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Muffin Man
04-12-2005, 07:34
Hi,

I after reading various posts about GW's attention on kids and how kids are such a cash cow, and kids are ruining the game, and kids, ect. Something struck me: I've always heard that the the biggest/most desirable demographic is the 18-35 yr old male. Lots of disposable income, lots of time, and lots of them.

Anyhow, why are kids such a bigger demographic for wargaming? Is it the market that GW is in? Is it all a red herring? Or is GW really the evil corporation that wants fad money and not customer loyalty (which the 18-35 yo demographic will give)?

Misfratz
04-12-2005, 09:00
...GW's attention on kids and how kids are such a cash cow...the biggest/most desirable demographic is the 18-35 yr old male...Well, there are two separate issues here:

* Does GW target kids more than they target 18-35 yr olds?
* If they do, why would they? Or, if they don't, why might it appear so?

I'm not convinced that GW do target 'kids' to the exclusion of 18-35 yr olds. A lot of the things they do can be seen as targeted to the veteran [also if you read their corporate accounts they actually state to their investors that they are prioritising keeping older customers because they know the 'faddish' income from kids is unreliable. GW suffered from the 'Pokemon' effect a few years back, they don't want to repeat that.]

Now, the fact is that amongst 18-35 yr olds playing with toy soldiers is generally seen as childish in a way that playing video games, drinking yourself unconscious and burping loudly is [inexplicably in my opinion] not. Consequently it is much harder to get an 18-35 yr old started with wargaming because it is seen as nerdy, etc. However, it is possible that they [GW] can get people started when they are teenagers and then keep them interested [or get them re-interested once they've gotten over Uni] when they move into the 'cash-rich' 18-35 yr old demographic.

This is essentially GW's strategy. Get people started when they are kids [because it is easier to do then] but then keep them hooked on their games for life [generally it is easier to keep customers than to get new ones].

Consequently the 'truth' is that GW are trying to do both things at the same time. I think it would help them if they did this more explicitly by creating games somewhat more aimed at the younger demographic as they did in the early nineties [Heroquest, etcl]. People [CvT I think was the first I heard] have pointed out that some of the Specialist Games range would be particularly suited for this [Mordheim, Necromunda] due to the smaller number of models making it easier for the 'starter' hobbyist to get going compared to the effort required for even a 500 point 40K/WHFB army.

However, GW messed this up.

Muffin Man
04-12-2005, 09:53
Well, there are two separate issues here:

* Does GW target kids more than they target 18-35 yr olds?
* If they do, why would they? Or, if they don't, why might it appear so?

You're correct there are two issues that I rolled together. I'm more or less assuming the former since I'm more interested in the latter point. However, I'm willing to discuss and would welcome some definitive answer on the first point.


Now, the fact is that amongst 18-35 yr olds playing with toy soldiers is generally seen as childish in a way that playing video games, drinking yourself unconscious and burping loudly is [inexplicably in my opinion] not. Consequently it is much harder to get an 18-35 yr old started with wargaming because it is seen as nerdy, etc.

Ah, but a few years ago an 18-35 yr old playing games was considered childish and nerdy and uncool. These perceptions seem to be fading away. Maybe GW doesn't have the impetus or clout to change the similar perceptions around wargaming, but thos perceptions aren't set in stone.

In fact to follow the video gaming market a little further, one of the larger demographics playing video games are baby boomers. Bet no one expected that one huh?


However, it is possible that they [GW] can get people started when they are teenagers and then keep them interested [or get them re-interested once they've gotten over Uni] when they move into the 'cash-rich' 18-35 yr old demographic.

This is essentially GW's strategy. Get people started when they are kids [because it is easier to do then] but then keep them hooked on their games for life [generally it is easier to keep customers than to get new ones].

That would sound sensible, they would be essentially setting up that future 18-35 yr old demographic. In fact I would be someone who fits your model to a T (played Space Hulk in Jr High, remember it, badgered parents to get me WHFB in HS, quit, finished College turned mad money into second hand DE and Empire armies off ebay).

