face off against Von Krunkie and his Nazi goons.

A similar process works for potter...

Please note I'm not suggesting liscences are they can move forward... I'm just saying they need something. Otherwise the only easy way to make money is to raise prices, and we know how well that's working.

OrlyggJafnakol
04-12-2007, 13:57
Prices. GW are stubborn on this, but I really do think they are overvaluing the little pieces of plastic. Everyone thinks plastic toys should be cheap, so why do GW think they can convince the world otherwise? Its a complete waste of time, it doesn't matter how much love and design has gone into it, a plastic playing piece 28mm tall is still just a little piece of plastic 28mm tall, and it will never be worth Ģ10. So make them cheap and adapt your business plan accordingly and move on.

I don't think it is about percieved value of small plastic miniatures. After all, what value would you put on a yard of cotton material? Or a piece of leather? Stick a designer label on either and what their value grow. Yet I see large numbers of people lining up to buy designer clothes.

What is important is the value the customer puts on the models that GW sell. I recently bought the Direct Only Techmarine for Ģ8. As far as I am concerned that is a fair price for the minaiture in question. Have you seen the price of metal kits produced for other hobbies (I am looking at railway model kits mainly) they run into the hundreds of pounds.

Plastic Toys = Cheap? Have you walked around a toy store recently? I worked in Toys R Us for a few years and was surprised how much some retailers and companies will charge for 'lumps of plastic'.

Jedi152
04-12-2007, 14:00
Indy works for scenarios, but you really need armies to make it work properly.

As i said, Potter could work (wizards/centaurs/good guys vs. death eaters/giants/bad guys etc.) but it's not ideal.

The ideal/perfect world/Hasbro didn't exist licence would be Star Wars. Failing that, expand into history more. Take on Battlefront with a 28mm WW2 game.

But as others have said, they really need to concentrate on current core games and universes.

efarrer
04-12-2007, 14:07
I cannot see why new races, units, concepts cannot be added to WHFB and 40k. The possibilities are endless. The obsession with 'balance' seems to have (IMO) created an atmosphere of sterility among the designers at GW. There was a time that you opened the pages of WD and there would be a new vehicle, monster or unit advertised along with the rules and fluff... As long as it was fun, who cared? Apocolypse was an execellent idea that has apparently resulted in a great deal of sales (especially at FW)... I would like to see more of them.

That's why some people miss Chambers. 40K wasn't balanced but since he left the fun stuff has gone away. Whether it was the committee or an attittude of guardianship among remaining members the game has stagnated. The new direction, which is a return to 2nd edition is not a dynamic move forward. It's reaching back to a time some remember fondly, but most hated.

Some one said 3rd edition was broken. Not really. It was an improvement on the truly broken 2nd edition. GW has to quit looking back and figure out how to make a good set of rules. The new codexes are not that fix, only work on the actual rules will do that. Sadly, I no longer have faith in thier ability to get it right, though.

Glabro
04-12-2007, 14:08
I suspect you give far too much credit to gamers as a whole, but ok. I was just trying to indicate why I felt the too complicated for staff to explain was a dumb arguement. It's an arguement that may have been valid in the early days, but in the first world computers are everywhere. Any relatively intelligent person can figure out the basic stuff with a five minute warmup.

Oh, I donīt doubt that the stores are full of obnoxious, stupid kids, but who knows what those kids will grow up to be.
Iīm just saying that I donīt think GW needs to hire any of the low-brow crowd when it can easily get their hands on dedicated "nerds".


I think that the pre-painted idea and the license idea could marry. Pre-paints neednīt be (at least initially) released for the core games, but what about testing the waters with new games with the hottest licenses, all sold in a nice big box that screams "Ideal Christmas Present", complete with pre-painted miniatures?

Itīd be something you could sell to clueless newbies to confused parents to jaded veterans who want a fun, easy experience for a change.

Itīd be possible to use the LOTR engine, but I think that bringing out more self-contained board-game style games (which are expandable, of course, but work straight out of the box) might be another good idea. After all, GW used to do them and has the capability to do so again.

Just look at Tännhauser, for example. That game has a lot of style and is great fun, and comes with pre-painted miniatures. It expands regularly and is a success. Thereīs no reason why a game with a hot license pushed by GW couldnīt do even better.

Oh, and thatīd really be something to send into the Toys īR Us.

efarrer
04-12-2007, 14:13
Indy works for scenarios, but you really need armies to make it work properly.

As i said, Potter could work (wizards/centaurs/good guys vs. death eaters/giants/bad guys etc.) but it's not ideal.

The ideal/perfect world/Hasbro didn't exist licence would be Star Wars. Failing that, expand into history more. Take on Battlefront with a 28mm WW2 game.

But as others have said, they really need to concentrate on current core games and universes.

To get shareholder return on investment. No. They need to quit playing with the two first cousins (40K and fantasy) and start finding new blod, be it in the form of New Specialist Games or something, but the core games will not generate the same returns they have in the past. Really, they won't.

One thing I've said before, the company is essentially conservative. This makes them risk adverse. See how little power store manager's really have. I know the guys in Ottawa are worried about the number of dollars headed to the states, but their manager can't even have sales to reduce the damage to his store. The only way to make money is to take chances. THe company is not willing to.

Curufew
04-12-2007, 14:38
Who knows maybe with a change of CEO, 40K might jump from 41,999 to the 42, 000

Wishful thinking, I know

Jedi152
04-12-2007, 14:41
Oh, and thatīd really be something to send into the Toys īR Us.
I think a crossover MB boardgame could do wonders about now. Yes, Talisman is good and has general appeal, but as far as i know it's not on sale at any toy outlets and more importantly it doesn't have miniatures in it, which is the main thing people associate with GW.

I think this generations Space Crusade or Heroquest would fill the void. Non gamers would buy it and hopefully be drawn in, just like i was and so many others were. Even staunch anti-roleplayers could be persuaded by the premise that it's only a board game.

Heck, just re-release Heroquest and Space Crusade with a newly painted board and some spiffy new plastics.


Who knows maybe with a change of CEO, 40K might jump from 41,999 to the 42, 000

Wishful thinking, I know
Sorry to say, Warhammer 41,000 just isn't as catchy...

Stuart-GreatEscapeGames
04-12-2007, 14:59
So, failure is rewarded with promotion. This is the fella that has presided over the worst performance in the UK business. Genius. Mr Wells loves pricing as much as the market will bear and thinks there's plenty of scope for high prices. There will be absolutely no arrest of GW's price rise policy, I guarantee it.

the overlord
04-12-2007, 15:02
I'd allways like to think as some game slike Space Hulk. They are easy to produce. Can be sold as game in a box. With the right rule set and add ons such a game could lure possible will be hobbyists into the hobby. But as long as the game is easely played from within the box there is no real need for those who do not feel the need to expand.

For games that thrive on miniatures I would look back into the SG. Think on Mordheim, Necromunda. The company should be able to produce some nice games in box (better even then those we have seen).

In hounesty I believe this is one of the strengths of LotR. It is a fun game to play with just a few models. But for those who are interested, the game hold in itself the promise for more.

The boardgames that have been produced in the past where excelent tools in terms of name/ brand promotion. No big sellers, but easely game through which possible future hobbyists could be introduced in the world of wargames (and stil the strongest part/ pillar of the company).
As side products they could produce GW chess sets (at the moment I am building these myself). GW Cluedo... GW Enchanted Maze.

Forge World. If i hear and see their sale numbers, I can only wheep when I think on the manner this 'company' is ran. Appearantly there is enough market for high quality (expensive) models... Personally I would love to see the return of the collecters series (the large resin busts and models. From all the worlds known through GW).

(my apolagies for my grammar/ spelling... stuff things...)

OrlyggJafnakol
04-12-2007, 15:36
[QUOTE=Jedi152;2151825]I think this generations Space Crusade or Heroquest would fill the void. Non gamers would buy it and hopefully be drawn in, just like i was and so many others were. Even staunch anti-roleplayers could be persuaded by the premise that it's only a board game.[QUOTE]

Agree. Agree. Agree. Heroquest was a classic game. It still is a classic game. Look on ebay and see how well it sells. This is right up the street of Black Industries and would go down well at Toys R Us and the catalgues. I remember a time you could buy warhammer and 40k in Toys R Us and in other places. Why not know? Why are GW missing this trick?

AGC
04-12-2007, 15:48
@the overlord, I'd agree with that.

What I don't see though is why some people believe that adding new races to 40K is the answer. They can't even manage to keep the Codicies <Spelling?> up to date for the existing armies, let alone developing new ones.

From a retail point of view I see two main problems with GW in attracting customers:- Their prices are too high and their range is too narrow.

If a shop only sells three products, that shop only has three chances to "catch" a customer. Most shops have much more than three products and try to maximize the diversity of the product so as to attract the largest possible customer base. GW have narrowed their base to a ludicrous degree. I remember standing outside their Glasgow store looking in the window and desperately trying to think of a reason to go in. I couldn't so I didn't.

But most people won't even try. It's interesting to watch the people passing a shop and see how many look in the window. On the two most recent occasions that I walked past GW's Glasgow store (the one next to central station) I didn't see anyone so much as glance in the window. Despite the sign on the pavement saying, "Please! Come in!" and the fact that the streets were busy with christmas shoppers.

The new CEO must change this, at least if they are to survive in the UK high street.

I wish him luck, I'm sure it can be done, but it needs someone to see the problem and the opportunities.

Vic
04-12-2007, 15:51
I say roll out Space Hulk again. GW needs it and the players are hammering for it. Stock it at places like Toys R US and Walmart (the largest toy reseller now btw). SH served as an introduction to many on here at Warseer about the WH hobby. It can do so again to a fresh new crop of ony GW were to get focused and re-release updated "classics". They so miss the boat on expanding their customer base its funny (in a sad "OMG" sort of way). It's almost as if GW is afraid to make something more of themselves.

yabbadabba
04-12-2007, 16:13
So, failure is rewarded with promotion. This is the fella that has presided over the worst performance in the UK business. Genius. Mr Wells loves pricing as much as the market will bear and thinks there's plenty of scope for high prices. There will be absolutely no arrest of GW's price rise policy, I guarantee it.

I appreciate that everyone here thinks they have a plan to rescue GW, but this quote is the one that we should all be looking at. Who is this guy and what makes him the best person to head up GW? If Stuart is right, then I doubt this is the guy who will give better value to customers and expand GW's lines.

Tetchy
04-12-2007, 16:19
I appreciate that everyone here thinks they have a plan to rescue GW, but this quote is the one that we should all be looking at. Who is this guy and what makes him the best person to head up GW? If Stuart is right, then I doubt this is the guy who will give better value to customers and expand GW's lines.

If Stuart's observation turns out to be correct then it's bye bye GW. A CEO still labouring under the misapprehension that anyone other than the most blinded psychopathic fanbois thinks current or higher prices represents the value of the models is in for a big surprise.

Sure SOME still think they are, but they are an ever-shrinking number. They can't even float the company at current pricing/volume levels, increasing prices further will sink them without trace.

Llew
04-12-2007, 16:30
There is also the possibility that the new guy is a company man. He reads the higher-ups and supports the policies and toes the company line when he's not in charge. But a lot of people can make dramatic changes when it is their decision to make.

EDIT: For example, my boss and I don't agree on everything. And when I get a chance to talk to him, I give him my opinions and if we continue to disagree he gets to make the decision. And in public and in practice I support his decision. Just because I go along with him doesn't mean that's how I'd choose to do things, or that I even think his way is best. But he's the boss so it's his call to make. He pays me to help and advise him, not actually make the decisions.

I'd say the separation of the CEO and Chairman spots means that there's actually the opportunity for something to change. Just for grins, let's assume that Kirby made the break and really does intend for Wells to be the Chief *Executive* Officer and be responsibile for the new direction. Kirby just sits back and chairs the board and makes Wells report to the shareholders and protect their interests.

We don't know what will happen yet, but at least there's a chance that something good will come out of it. And it is unlikely to be worse than what Kirby would continue to do if he held both seats.

GAWD
04-12-2007, 16:31
This move isn't going to amount to a hill of beans unless the new CEO fires the entire games development and writing staffs and hires people that are not incompetent.

For all the talk about prices and business models and such, at the end of the day this company is selling GAMES. If the GAMES suck to play (a truism for both of the flagship systems) people won't buy.

The dung-ridden rules are what driven the company in the gutter. There just isn't enough value in the GAME given the cost of the models.

A base analogy: If your car looks like a Ferrari and runs like a Pinto, you're gonna be pissed.

The CEO doesn't write the rules to their crappy ass games.

Sarevok
04-12-2007, 16:34
I cannot see why new races, units, concepts cannot be added to WHFB and 40k. The possibilities are endless.

Well, shelf space for one. GW can only support so much.



The obsession with 'balance' seems to have (IMO) created an atmosphere of sterility among the designers at GW. There was a time that you opened the pages of WD and there would be a new vehicle, monster or unit advertised along with the rules and fluff... As long as it was fun, who cared?

I don't see the obsession with balance, considering how poorly balanced the rules still are. Oh but we do still get plenty of wacky ideas that haven't been playtested properly, e.g. Lash of Submission.

GW needs to hire less people to write the rules just because they are "hobby guys" or whatever. (Gav I'm looking at you). And more guys who can actually do the job, balance the game and look out for loopholes, so we don't need endless rewrites and FAQs.

Oh and it's not like balanced games aren't fun. I find the Blood Bowl of today more fun than the Blood Bowl of 15 years ago simply because it's balanced. Meaning you have to rely more on tactics and less on cheesy rules.

Speaking of which, GW should really balance 40K and fantasy in much the same way as the specialist games, by using the net. Rules loopholes get spotted within minutes.

yabbadabba
04-12-2007, 16:39
For all the talk about prices and business models and such, at the end of the day this company is selling GAMES. If the GAMES suck to play (a truism for both of the flagship systems) people won't buy.


GW sells models, not games. The games are a marketing tool to sell those models. In that respect I agree, their marketing needs much improvement.

Llew
04-12-2007, 16:40
For all the talk about prices and business models and such, at the end of the day this company is selling GAMES. If the GAMES suck to play (a truism for both of the flagship systems) people won't buy.


Eh...I only partially agree. GW wants to sell miniatures, so they make games to drive miniatures sales. The problem is they try to make money off the games themselves.

Get good rules and give away the gamesystems and supplements. Use a web-centric and cheap-print model to drive frequent changes in the gameworld and use those changes to drive miniatures sales.

Boxed games are the chance to make a little money, and some of the most fun games they've done have been small-box stuff. They should do more of that, and those systems can have fun, playable rules. But to really make money, they need people to play the Big Army Games. Smaller games can be gateway drugs.

We both agree that they really, really need to improve the games. We just have different reasons why.

Rekmar
04-12-2007, 16:44
There are so many niche products (full SG range,full Fw range) that stocking everything is not practical or cost-effective.

Sorry, this isn't what I was implying. What I was getting at was that at regular times during the year, that are planned in advanced, GW stores have a weekend where they specialise in stocking products that they wouldn't normally carry.

For example in one weekend stores, say, in the north of the UK could have weekend where they have in stock loads of Forgeworld stuff which they then push for that weekend whilst the stores in the south of the UK could have BL and BI weekend where all the novels are available in stores along with Talisman etc. Then a couple of months later once the latest releases are over and done with the weekend reverses (FG for south UK and BL/BI for the north).

I'm not saying that it is perfect, but at least these products would get some coverage in store as it were, once every six months or so.

@Jedi152, Never been to that store, but the one in Bluewater is about the smallest unit size you can rent and I'm guess the floor size is 12' by 20' which is dominated by the games tables in the middle of the room which makes browsing difficult.

Aaron
04-12-2007, 16:49
I think GW's biggest problem is staff. Pay and conditions for GW staff is terrible, even for the retail sector. It's impossible to retain decent staff when the benefits are so bad.

I know a lot of very talented and enthusiastic hobbyists who have worked for GW and eventually become very disillusioned. These are staff who have made a real difference to GW's bottom line, many times greater than their salary. Mr. Kirby has mentioned many times that GW has "management issues" but these issues never seem to be addressed. Good staff keep leaving, being replaced with inexperienced new staff. The only staff who stay around for any real length of time are the incompetent and the small number who can survive earning almost minimum wage.

To put it another way - you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

GAWD
04-12-2007, 16:54
GW didn't start out as a company selling models. They started out as a company selling GAMES. They have morphed into something they were never intended to be ... a toy company.

If GW is in the business of selling models then why are they tanking? They easily got the best production capacity in the industry, and they've been turning out the over-all best mini lines over the past few years. These two facts easily justify their price points from a business perspective.

By your logic, they should be making money hand over fist, but they're not. Why? B/c the vast majority of their customer base buys their models for the express purpose of playing GAMES with them. Sure, some may pick up an odd model here and there b/c it looks cool but most people don't.

If the GAMES are crap, the models are useless (unless you want to be an utter dork and display them in your living room just for the chance to offer a 30 minute lecture on the Emporer and his myriad 3+ sv dufuses for a perspective mate).

yabbadabba
04-12-2007, 17:00
GW didn't start out as a company selling models. They started out as a company selling GAMES. They have morphed into something they were never intended to be ... a toy company.

