PDA

View Full Version : GW and new/social media



The Dude
05-11-2009, 04:32
Having recently attended a conference on Marketing and Communications using Social Media, I spent a great deal of time thinking, "Games Workshop NEEDS to hear this!"

One of the biggest points that stood out was one speaker saying the "old guard" style communicators will be resistant to utilising new media because they are reluctant to relinquich control. Remind you of anybody?

She went on to make the point that this is useless because companies have already lost control. New and Social media allow such a rapid transfer of ideas and information you cannot HOPE to control it.

Companies that will be successful in the new world of Marketing and PR will need to stop trying to push, and learn to simply steer. Listening to the blogosphere is important, and I think this is one of the biggest areas where GW is failing.

What are your thoughts?

swanson4969
05-11-2009, 04:41
Amen brother! I wish GW would use the new media better. Just by putting out a few rumors here and there maybe even some false ones they would be able to generate excitement. Plus maybe they could at least look at the blog sphere and get some feed back for their product. I know there is a lot out there but they could have someone monitor the bigger forums to get an idea of what they want. Maybe even post some suggested rules and get feed back like PP did. That way your fans do your playtesting for you. Just seems like they are missing the boat on a lot of marketing and PR buzz they could generate

Cane
05-11-2009, 04:49
GW definitely could use improvements in this area but to their credit they have branched out and at least tried their hand through podcasts, twitter, forums, etc. GW seems to rely on its fanbase for its forums nowadays and undoubtedly they surf 'em. Would I like to see them return to having a forum? Yes. GW has a lot they could learn from the ultra-successful Blizzard Entertainment; those guys set the bar for community/company interaction. That said it'd also be a mistake to place too much value on forum opinions since like townhalls they are a setting ripe for exploit when it comes to people with agendas.

GW's marketing has always been one of the worst things about 'em imo but at least their IP has branched out to video games and an upcoming DVD movie. Having more sneak peeks and less of a "Surprise, here's Space Hulk!" approach would better serve them imo. I for one love getting new tidbits about upcoming codices and models - one of the main reasons why I restarted my IG army was due to all the hype this community and guys like the OP thankfully generated.

I'm not sure how GW could steer instead of push but I do think they listen to the forum community at least through lurking. Websites such as BoLs that provides daily editorials probably helps GW USA get to know their customers better...its somewhat interesting how much success third parties like BoLs and their events generate in areas where there literally isn't an official GW store for hundreds of miles.

itcamefromthedeep
05-11-2009, 04:54
I'm honestly not sure whether releasing information like unit stats will hurt the company or not. I'm watching Privateer Press' experiment in that regard quite closely. Their "open beta" concept may lead to a more balanced metagame with tighter rules, or it may not. We won't really be able to tell until Warmahordes MKII has settled a bit.

---

Gee Dubya has effectively controlled most of the information regarding thee Tyranid release so far. Therefore I'm not convinced that the quest to control information is hopeless. On the other hand, the book will inevitably be pirated during the "preview" phase, before the official release.

I find the lack of customer support on the macroscopic level to be sorely lacking. The FAQ/errata situation is shameful, a sign that the current rules support policy is inadequate. The blogosphere has already attempted to contribute the INAT FAQ to make up for GW's failing in that regard.

Furthermore, I've heard rumblings about a tier system for army books in Fantasy for tournaments, such that underpowered army books get extra points to make up for being not as good as the top-tier armies. Such a thing could only be feasible through coordinated community work made possible by the blogosphere.

I agree with the assessment that GW is behind the times with regard to public relations, at least. I'm in no place at all to assess their marketing strategy.

The Dude
05-11-2009, 05:18
This isn't even all about rumours though. It's about the whole message.

When I talk about control, I don't mean over pics and rules etc. There's no doubting GW can control the flow of that info. What I'm talking about is the control of the messages people are hearing.