However, other posts I've seen from Starlight seem to indicate this isn't their strategy at all, but rather to strip mine the 'kid' demographic, without even waiting around for those 18-35 yr olds to focus their cash on warhammer.


Consequently the 'truth' is that GW are trying to do both things at the same time. I think it would help them if they did this more explicitly by creating games somewhat more aimed at the younger demographic as they did in the early nineties [Heroquest, etcl]. People [CvT I think was the first I heard] have pointed out that some of the Specialist Games range would be particularly suited for this [Mordheim, Necromunda] due to the smaller number of models making it easier for the 'starter' hobbyist to get going compared to the effort required for even a 500 point 40K/WHFB army.

However, GW messed this up.

On the flip side could you say that this was the start of GW focusing on kids rather than the 18-35 demograph. Oddly enough, GW doesn't make those old games anymore (man, come to think of it, I did play Heroquest and Battlemasters in elementary schools, they've got me at every phase of my life, bastards!). Yet they clearly haven't given up on that target group, would it be reasonable to say that instead of marketing those Milton Bradley licenses to kids, they've taken to marketing the core games themselves to kids?

Actually instead of the Specialist Games it seems to me that 40k in 40 Minutes, Border Patrol, ect. are the introductory games of choice now. I think they work better than Mordheim and Necromunda which have fairly different rulesets. What those scaled back games need now are a dedicated ruleset that doesn't assume you have the main rulebook (remember introductory is the key right?).

I don't want to sound like I'm flogging a dead horse, or picking on kids, or decrying GW's business practices, but I'd like to know why they would think the kid market is such a bigger gold mine (well, I'm assuming they do again, do they?)? Someone pointed out that sooner or later parents will realize that Halo 2 + Xbox will keep the children occupied for much longer and for much cheaper than a warhammer army, which brings the point that children don't have that much control of their income and even when they do, such as teenagers, they usually are of limited means (I should know, that's why I quit WHFB in the first place).

Aside: Is there a reason why I can't type in the 'quote' tags anymore when I'm cutting up someone's post? I never had a problem before, but I had to use the quote button many times for this reply.

Mikhaila
05-12-2005, 04:12
Someone pointed out that sooner or later parents will realize that Halo 2 + Xbox will keep the children occupied for much longer and for much cheaper than a warhammer army

Many parents aren't interested in just sticking the kid in front of the xbox and letting it keep him occupied. In fact, many parents are looking for ways to unhook the kids from video games. One of the better selling tools that I use in my shop is to play up the aspects of the hobby, such as painting, modeling, interaction with other people, and making scenery. I get a lot of comments from parents along the lines of "..and at least he wouldn't be playing video games all day."

As for targeting kids vs 18 to 35 year olds, don't think of it as targeting so much as taking the path of least resistance. Kids are more open to the idea of something new, and are always looking for new toys. With older customers there is so much more in their life to compete with gaming, that it's harder to sell them on the idea.

Kids also don't have to supply the money that they need for the games, so they only focus on wanting to get the game, and it's the parents that provide the support for their hobby. An older player is aware that if he gets involved, what the cost is going to be, and that he is paying for it.

In the long run, the kids are a lot easier to start into the hobby, and buy a ton of games. Eventually they become gamers in the 18 to 35 group.

ejazzyjeff
05-12-2005, 15:56
"Anyhow, why are kids such a bigger demographic for wargaming? Is it the market that GW is in? Is it all a red herring? Or is GW really the evil corporation that wants fad money and not customer loyalty (which the 18-35 yo demographic will give)?"