If GW is in the business of selling models then why are they tanking? They easily got the best production capacity in the industry, and they've been turning out the over-all best mini lines over the past few years. These two facts easily justify their price points from a business perspective.

By your logic, they should be making money hand over fist, but they're not. Why? B/c the vast majority of their customer base buys their models for the express purpose of playing GAMES with them. Sure, some may pick up an odd model here and there b/c it looks cool but most people don't.

If the GAMES are crap, the models are useless (unless you want to be an utter dork and display them in your living room just for the chance to offer a 30 minute lecture on the Emporer and his myriad 3+ sv dufuses for a perspective mate).

No I am right. What drives GW's figures is the sales of models, not the games. A great example is Forgeworld. Makes loads of money selling models, not rules. A great negative example is Necromunda. For the vast majority of gamers, it is a great game they only need a few models for. They might go back and buy the odd 1 or 10 but not the 100+ needed for WFB. Hence it doesn't make enough sales to warrant the investment (the morality of this is discussed elsewhere and is not up for discussion here).

What you are right in is if the vehicle whch encourages those sales, i.e. the rules, are not written in a way to encourage customers to experiment, diversify and generally have fun and want to have more fun, then the models are just useless. By my logic, the rules are one of the reasons why GW are failing - they are not encouraging players to buy more/different models.

It doesn't matter what they used to do. They used to sell kites, should GW go back to doing that?

Gazak Blacktoof
04-12-2007, 17:05
@Jedi152, Never been to that store, but the one in Bluewater is about the smallest unit size you can rent and I'm guess the floor size is 12' by 20' which is dominated by the games tables in the middle of the room which makes browsing difficult.

That's how hobby stores always are. Sure it'd be nice to have a little more room but it doesn't feel like a real model shop till you start knocking things off the walls with your **** and you're swimming in a sea of flock.


I'd anticipate any real changes are going to take a minimum of 12 months to implement.

I agree with those saying contained games in a box are deffinitely the way to go. Its how mot of the vets got into the game often before we even knew there was a GW. The games are still fantastic and great fun.

I spend quite a lot of my gaming time playing self-contained games; arkham, tide of iron, twilight imperium, mission to mars, tanhauser, pax romana and several others. Some of them are probably unsuitable for the mass market GW would aim at considering they might take 10+ hours to complete.

EDIT: Games like these also neatly side step the issue of over stocked shelves in GW's stores because they are marketable to a wider audience. Chuck in a store list and a free WD coupon and you're set.

Llew
04-12-2007, 17:19
Companies frequently change what they do. Just because a company starts out doing one thing doesn't mean that's where they'll always be. Coca-Cola started out more as a health tonic than as a general beverage. There are probably countless examples of companies that grew, adapted and ended up differently than they started out. (In fact, I thought GW started out as a game distributor/retailer, not a game design company.)

See...games themselves will always be relatively low-profit items. This is especially true of complete boxed games. Customer makes a purchase and they walk away.

The place to really make money is by selling things to enhance the games, and expand them. If I can sell you a complete rulebook an an army book, I can get about $70 retail. And if you play with other miniatures, I haven't made much off of you. (I sometimes hear rumors that the army books are loss-leaders for GW.)

However, if I sell you a huge whack of miniatures...$200 for a boxed army, a couple additional regiment at $20 a pop, plus a few specialty command figures, I make a lot more off of you. And if you buy terrain to make your battlefield look cool, plus paints to make the miniatures look good, etc., then that's where the real money is. So their basic idea as a hobby/miniatures company is actually the wise way to take the company, and they've done that for many, many years.

The reason they're having problems is to a large extent they overvalue the models. (You can go for profit margin or volume, and they've chosen margin.) The hobby overall doesn't stack up well against other forms of entertainment on a dollar vs. time basis. And if you just want to play games, they make that very difficult: you have to spend a ton of time building, painting and assembling stuff before you have any shot at playing.

They need to use games to draw people in, then find ways to get them into the hobby. My main contention is that they've set an artificially high barrier to new customers in terms of costs in money and time, while they've cut out the traditional gateway games that got people into their system in the first place.

I wanted to play WFB for a long time, but I never started until I tried Necromunda and really liked it. Necromunda was cheap enough to lure me in and get me going. If they'd had a good, free WFB ruleset that I could have played with my old Ral Partha minis, they would have lured me in a lot faster. (To be fair, when I started the internet wasn't as prevalent, nor was printing as cheap. It's easier to switch to that model now if they were bold enough.)

GW has proven they can right some pretty elegant rules when need be. But the WFB and 40K are not those rule sets. They need to be as bold as WotC was with D&D and revise it. Keep a familiar flavor, but design a modern system for the games. They need to build a TON of different flavors (and I think the LotR system actually would adapt well to a lot of games) and draw people into the games.

They need to show some imagination to sell their toy soldiers, and they need some boldness to try new things. Both have been sorely lacking.

GAWD
04-12-2007, 17:20
@yabba: We're not really saying different things, we're complementing each other.

GW should go back to what made them. It's that simple. And, that was the rules.

Necromunda isn't that good of a game either; neither is Mordheim. Epic is at least a little doable. Blood Bowl is good. And, believe it or not, GW's historical system (basically WFB engine w/out the stupidity) isn't very bad either. GW won't do historicals though b/c there's too much competition in a license free environment, and even though historicals is okay, it pales in comparison to other available rulesets for the grognards.

The issue is simple, if they write good rules people will buy what they need to in order to play the game. Their rules completely and utter suck on their flagship systems, so they're not selling any models.

@Gazak: I have pretty much turned all my gaming time over to board games. They are infinitely better conceived than anything GW has done in the last 10 yrs. I'm currently playing Puerto Rico, Power Grid, the Command & Colors systems, Here I Stand, Arkham, and Twilight Imperium. Games like these are just much better in every aspect, than GW games.

@Llew: Their models are overpriced b/c the GAMES they're used for are horrible. I'd pay their prices for those models if the GAMES were worth playing.

Llew
04-12-2007, 17:27
I agree that they need good rules...but the rules aren't where the money is. Therefore, use the rules to suck people into your world.

And no, Necromunda wasn't a great game. But it was cheap enough that it looked like a good value to me. I bought it on the idea that WFB was just way to expensive to get started with, but Necromunda was one I could buy and be done. (I think it was $40 or $50 way back then.) It looked like a value for the money. And it was.

That got me more interested in their other products. It was the idea that if Necromunda was a good entertainment value, then maybe a game that would cost 4 or 5 times more would be 4 or 5 times more entertainment. False reasoning perhaps, but it was enough to get me started.

They currently lack the "jump-in" games, they won't fix their flagship systems and they keep raising the prices. That's not a recipe for success.

GAWD
04-12-2007, 17:31
Yes, jump-in games that represent a good value is a place to (re)start.

I'm about to launch into more rules tirades, but GW isn't really worth my time anymore ... and I don't want to hijack the thread.

Suffice it to say that the new CEO has his work cut out for him.

Gazak Blacktoof
04-12-2007, 17:41
@Gazak: I have pretty much turned all my gaming time over to board games. They are infinitely better conceived than anything GW has done in the last 10 yrs. I'm currently playing Puerto Rico, Power Grid, the Command & Colors systems, Here I Stand, Arkham, and Twilight Imperium. Games like these are just much better in every aspect, than GW games.


I'd forgotten about Here I Stand, sadly I've only played a single game so far.


I'm not sure if these games are "better" than GW games, just different. They don't engage my creative side like TTWG do.

The mechanistic elements can't really be applied to a TTWG nor is there the problem with balance, I'd argue that a game like twilight actually benefits from imbalance within the playable races because of the underhanded multiplayer scheming aspects. Imbalances within a TTWG list or with other lists in the same system can royally screw the game and the models you're trying to sell.

How many pariahs will GW have actually sold I wonder?

Maybe these imbalances in sales don't affect the overall market. Perhpas the thinking is that if there's a duff choice in a list you'll likely just buy something else for the army with your cash.

Brother Loki
04-12-2007, 17:43
Good and bad rules are entirely subjective. I don't see that the game rules are really what's holding them back in a finacial sense. I do however think they should be looking at a wider range of 'entry' style products - along the lines of Heroquest and Space Crusade, sold in a wider range of outlets.

Bugstomper
04-12-2007, 17:53
From my own gaming groups experience over the last 20 years of playing GW, we found the specialist games to be the release when we got bored of the main system. WH and WH40k don't have a great deal of variety when you play them all the time, especially the current version compared to 1st and 2nd ed, so we always found that the specialist games, space hulk, necromunda, gorkamorka etc kept us in the hobby until we were ready to play the longer 'serious' versions again.

We still play space hulk a lot, but the other specialist games are too specialist now and unsupported in the magazine so i don't see something new each month making me go "oo lets have a game of that!".

This, for me, is what GW is missing. Pricing is an issue to an extent, but new games/rules/scenarios are what keeps me interested, yes we could write our own but i don't have the time or inclination to bother, i'd rather pay GW to do it but it seems they don't want my money.

Sarevok
04-12-2007, 17:56
Models are what's going to attract you initially, but what keeps you there? The game. If the game's fun you keep playing. You don't want customers who just buy toys because they are pretty, because then why shouldn't they buy pretty toys from other places?
You've gotta get them addicted to your particular brand, so you need things like rules (and fluff).


Good and bad rules are entirely subjective. I don't see that the game rules are really what's holding them back in a finacial sense.

Well, for one, poorly written rules that require constant rewrites and FAQs will cost the company time and money.

redbaron998
04-12-2007, 18:17
I must disagree with anyone who thinks GW should shut down WFB or LOTR, because both games are pulling in a very decent profit. The problem with GW has never truly been about its games but its managment. If you look back over the history of 40k and WHFB both rules are generally better, and are still slightly improving, are they perfect? No, but they are both good and improving.

Things like GW keeping lose making stores and thier growth to quickly from the LOTR bubble is what messed GW up, they started to live beyond thier means. Now they are coming back closer to where they are supposed to be.

Zowy
04-12-2007, 20:21
I am a boxed set junky from olden days. They are what got me to play the core games and -buy- more models and rules books, than I normally would have for a game system.

It comes down to value for money, in late 80s / 90s I bought alot of boxed sets for the "total" package. Rules + models + playing bits ( maps / board sections, ect. ) This is only some of the suff I bought and spent the last 20+ years painting and playing.

Silent Death .. an ok space combat game boxed set with lots of ships.
Battletech .. a good boxed starter set with lots of mechs.
Legions of Steel .. only a soso game, but had floor board sections and lots of metal models.
Clan War / Legendend of the Five Rings .. Very nice metal models.
WarZone / Blood Berets .. 2nd ED boxed set and mini game boxed sets, I like this game and spent $300+ USD buying extra rule books and metal models. I would be playing this game today if there was enough intrest in my area, to overcome the death of UWZ. I have 4 full armies.
WarMachine .. Good metal starter sets and what the GW haters in my area play when not doing RPGs and collectable card / click games. I have 3 armies.

As for GW I own 70%+ of the boxed sets they put out from the late 80s, onwards. Most of them have been good value for the money, even if the rules for some of them have been bad I could still use the models. Over the years I have spend $4000+ USD on GW items. This is more than all my other game buys, includeing RPGs and CCGs put together.

GWs 3 core games, with the rest in 3ish year release cycles and then into specialist games would be fine, if they promoted SG more / at all. They need to update the core game FAQs badly. Get the missing SG rule set PDFs put up online, especialy the ones for Gorkamorka in some form to tie in with the new WH40K Orc model line / Codex oncomeing green tide.

The new Mighty Empires boxed set shows they are willing to still do stuff that ties into the core game systems. They need more "starter" boxed set games to get people into the core games and give them a break from them allso. Something they could get into WalMart / toy stores would be great. But it would be nice if they rereleased some older games like ...

Man o'War / Sea of Blood / Plague Fleet
Advanced Space Crusade / Space Hulk / Tyranid attack / Doom of the Eldar
Heroquest / Advanced Heroquest
Warhammer Quest ( this was a GREAT boxed set )
A new Epic boxed set ( Epic 40K was bad, but I loved Titan Legions )

A boxed game set with models that you could use in the core games would sell the best. Space Hulk and Warhammer Quest are high on peoples list of boxed sets they wish where still for sale new and not just on EBay. Both for the models, rules and floor board sections. They where very good value for money boxes. New version even if they had fewer models should still sell well.

Over all GW needs to take a few risks. Give better value for money vs other types of entertanment. Reach back into thier older game systems and -use- them in some form. WD needs to be more than just one big ad., with a few bad battle reports and reprints of how to paint stuff. More word count and mini-games, promoteing SG games that tie in with the core games, ect. Starter game boxed sets, that tie into their core games ( BfSP and BfM do not cut it as stand alone starter games, they are intro model sets with a core rule book ) . The upcomeing MMORGP, in the WF seting will be good for the bottom line. But they need to use it to help bring people into the TT games with promotions of some sort.

I think they are fearfull of anything that will take away $ or attention from the 3 core games. So I honestly don't see them doing much at all to promote / rerelease old or SG boxed sets, game systems. If we are very lucky, we might see a new Space Hulk or Warhammer quest boxed set with around 1/2 the model count of the old ones.

But untill they update the FAQs for the core games and put the 2 ( we wont tell you waht they are ) game PDFs up on the SG site. I will not be holding my breath for much if any change in the way GW runs things.
i.e. "we sell models not games"

Pleasurepain
04-12-2007, 21:01
No I am right. What drives GW's figures is the sales of models, not the games. A great example is Forgeworld. Makes loads of money selling models, not rules. A great negative example is Necromunda. For the vast majority of gamers, it is a great game they only need a few models for. They might go back and buy the odd 1 or 10 but not the 100+ needed for WFB. Hence it doesn't make enough sales to warrant the investment (the morality of this is discussed elsewhere and is not up for discussion here).

What you are right in is if the vehicle whch encourages those sales, i.e. the rules, are not written in a way to encourage customers to experiment, diversify and generally have fun and want to have more fun, then the models are just useless. By my logic, the rules are one of the reasons why GW are failing - they are not encouraging players to buy more/different models.

Your point is a good one regarding more profitable games and less profitable ones. Where that falls down slightly is that while the concept is always valid to some degree, it is completely valid only when you have infinite customers, finite production and all customer purchasing decisions are completely independent. At the other end of the scale, it becomes irrelevant where customers are very finite in relation to your production capacity or, more likely, where strong dependencies between purchasing decisions exist. Examples of that end of the scale might be restaurants: food makes next to no profit, while the money is in the wine (and turning from a restaurant into an off-license/liquor store/bottle shop(delete in relation to home country) to focus exclusively on the higher profit wine won't earn you more profit!). Similarly in cinemas with profit margins on ticket prices versus popcorn prices.

The question is then: how far along that scale does Games Workshop lie, and how much can they therefore afford to focus on "higher profit" lines at the expense of "lower profit" ones? I would argue that the current business relies fairly heavily on selling not the product so much, but the idea of the company itself "the GW hobby", and that pushes you up the cinema/restaurant end of things.

Gaebriel
04-12-2007, 21:02
On the "selling models" vs. "selling games" thing -

I don't know how high an appeal their models would have if they sold them without the games. While most of their models have a high standard, most are also 'wrapped into' their game systems - so specialised and not too generic.

Also, if they didn't sell their game systems but just the models, they would open themselves to a much more direct competition, because they couldn't rely on the only official models with our games (at our places) policies.

So I think their game systems are an essential part of their business model - and thus a part that will to a degree be responsible for the numbers of models sold. I do think there are people who were driven away by the shoddy written game systems (some more, some less).

At least a part of their business model I wouldn't underestimate.

Actually I would be interested to know some numbers of customers using
GW models with GW systems,
GW models with other systems,
other models with GW systems,
to be able to judge the tie-in and general appeal of the different aspects of GW products.

Then with game systems having become easier to being developed, produced and distrubuted these days, they are under constant 'attack' from a changing environment that is likely to introduce new and exciting aspects every year. With GW's apparent conservativeness to change things, they will have to fight against innovation again and again - leading to labels like 'outdated' then and now.

Sure, changing the core of their game systems is a risk, but as it seems, staying where they are is no mean risk either...

Designing a clear game system isn't that complicated, if the task is put into the right hands. Even redesigning the existing system shouldn't be that complex.

But well, I guess they are still not at the point where drastic measures are needed. Perhaps they can swing the boat around using their traditional ways. Or they can downsize to a sustainable size.

Hellebore
04-12-2007, 22:33
But we are still a percentage of that customer base. A good leader of a commercial company should create a business model that provides for ALL customers, be they forum-posting nerds or the bloke on the highstreet.

Man if you have the knowhow to make a business popular with ALL its customers, tell me so I can sell it to people and make a gagillion yen.

Seriously, if business had figured out how to please all the people all the time, half the Internet wouldn't exist.

Hellebore

Thoth62
04-12-2007, 22:39
Man if you have the knowhow to make a business popular with ALL its customers, tell me so I can sell it to people and make a gagillion yen.

Seriously, if business had figured out how to please all the people all the time, half the Internet wouldn't exist.

Hellebore

Quoted for truth. No matter how good you are, you can never please all of the people all of the time.

Only time will tell whether this was a good move or not, but at this point, I willing to think that it was.