Traditionally, customers got their messages from traditional media such as print, TV etc. GW did okay in those days, because they controlled their message pretty tightly with White Dwarf. Unfortunately by holding on to that attitude, we now see the situation where WD is seen as nothing more than a big advertisement.

Customers aren't stupid. They can see though this. Plus now, without the content they used to get, they are searching elsewhere for it, i.e. the Internet. But with this content comes all sorts of messages about GW that they can never hope to control.

New customers get dragged into the "group think" and strong attitudes are formed. This (IMO) is why we see tournament, WAAC and list-centric attitudes so prevalent now. If GW were steering the messages out there properly, we'd likely see a far more relaxed attitude to gaming become the norm online.

GW has dabbled in new media, yes, but to me they were all token efforts that seemed to be made to fail so they could say they tried. The GW boards were likely taken down because GW couldn't handle the negative comments. Because they didn't research and plan and LISTEN before doing it, they failed miserably. They also failed with the podcasts because they didn't follow through. When was the last one published? They had potential to be VERY interesting, but they died. You just don;t start a dance you're not prepared to finish.

Now I can't comment on what sort of OFFICAL monitoring is going on at GW. Clearly some staff members frequent the boards, but what metrics are being taken? Are they listening to what people are saying and crafting their communications to suit? I don't think they are, or if they are, they're not doing too well.

synapse
05-11-2009, 05:42
while not exactly on-topic, my comment does take into account the unique abilities of the internet on the hobby, so i hope its not off-topic:

i really think GW is out of touch with its customers. looking at other tabletop, rpg and ccg gaming companies (WotC - D&D and MTg, Privateer Press, even Rackham) have dedicated websites that actually interact with customers - showing them glimpses into WIP projects, even allowing them the chance to participate in the creation of new units and models and artwork. the websites are regularly updated with concrete articles (not just glossy pseudo-advertising) to the point that they fully expose, abilities, points costs and all of new units , allowing people to try them out at home and provide feed back.

i think this is something GW should do

Vlad Urkana
05-11-2009, 06:58
I, for one, would love for GW to finally jump back on the bandwagon, they were so eager to jump off of a few years ago and embrace the online medium. Now we all know that the start of their trepidation with the online community was the Eye of Terror online campaign and the rampant claims of cheating, whether they were substantiated or not, but I believe that holding online campaigns that actually have an affect on the game world could potentially be one of the largest draws to the community.

I know that Privateer Press is one company that is highly involved with their player base, as Synapse previously stated, and they have done very well for themselves by using player input. Their only real problem is the rapid and unsustainable amount of growth as far as new models and rule editions that they put out while I was playing Hordes. I think that during my 18 month trial of that system I saw two rules editions, countless new models across all ranges, and a seemingly neverending flow of updated materials.

These two competitors seem to have taken up two opposite ends of the rope when it comes to reaction to online media and I believe that PP is so much nearer to the proper answer although they just can't compete with the fanbase and rich story behind GW's games. If GW can just open up a little more and have at least some official presence on boards and start taking input from their more dedicated and long playing fans ;), then they might be able to pull in even more of a player base.

synapse
05-11-2009, 07:04
ewven the fact that GW closed their own forums speaks volumes as their self-imposed alienation. something ill never understand

Ozorik
05-11-2009, 07:06
Customers aren't stupid. They can see though this. Plus now, without the content they used to get, they are searching elsewhere for it, i.e. the Internet. But with this content comes all sorts of messages about GW that they can never hope to control.

This is not always a bad thing, although it is for GW itself.

The GW forums have been closed for about 3-4 years now, thats a long time in the digital age. The forums themselves were very badly moderated and their format was extremely poor, they were clearly not thought through and had a low priority with the GW hierarchy.
When GW lost control due to people complaining (and others becoming obnoxious) the forum was simply closed down rather than attempting to improved it meaning that the only related GW forums left are completely free from GWs direct influence who often features content from their competators in one way or another.

This is something that I like, simply becuase I hate directed advertising. For GW though it is a serious shortcoming and illustrates how little GW cares about modern media.