Kids are a big, because they have parents, grandparents, uncle and aunts and all other relatives that can give the money or purchase these items for them.

rkunisch
05-12-2005, 18:38
Kids are a big, because they have parents, grandparents, uncle and aunts and all other relatives that can give the money or purchase these items for them. The same is true for us elder lot. You should hear the moaning of my family when they read my x-mas/birthday wishlists. :p

Have fun,

Rolf.

ratatosk
05-12-2005, 23:05
In historical wargaming you find that the players tend to be alot more... mature in age than the people who play purely GW games. Maybe GW is targeting these by releasing WHAB, and therefore entering the arena in a smaller way for the 18-35 age group. Just a thought.

ejazzyjeff
06-12-2005, 13:34
The same is true for us elder lot. You should hear the moaning of my family when they read my x-mas/birthday wishlists. :p

Have fun,

Rolf.


:p :p I agree. I am married, have two teenage kids and my Christmas list is pretty well all Game Work Shop stuff!!!.

ejazzyjeff
06-12-2005, 19:37
As for targeting kids vs 18 to 35 year olds, don't think of it as targeting so much as taking the path of least resistance. Kids are more open to the idea of something new, and are always looking for new toys. With older customers there is so much more in their life to compete with gaming, that it's harder to sell them on the idea.

First of all, where I play, I believe that both new people just walking in to look around and older customers are treated differently because:

To the new people, they must use a sales pitch to convince them to buy a product. I don't think that with the older customers it not because it's harder to sell them on ideas, but when you are known at a store, and play there or stop by to chat, they know you are going to buy stuff. About everytime I visit, I usually plunk down at least $50.00 dollars and I know some people to spend at least triple that.

You definitely will have no problem "hooking" kids on these games. It's the parents (I have two kids, boy and girl age 15/16). Parents are just as hard to sell on the idea as with the older customers. Parents also has to compete with paying dental, medical, school, electricity, etc). Kids have so many fads, most are expensive fads (clothes, games, jewelry, etc.) which the parents usually end up paying for and you got to draw the line of which "fads" to have. I've been in the GW store when kids (I estimate their ages between 8-12) come in (without the parents) and just drool over the games and the clerk says go get your parents so they can buy you the starter set. I would say at least 75% do not purchase anything for the kids. Why? Cost and probably within a month or so, it's totally forgotten (my kids it was Pokemon cards, electronic animals, live animals). My wife was not taken by the clerks sales tactics to keep buying all these boxes of figures. She still says it's an expensive hobby. Sorry but this is not a cheap hobby for some 8-12 year old to start, compare it to video games which you can buy used games for almost half of it's original price or renting them, or even playing online, yes it cost money, but I've compared the money I spend on video stuff and GW items I buy, and video stuff is cheaper by comparison. Also now, as parents, you got the drives to the mall for the game (I got to pay a toll and 45 minute ride) to get where I play, buying additional figures, rulebooks. I have had to end many games because the parents only let their kids play for about 2 hours, while they shop around because parents are not interested in getting involved.


Kids also don't have to supply the money that they need for the games, so they only focus on wanting to get the game, and it's the parents that provide the support for their hobby. An older player is aware that if he gets involved, what the cost is going to be, and that he is paying for it.

Trust me most parents, as myself, also get involved what cost are going to be and what I am paying for it. I bought my son Warhammer back in 2000, because he wanted it for his birthday. I bought it because I thought it was cool. He played a little, I bought more figures (I try to get him to assemble and paint the figures but at 10, he just didn't have the attention span, so I did all the painting and assembly, which by the way I like doing). He wanted to start 40K (because he like the weapons), he got that the next year, bought other boxes and figures, which I assembled. Since 2000, he probably played ten times. Fortunately, I still continue to play WH/40K/BFG/LOTR, so I don't consider it a waste in money. I always invite him to join me at a game, but think it is uncool.


In the long run, the kids are a lot easier to start into the hobby, and buy a ton of games. Eventually they become gamers in the 18 to 35 group.

Overall, this is a business. I don't think it's a matter of age, but just new recruits. It just happens that the majority of new players probably fit in that age category of a "kid".
Like D&D when it started out it was an older person's game and then through the years, it quickly went to the kid's level, why? It's a business.