Hellebore
04-12-2007, 23:28
It's the 'Now, Perfect, Free' system of fan socioeconomic expectations (TM Hellebore). :p

People want their products:

Right Now, not in the future
Completely Perfect
Absolutely Free

Screw with any of the above, and it affects all the others. If it's FREE, it won't be perfect and won't be out straight away..

Make it perfect and it won't be out for a while and will cost a lot.

Hellebore

violenceha
04-12-2007, 23:42
I want my products fun and sexy, will this new GW management cater to me?

Llew
05-12-2007, 01:13
Man if you have the knowhow to make a business popular with ALL its customers...
Hellebore

Most businesses please the vast majority of their customers and do things to try to draw in new people who aren't already their customers and turn them *into* customers. In fact, businesses that do a bad job of pleasing all their customers go out of business, usually in short order.

No business can please everyone all the time. But that's not what we're discussing here. If a business can't please a large chunk of its traditional customer base, it is in dire straits.

GW has alienated a decent portion of its customer base that used to be loyal, purchasing customers. That's a problem and hopefully one that the new CEO will help solve.

Llew
05-12-2007, 01:27
It's the 'Now, Perfect, Free' system of fan socioeconomic expectations (TM Hellebore). :p

People want their products:

Right Now, not in the future
Completely Perfect
Absolutely Free

Screw with any of the above, and it affects all the others. If it's FREE, it won't be perfect and won't be out straight away..

Make it perfect and it won't be out for a while and will cost a lot.

Hellebore

People want products when they want them. If people hear of a product
and *aren't* excited and want it as soon as possible, chances are the company may need to rethink the product. I think GW does really well with releasing good miniatures and some of their terrain products lately have been good. I think they fall down when they talk about rules system revisions and they aren't bold enough.

People recognize that nothing is completely perfect. However, they want improvements made with each revision and a system for addressing glaring problems. Most successful companies do this with things called "R&D", "editing" and "customer service". Compare GW's customer service when they mispack an order and contrast that with their customer service when they write an unclear rule.

Most people are perfectly willing to pay money for a product, and they will pay in proportion to the quality of the product. Only when the price vs. value starts to be out of proportion is there a problem. Personally, as a veteran, GW isn't issuing products that I must have anymore...not at the current prices. ($10 for a small hunk of metal when they can sell other small hunks of metal of similar size for $4 just makes it obvious that one of these is being overpriced to me.) And for new clients they have a really high entry cost to start participating.

GW's problem isn't that it isn't all here now, utterly perfect and free. They have systematically cut out the old, effective ways to draw in new players, found ways to alienate a significant number of long-time players, and avoided any new or creative thinking to attract new players while keeping a ruleset that is crippled by bad decisions made in the past and by the inability of the current writers to adequately playtest what they create.

That said, they're not hopeless. LotR as a game system is a great, simple, flavorful skirmish system and one of the best examples of a game system reflecting the cinematic style of the movies. I took a while to get into it, but it's utterly brilliant and the subtlety and complexity is woven into the gameplay, not the special rules for a given unit. GW was freed up to think of something new and they did a great job. They need to put that same freshness of vision to work on their old lines.

At this point, they should have no sacred cows.

brother malthius
05-12-2007, 01:41
I think they fall down when they talk about rules system revisions and they aren't bold enough.

The only real, obvious difference, to me at least, between 6E and 7E is that ranks are in base 5 now instead of base 4. So now you have to go out and buy an extra blister per rank (assuming they still make them *looks in Empire Knights direction*).

On the subject of rules, two thoughts:
One, they have no real incentive to substantially fix the rules. Why? Because some people (like myself until recently) will buy an army, get it painted and ready to go, only to play a few games and realize they don't like the way the army plays. Feeling frustrated at not being able to get the hang of the army, these people will decide the army is not for them, then go out and buy ANOTHER army. Only to find out that, again, there are lots of holes in the army rules. At this point, people with less money than sense will go ahead and just play the damned faulty army they have. In otherwords, GW may be able to squeeze an extra three hundred dollars out of someone just because that person thinks the problem is with their particular army.

Secondly, PP posts a playable, but limited, form of their rules in PDF format on their website. Free. This way, you can preview the rules, without having to stand in a GW store and have some zitty guy trying to sell you a box of plastic. You can play a game with your loving and patient wife using card-board cutouts and test drive the game. Maybe if you like it, you can go out and buy some miniatures (which, I might add, have the relevent rules INCLUDED with the 20 bucks you just spent) and play some more. When you feel like you want to commit to this game, you buy the book, see they have active, ongoing, and free support for their games and they've just made a customer. (regarding PP games, the only reason I don't play them is the fluff is boring and I can't make up my own army like I can with WH)

But I really hope this new guy can turn things around. As much as I hate business people, if this suit actually IS a gamer, then we might just be ok.

ps: Space Hulk was the pot to my WHFB heroin. God I miss that game.

Hellebore
05-12-2007, 01:45
No business can please everyone all the time. But that's not what we're discussing here. If a business can't please a large chunk of its traditional customer base, it is in dire straits.

GW has alienated a decent portion of its customer base that used to be loyal, purchasing customers. That's a problem and hopefully one that the new CEO will help solve.

But it doesn't NEED to please a large chunk of its 'existing' fanbase - if that fanbase is too high maintenence.

Why not get rid of them and raise a new one on their modern image?

I mean, it's not like the people that like Fords from the 40's are necessarily interested in the Fords of 21st Century - companies change, and so does their fanbase.

On the one hand people want GW to be bold and decisive, but on the other don't want them to change.

Perhaps GW IS being bold and decisive by getting rid of its complaining old fanbase and replacing it with a fanbase that doesn't sit grumping about the Golden Days.

GW is where it is, not where it was, and it seems intent on staying there. Thus the fans of yesteryear are not going to like it.


Hellebore

Llew
05-12-2007, 04:23
Why not get rid of them and raise a new one on their modern image?

Okay...let's play with that theory for a second. (And we'll ignore all the business research and theory that says companies spend far less retaining and selling to existing customers than finding and grooming new ones.)

GW, in a time when many entertainment choices are getting more engaging and cheaper on a $$/hour of fun basis, has continually raised prices and taken away most of the cheap options for getting into their games. So the modern image, from what we're seeing, is a fan with no prior experience or interest in gaming who is willing and excited to spend several hundred dollars and many hours of preparation time to play a game that few to none of their friends play or have any interest in.

You're right. That sounds like a stellar business model.


On the one hand people want GW to be bold and decisive, but on the other don't want them to change.

I want them to be bold and decisive and make massive changes. The areas where they have problems is that they have been habitually raising prices over a couple decades. They have made a LOT of changes from the company I thought was fabulous. I used to be able to go into my local gamestore and choose from a whole pile of GW games. I can now choose from 40k, WFB and LotR. The basic sets are decent values, but I think the old shotgun spray of variety has a lot more chance to pull in new gamers.

What they need to do is resurrect ideas that worked, then expand on them. The ideas they seem most fond of (5-year new 'editions' of the games that would barely merit a '.' in software, followed by the re-write of army books, with the inevitable power creep, then a new edition to fix all the problems they intentionally introduced, plus periodic price increases to try to increase revenue) seem to be doing rather poorly.

The LotR license was a wonderful thing, and they did well with it. I'd say getting that was a bold and creative move, and I applaud it. But the downside is that it camouflaged how badly they were doing in building a sustainable business for the long haul.


Perhaps GW IS being bold and decisive by getting rid of its complaining old fanbase and replacing it with a fanbase that doesn't sit grumping about the Golden Days.

The new fanbase also seems to not buy a lot of product. Unless of course you think that it was newbs who bought the Baneblade kits. When I'm looking for customers, I'll take spending complainers over non-spending acquiescent customers. That's just me though. I have this wierd idea that companies actually want to make money, not just do what is comfortable for them.

Of course, the entire Apocalypse program flies counter to your argument. (It's also an example of something that probably has a good short-term benefit, but won't cure them in the long term. It's a small bone thrown to vets who want to play with bigger stuff.)


GW is where it is, not where it was, and it seems intent on staying there. Thus the fans of yesteryear are not going to like it.


If by "staying there" you mean "watching their sales continually erode like the Carolina coastline" I think you're right. Many of the fans of yesteryear saw a GW that appeared to have amazing creativity and a huge store of potential. It's a very different company now, and the sad thing is that it is utterly avoidable.

Jedi152
05-12-2007, 08:09
@Jedi152, Never been to that store, but the one in Bluewater is about the smallest unit size you can rent and I'm guess the floor size is 12' by 20' which is dominated by the games tables in the middle of the room which makes browsing difficult.
Derby's actually larger than that i think, but as you say, the major problem is that gaming table takes up a ton of room and you always have to squeeze past the people round it.

Gaebriel
05-12-2007, 11:26
...
Perhaps GW IS being bold and decisive by getting rid of its complaining old fanbase and replacing it with a fanbase that doesn't sit grumping about the Golden Days.

GW is where it is, not where it was, and it seems intent on staying there. Thus the fans of yesteryear are not going to like it.
...
The current era's entertainment of GW's chosen very young target market is nowhere the same as it was 10-15 years ago, the age the 'old guard' stems from. With the base of their games rooted a decade ago, it will appeal less to the newer customer than the established ones. Perhaps craft-intensive miniature games do not cut it compared to video games and their like, at least for the newer customer.

So perhaps GW are bold in what they are doing now - trying to cater to the newer crowd, and alienating the older. But if, they are doing a bad job with it. It seems like they are at a crossroads and have problems deciding which way to go - if they really wanted to go with a shift towards newer customers, they should cut out all that (rules-wise) ballast and start over - LotR has shown impressively that a game cleanly designed from scratch can be of an amazing quality.

Hlokk
05-12-2007, 11:38
People have mentioned a lot about the GW computergames being flogged in stores. Is there any reason they couldn't do the same for things like WFRP and all UFS Black flame card system? That way, you have something to appeal to the computer market, the TT market and the RPG market.

Anyway, besides this new guy working for boots, do we actually know anything about him as in past sucesses/failures and so on?

Brandir
05-12-2007, 12:38
The new CEO has been with GW since 2000. But, as is the case with these directors, they do tend to collect directorships like I collect toy soldiers.

Hena
05-12-2007, 13:51
GW, in a time when many entertainment choices are getting more engaging and cheaper on a $$/hour of fun basis, has continually raised prices and taken away most of the cheap options for getting into their games. So the modern image, from what we're seeing, is a fan with no prior experience or interest in gaming who is willing and excited to spend several hundred dollars and many hours of preparation time to play a game that few to none of their friends play or have any interest in.

You're right. That sounds like a stellar business model.
This is mainly the reason why GW should make the older boxed sets available. Heroquest, Space Crusade, Space Hulk and so forth. Only they should put the minis in them as prepaints. Also they should push them out to general stores as well.

Why? So that anyone can pick the box and start playing immediately. If they want better minis and/or paint them themselves, they can go to GW and buy 40k/WFB equivalents. Prepaints are good for the pick-up-and-play model. But main games should not embark on that route.

OrlyggJafnakol
05-12-2007, 14:33
Why? So that anyone can pick the box and start playing immediately. If they want better minis and/or paint them themselves, they can go to GW and buy 40k/WFB equivalents. Prepaints are good for the pick-up-and-play model. But main games should not embark on that route.

I am of the 'more the merrier' gamer ilk, especially after the release of Talisman, and couldn't agree more. I would love to see the return of old favourites and new titles simply because I love to play games with my family of an evening... Pre-paints or no pre-paints. I don't think that is important for such games, its the fun in playing and wanting to play again. No-one grumbles that monopoly pieces or chessmen are not painted.

Stuart-GreatEscapeGames
05-12-2007, 16:19
People have mentioned a lot about the GW computergames being flogged in stores. Is there any reason they couldn't do the same for things like WFRP and all UFS Black flame card system? That way, you have something to appeal to the computer market, the TT market and the RPG market.

Anyway, besides this new guy working for boots, do we actually know anything about him as in past sucesses/failures and so on?

Well, Boots was in a terrible state in 2000! Mark Wells believes in higher and higher prices.

Crazy Harborc
05-12-2007, 21:43
Well, Boots was in a terrible state in 2000! Mark Wells believes in higher and higher prices.

Well then.......he will fit right in.:angel: If past rumors of Kirby's golden parachute as head of GW are true...NOT bouncing him out the door is a good thing.;)

Hellebore
06-12-2007, 00:57
Okay...let's play with that theory for a second. (And we'll ignore all the business research and theory that says companies spend far less retaining and selling to existing customers than finding and grooming new ones.)

GW, in a time when many entertainment choices are getting more engaging and cheaper on a $$/hour of fun basis, has continually raised prices and taken away most of the cheap options for getting into their games. So the modern image, from what we're seeing, is a fan with no prior experience or interest in gaming who is willing and excited to spend several hundred dollars and many hours of preparation time to play a game that few to none of their friends play or have any interest in.

You're right. That sounds like a stellar business model.


When did I ever say it was a good or reasonable thing to do? What I said was that they are free to do this, and there is nothing stopping them.

Just because the 'older gamers' don't like it means nothing.



I want them to be bold and decisive and make massive changes. The areas where they have problems is that they have been habitually raising prices over a couple decades. They have made a LOT of changes from the company I thought was fabulous. I used to be able to go into my local gamestore and choose from a whole pile of GW games. I can now choose from 40k, WFB and LotR. The basic sets are decent values, but I think the old shotgun spray of variety has a lot more chance to pull in new gamers.


Then you want them to be smaller. The problem as I see it is they are a niche industry trying to be mainstream. Back in the days of yore when I started (1993) they were smaller, and their production schedule was longer. They've created a demand which has meant they either have to increase their prices to keep up with it, or they have to lose the custom.

It's not as simple as people seem to make it - the business has gotten bigger, which means its dynamics have changed. GW back in 93 was small (but still bigger than everyone else) with a smaller staff, fewer production facilities and fewer overheads in general. Their whole business was much slower.

But I've seen over the last couple of years an insatiable demand I NEVER saw back in 93. Because GW increased its output, fans increased their demand. The thing is, the two aren't equal. Suddenly stuff was coming out more regularly, and people wanted more and more. The demand became exponential, but the output didn't.



What they need to do is resurrect ideas that worked, then expand on them. The ideas they seem most fond of (5-year new 'editions' of the games that would barely merit a '.' in software, followed by the re-write of army books, with the inevitable power creep, then a new edition to fix all the problems they intentionally introduced, plus periodic price increases to try to increase revenue) seem to be doing rather poorly.


Assuming that ideas that worked for small companies will work for larger ones, which it may not. I just don't think it is this simple - too many variables have changed.



The new fanbase also seems to not buy a lot of product. Unless of course you think that it was newbs who bought the Baneblade kits. When I'm looking for customers, I'll take spending complainers over non-spending acquiescent customers. That's just me though. I have this wierd idea that companies actually want to make money, not just do what is comfortable for them.


As I said, I never made a single judgement call on what I said, all I was implying is that just because you as a long time customer think the company should look after you, doesn't mean they will or even should. Yours is not the only way to do things (which includes going bankrupt).



Of course, the entire Apocalypse program flies counter to your argument. (It's also an example of something that probably has a good short-term benefit, but won't cure them in the long term. It's a small bone thrown to vets who want to play with bigger stuff.)


I never MADE an argument - I simply said there were alternatives to your 'support the grognards' plan, whether they are good in your eyes or not has nothing to do with what GW will or will not implement. They can go in any direction they want, so being self righteous that your vision of how they should do business is the 'right' one for them is wrong.



If by "staying there" you mean "watching their sales continually erode like the Carolina coastline" I think you're right. Many of the fans of yesteryear saw a GW that appeared to have amazing creativity and a huge store of potential. It's a very different company now, and the sad thing is that it is utterly avoidable.

Your opinion. Many of the fans had different expectations 15 years ago to those they have now - I know I never 'expected' a half dozen plastic kits for a release, but now everyone whinges when the next release doesn't have 7 plasitc kits instead of 6.

Everyone was happy with one version of a unit 15 years ago, no one expected GW to throw them out and sculpt an entire new line. Now fans want whole lines and units resculpted and released at the drop of a hat.

This isn't cheap, and the demand for a niche product is not high enough for them to do it with the size the company is.

If people want them to go back to yesteryear, then they should be happy with them shrinking to a 10th their size and slowling production down massively. Plastics will fade into the background and metals will reemerge.

Oh yes, metals. Big difference between them and plastics. But now everyone demands plastics, and lots of them.

It's GW's fault for creating the need, and it's there fault for being unable to fill that need. But it is a lot different to producing 3 different metal poses for a unit and being done like almost every unit in WFB was 15 years ago.

Hellebore

Reinholt
06-12-2007, 01:09
But it doesn't NEED to please a large chunk of its 'existing' fanbase - if that fanbase is too high maintenence.

Why not get rid of them and raise a new one on their modern image?


I don't mean to be disparaging, but that would be a terrible idea virtually guaranteed to sink GW.

First - it is almost always cheaper (barring situations involving major lawsuits) to keep current customers than it is to recruit new ones. The most successful companies tend to make sure to cater to the existing base because that is where the most profit for the least effort can be derived.