Satan
05-11-2009, 07:13
I have loads of thoughts regarding this - particularly since I am a digital advertiser!

But working in a medium-sized international environment I know how "hard" it can be to handle social media - we use communities and limited social networking functions but are always trying to advance and/or increase our social media presence.

I think PP have a good way of interacting with their customers - one of the most prominent examples of excellent marketing strategy overall (within gaming) would be Blizzard. I think GW are missing out on tons of easy ways to get their customers to interact with them in favourable ways - for example through user-generated-content.

synapse
05-11-2009, 07:19
This is something that I like, simply becuase I hate directed advertising. For GW though it is a serious shortcoming and illustrates how little GW cares about modern media.


technically you cauld call the BL forums the same thing but they are pretty well organised and have some very good content

Marrak
05-11-2009, 07:56
I think the latest WD's Standard Bearer with Jervis shows a clear desire to keep a "grass roots" mentality with the hobby, which is disheartening in the least, because it makes Jervis, and thus GW as a whole, seem very anti-tech without them realizing exactly what message they are sending.

It's very clear that Jervis, and many of the Old Guard, have a far different mentality when it comes to their gaming than most newer players. I've even heard it described that tournament players are a niche they do not intend to support. From the mouth of the company that runs the majority of their tournaments, this is a mind boggling statement. They see the tournament players as, essentially, a threat to their own play style... much in the same way as they see the internet's media being a threat to their marketing direction. In both cases they have a very narrow-minded view upon the matter.

What the Old Guard have not gotten past is the idea that the game, while it started off as a "beer and pretzels" type of activity, has grown far larger with the internet. Most other games have similar roots, including TCGs and PnP games. Both of those also support a tournament culture, and yet in nearly all cases these games will have well organized forums with a great deal of discussion. Even other miniature games, including Warmachine and Flames of War, have official forums that are consistently monitored but have never been threatened to be shut down due to negative comments; quite the opposite in fact. To the Old Guard, this new direction is a threat to their percieved idea for how the game should be played; if they support tournament players, then they're going to get away from the casual and fun games that they've all grown with. It appears to me that GW is missing an excellent opportunity to encourage both playstyles.

The latest Space Wolf battle report is an excellent example of this, as well as Phil Kelly's attitude towards his list. The list was built not for competitive purposes, but instead to be as true to the fluff as possible for the Space Wolves. What we were shown was a list that was not optimized in any fashion, bringing a vast majority to simply write off PK as a horrid, horrid list builder. This would be a mistake... he clearly has an excellent ability to maximize the use out of his strengths (this is assuming, of course, that the battle reports are not fudged, which for sake of argument we will say they are not) to have the maximum impact, and to minimize the shortcomings his army presents. Plus, he was also the author of the codex, so I'm certain he knows exactly where the strengths and weaknesses of the codex are better than most. I'm certain that alongside his fluff-powered list, he could have easily wrote one or two "competitive builds" for tournaments, to show to newer, less experienced players how to maximize their output.

This was not done. In fact, we are given several references to Phil Kelly's outright hostility (whether in jest or not is irrelevant in a written media) to anything outside of his perceived ideals for how the Space Wolves should be played/built. This kind of attitude is further reinforced with the latest standard bearer, which granted, has some points I very much agree with, has the sad fact of coming across as very elitest and tech-phobic; this is also not the first time that we have seen such attitudes come from Jervis, who could be described as reminiscing about the "good ol' days" more often than not.

By simply dismissing an facets of the hobby and community (tournaments/forums/modern media) GW clearly, and sadly, shows themselves to be outside the times and do little more than alienate many of these players... and it can't be said that these people do not enjoy the game, because let's be honest, this is not a cheap hobby by any definition. There is a great deal they could do: post tournament standings in White Dwarf... do battle reports off of notes from the tournaments... reopen their forums with a clear expectation of what to expect and have the proper staff on hand to monitor and moderate them...