Mad Makz
07-12-2005, 00:15
Yeah, It's problematic for GW. The best demographic for actually PLAYING the games based on who the background appeals to and who has most free time, least cringe factor etc. is probably the 17-25 year olds. Problem is, relatively few of these people ACTUALLY have much in the way of disposable income (University costs, first time out of home, and the competition of spending on Alcohol etc) so it is rare that they will have enough money to really get into the hobby.

The even older crowd (25-35), who might love the hobbies background, generally don't have the time to play the hobby/make armies, so don't get the opportunity to experience how cool it really is (although an increase in people buying painted for hire armies over the net may be changing this somewhat, however they generally don't grow the hobby the same way as dedicated hobbists do, because to them it is just acquiring something that is personally appealing, usually at great cost, so they are unlikely to generate the great word of mouth that hobbyists do.).

So I believe GW's general policy is to get them young (12-17) fully aware that a lot of the time the players won't have the skills, talent, patience to really make the most from the hobby, get their parents to buy for the miniatures etc (but still support the idea that this IS a hobby and try and promote the hobby aspects through their company owned hobby stores) and then hope that kid likes it enough that once they have money again in the early/mid twenties (and have got tired of the expense of binge drinking/chasing skirt etc) they'll come back to the hobby they loved.

This means: Children and their parents are necessarily given the hard sell (and hopefully lots of hobby support, but this will vary on a store to store basis as its highly employee dependent), teenagers/early twenties are often mostly ignored/given a friendly ribbing/made to feel part of the 'in' crowd at the store (because by and large they spend the least money, but hang out the most.) and the big money spenders are given a warm smile and inviting wave, but not really any conversation any further than how's the army/missus/kids going before they walk out the door back to their own hobby area at home. These people will generally shun the store at all other times as the home of kiddies/lay about teens.

TheOTHERmaninblack
07-12-2005, 05:57
Who is GW targeting? Can't say I can narrow it down to one group. I'm told LoTR is aimed at the younger crowd as an entry point. Get them hooked. 40K is the intermediate stage, with larger armies, but simple(ish) rules. Reel them in. Finally, WHFB is the end point. Mass battles, huge armies, complicated ruleset. Net 'em. Of course, playing these "fish" is about a five or ten year project.

In my shop, I try to pay attention to the little ones as well as the big ones. My players all know (or get drubbed) that the way to generate new opponants is to be nice to the FNGs. We have loaner armies, and we don't do the hard sell. To the kid, we pitch the gameplay and the cool minis. To the parents, we pitch the hobby and discipline aspect. It doesn't hurt that we also sell used video games, which is a natural sequay to the old "$50 for a video game he'll play for ten to twenty hours on average after which you come here and sell it to me for $5-10, or a $35 box that'll take him that long just to assemble, paint, and properly decorate, after which he gets to use the pieces over and over against non-ai opponants who won't grow predictable and non-entertaining (okay, so that's maybe a stretch, but the guys do try!)

Some of the kids try and fail, some play for a bit and quit, and some stick to it. But I notice that the ones who quit, never QUITE quit. There are several of the regulars who came in (just hitting that 25+demographic) and saw the stuff on the walls, remembered a box of stuff in the closet, and ended up playing again. Inevitably, that box of stuff in the closet stays in the closet and they buy new armies.

The whole "whiny kids" debate seems sour apples to me. I invariably hear it from adults who want to act the fool and curse and spit without having to worry about what somebody's parents (or me if I catch them) is going to say because there's a young one around. Yeah, they can be distruptive (you'll notice I didn't specify which group) but that's the price you pay when you're dealing with an interactive environment.

The Machine GoD
07-12-2005, 07:26
I don't want to sound like I'm flogging a dead horse, or picking on kids, or decrying GW's business practices, but I'd like to know why they would think the kid market is such a bigger gold mine (well, I'm assuming they do again, do they?)? Someone pointed out that sooner or later parents will realize that Halo 2 + Xbox will keep the children occupied for much longer and for much cheaper than a warhammer army, which brings the point that children don't have that much control of their income and even when they do, such as teenagers, they usually are of limited means (I should know, that's why I quit WHFB in the first place).