Secondly, what does 'high maintenance' here have to do with a company's profit margins? I doubt GW is spending time babysitting their players; if by high maintenance you mean that the customers demand a quality product worth spending money on, then if GW can't handle that, they should close up shop, sell everything off, and give their money back to their investors.

The whole point of a company is to produce things worth buying!


Perhaps GW IS being bold and decisive by getting rid of its complaining old fanbase and replacing it with a fanbase that doesn't sit grumping about the Golden Days.

Replacement would imply they were seeing increased sales elsewhere; they are not. The objective reality is that sales are going down. This is not replacement.

This is loss.

That, fundamentally, is why Kirby is out. As the CEO, the pound/buck stops with you on generating an adequate return on capital / equity / whatever metric you want to use. He did not achieve that. He got bounced.

More to the point, you see GW declining while other forms of entertainment (and let's be more specific - relatively geeky entertainment) are booming. The guys at Blizzard have a swimming pool filled with cash that they dive into during lunch. Valve's office is made entirely out of gold. Even CCG's had a pretty good run for a while.

GW's problems are hardly insurmountable, but the biggest changes that need to occur are not to the product (though some of those would help). The product is just a red herring in this debate, in many ways.

Hellebore
06-12-2007, 01:22
I don't mean to be disparaging, but that would be a terrible idea virtually guaranteed to sink GW.

First - it is almost always cheaper (barring situations involving major lawsuits) to keep current customers than it is to recruit new ones. The most successful companies tend to make sure to cater to the existing base because that is where the most profit for the least effort can be derived.

Secondly, what does 'high maintenance' here have to do with a company's profit margins? I doubt GW is spending time babysitting their players; if by high maintenance you mean that the customers demand a quality product worth spending money on, then if GW can't handle that, they should close up shop, sell everything off, and give their money back to their investors.

The whole point of a company is to produce things worth buying!



Replacement would imply they were seeing increased sales elsewhere; they are not. The objective reality is that sales are going down. This is not replacement.

This is loss.

That, fundamentally, is why Kirby is out. As the CEO, the pound/buck stops with you on generating an adequate return on capital / equity / whatever metric you want to use. He did not achieve that. He got bounced.

More to the point, you see GW declining while other forms of entertainment (and let's be more specific - relatively geeky entertainment) are booming. The guys at Blizzard have a swimming pool filled with cash that they dive into during lunch. Valve's office is made entirely out of gold. Even CCG's had a pretty good run for a while.

GW's problems are hardly insurmountable, but the biggest changes that need to occur are not to the product (though some of those would help). The product is just a red herring in this debate, in many ways.

See my above post.

I never said I believed OR thought that was what GW was doing, my entire thrust was that just because the grognards don't like it doesn't mean GW have to do anything for them.

Despite what people think, they aren't important and their opinion doesn't matter (that doesn't stop you having one of course) unless they are the head of or a shareholder in GW.

GW can do whatever the hell they like, ignoring veterans being one of them.

This isn't Heroes - Save the Veterans, save GW.

Hellebore

Reinholt
06-12-2007, 01:34
See my above post.

I never said I believed OR thought that was what GW was doing, my entire thrust was that just because the grognards don't like it doesn't mean GW have to do anything for them.

Despite what people think, they aren't important and their opinion doesn't matter (that doesn't stop you having one of course) unless they are the head of or a shareholder in GW.

GW can do whatever the hell they like, ignoring veterans being one of them.

This isn't Heroes - Save the Veterans, save GW.

Hellebore

If all the veterans walk in disgust, however, GW has a huge problem.

Either they can sell much less product, or they can spend a huge amount of money (which they currently don't have) trying to recruit new gamers and, without a developed network, failing to retain them.

Good corporations listen to their good customers. They have to. The good customers drive revenue. "Ignore the people buying your products and do whatever the hell you want" is not a successful business strategy.

That is not to say they need to listen to the exact message; they probably don't, though in some cases, maybe they should. Not all, though... most players here are not fit to be game designers, sculptors, etc. That is, however, to say that they need to listen to the thrust of the message and the motivation behind it. "We want regiments that have legal number of guys to field in our boxes!" and "Hey, how about you actually put the freaking stuff on the sprue that the codex says we can use?" are probably things to consider.

Saying customers don't matter (see bold above) is wrong; customers do matter. Without customers, you don't have a business, and if they want things that you should be able to deliver, you'd better give it to them before someone else does and you lose them. GW is getting their head handed to them in the market right now because they can't figure that out, and other companies can.

Rikens
06-12-2007, 01:42
To be fair GW is getting better at putting stuff in the boxes that players need in their games. Take the new Orks for example. One box gives you all you need for a basic mob. Three boxes gives you all you need for a maxed out mob of 30. Likewise with Space Marines: You get a choice of all the special weapons in the Tactical box and spare heavy weapons in the Devastator box.

Hellebore
06-12-2007, 02:03
Saying customers don't matter (see bold above) is wrong; customers do matter. Without customers, you don't have a business, and if they want things that you should be able to deliver, you'd better give it to them before someone else does and you lose them. GW is getting their head handed to them in the market right now because they can't figure that out, and other companies can.

Customers matter to the company in that they buy their product, but that doesn't mean ALL customers matter.

It is this notion that being a veteran gives you rights and privileges that I'm arguing against. GW may decide that a transient customer base is the best way to go in the current state.

All I'm saying is that there is no guarantee that being a veteran matters in the slightest.

Apart from which, if the directors want to run the company into the ground then they WON'T care what their customers want.

There is money to be made in bankrupting companies...

Hellebore

Llew
06-12-2007, 02:07
As I said, I never made a single judgement call on what I said, all I was implying is that just because you as a long time customer think the company should look after you, doesn't mean they will or even should. Yours is not the only way to do things (which includes going bankrupt).


I never MADE an argument - I simply said there were alternatives to your 'support the grognards' plan...
Hellebore

If after reading my posts, you think I am in any way a 'Support the grognards' (STG) guy, you haven't paid attention.

I routinely come down on the side of pre-paints as an intro to the game. Personally...make a kit of snap-together space marines, cast in a pretty blue plastic with white or gold stick-in shoulder emblems. Give me some McFarlane toys of Tyranids and marines, and fantasy Orcs and High Elves. (Heck...some kids may even get confused and buy them because they thought they were for WoW.) And if you can't keep up with all the production yourself? Then license some of it out!

In a time when the competition for gaming dollars is getting intense, GW is making it tougher for anyone to bother to start.

The fact is, there is room for a company that supports hardcore, wasted old-timers. There is room for kiddie toys. (WizKids, anyone?) There is room for piles of simple games and outlets where they can be sold. And there are plenty of ways for a single business to provide all of those products, get reasonable cross-over among the customers and perhaps become much larger. But GW's current (apparent) plan is not it.

Make products that I can buy for my son...and his young cousins or even a friend at school. Kids can talk their parents into eventually buying them hundreds of dollars of a card game. But if the price tag to start was $200, Pokemon would have never become a hit. The low entry price lures customers in. You can buy a starter deck for throwaway money and then find out you really like it. Or, you hate it and stop, but at least you bought something.

Apocalypse is STG thinking. STG thinking keeps them from updating their systems. STG thinking is destructive and guaranteed to kill the company off. Couple this with their unwillingness to let anyone get a crack at their IP and produce products and make money off them and you have a company that claims to want to be a big international, but is carefully building a small walled compound and topping it with concertina wire.

It's easy to point to their troubles as being caused by disgruntled old-timers. However, a lot of the old timers are saying, "I never would have started if not for [game GW no longer produces or supports]." They have systematically killed all their entry-level products because they weren't leading them into the core games the way they thought.

And to an extent, they were right. They said, "Of the people who buy game 'x', most only spend y dollars and only z percent go on to our other games." It looked like a resource drain. Not everyone who bought, say, Man o' War, got into other GW games.

But I guarantee some people who never would have played any war games got started because of one of those smaller, cheaper, easier-to-start games. They ignored how many customers they never would have gotten if it weren't for the boxed games. (One friend hated GW and never would have played anything, but then he saw a game about football...and he now has 4 full armies, plus tons of other boxed games and minis.)

I'm hoping that the new CEO will look at their strategies and notice the real failings. I'm hoping that a once-great company (that still has tons of untapped potential) will not dwindle away just because they couldn't be creative enough.

So, while I'm harshly critical of GW, I'll give the new guy a chance to impress me. But now he's in the unenviable position of not trying to expand my purchases, but instead win them back.


EDIT: <GW may decide that a transient customer base is the best way to go in the current state.>
I think they absolutely need to get some transient customers. But everything they've done actually makes it tougher to get transient customers in the first place.

Zowy
06-12-2007, 03:00
One problem GW has with with a transient customer base for models, is of course EBay. There is a huge number of listings for used GW products there, on top of the bitz and discount sellers. Many younger players tend to sell all their stuff when they stop playing ( for whatever reason ). It is the old farts like me, that tend to build and paint a new army or 2 every year that hang onto our models untill we die :)
We allso tend to buy the more pricey new stuff to add to whatever armies we allready have. After a certain point the boxed set models just become fodder for the bitz box to do conversions with. So haveing a few entry level boxed set games, will not cut into the sales of core game models, but add to it.
Space Hulk would be the best tie in game for 40K. With that and the BfM box a new player has the core of 2 armies, at a very good value for their money. They will then spend an extra $200-$300 USD, for 2 or more codex books, MC, tanks, ect. That will get them 2 very good armies with enough of an investment in time and money, they might stick around ........

Arkzein
06-12-2007, 03:18
Interesting how all these turn into a thread about how GW should go. ;) Would have to admit myself though that I hope this is more than just a signal to shareholders and the business world that things are going to change and a turnaround is coming, but that this is in fact what is going to happen. However it seems less likely with the exact same makup of directors at just a new head at the front.

Anyway my views are in line with a lot of what has been said. I too recall the days of seeing Warhammer products in a lot more places getting exposure and entry level was much more attractive. I too agree they need to find another direction, either "new" products for the existing market (ie bring back a specialist games or a new core game), but preferably new products in a new market. Breaking into the mainstream which seems to be the goal at the moment screams, to me at least, boardgames, toys, pre-painted plastics. Keep their IP, make it themselves even, but expand out. Look at the sucess they have had (eventually admittedly) with computer gaming and LoTR (which was a mix of new and old) They did try existing products in new markets as well (asia, europe) but seems that growth has faltered somewhat. I actually love seeing their books in WH Smith, their Games in Game, I would also love to see toys in Argos. Hell, costumes for halloween in Pound Strecther or a cartoon show, anything! Expand the brand. (However perhaps this is looked upon as dilution by those at the top)

However with the position they're in I can't see this happening any time soon, likely it'll be all about stabilisation and setting things straight for now. In hindsight, such a wonderful thing, the investment with the massive LoTR growth was ill spent in my personal opinion. Unless I'm mistaken this mostly went into expanding production, technology and infrastructure (US factories etc.) to meet the expected demand increase which, to be fair had been steady in the years previously and seemed to be soaring with the LoTR license taking the other games to vastly increased numbers of people. (Honestly, with so many newcomers to LoTR it wasn't a mad leap to assume they'd be introduced to miniature gaming and stay on for the other core games, yet this seems to be the main thing people pound GW for thinking. Perhaps it turned out most were existing customers who, after the inital large spend on the game, went back to spending the same amount of cash now spread over three core games rather than two) This never happened, when the bubble burst most simply left leaving the company with comparable sales to before but vastly increased costs and overheads. Look at the difference to the pre and post LoTR figures. IIRC there was an increase of about Ģ20 million, without that things would still be fine (for a time anyway) even with the fall sales of the remaining core games.

Anyway, I'm no professional analyst and not silly enough to think those at the top have no idea what they're doing. Had things went differently and the projected increases came through we'd be Praising Tom Kirby's foresight in his investment as it would have set things up perfectly for further growth.

As it stands I believe the remaining core games are at the end of their life cycle, still profitable but unlikely to have much growth (This is why the focus on international expansion was made I feel, growth by new markets) and little can be done in the current situation but to try and sure them up and make the company profitable again. After that I would love to see them expand their IP (which *is* still robust) into other areas. Novels and Computer games have been a great start and personally I'd look at the children's market now. Not even for the "hook em young with toys and let them progress to our "main" games" approach but to even just have it as an entire new line of the business.

Anyways, in summary I'd just like to say I'd really like to see some innovation and breaking new ground (After all growth is the main goal, assuming they're back to turning over a nice profit again I hope they attempt some new means of growth. Not they they haven't tried, they have!) however I don't think this is, or in likely to be, the direction they'll take and perhaps that isn't a bad thing for now. They are sticking to what they know in the main, miniature gaming, and have actually tried a lot recently to grow in that area. Some for good (LoTR) some not so much (International expansion) and some as a bad decision (Investments made with the LoTR cash expecting a constant increase, as per previous years, even after the bubble went and sales returned to "normal"). However they have also tried other means (Black Library, Computer Gaming) just that this has not been the main focus and I personally feel it should be. The miniature side is too mature except perhaps geographically, not a bad model to follow but it seems to have failed somewhat for them, I'd love to see why. Most likely being retail stores not being a very cost effective engine for it, tough to break in with a niche product with no previous exposure (Which the stores are good for) and now simply not having the funds to push in some loss leading stores to make the brand known in new areas. At least this is what I expect, I was very disheartened to hear about the european closures effectively halting expansion and future growth to sure things up at the present.

All well and good us looking back on decisions made after the fact and making sweeping judgements without the figures and research, but a lot harder when in the big seat.

Just to finish I still think GW can "rise again". Just happens that a few bad decisions have dealt them a harsh blow, I hope it isn't fatal and after recovering the situation the new CEO can steer the company into a new age of expansion.

Occulto
06-12-2007, 06:32
And to an extent, they were right. They said, "Of the people who buy game 'x', most only spend y dollars and only z percent go on to our other games." It looked like a resource drain. Not everyone who bought, say, Man o' War, got into other GW games.

Is that such a problem though?

Why does every product have to be a feeder for the big games?

I knew plenty of people who bought Space Crusade or Heroquest and never showed any interest in "taking it to the next level."

Fact. Some people prefer to play straight out of the box, where the most work you do is clip models from the sprue. Rather than treating those customers as a waste of time because they're not ready to fork out for a few thousand points of models, GW should be providing an alternative to the traditional tabletop wargame.

Something for people who will never take a paintbrush to a figure or flock a gaming table.

Brandir
06-12-2007, 08:07
..........Despite what people think, they aren't important and their opinion doesn't matter (that doesn't stop you having one of course) unless they are the head of or a shareholder in GW.........

As a GW shareholder (since the company floated in 1994) I have to say that the board has never listened to me, well apart from going out and securing the LOR licence after I told them to do so. Look at the minutes from the 1999 AGM and you will find that I was the one who first demanded GW secure the LOTR licence!

Seriously, the problem in the UK is that companies have only just started to listen to shareholders. Until this last couple of years it was a very common complaint that a company would carry on regardless of shareholder feelings. Why? Because 90% of shareholders just tick the 'CEO decides my vote at the AGM' box in their letters of notification.

Hellebore
06-12-2007, 08:35
As a GW shareholder (since the company floated in 1994) I have to say that the board has never listened to me, well apart from going out and securing the LOR licence after I told them to do so. Look at the minutes from the 1999 AGM and you will find that I was the one who first demanded GW secure the LOTR licence!

Seriously, the problem in the UK is that companies have only just started to listen to shareholders. Until this last couple of years it was a very common complaint that a company would carry on regardless of shareholder feelings. Why? Because 90% of shareholders just tick the 'CEO decides my vote at the AGM' box in their letters of notification.

Alright so I'll modify that statement to:

Despite what people think, they aren't important and their opinion doesn't matter (that doesn't stop you having one of course) unless they are the head of or a majority shareholder in GW:p

Seriously though, whose fault is it that the shareholders weren't being listened to, especially if they were stupidly signing their vote away?

Big Businesses are, without fail, a bunch of bastards. Their environment necessitates it, because everyone else is, and if you aren't they rip you a new one.

Money is the only maxim. If big business cared about anything else we would have had a green planet running on renewables for the last 50 years and the poor of the world wouldn't be dying of dysentery.

I see them like the moguls of hollywood - they don't care what the fans want, they have their own 'true vision'.

Considering that the lowest common denominator of consumers are not fans and consume almost anything handed to them is it any wonder?

Educate the masses and you will actually force businesses to listen, because they won't have a massive ignorant population to leech off.

Of course, they have more than a little input into school and university control, and so long as you keep the training for the rich you maintain an ignorant underclass ready to guzzle any crap handed to them.

Hellebore

spaint2k
06-12-2007, 08:41
Well, shelf space for one. GW can only support so much.


Bah! Buy new shelves.

I'm so sick of seeing this argument all over Warseer. Is space really at that much of a premium? How come it wasn't a few years ago when the stores sold Necromunda, Mordheim, Gorkamorka, Warhammer 40K, WFB, Bloodbowl and the plethora of associated product? How come the last two times I've been to a GW store there was plenty of space? You can't tell me there are MORE current products than there were a few years ago. The tired argument of "shelf space" is a poor excuse to cover the fact that printing up more boxes for Vostroyans or whatever is not cost-effective once the initial sales have dried up.

Steve

Hellebore
06-12-2007, 08:46
Bah! Buy new shelves.

I'm so sick of seeing this argument all over Warseer. Is space really at that much of a premium? How come it wasn't a few years ago when the stores sold Necromunda, Mordheim, Gorkamorka, Warhammer 40K, WFB, Bloodbowl and the plethora of associated product? How come the last two times I've been to a GW store there was plenty of space? You can't tell me there are MORE current products than there were a few years ago. The tired argument of "shelf space" is a poor excuse to cover the fact that printing up more boxes for Vostroyans or whatever is not cost-effective once the initial sales have dried up.

Steve

I would say because none of the stores I've ever been to sold more than two of those lines at once (they were released quite far apart from one another) and also because GW's volume per unit has increased.

Back in the 90's the majority of their stuff was metal, and that meant blister packs. A hook with 3 model blisters (or even 4 for the really old ones) takes up much less space than a box of sprues.

Also because an extra couple of square feet is a lot more expensive than 20 bucks a year, especially in shopping complexes where space is premium.

Of course that doesn't mean that they really DO have space problems, but it doesn't mean they don't either.

hellebore

Brother Loki
06-12-2007, 09:42
I think you'll find that the space that used to carry all the 'specialist' games is now given over to Lord of the Rings. They generally have 3 walls of shelves - one for 40k, one for WFB and one for LotR. This isn't a complaint by the way, I have no trouble believing that LotR sells (or at least sold) more than the specialist games combined. However, tha lack of a real entry level product can only be hurting them.

They clearly do think space is a limiting factor, which is why the newer battleforces are in narrower boxes, so they take up less space.

yabbadabba
06-12-2007, 10:49
I have every confidence that GW will continue down it's current path - especially as it is a path that, allegedly, Mark Wells has ascribed to.

It's time to wake up as consumers. The web has given us all so much freedom to decide how to live the areas of our lives and GW is one of those areas.

If you have access to remote payment (i.e. not cash) and have some patience, then you need never pay GW prices again, and in some cases need never use their products again. If you do not like the current rules, then the web is ful of sites dedicated to old rules, rules changes and even entire rule sets that have never been used by a GW staff member. And that's not including trying another game altogether!

The web has also made us lazy. Even now as I type this there is an element of disgust that I am not using my time more productively. Rather than be proactive and take steps to communitcate our feelings and take control of our situation, we fall into three broad camps. Those who choose to accept the status quo. Those who rebel and leave without resolving their conflicts. And those who will switch from complaining without action, and praising without support. In essence a huge mass of intelligent, articulate and successful people have chosen to act as children over the subject of "toy soldiers"

GW has chosen, for the most part, to ignore what goes on on the web. In the states it will not support online only stores. In Europe the web business is seen as aberrition and not an area to expand, but definitely one to exploit in the hope of crashing it. In addition, GW has clearly stated through it's actions that it's future does not lie in it's glorious, but sometimes stuttering, past. It lies in the wallets and credit cards of the middle class schoolboy, whose financial influence over their parents spending power, is there to be competed with and ultimately controlled. It lies in the deliberate and more controlled arena of competitve and confrontational gaming, by forward fitting new release, not retro-balancing. In this case a new army release has initially a greater advantage over an established one encouraging and even forcing the sales of that army to these competitive, and relatively affluent, gamers.

As a shareholder, long time customer and enthusiast I have decided that I need to take direct action. I will write letters and ask questions of those in positions of knowledge and influence in GW. I will express my concerns and ask how does GW plan to entice me back to their arms, or do they wish to cast me aside.

This will be my last throw of the dice, to understand how this once mighty and enthralling business now languishes in the mire of it's own creating.

Glabro
06-12-2007, 13:44
The problem in that is that GW games are already established, and people resist change. Even if I was ready to try out new systems, my club members will not start spending money on an alternative product easily.

Itīs hard to beat an existing community...and thatīs what is the REAL value that GW products have. Of course, if you donīt have access to that kind of an existing community, then I see no point with sticking to GW, really.

Itīs just that I like the style of the world best out of all the others - a couple of club members wanted to start Warmachine, and youīd think this is what I was waiting for - but no. The factions and the models didnīt inspire me in the least.

Osbad
06-12-2007, 14:18
Just to get this all into context, the following chart illustrates just why Kirby had to go.

http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/8610/2007toandpat2js7.jpg

I dug out the consolidated Turnover and Profit After Tax (excluding Exceptional Items) figures as far back as records would take me, and discounted them back to the present day using published ONS RPI data (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/tsdataset.asp?vlnk=7172&More=N&All=Y).

There's a lot of obvious comment to be made, but to be honest the figures speak for themselves.

On the bad side, Turnover in 2007 was only the same as in 2001. And profits have never been massive.
On the good side, the curve is flattening in the last year, so things may not be going south quite as fast as they were. But they are still going south, and time is running out.

Gazak Blacktoof
06-12-2007, 14:31
I'm an idiot- humour me:p

What's historic cost?

Brandir
06-12-2007, 14:39
What you have done Paul is to clearly show the LOTR bubble and how GW failed to convert those drawn into GW by LOTR towards WHFB/40K.

Is it realistic for the new CEO to find a way to boost sales again? Or is the market saturated? Is there any room for growth apart from film licences such as LOTR?

I'm not so sure there is.

Osbad
06-12-2007, 15:06
I'm an idiot- humour me:p

What's historic cost?

"Historic Cost" is the actual historical amount of money at the time indicated (say 1997).

However, the value of money doesn't stay still, so a pound now is worth more than a pound in ten years time because of inflation - its called the "time value of money". So the "Historic cost" values are the real amounts of money that were recorded at the time. The "Current prices" values are those translated (by multiplying up by the level of inflation in the intervening years) into what that amount of money would be worth today. So because of the compound inflation effect, Ģ1 in 1997 would buy what Ģ1.22 will buy you today. To put it another way, a pound earned 10 years ago is worth 22% more than a pound earned today.

That's a bit long winded, but it makes quite a difference when comparing financial results over time.

Osbad
06-12-2007, 15:13
What you have done Paul is to clearly show the LOTR bubble and how GW failed to convert those drawn into GW by LOTR towards WHFB/40K.

Is it realistic for the new CEO to find a way to boost sales again? Or is the market saturated? Is there any room for growth apart from film licences such as LOTR?

I'm not so sure there is.

No it isn't. Absolutely. LotR was a "windfall" that GW did well to capitalise on.

However, what WOULD be reasonable to expect would be the "slow and steady" growth GW saw in the late '90s. Sure, there was a bit of a profits crisis back in the late 90's due to the overproliferation of products, or so it was maintained at the time, but the turnover was growing not shrinking.

Shrinking turnover is the real killer that GW management have to address. And that is down to how popular (or unpopular) your products have become. You can be as efficient as you like, but if you are selling nothing, you're not making any profit.

If Kirby had done his job well, then GW could have extrapolated that "slow and steady growth" from the late '90s on through the LotR bubble and into the present, and been seeing a turnover of (say) Ģ130M or more for 2007. Instead they saw a disastrous slide as their popularity plummeted over the last 2 years.

Where the management really made their mistake was back in 2005 when all over the internet posters were whining about how bad 4th edition was, and how disappointed they all were. The fanbois and the GW staff ignored them, because they were still basking in the glow of the LotR bubble. Only once that bubble popped did they realise what a dogs breakfast they'd made of things and have spent the last 12 months getting the sticking plasters out. If instead of being so arrogant and pig headed, they had actually listened to their customers, maybe, just maybe, they may not have lost so many of them!

As for "room for growth", I believe while the UK is pretty much clogged for GW, the US market is far from saturated. That is where any growth will come from in the next few years. But to win business there, they really have to up their game regarding value for money!

Besides, in ALL markets, provided you can hang onto your existing customers, there is scope for growth. I still believe that the net entrants to the "toy soldier" hobby is a positive number. If it weren't there'd be no room for the little diverse independent companies like Hasslefree to come in at the bottom and to grow significantly.

Reinholt
06-12-2007, 15:17
What you have done Paul is to clearly show the LOTR bubble and how GW failed to convert those drawn into GW by LOTR towards WHFB/40K.

Is it realistic for the new CEO to find a way to boost sales again? Or is the market saturated? Is there any room for growth apart from film licences such as LOTR?

I'm not so sure there is.

Inside or outside the UK?

I would agree that sales inside the UK are likely saturated, or at least relatively close to it. There is definitely room to grow in the US, but that's because they have yet to figure out an effective way to be anything more than an extreme niche player in the US market. They've never really grown in the US in the first place; their market penetration is laughable compared to many other things here.

I doubt they have much presence in Asia, either, but not sure how their product would play there...

Sarevok
06-12-2007, 15:26
How well is LOTR doing nowadays? And how long have GW got the license?

Brandir
06-12-2007, 16:12
The film & literary LOTR licence runs out November 2011.

Don't know about The Hobbit literary licence - I suspect that GW hold that in the expectation of another bubble when a film of that book is released.

Osbad
06-12-2007, 16:16
How well is LOTR doing nowadays? And how long have GW got the license?

No "official" recent figures exist. It has been "leaked" at various cons around the world that the proportion of sales is somewhere around 10% of total (28% at its peak), but that is very round sum.

Clearly though it is still worth GW's while to continue to produce material or they would have dropped it. There is reportedly nothing in GW's contract with New Line requiring them to produce new models and books if they aren't going to make a profit off them.

de Selby
06-12-2007, 16:52
Where the management really made their mistake was back in 2005 when all over the internet posters were whining about how bad 4th edition was, and how disappointed they all were. The fanbois and the GW staff ignored them, because they were still basking in the glow of the LotR bubble. Only once that bubble popped did they realise what a dogs breakfast they'd made of things and have spent the last 12 months getting the sticking plasters out. If instead of being so arrogant and pig headed, they had actually listened to their customers, maybe, just maybe, they may not have lost so many of them!


It's funny, I really don't remember this at all. At the time, I seem to recall everyone saying that 4th was an improvement on 3rd. No more rhino rush, more emphasis on missions and alpha, gamma, omega. The problems with 4th are mostly the problems with 3rd (many vets are still nostalgic for 2nd, but not for 3rd). If we're talking codices, my impression was that the early 3rd ed ones were streamlined and bland, the late 3rd/early 4th ones were an improvement, and the late 4th ed. ones have been streamlined again.

If GW really made a big mistake with 4th, I didn't notice it so I can't really hold the directors responsible for not noticing either. Or maybe you mean that 3rd was a mistake (mass combat, simpler rules) and that with 4th they missed the opportunity to go back to something more like 2nd?

efarrer
06-12-2007, 17:35
No it isn't. Absolutely. LotR was a "windfall" that GW did well to capitalise on.

However, what WOULD be reasonable to expect would be the "slow and steady" growth GW saw in the late '90s. Sure, there was a bit of a profits crisis back in the late 90's due to the overproliferation of products, or so it was maintained at the time, but the turnover was growing not shrinking.

Shrinking turnover is the real killer that GW management have to address. And that is down to how popular (or unpopular) your products have become. You can be as efficient as you like, but if you are selling nothing, you're not making any profit.

If Kirby had done his job well, then GW could have extrapolated that "slow and steady growth" from the late '90s on through the LotR bubble and into the present, and been seeing a turnover of (say) Ģ130M or more for 2007. Instead they saw a disastrous slide as their popularity plummeted over the last 2 years.

Where the management really made their mistake was back in 2005 when all over the internet posters were whining about how bad 4th edition was, and how disappointed they all were. The fanbois and the GW staff ignored them, because they were still basking in the glow of the LotR bubble. Only once that bubble popped did they realise what a dogs breakfast they'd made of things and have spent the last 12 months getting the sticking plasters out. If instead of being so arrogant and pig headed, they had actually listened to their customers, maybe, just maybe, they may not have lost so many of them!

As for "room for growth", I believe while the UK is pretty much clogged for GW, the US market is far from saturated. That is where any growth will come from in the next few years. But to win business there, they really have to up their game regarding value for money!


I'd hate to work for GW Canada right now. Prices in Canada are way higher then they should be (30-40% mark up) and with no discounts Canucks are buying from the US. Going to be hard for Starscream's old bosses to explain that either Canadian prices need to go down or American prices need to go up up up.

Gazak Blacktoof
06-12-2007, 17:43
They've never really grown in the US in the first place; their market penetration is laughable compared to many other things here.

Compared to a lot of other entertainment products perhaps but I suspect they're probably still the largest seller/ distributor of fantasy and scif-fi TTWG in North America.


Even if there is market saturation in the UK and no room for further growth that only applies to existing product.

New armies, new games etc can still break into a stagnant market.

There are several potential armies that are documented in the source material for both fantasy and 40K that are unexplored and could be produced as new product.

Not a week goes by on the fantasy forums without somebody asking about Nippon, Cathay, Ind, Araby or Chaos Dwarfs.

A lot of people really love eastern imagery and would snap up a Cathay or Nippon army as it stands gamers have to go toother companies to buy eastern themed models, this is lost revenue.

efarrer
06-12-2007, 17:46
It's funny, I really don't remember this at all. At the time, I seem to recall everyone saying that 4th was an improvement on 3rd. No more rhino rush, more emphasis on missions and alpha, gamma, omega. The problems with 4th are mostly the problems with 3rd (many vets are still nostalgic for 2nd, but not for 3rd). If we're talking codices, my impression was that the early 3rd ed ones were streamlined and bland, the late 3rd/early 4th ones were an improvement, and the late 4th ed. ones have been streamlined again.

If GW really made a big mistake with 4th, I didn't notice it so I can't really hold the directors responsible for not noticing either. Or maybe you mean that 3rd was a mistake (mass combat, simpler rules) and that with 4th they missed the opportunity to go back to something more like 2nd?

The problems with 4th are fairly simple.

1. Were there enough changes to justify the edition change?
2. Hidden weapons made it impossible for expensive characters to survive, so a character whos price had previously reflected his ability to kill specific threats no longer could.
3. Rhino rush wasn't just stuffed, so were all transports. Non skimmer Transports simply are not worth the time of day.
4. No additional clarification of rules that were poorly written in 3rd edition.
5. rules which unfaily penalized certain armies (why do Imp guard and Eldar characters die 1 in 6 times thier spells fail).
6. Loss of guess hurt players who felt that ita added a level of skill to the game.
7. Area terrain is eiter loved or hated, and I can see both sides on this subject.
8. The untargetable character on a bike in the middle of an empty field.

these are off the top of my head.

efarrer
06-12-2007, 17:47
Compared to a lot of other entertainment products perhaps but I suspect they're probably still the largest seller/ distributor of fantasy and scif-fi TTWG in North America.


Even if there is market saturation in the UK and no room for further growth that only applies to existing product.

New armies, new games etc can still break into a stagnant market.

There are several potential armies that are documented in the source material for both fantasy and 40K that are unexplored and could be produced as new product.

Not a week goes by on the fantasy forums without somebody asking about Nippon, Cathay, Ind, Araby or Chaos Dwarfs.

A lot of people really love eastern imagery and would snap up a Cathay or Nippon army as it stands gamers have to go toother companies to buy eastern themed models, this is lost revenue.


What topps was willing to pay for Wizkids suggests otherwise.

de Selby
06-12-2007, 18:21
The problems with 4th are fairly simple.

1. Were there enough changes to justify the edition change?



:D if not, it's difficult to see how it can be the 4th edition rules specifically that are driving people away from the game.

I can see problems with 4th ed. too (although I'd dispute some of the ones you raise). I could see problems with 3rd and 2nd ed. I'm just surprised that Osbad apparently considers it folk wisdom that the 4th ed. rules specifically were a change for the worse. Or that the last 12 months have involved 'fixing' this edition. There have certainly been changes in the new codices indicating that the studio aren't happy with the direction of 4th, but I haven't seen many people celebrating the new golden age, in fact it seems more controversial than the 3rd/4th edition change.

I'll do a poll in general discussion. This is off topic.




edit: I did my poll. The results as of writing are 79 who think the change from 3rd to 4th was good, 10 who think it was bad. Although it's possible that all those who thought it was bad have simply left the hobby, and thus don't appear in the poll, I'd expect a different result if the 4th edition really was a significant factor in GW's current woes.

Zowy
06-12-2007, 20:18
I don't think it is the 4th edition rules themselfs that is the problem with WH 40K, but the fact that they take years to update the FAQs. How hard is it to do a FAQ update 1 or 2 times a year? Maybe even take the time to provide more examples and feadback on the rules the starting / average players have problems with. The lack of offical online / printed rules support is very lazy of them and hurts their image.

Reinholt
06-12-2007, 20:49
Compared to a lot of other entertainment products perhaps but I suspect they're probably still the largest seller/ distributor of fantasy and scif-fi TTWG in North America.


That is like being the largest distributor of shrimp and grass flavored ice cream, though.

My point here has always been this:

You cannot evaluate GW solely in comparison to other gaming companies. I do not set aside a portion of my budget for "miniatures gaming", and I doubt very many people do. You set aside for "entertainment". How well GW stacks up with things like video games, movies, books (non academic or philosophy), and other tabletop games is extremely material. Even GW claims Pokemon was a big problem for them, and that's not a model game!

GW has botched the US market strategy, and done so badly. Fixing that is one major source of potential future growth, but I do not get the sense they believe this is a priority (or even that they've failed, to be honest).