Um I dont know about you but the xbox better version "package" from ebgames is 600 bucks US. My warhammer fantasy army cost me 300.

I have learned art skills, building, and I socialize due to my hobby.

Xbox puts u in front of a tv by yourself and you need to keep buying games. Potentially I just have to buy a 2 new rulebooks like once ever 5 years.

Brandir
07-12-2005, 18:38
The trick for GW is to keep people like me happy. I am a returned gamer after my beer/women years (16 - 23) who has progressed in employment to the level I can afford to buy what I want and when I want.

But, more importantly perhaps, my son is getting into the games. He is nine and one should never underestimate the effect of 'pester power'!

Muffin Man
07-12-2005, 20:09
Um I dont know about you but the xbox better version "package" from ebgames is 600 bucks US. My warhammer fantasy army cost me 300.

I have learned art skills, building, and I socialize due to my hobby.

Xbox puts u in front of a tv by yourself and you need to keep buying games. Potentially I just have to buy a 2 new rulebooks like once ever 5 years.

Yes, that would be the 360, the old Xbox was much less, and any of the old systems didn't cost nearly that much (actually I thought the final price was $500 for the 360 'delux', but I could be wrong).

A lot of people seem to be making this comparison in a vacuum, as if a kid is only going to play video game or only play warhammer for the rest of his childhood. Well I don't know about you guys, but I had a video game system and I was still going to school, playing afterschool sports, taking my music lessons, going friends' houses and did lots of other things besides sitting in front of the tv like a mindless drone throughoug my childhood.

If you idealize the situation then playing warhammer is the more 'productive' hobby, and that's how it's sold as. However, buying a console system is almost guaranteed to get usage throughout the lifetime of the system. The realistic view that some people seem to also be chiming in with, is that a child's attention span isn't always long enough to get into warhammer or any other involved hobby. Plus some take the view that a kid can have video games and still do other things besides rot with controller in hand (it's called parenting I believe?).

For a lot of people warhammer is just as big an investment cost-wise and much more time-wise. You can't actually play 'to the full effect' until that army hits a certain size and is painted and assembled, while with video games you can start playing out of the box.

Anyways, that's a bit sidetracked.

But I wonder how many people have picked up the game and never touched it again, vs. those that are the gamers since their teenage years, or even those that return to the game? It's probably too much to hope to see numbers, but it would be interesting to see.

TheOTHERmaninblack
07-12-2005, 20:44
Vacuum? Not I sir, nor should you view it so from your point. I haven't once suggested that parents not purchase a game system or throw away an existing one. I simply point out the relative active lifespans of two competing products (i.e. competing for junior's time) Always stressing the individual game or set and it's personal rewards rather than the systems as a whole.
Taken hour for hour, GW stuff, if it's used at all, is a better value with greater rewards. While it is true that the bargain fails if the kid doesn't play the game, but how many video games get purchased with the same result?
"lil Jimmy, why aren't you playing super duper mega dark sniper man?"
"Awe mom," lil Jimmy replies, "That game blows chunks. The refresh rate blah blah blah, can I watch cartoons now?"

Anything you buy for a kid is a gamble. We have adults who leave the tabletop for (primarily) MMORPGs. They vanish for a couple of months and then return sheepishly baggy-eyed and ashamed of the sheer volume of time they spent leaning into the monitor. Then, later, they'll get tired of the tabletop again and go back. It's a cycle.

As for used game purchases, I can assure you that the majority of people DO NOT purchase their games used. The easiest way tell this is that, if most people bought them, Walmart (the Retailers of Khorne) would be selling used games. The second way to tell is to count the places in your area that sell new games, and gauge the volume, then count the number of places that sell them used and gauge the volume. You'll note quite a disparity.