Gazak Blacktoof
06-12-2007, 21:31
They've licensed computer games, card games etc.

To be honest there's not a great deal a company specialising in a particular product can do. They've got their IP or "shrimp and grass flavoured ice cream" if you prefer and don't have a lot else to work with unless they randomly start making door knobs or something.

I think most gamers probably DO have a "gaming budget". They'll have an idea of what they want for their army and depending on their mentality will shop around or pick up the easy option irregardless of cost (within limits). Gamers get distracted by new toys though so unless GW goes round taking the fuses out of everybody's plugs then they'll always loose out on some "entertainment money" that gets spent on games, consoles, graphics cards etc.


Even the most hardcore Warhammer "addict" wont want to play Warhammer, all the time or spend all their cash on it.

Darkseer
06-12-2007, 21:37
So Reinholt is correct, that people have money for entertainment and not a wargames budget.

This is why when Pokemon was big, GW took a reall kick in the nadgers.

Reinholt
06-12-2007, 21:45
They've licensed computer games, card games etc.

To be honest there's not a great deal a company specialising in a particular product can do. They've got their IP or "shrimp and grass flavoured ice cream" if you prefer and don't have a lot else to work with unless they randomly start making door knobs or something.

My point is not that they need new products; I actually think that in many ways, GW's products are fine. What they need is to more effectively market their products, and to structure them in such a way that it is easier to get into their games.

Basically, the relative value of their products is currently poor (I can get more for less elsewhere with regard to entertainment), which they need to fix. Either produce more for the same amount (ie, say, 20 marines in a box), or charge less for it. They need to get costs under control to do that one way or another. Currently, their production strategy is inefficient, and they are getting punished for it.

Second, they need to lower the entry cost of getting into the hobby. For instance, if I wanted to buy a new video game that many of my friends played, but would have to drop several hundred dollars/pounds to get everything I needed to play... I'd probably think twice. For forty or sixty? Probably not.

GW does not have a good way to get gamers into the game, and hasn't had an effective strategy for getting new players started.


I think most gamers probably DO have a "gaming budget". They'll have an idea of what they want for their army and depending on their mentality will shop around or pick up the easy option irregardless of cost (within limits). Gamers get distracted by new toys though so unless GW goes round taking the fuses out of everybody's plugs then they'll always loose out on some "entertainment money" that gets spent on games, consoles, graphics cards etc.

Several points:

- Not everyone is a gamer, and expecting someone who is not to fork over a few hundred bucks to start is unrealistic. See my comments about entry cost above.

- This is not the way that many of the people I know operate; maybe it's different in NY, but people here don't just always buy the hot new things.

- Basic economic theory states that almost everything is price sensitive. Unless you think GW product is truly price independent, then your argument cannot hold. I would especially point to significantly declining sales in the face of rising prices as evidence that GW's product is highly elastic, as economics and pricing go.

In short, if you are a niche product looking to expand:

1) Market well to generate demand from demographics where you have appeal.

2) Lower your cost of entry so it is easy to get into your products, unless you have huge pricing power (GW is not Ferrari, and does not have this kind of pricing power).

3) Understand that as you expand, your competition grows, so you need plans to defeat 'competitors' in either other niches you are competing against, or who have scale advantages over you in production because you are breaking into more general markets (or at least taking money people used to spend on them).

Gazak Blacktoof
06-12-2007, 21:49
@ Darkseer

I guess so but beyond more licensing which I'm sure GW are working on there's not a whole lot they can do about entertainment/ wargaming budget issues.

They don't make consoles or DVD players.

Its like working in a brewery and worrying that not everybody is an alcoholic.

EDIT:

@Reinholt
I don't think you get much better value than TTWG. They have more replayability than any other medium I can think of. There's also painting and modelling which provides endless hours of fun/ drudgery depening on your point of view and when things get stale you can always make up new rules. A TTWG is easier to mod than a computer game and doesn't require massive technical knowledge.

I agree that start up costs are high which is why I was agreeing that game in a box products were a great intro to the hobby and GW need to start making them and distributing them not only in their own stores but in other shops.

I also don't believe GW games on a model to model basis are a bad deal. If you want a skirmish wargame (reducing overall cost) other companies provide that service and GW is indeed being outdone in this area

Llew
07-12-2007, 04:09
@Reinholt
I don't think you get much better value than TTWG. They have more replayability than any other medium I can think of. There's also painting and modelling which provides endless hours of fun/ drudgery depening on your point of view and when things get stale you can always make up new rules. A TTWG is easier to mod than a computer game and doesn't require massive technical knowledge.


The painting and modelling is a boon for some folks and an extremely high entry cost for others. I'm a competent painter and I love it even though it's becoming more difficult as I age. I'll build custom terrain for hours and love it. But I hate, with a barely controlled passion, the process of clipping, scraping, gluing and gap-filling my miniatures before I can even begin to paint them. If I weren't a wargamer but liked miniatures, I can find many, many products which take a lot less time to begin.

Another problem with the wargames is this: You need a friend in your house or at your local store to play. And it's not just show up and play. You spend time on army design and setup. Most times for me, the process of getting the miniatures out of the case and setting up terrain means at least one hour is lost before we can start playing. And then, after we're done and the fun is over, at least another hour putting everything back in it's box.

That's a high barrier for someone not already hooked. Especially when you can pop on your Xbox or PC and be playing some sort of game in moments.

And frankly, what I spend on WoW per year vs. the hours of entertainment matches up incredibly well vs. TTWG. Civ IV does too. (This assumes that you'll have a computer anyway around the house, or the cost to hours played gets higher.)

spaint2k
07-12-2007, 05:18
I doubt they have much presence in Asia, either, but not sure how their product would play there...

I've said this before on these forums but GW's pricing makes them extremely unnattractive in Asia (that's aside from the fact that most Asian kdis don't have the time for a hobby like this one). A single dwarf lord (GBP7) costs the same as 420 mantou (steamed breakfast buns) in China.

Even here in Taiwan, the second-most expensive country in Asia, I can buy lunch (rice, meat, 3 or 4 vegetable choices) nine times over (seven plus change outside of the university district) for the same price as that single dwarf lord.

Steve

Osbad
07-12-2007, 10:13
:D if not, it's difficult to see how it can be the 4th edition rules specifically that are driving people away from the game.

I can see problems with 4th ed. too (although I'd dispute some of the ones you raise). I could see problems with 3rd and 2nd ed. I'm just surprised that Osbad apparently considers it folk wisdom that the 4th ed. rules specifically were a change for the worse. Or that the last 12 months have involved 'fixing' this edition. There have certainly been changes in the new codices indicating that the studio aren't happy with the direction of 4th, but I haven't seen many people celebrating the new golden age, in fact it seems more controversial than the 3rd/4th edition change.

I'll do a poll in general discussion. This is off topic.


edit: I did my poll. The results as of writing are 79 who think the change from 3rd to 4th was good, 10 who think it was bad. Although it's possible that all those who thought it was bad have simply left the hobby, and thus don't appear in the poll, I'd expect a different result if the 4th edition really was a significant factor in GW's current woes.


Perhaps I could have phrased it better.

Maybe the folk wisdom would be that 4th edition was a missed opportunity. 3rd was becoming widely despised, and 4th was a chance to reset the clock. Instead they "marginally improved" what was a basically broken idea. While at the same time all the usual problems with no effective FAQ support and the rest meant it was all a dog's breakfast.. I know many who essentially gave up on 40k and basically just walked away from GW never to return at that point. They now play FoW and other games. Or got lives! :D

The main"problem" with 4th was that it was only really 3.5. And that wasn't good enough.

Brandir
07-12-2007, 12:08
As an aside, in the period November 2003 - January 2004 the LOTR line accounted for 68% of all shop sales in the UK.

Templar Ben
07-12-2007, 12:21
edit: I did my poll. The results as of writing are 79 who think the change from 3rd to 4th was good, 10 who think it was bad. Although it's possible that all those who thought it was bad have simply left the hobby, and thus don't appear in the poll, I'd expect a different result if the 4th edition really was a significant factor in GW's current woes.

You did an unscientific poll what had little response. How can you use that as a basis for anything?


As an aside, in the period November 2003 - January 2004 the LOTR line accounted for 68% of all shop sales in the UK.

Is there a source for that?

Killgore
07-12-2007, 12:36
I've said this before on these forums but GW's pricing makes them extremely unnattractive in Asia (that's aside from the fact that most Asian kdis don't have the time for a hobby like this one). A single dwarf lord (GBP7) costs the same as 420 mantou (steamed breakfast buns) in China.

Even here in Taiwan, the second-most expensive country in Asia, I can buy lunch (rice, meat, 3 or 4 vegetable choices) nine times over (seven plus change outside of the university district) for the same price as that single dwarf lord.

Steve

a problem for reducing pricing for other territorys would be that more people would purchase the goods at the lower price then sell them on the internet

i have no doubt that gw is capable of braking into the asian market with lower prices, but how much damage could happen when the products get resold much cheaper



i'd be very interested to know gw's brakeeven point when producing a line of models

Gazak Blacktoof
07-12-2007, 12:46
And frankly, what I spend on WoW per year vs. the hours of entertainment matches up incredibly well vs. TTWG. Civ IV does too. (This assumes that you'll have a computer anyway around the house, or the cost to hours played gets higher.)

That's assuming quite a lot. Granted almost everybody has one but its not at zero cost.

EDIT: I also feel rather empty after havin spent countless hours on a computer game. I'd rather have a model painted/ assembled or have written a batch of new rules. That's just personnal preference though

Sarevok
07-12-2007, 13:03
As an aside, in the period November 2003 - January 2004 the LOTR line accounted for 68% of all shop sales in the UK.

In other words, while ROTK was in cinemas.

de Selby
07-12-2007, 13:25
You did an unscientific poll that had little response. How can you use that as a basis for anything?



The current results are now 170 to 23. The problem is not the sample size, it's the systematic biases and the problem of everyone interpreting the question differently. If you want to spend your time trying to repeat the exercise 'scientifically', then be my guest.

I'm confident that it's not 4th edition specifically that's unpopular with players. Osbad has also clarified that he considers it a missed opportunity, rather than notably worse than the edition before. Now a 'missed opportunity' really is unquantifiable.

Brandir
07-12-2007, 13:30
In other words, while ROTK was in cinemas.

Exactly. What I was trying to do was emphasis how LOTR really did take over GW for a period of time and was why Tom said GW had become 'lazy'.

The share price was 889p at this time. If the new CEO can do well enough to get the share price to even half this level then he'll probably be headhunted to run another, larger company!

Brandir
07-12-2007, 19:36
Just watched an interesting programme on BBC2 - The Money Programme.

It was about Airfix and how their new CEO was attempting to relaunch after it failed.

I do hope that Mr Wells was watching too.

Some interesting snippets:
CEO said Airfix needed to balance the needs of the enthusiastic and a new generation. He also said that all of their rivals manufactured their products in China. That Airfix had to make the hobby more interesting again by having a combination of classic and new kits.

A marketing chap said 2/3rds of the kids in the UK had a games console and that licensing was the key for attracting youngsters. He also said that in its heyday (1970's) Airfix was selling 30 million kits a year.

Wintermute
07-12-2007, 19:57
I saw the same programme.

However comparing GW with Airfix is unfair as GW DO know what they are doing Hornby, Airfix's new owners, clearly do not as highlighted in tonight's Money Programme Special.

BTW not all of Airfix's competitors manufacture in China, thats nonsense. AFAIK neither Tamiya, Revell or Italeri manufacture in China.

GW, by comparison, can manage to get their products into the shops in time for Christmas, unlike Airfix.

Brandir
07-12-2007, 20:09
I saw the same programme.

So you lead an exciting life like me!


However comparing GW with Airfix is unfair as GW DO know what they are doing Hornby, Airfix's new owners, clearly do not as highlighted in tonight's Money Programme Special.

Quite correct. Perhaps I should have been more explicit in my main point, which as the CEO stating he needed to look after 'veterans' and 'newbies'.


BTW not all of Airfix's competitors manufacture in China, thats nonsense. AFAIK neither Tamiya, Revell or Italeri manufacture in China.

That is very interesting. The marketing chap was not a Hornby/Airfix guy. To me this highlights one of GW's problems. Investors are guided by 'experts' who possibly lump GW in with all the other toy manufacturers when assessing their performance.


GW, by comparison, can manage to get their products into the shops in time for Christmas, unlike Airfix.

That is a great strength of GW, owning and controlling the entire process from development to distribution.

A professional CEO from outside GW may look at the company as merely another toy operation and immediately think 'outsource'. Luckily Mr Wells has been with GW for a while so one is hopeful that his leadership will not change GW into a manufacturer of toys.

The_Patriot
07-12-2007, 20:31
@Brandir: Although, putting out action figures that are 3.5" tall with accessories would be an additional revenue stream. This would open up a new market that could possibly allow for customer cross over into the gaming aspect.

RevEv
07-12-2007, 22:02
It's an interesting idea comparing GW with Airfix.

One of the strong points of GW is the constantly evolving product lines, they do not rest on their laurels and say - that model still sells OK, we'll keep it as it is (much to the chagrin of many who whinge about losing 'classic' models).

In comparison I constantly see Airfix models I owned in the 1970's (yes, I'm that old) still selling in shops - I even pointed it out to my wife.

Airfixes problem was that they did not evolve as the market did - at least GW try and I hope this change in CEO helps... Tom Kirby did well but, perhaps, he has now realised he may have promoted himself above his capability.

Flagg07
07-12-2007, 22:13
"they do not rest on their laurels"

Actually, they do. Kirby even said it was one of the factors of their decline...

Templar Ben
08-12-2007, 00:19
The current results are now 170 to 23. The problem is not the sample size, it's the systematic biases and the problem of everyone interpreting the question differently. If you want to spend your time trying to repeat the exercise 'scientifically', then be my guest.

I'm confident that it's not 4th edition specifically that's unpopular with players. Osbad has also clarified that he considers it a missed opportunity, rather than notably worse than the edition before. Now a 'missed opportunity' really is unquantifiable.

Sample size is a problem but I agree that it is not your largest problem. I appreciate the offer to attempt a valid poll on the website but I am disinclined to do so.

Osbad
08-12-2007, 09:49
I recall that reported issue about Andy Chambers leaving GW and part of the issue (aside from personal ones, which had nothing to do with 40k) being around his revamp of 40k (which he later sold to Mongoose and which became SST).

Having seen the sales of 40k since 4th ed, I wonder whether any senior executives are now questioning the decision to run with 3.5 rather than the system that became 4th edition. Certainly the streamlining we are seeing from Jervis that is only happening now is something I would have seen happen from the get go with 4th ed. if they'd thought it through properly.

I can understand why they are reluctanct for root and branch reform (look what happened to Rackham when they abandoned Confrontation v3.5, although I suspect the main issue was the PPP not the gameplay there, however there is aklways the risk of causing mass abandonment of your game if you make too radical a change).

Anyhow, I'm starting to go over old ground here so I'll shut up.

Interesting stat there Brandir. 68% eh! So I was right to feel somewhat miffed back then when the ignorant redshirts who were selling the models didn't even know how to play the game and were more interested in running 40k leagues than supporting any events for LotR players back in 03/04! Again an opportunity lost due to complacency. If staff had taken a little effort to incorporate LotR-buyers into the wider GW culture instead of just patronising them and ignoring them a larger percentage of thm may have stuck around longer after the buzz wore off!

Brandir
08-12-2007, 11:21
I remember going to (and winning!) a few LOTR tournaments in 2002 - 2003 organised by GW. What annoyed me was the way the GW staff disparaged LOTR and encouraged WH40K/WHFB gamers to slag off LOTR too.

So it was no surprise to me that the LOTR gamers did not, as GW hoped and expected, become 40K gamers.

Can the new man reach out to these lapsed LOTR gamers?

Reinholt
08-12-2007, 15:09
Sample size is a problem but I agree that it is not your largest problem. I appreciate the offer to attempt a valid poll on the website but I am disinclined to do so.

Far and away the largest problem is the non-representative sample. What you have done is (possibly) assessed the beliefs of Warseer members who are willing to read the poll and then click on an answer.

I would suggest this is not a representative audience of GW gamers as a whole - however, for a truly representative sample, you'd need to see the 'graveyard' of gamers... that being all the people who quit and no longer pay any attention at all.

Truly unbiased and representative survey results are actually exceedingly hard to find, and usually costly to assemble.

Zowy
08-12-2007, 19:21
The fact that LoTR models, do not mix with WFB models is the main thing that turned me off from geting to many of them.

A good 1/3 of my Ork 40K Green machine, is made up from conversions from WFB orc models. :angel:

Allso my old Undead WFB army was 1/2 leftover bitz, conversions and models from other armies. If I redo it once the new VC book comes out it will be closer to 3/4 made up of bitz / conversions / leftovers.:skull:

The LoTR stuff is not very usefull for conversion foder in WFB. It's best use in WFB is for a Dogs Of War army.

efarrer
08-12-2007, 21:22
I remember going to (and winning!) a few LOTR tournaments in 2002 - 2003 organised by GW. What annoyed me was the way the GW staff disparaged LOTR and encouraged WH40K/WHFB gamers to slag off LOTR too.

So it was no surprise to me that the LOTR gamers did not, as GW hoped and expected, become 40K gamers.

Can the new man reach out to these lapsed LOTR gamers?

That was always the biggest problem I saw with LotR sales.

Honestly it should have been
1st remark: spoken warning
2nd remark: written warning
3rd remark: written warning + loss of privlige
4th: fired

I can't recall how many times I saw paid staff slag LotR during the time there was a store in my city.

efarrer
08-12-2007, 21:26
The fact that LoTR models, do not mix with WFB models is the main thing that turned me off from geting to many of them.

A good 1/3 of my Ork 40K Green machine, is made up from conversions from WFB orc models. :angel:

Allso my old Undead WFB army was 1/2 leftover bitz, conversions and models from other armies. If I redo it once the new VC book comes out it will be closer to 3/4 made up of bitz / conversions / leftovers.:skull:

The LoTR stuff is not very usefull for conversion foder in WFB. It's best use in WFB is for a Dogs Of War army.

Castellans make wonderful wights, while the Nazghul make great wraiths. Sarumon and Grima are good necromancers.
Hobbits could quickly fill out Lumpin Crocks Fighting Cocks
LotR Dwarf Ballista looks better imo

Otherwise the models tend towards being a touch small.

Reinholt
09-12-2007, 04:36
That was always the biggest problem I saw with LotR sales.

<snip>

I can't recall how many times I saw paid staff slag LotR during the time there was a store in my city.

Could not agree more with efarrer here.

How can you seriously expect to attract gamers from a line when your own staff is crapping all over it? GW seriously failed to capitalize on LoTR, and now they are paying the price.

Templar Ben
09-12-2007, 16:24
Can the new man reach out to these lapsed LOTR gamers?

I am thinking that ship has sailed. I know I often wonder why I play the other games when LOTR is by far the best rules. Then I remember that it is hard to find other gamers. :p

Then again if they have large growth with the Hobbit then they could not make the same mistakes then.


Far and away the largest problem is the non-representative sample. What you have done is (possibly) assessed the beliefs of Warseer members who are willing to read the poll and then click on an answer.

I would suggest this is not a representative audience of GW gamers as a whole - however, for a truly representative sample, you'd need to see the 'graveyard' of gamers... that being all the people who quit and no longer pay any attention at all.

Truly unbiased and representative survey results are actually exceedingly hard to find, and usually costly to assemble.

The first step is naturally to not allow people to self select which is going to prevent a web poll. ;)


How can you seriously expect to attract gamers from a line when your own staff is crapping all over it? GW seriously failed to capitalize on LoTR, and now they are paying the price.

I have never understood why a company would hire a sales staff that doesn't wish to sell the product lines. I understand if the sales staff starts by showing the Mega Force, then steps down to the $90 army box, then steps down to the minimum to play (1HQ and 2 Troops for 40k for instance), and then trys to get something in the hand. Saying, I know you came in for product X but that entire line is crap, here look at Mr Pumpkin Head and his friend Mr Mitten Hands is not exactly in Zig Ziggler's Sales 101.

fwacho
10-12-2007, 02:07
Inteh resteraunt business as a waiter I don't always sell what the management is pushing. I sell what's good. Why, becasue I'm paid in 90% tips and a happy customer is generally a better tipping one. also if the customer likes it, they 'll come back for more. If an itme sucks I'll recommend a better one. (trust me, every resteraunt has at least item that tastes bad unles syou have a very "refined" palate.) I also don't push the most expensive item (that makes my adivce look fake).

What I do is ask the customer what idea they had in mind and direct them to it. Games store staff should behave similarly. And to do so they have to know their product. If they've never played lotr or rarely do, then they won't be very good at acurately pitching the right armies to teh right people. Find out what the customer is looking for in an amry and then pick two codexes they might like. cutomers like options. Start with a troops choice and the codex, maybe some paints fi they shwo intterest in a color scheme.

Let them leave with that unless THEY ask for more. Why not an Hq. simple, If they want to stay in the game they'll come back for the HQ (another trip to your store) and pick up a few more items with some idea of what they want. Also, They'll figure out what kind of HQ they want. Hopefully they'll even able able to discuss with the staff intelligently which leads to a smarter purchase and a happy customer... who comes back again. Repeat business. It's all about repeat business. get the cutomer talking about themselves. the more the customer talkes the better. It make them feel comfortable and allows them to enjoy the expereience. And if they don't want to talk... then they probably know what they want or are killing time before the movie starts.

I should porbably note that hard selling pisses me off (I've learned the tactics and despise them), and I NEVER go back to a place that tries this tactic.

Crazy Harborc
10-12-2007, 04:19
From what I have seen and been told by other regulars of the local GW store. High pressure is not applied to get the newbies or their (parents) money. Based on what I've read here and on other threads, that's not the case too often/not often enough.

Hopefully the suits at GW will realize that high pressure can drive away more potential customers, often more than it brings in.;)

harrowing
10-12-2007, 09:46
I didn't know if I should post this here, but since Osbad's post pushed me over the edge to actually join this forum, I decided to post this here.


I can understand why they are reluctant for root and branch reform (look what happened to Rackham when they abandoned Confrontation v3.5, although I suspect the main issue was the PPP not the gameplay there, however there is always the risk of causing mass abandonment of your game if you make too radical a change).

Really Osbad? The problem Rackham faces as you point out is they switched to Pre-Paints. But by doing so, they have also changed the system. Changing both at the same time is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Still, time will tell if this was the right move.

Personally, and I know this may upset a lot of people, but I have a strong opinion that the core problem with GW is their Warhammer games. Sure we can say their sales have decreased because of electronic games and MMORPG's and LOTR bubbles and prepainted miniatures, but it's truly not the case. If you take all the miniature sales spread out through all the different venues (from D&D miniatures to reaper miniatures to Battlefield Earth to GW games and historicals) you'll see a pretty good market for this kind of product. The market is still there and very much alive so Electronic games can't be the problem.

During the LOTR bubble the Warhammer products saw a decrease in sales actually (I heard this from my GW contact while I worked at my local Indie retailer here in the states), so GW’s core already had problems despite the success of LOTR.

If you look at pre-painted miniatures, the pre-painted games designed purely for table-top wargaming you'll see they don't do extremely well (AT-43, Battlefield earth, AVP) are two examples. Warmachine is way more successful then both of those games and GW games way more popular then Warmachine. Heck, GW was more popular than Mage Knight during its hayday and outsold them dollar for dollar. The pre-paints that do extremely well are heroclix, D&D mini's and Star Wars. With good reason for each. Comic book fans love little figures of their super heroes, but companies such as GW just blatently ignored the market to avoid sharing IP B.S. Star Wars has the same deal (with someone just as stingy with his IP as GW) and it also has a tie in, like D&D, with the RPG. For those that don’t know, both systems pretty much require and endorse their pre-paints to play the game. Sure, everything above (market competition, electronic games, attention spans) can contribute to the decrease in GW sales, but the real problem is their systems are dinosaurs. It’s like using DOS for day to day operations after Windows was released. Just like DOS, GW games are being swallowed by their Windows competitors. This happened once before with a company called TSR which published D&D. By second edition, the market which TSR had pioneered had become flooded with alternate systems. So they updated to second edition which steered the course with convoluted and complicated rules spanning a series of manuals while their competitors were smaller, single shot, self contained systems. TSR again tried to update, but stay with their older mechanics and released 2.5, but by then interest in D&D was gone. Steering the course toward the way it's always been because of the fear of loosing customers is a serious problem in the gaming world. If you don't believe me, the same old shotty D&D game with all their Tolkien-rip-off worlds were repackaged under a new system by WOTC and now, it's the number one selling game. You could say it was simply the power of the Hasbro dollar, but its system was, for its time, extremely innovative and attracted people to (people who had even quit the game) back to it. Now the d20 system is pretty much all there is in the roleplay market.

The same model can be applied to GW. GW created the massive miniature wargame market. Other companies came along during its strongest sale point (3rd – 3.5 edition 40K) and expanded on their principles. GW creates 4th which keeps the boat afloat for a while, like D&D 2nd edition. Like TSR however, GW's 4th is now suffering so they will create 5th which will be plagued with the same problems as 4th while the market continues to expand and explore new ways of wargames being played. In the end, the ship sinks.

This is my problem with a sales guy stepping in to take over. He will try to continue to sell the same product, just with better packaging (Apocalypse anyone?) This will be effective, effective enough to convince them 5th edition will sell really well. And it will do well for a while, but their overall sales for the year will stabilize and decline a point or two per year. If they don't update, they don’t just risk self-destruction, they will self-destruct.

And they have survived system overhauls multiple times. In warhammer, once upon a time the magic was based on spell points, later winds of magic and whatever they have now, which is neither of the afore mentioned systems. People didn't quit then. 2nd edition 40K to 3rd is like comparing night and day. Still, the game grew. So I don't think GW has anything to lose by redoing its game systems to match what's happening now. A Sales Exec running the same old crew won't have the foresight to implement this change, at least most of them that I've ever worked with wouldn't. What the company needs is someone to steer the ship in a completely new direction.

AGC
10-12-2007, 14:59
It’s like using DOS for day to day operations after Windows was released.

Funny, I didn't switch to windows until win98 se. DOS was good enough for my needs (and indeed more reliable).


Just like DOS, GW games are being swallowed by their Windows competitors. This happened once before with a company called TSR which published D&D. By second edition, the market which TSR had pioneered had become flooded with alternate systems. So they updated to second edition which steered the course with convoluted and complicated rules spanning a series of manuals while their competitors were smaller, single shot, self contained systems. TSR again tried to update, but stay with their older mechanics and released 2.5, but by then interest in D&D was gone. Steering the course toward the way it's always been because of the fear of loosing customers is a serious problem in the gaming world. If you don't believe me, the same old shotty D&D game with all their Tolkien-rip-off worlds were repackaged under a new system by WOTC and now, it's the number one selling game. You could say it was simply the power of the Hasbro dollar, but its system was, for its time, extremely innovative and attracted people to (people who had even quit the game) back to it. Now the d20 system is pretty much all there is in the roleplay market.

The same model can be applied to GW. GW created the massive miniature wargame market. Other companies came along during its strongest sale point (3rd – 3.5 edition 40K) and expanded on their principles. GW creates 4th which keeps the boat afloat for a while, like D&D 2nd edition. Like TSR however, GW's 4th is now suffering so they will create 5th which will be plagued with the same problems as 4th while the market continues to expand and explore new ways of wargames being played. In the end, the ship sinks.

...

And they have survived system overhauls multiple times. In warhammer, once upon a time the magic was based on spell points, later winds of magic and whatever they have now, which is neither of the afore mentioned systems. People didn't quit then. 2nd edition 40K to 3rd is like comparing night and day. Still, the game grew. So I don't think GW has anything to lose by redoing its game systems to match what's happening now. A Sales Exec running the same old crew won't have the foresight to implement this change, at least most of them that I've ever worked with wouldn't. What the company needs is someone to steer the ship in a completely new direction.

I've actually been thinking the similarities between GW and TSR too. I've only seen the D&D rules implemented in computer games, so going purely by that I'd say you're right. AD&D (The ruleset used in Baldur's Gate) was horrifically hard to understand: Lower armour class is better and a shield +1 actually reduces your' AC by 1. :confused:
D&D 3.0 (the ruleset used in Neverwinter Nights) was much more intuitive.

Above all I'd say 40K needs to be made intuitive. The rules need to work as people expect as well as generate the right mathematical effect, at the moment they don't. Especially the assault rules which no one seems to fully understand.

But don't forget that not all of GW plc is doing badly. Only citadel minatures and the shops are losing money. Black industries, forgeworld, and even sabretooth games are more than breaking even. If GW can learn from itself it should be salvageable.

ScooterinAB
11-12-2007, 07:12
You could say it was simply the power of the Hasbro dollar, but its system was, for its time, extremely innovative and attracted people to (people who had even quit the game) back to it. Now the d20 system is pretty much all there is in the roleplay market.

I'm going to slightly derail the topic. With my hand on the pulse of the gaming industry, I have seen the complete opposite. While D&D still does well (being a staple and all), d20 is not. The bloat of d20 products has died down. In fact, some might say that d20 was a bubble. The new things that are coming into the market are Indie games, which try to to not be the rest of the RPG's in the market (much like what was going on in animation in countries other than the US; try to be Not-Disney). Maybe GW should stop trying to actively compete with other companies, and just do it's own thing. Yes, there is going to be competition, but if you spend all or your resources competeing with others, you have few resources to dedicate to your product.

Now, to un-derail the conversation... I how that the new CEO does a good job. Watching threads like this explain some of the theories Ive had in the past (like GW hitting the fan a few years ago, apparently thanks to Mr. Kirby). GW does seem to be on something of an upwards swing. Hopefully, things will get a better in the near future.

Just two beefs though. 1) Why the hell release a new edition when half the armies aren't even reworked yet? And 2) Why the hell release a new set of Skeletons every single edition of Fantasy, while there are so many 10+ year old models (Ork Buggy anyone?).

Good luck to Mr. Wells. Do my hobby proud.

Reinholt
11-12-2007, 16:28
Just two beefs though. 1) Why the hell release a new edition when half the armies aren't even reworked yet? And 2) Why the hell release a new set of Skeletons every single edition of Fantasy, while there are so many 10+ year old models (Ork Buggy anyone?).

Good luck to Mr. Wells. Do my hobby proud.

1) Because if you believe the new edition is not a good product, why hang on until the bitter end when you have driven off many gamers? If you think sales are declining and the rules (for whatever reason) are driving people off, you need to fix that immediately. Putting out all the army lists for a rule set you believe is fatally flawed is like putting $3000 rims on a $500 car.

2) My guess is that they replace models when they think the new models will drive sales; as in, new marines / skeletons / empire are much more likely to sell than new chaos dwarves, thus the cds get stuck with very old models. I see only one problem with this:

If the whole reason a model wasn't selling is that it's garbage, not replacing it means you give up a major sales opportunity and future growth. I'd point at the Dark Eldar as experiencing that kind of phenomenon. Hell, I'd play them if not for those ass ugly models.

Edit: And I concur - I genuinely hope Wells does well. GW is still a potential turnaround here, rather than a potential buyout, and I think the former is better than the latter for the hobby (though a buyout is obviously preferable to bankruptcy - before anyone panics, I am not predicting this!).

fwacho
12-12-2007, 07:52
Putting out all the army lists for a rule set you believe is fatally flawed is like putting $3000 rims on a $500 car.



uhm.. I've seen people actually do that. you'll note I didn't say it was a particularly bright idea.

Gazak Blacktoof
12-12-2007, 10:59
The new things that are coming into the market are Indie games, which try to to not be the rest of the RPG's in the market (much like what was going on in animation in countries other than the US; try to be Not-Disney). Maybe GW should stop trying to actively compete with other companies, and just do it's own thing.

GW are pixar/ disney though in a gaming sense.

Also GW don't do D20.:eyebrows:

blongbling
12-12-2007, 11:30
Maybe GW should stop trying to actively compete with other companies, and just do it's own thing.


so who are GW actively competint with in your opinion...cos i cant see that they are at all

forthegloryofkazadekrund
13-12-2007, 17:44
share price is now at 198 down again, if it keeps up like this there will probebly have to be an emergency meeting of the shareholders if it goes below original price paid, then kirby in trouble

Vic
13-12-2007, 18:16
share price is now at 198 down again, if it keeps up like this there will probebly have to be an emergency meeting of the shareholders if it goes below original price paid, then kirby in trouble


Which is distressing as its shares typically see a seasonal bump up this time of year.

I really do hope the new guy can get GW's act together...

RevEv
13-12-2007, 19:10
Considering the general state of retail shares in the UK that has got to be expected - the latest news (from Radio 4 this morning - I don't know why the wife puts it on, it just sends me to sleep again) is that high street retail should survive this Christmas, but some names may go to the wall in 2008.

I just hope GW is not one of them. Kirby will have a lot to answer to then.

ankara halla
13-12-2007, 19:15
Taking a step back, looking at things objectively, taking into consideration the direction GW's been going and the measurments that they've said they've taken to remedy their declining sales, is anybody realistically expecting GW to do well come january?

Optimism aside, seriously?

Templar Ben
13-12-2007, 19:48
Well I have no idea how well Apoc did. I know it was much more than the production in Memphis could easily handle for a couple of months but they only supply the US, Canada and the Pacific Rim. The big question is how bit was Apoc for Europe. That would show changes in the sales.

We don't know what savings have been realized in the closing from last summer. They were hoping to post a 7 million pound savings year over year but how much do they have so far? That will be a big question as well.

The new leader won't really turn things like that around, at least not short term. He is steering the Titantic and she doesn't turn on a dime.

ankara halla
13-12-2007, 21:59
Apoc propably did pretty well all around, but did it do well enough (along with the cost cuts) to turn the tide... I just can't see that. It's still just one release, no matter how big. I do belive it (all of it, the cuts and whatnot) will effect the numbers to the point that GW won't be doing as badly as the previous year, but I can hardly see GW doing "good" either. Maybe "better" (which would only require for them to break even, not an impossible feat at all), but not "good" by a long shot.

Gaebriel
13-12-2007, 22:09
I guess if Apocalypse would have been enormously successful, Kirby would have remained CEO. Though it may have created enough turnover to keep profits in the black this half-year.

Brother Loki
13-12-2007, 23:41
My understanding is that Apocalypse related sales have actually exceeded expectations, but that's entirely anecdotal from warseer etc.

ScooterinAB
14-12-2007, 08:04
so who are GW actively competint with in your opinion...cos i cant see that they are at all

There was some discussion in (I think) this thread and the 5th Ed 40k rumor thread that GW has, in the past, released at leat one edition of 40k or Fantasy I order to compete in the market against (I think) games like Warmachine.


Well I have no idea how well Apoc did.

Given the fact that it is $70 in Canada, printed in a page size that cannot fit on my bookshelf, and requires you to spit out about a thousand dollars so you can buy the extra tanks...

Call me synical.

Brother Loki
14-12-2007, 09:47
...requires you to spit out about a thousand dollars so you can buy the extra tanks...

What? What are you talking about? Apocalypse doesn't require you to buy anything extra other than for one person in the gaming group to have the rulebook. It's a TEAM game for goodness' sake, like it keeps saying over and over in the book.

ScooterinAB
14-12-2007, 18:51
What? What are you talking about? Apocalypse doesn't require you to buy anything extra other than for one person in the gaming group to have the rulebook. It's a TEAM game for goodness' sake, like it keeps saying over and over in the book.

Sorry, I was under the impression that it was for large scale games, thus needing larger armies. My bad.

Templar Ben
15-12-2007, 03:17
Sorry, I was under the impression that it was for large scale games, thus needing larger armies. My bad.

And larger bookshelves. ;)

selfconstrukt
15-12-2007, 03:56
What? What are you talking about? Apocalypse doesn't require you to buy anything extra other than for one person in the gaming group to have the rulebook. It's a TEAM game for goodness' sake, like it keeps saying over and over in the book.

"If you build it, they will come..."

So to speak. If you have a large scale game, then most players have probably said to themselves "I can use one more Land Raider" or similar.

If you make a ruleset for large-scale battles, then naturally players are going to buy more models to make a larger army.

Many players will have a huge collection to draw from, but that mentality will still hit people, "Maybe just one more Wave Falcon".

Its a commonly practiced sales technique. Make something, then use marketing to convince people they "need" it.

Apocalypse really is not even needed, at least for social games. But if your a tournament player, then yes, it is a good buy so all players are using consistent rules. You don't really need that for pickup/social games though.

Before I decided to stop gaming and just paint and collect miniatures, we used to just make up our own rules, tweak then when necessary and went from there.

We also used a lot of vehicles with conversion rules, like the Whirlwind (remember?) and changed the rules when we thought it was necessary to.

Remember paying 40K when the rules were not as "intricate" (LOL) as they are now? We had to make up stuff as we went along.

What's changed? Are we no longer capable of doing this for ourselves?

Nephilim of Sin
15-12-2007, 05:57
.... This happened once before with a company called TSR which published D&D. By second edition, the market which TSR had pioneered had become flooded with alternate systems. So they updated to second edition which steered the course with convoluted and complicated rules spanning a series of manuals while their competitors were smaller, single shot, self contained systems. TSR again tried to update, but stay with their older mechanics and released 2.5, but by then interest in D&D was gone. Steering the course toward the way it's always been because of the fear of loosing customers is a serious problem in the gaming world. If you don't believe me, the same old shotty D&D game with all their Tolkien-rip-off worlds were repackaged under a new system by WOTC and now, it's the number one selling game. You could say it was simply the power of the Hasbro dollar, but its system was, for its time, extremely innovative and attracted people to (people who had even quit the game) back to it. Now the d20 system is pretty much all there is in the roleplay market.

The same model can be applied to GW...
.

Sorry, but I had to jump in here. The same model cannot be applied to GW directly. While it is true during the hayday of D&D and AD&D a myriad amount of other systems came out, there were only a few that stood up to the "Grand-daddy" of roleplaying. Many were half-baked systems that were easily broken because of their simplicity. Marvel and DC came even came out with their own, extremely short lived systems. West End Games and I.C.E published excellent games with a wealth of material, but they are gone as well. Even then, give or take a random month, they could not completely overtake TSR. And they had more than one core system.

What stopped TSR in its tracks had a lot to do with the "Religious Right" (which is not directed towards anyone, but the term used for those in high standings who had the power to make the decisions by the media) and the supposed reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse, which started in the eighties and actually lasted into the 90's. D&D was a big focal point of that (which is why it removed "demons" and "devils" from the Monstrous Manuel), which was further elaborated upon with the "Steam Tunnel" incident that involved one confused, poor soul who later commited suicide (He had his map with him, and his group would game in the Steam Tunnels). This is further substantiated by the quotes of the original author who wrote a book on the "Steam Tunnel" incident when he states that although he has come to realize AD&D had nothing to do with the individuals death, it is still "evil".

Another nail in the coffin was the DM who used his group to "play an adventure" in which they murdered his parents. And while these are all varied incidents, they did a lot of damage to D&D in which it took a long time to recover from. While there were other incidents of violence associated with LARPing, they recieved a lot less press coverage than D&D did. On a whole, the Role-playing industry was hurt badly, but even in the end TSR was one of the leading companies in sales before they were done in.

Even Magic:TG had to censor itself for a while (removing demons, devils, etc...) during the time that this was winding down. In fact, things did not change until after they acquired TSR, by the time that this was all percieved as a harmless game.


...
Just two beefs though. 1) Why the hell release a new edition when half the armies aren't even reworked yet? And 2) Why the hell release a new set of Skeletons every single edition of Fantasy, while there are so many 10+ year old models (Ork Buggy anyone?)....

Skeletons (the core model) are finally being redone after about eight to ten years. Although, I agree one hundred percent that with point 1, and it is true that older models should be redone instead of the "Space Marine" of the year.

This is based upon which armies are popular, but how do they rate this data? Obviously models which are newer and better detailed are going to sale more than an Ork Buggy from Gorkamorka, which is a game that died. Do they rate it at the time the model was released, or just for the current period? It is basically shooting themselves in the foot and seems to waste profits, as they decide to redo something which is still selling well and has the potential to reap more income, then something that falls to the wayside because they do not give it any attention.

Edit: I just wanted to add I can see Kirby stepping down as being a "great" thing. Although it might seem to us that having a salesman stepping up can be bad, perhaps a sales-oriented person can understand the importance of customer retention. Note to mention the importance of keeping the customer happy by updating the models that need it, as opposed to the ones that are already selling.

yabbadabba
15-12-2007, 10:32
What's changed? Are we no longer capable of doing this for ourselves?

Short answer? No.

I now have the apocalypse rulebook and I can say that this is a game for 1+ players per side. It allows you to use as many toys as you feasibly have time for. And it allows you field armies you have always wanted to e.g. Leman Russ companies, SM Battle companies (I might as well use my old Space Marine organisation cards for this!), in situations you have always wanted.

Anybody could have written it. The fact that GW was able too, and make a load of money of it, just confirms to me the sad state of the GW side of the wargames hobby.

GW has moved out of the geek market, where varied and complex rulesets and models were not only possible but profitable, into the more mainstream world of users of games consoles e.t.c. Here imagination is not necessary as it is already provided for you. The challenge isn't in the complexity but in smashing your opponent, and for that simplicity is the key. Anyone could have written this, but most couldn't because they could not be arsed or because it wouldn't have been "official".

Whether they had to do this or not is a debatable point.

Gaebriel
15-12-2007, 11:01
One of the problem witrh free-flowing rules extensions and house-rules is that one of the praised qualities of GW's systems is a world-spanning availability with identical rules. Go to your local store, play a game. Happen to stumble into a store on another continent - enter a game without a thought.

While that shouldn't stop the creative hobbyist from applying their own vision, it sure puts a little stop onto the majority.

The tournament circuit does their own thing with elevating the games to something like a competitive sport, with some players losing the gamist element. It's also where the official-inofficial debate stems from.

And last, GW has a tightly enforced regulation on models, keeping a good deal of creativity tied within their own range of miniatures - perhaps some of this tie in is spreading over ("if it's not GW it's not legal")?

Brandir
15-12-2007, 12:37
Reports in the UK suggest that pre-christmas toy sales are down by 6% when compared with last year and footfall 5.9%.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=G1JESRKTCISYHQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQ WIV0?xml=/news/2007/12/15/nchristmas215.xml

AGC
15-12-2007, 13:31
Now I wonder...

Could the shortage of sales to "normal" toy manufacturers have anything to do with the success of Apocalypse and WFRP? Could GW be being so successful that everyone else is suffering?:evilgrin:

I doubt it, but it would be quite something if it were true.

Gaebriel
15-12-2007, 13:39
If GW manages to divert 6% of all pre-christmas toy sales to themselves, I'll expect a price reduction :p

(right after they replaced the Space Marine statue with a solidly golden one...)

AGC
15-12-2007, 14:40
On a serious note, I hear that the postal carriers (Parcel Force, City link, etc) are also reporting a fall in trade compared to last year. So it looks like not just are less people buying but the swing to buying online has stopped as well.

I don't know who GW use but it might be interesting to see if they're how they're doing.

yabbadabba
15-12-2007, 15:10
One of the problem witrh free-flowing rules extensions and house-rules is that one of the praised qualities of GW's systems is a world-spanning availability with identical rules. Go to your local store, play a game. Happen to stumble into a store on another continent - enter a game without a thought.

While that shouldn't stop the creative hobbyist from applying their own vision, it sure puts a little stop onto the majority.

The tournament circuit does their own thing with elevating the games to something like a competitive sport, with some players losing the gamist element. It's also where the official-inofficial debate stems from.

And last, GW has a tightly enforced regulation on models, keeping a good deal of creativity tied within their own range of miniatures - perhaps some of this tie in is spreading over ("if it's not GW it's not legal")?

I think 3 things have encouraged this "If it ain't GW it ain't legal" menatality. The first is GW's own isolationist attitude to their games and models. Now as a fundamental business approach I don't have a problem with this. They have little competition from within the wragames industry, and most of that competition is other companies poaching GW's mature customers - a market that GW appears to be less and less bothered with.

The second is the competitive players, those who feel most fulfilled by competitive, and to me restricted, play. GW has spent a lot of time tying their tournament circuit closely into their basic products - alot of the current design of codicies and army books is down to the tournament circuit demanding more clarity and simplicity. Again, no problems here except that it appears to be the major/sole business direction the studio is taking with their main products.

The third is that GW is trying to move into that 12-16 year old premium priced toy market. And here names are everything as it is mostly a fad for these guys, especially here in the UK. Research has shown that kids are more preoccupied with image and labels than any other part of the market (I think I got that from Toy News). GW and it's stores are becoming the only place to buy these things, as is the concept of paying full price because discount is frowned upon.

Many of these are sound business directions as they are about building a customer base over which you have great influence. In answer to Gaebriels first point, I have no problems with the BRB being the baseline of all games played globally, again a sound business strategy. What I don't like is how it appears that more and more of the creativity inside and outside of GWHQ about GW products is tied directly into what is "official". GW need to excite and stimulate all angles of their market, not just the old "Route 1" market. Some campaign supplements, some non-official rules expansions and conversions from GW online would go down a storm provided GW shout about it. There is a significant market, full of cash, waiting to be tapped. And that is all GW's customers from the past who have stopped buying. Open your arms GW and welcome them back!

Crazy Harborc
16-12-2007, 02:50
Then there are the large numbers of parents and grandparents who have been buying for children and grandchildren. We DO notice the regular and at the least annual GW price hikes. Oh we will likely still want to buy the kid(s) some GW toys. Same amount as last time....that equals less numbers of sales numbers just the same $$$$$ spent.

Less incoming dollars than needed to grow has been the result for GW. GW's financial report proved it.

Etienne de Beaugard
16-12-2007, 03:56
What stopped TSR in its tracks had a lot to do with the "Religious Right" (which is not directed towards anyone, but the term used for those in high standings who had the power to make the decisions by the media) and the supposed reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse, which started in the eighties and actually lasted into the 90's.

While the "Religious Right" impacted T$R, they impacted much of the RPG industry at that time. Ultimately, this was not the force that killed T$R. T$R fell on hard times for a variety of reasons, many of them internal.

The Dungeons & Dragons line was growing stale and bloated. Endless 'optional' rules supplements over a 5 year period resulted in many players walking away. Products were usually stale or in response to whatever hot new trend showed up in the gaming/pop-culture world. Vampires are hot? Lets promote Ravenloft. Spaceships are hot? Lets do Spelljammer.

A few of the small games companies hit it big, competing with T$R not only in the specialty shop market, but also in the mass market book stores. White Wolf Games with their World of Darkness Games, West End Games with Star Wars, and to a lesser extent FASA with Shadowrun were all available not only to the hardcore gamer market but to the pop-culture gamers. While WEG and FASA folded due to their own mismanagement troubles, they took a chunk out of T$Rs market dominance before they went away.

Magic: The Gathering changed the printed gaming world forever. I remember. I was in college when this happened. Within a years time, players who would slavishly buy T$R supplements dropped AD&D in favor of buying more Magic cards.

Also, T$R did not go bankrupt. It was bought out by WotC right before they were bought out by Hasbro. Dungeons & Dragons is still alive and still available in almost every chain bookstore in the USA (as well many other nations I'm sure).

The comparison between T$R in the late 90s and GW today are both valid. Both were games companies that produced the 'common culture' game of their niche. Both had many small competitors for many years, but several of those competitors had grown up enough to present a serious challenge. Both companies were facing competition from new media (90s T$R faced CCGs while modern GW faces pre-paint plastics and online gaming) Both companies had major image problems within their fandom; both were viewed as money grubbing companies, willing to do anything to milk their clients for more cash.

There are of course many differnces between the companies, but a comparison between current GW and pre-buyout T$R are valid and worthwhile.

Nephilim of Sin
16-12-2007, 05:21
While the "Religious Right" impacted T$R, they impacted much of the RPG industry at that time. Ultimately, this was not the force that killed T$R. T$R fell on hard times for a variety of reasons, many of them internal.

While I agree that they had their own problems, the difference in the impact of the "Right" with other systems is that Dungeons and Dragons was specifically targeted. Repeatedly. While some older gamers could easily find a game with people they knew, someone on the 'outside' trying to get in was almost akin to becoming a Freemason. Yes, that is a dramatization of hyperbole, however, especially living in the south or near the 'bible belt', many people viewed D&D as 'satanic'. Not RPGS. They were just 'dorky'. Playing Star Wars could get you laughed at, playing D&D meant you must have a black alter in your room. It wasn't 'newbie friendly', but not because of the rules.

As well, D&D was the only RPG to ever have a 'Chic Tract' written about it. These things carry a lot more weight than many realize....



The Dungeons & Dragons line was growing stale and bloated. Endless 'optional' rules supplements over a 5 year period resulted in many players walking away. Products were usually stale or in response to whatever hot new trend showed up in the gaming/pop-culture world. Vampires are hot? Lets promote Ravenloft. Spaceships are hot? Lets do Spelljammer.

The first rule of roleplay is we never, ever mention Spelljammer :cries:. Or 'Spellfire' CCG. Yes, you have made an extremely valid point here. Throw in Greyhawk as well. TSR definately had some clunky systems that were not that well though out. However, another problem they had was, if you bought the corebooks, how many other books did you need?
Based on that alone, one thing that hurt them, but was a godsend to the players, was when they book all of their corebooks, options books, and class books on a cd-rom. This came complete with a map-maker and character generator. Thus, no more did I need to go out and spend hundreds for these books when I can spend $50 and have it all.
On a side note, I actually preferred the Options books. It added a depth of character development that is absent in 3rd. 3rd is DM friendly. 2.5 was 'PC' friendly.



Magic: The Gathering changed the printed gaming world forever. I remember. I was in college when this happened. Within a years time, players who would slavishly buy T$R supplements dropped AD&D in favor of buying more Magic cards.

Again, I can agree with you here. But prepaints and online games are not having the impact that Magic had to roleplaying. However, one thing to note is that when Warhammer was getting really big over in the states, people started trading in Magic cards for Warhammer.



The comparison between T$R in the late 90s and GW today are both valid....
There are of course many differnces between the companies, but a comparison between current GW and pre-buyout T$R are valid and worthwhile.

And this again is where I disagree. GW does have to deal with prepaints, and yes, during the time of TSR we did not have WoW (but we had Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft, which people spent hours upon hours playing), but GW does not have to deal with the stigma that was associated with TSR.
Pre-buyout, they were still working on rebuilding their image, which was horribly tarnished. GW doesn't have anything near as revolutionary as M:TG to deal with.
So basically, the reason I disagree is that GW does not have the external factors that TSR had during it's time, which is something that can really hurt a business. WotC has a lot more wiggle room with the system. In 3rd, they can have their Demons, Devils, and Book of Vile Darkness.

BrainFireBob
16-12-2007, 05:42
Nephilim-

The original, strongest backlash against D&D was in the early 80s.

If it was the religious right that killed TSR- they did so in the 80s. Since TSR did not go down in the 80s, it was not the religious right. Even with "conditions" in the American bible belt, they did fine and went strong for decades- which is why the religious backlash isn't the cause of their downfall, since it didn't spike again in conjunction with TSR getting wobbly.