In short, GW needs to understand that these new venues should be embraced, not ignored at best and all but ridiculed at worst. Until they learn that the negative trend they're trying to avoid will simply grow.

synapse
05-11-2009, 08:07
personally (and i know im not alone here) i think tournament play has never been good fopr GW games which are not designed with competitive play in mind. having said that i think tournaments are an important part of the hobby (just not one that appeals to me, even though ironically most of my games are in tournaments), though GW needs to overhaul the rules and design army books simultaneously to ensure as much balance as possible if they are to do that.

GW has said time and time again that it is a miniature manufacturing company, and the games are an aside to that; just supplements to the models (compare profits for models and books to see what theyre on about) and as long as they maintain this mentality (whether its a good or bad move on their part is irrelevant here) expect them to treat tournaments like that.

likely this is a sign, as you said, of the old guard being out of touch with the masses. but as long as they keep on alienating themselves from players (the recent stance on rumours fits in here too) theyll never know what gamers really want

Cheitan Shadowless
05-11-2009, 08:23
GW has had this sort of media right under their noses for more than a decade, and I'm not sure they're showing many signs of waking up to it yet. ( a slight exception could be Gav Thorpe, who not only posts here but also keeps his own blog at http://mechanicalhamster.wordpress.com/ ) Portent/Warseer, B&C and many other fora have existed for many years, and mostly civilized debate on both fluff, tactics, rumours, competitive gaming and beer & pretzel gaming has been conducted in these places. All in all, a whirlpool of ideas and opinions right there for GW to observe or even participate in - and yet, it doesn't appear to be taking place. Heck, they could be viraling the snot out of us by now (not that that's necessarily a good thing, but even so), but instead they've transformed White Dwarf into a commercial brochure with a price tag.

On the note of WD: Why not make a proper web-based platform out of it? A place where GW and their customer base could interact proper, with ties to Twitter and Facebook and whatnot. Here, users and producers could publish battle reports, post images of new and old models, rumour sections could provide teasers etc. etc. The images could then be tagged according to the models appearing in them, and these tags could then link to the online shop, to image galleries by users, to fluff sections relevant to the corresponding army and so on and so forth.

Not to say the magazine need be scrapped; by any means, I'm enough of a longbeard to want that thing to stay - but perhaps in a format slightly truer to its roots? It would all depend on whether there's really a valid purpose to publishing a printed magazine on this niche hobby anymore. At any rate, all of this is just my two cents and a couple of free ideas thrown in with them. It's just...like...my opinion, man. :p

Also, The Dude? Kudos for making this thread! I think it's a discussion that we all need to commit ourselves to a bit more, if we want to have any hopes of GW ever responding in kind. :)

Condottiere
05-11-2009, 08:27
To a certain extent, I'm sure that GW decided to shutdown their forums on the premise that it's better not to let complaints find a centre to target.

While I enjoy the game, and I understand business quite well, my perception of GW is badly tainted by what I feel is a somewhat mercenary attitude that is apparent (it needs to be camouflaged) to everyone and dramatic shortcomings in their Fantasy rules sets (which wouldn't require much effort to rectify), not to mention Codex Creep.

Will my opinion change? No, because I'm too skeptical of the current management and their design teams by default. However, it's not too late for them to attempt to set up a communications channel with those still fairly new to the game and shape their perceptions, and try to mollify those who have been longer involved.

Public relations isn't about releasing information, it's about controlling or giving it a direction that is favourable to public perception; customer relations is more targeted, it's to keep sales flowing, and usually requires giving the customer sufficient information to ensure that they will and can plan their current and future purchases with the company, and not attempt to find alternatives. Unhappy customers are those who will let their wandering eyes linger on competitors' products, whether this is as a proxy for the original product, or a complete change of paradigm (such as sports).

lanrak
05-11-2009, 08:28
HI all.
I have to agree that GW PLC seems to go to great lenghts to ' attempt change the world' to follow thier own agendas and beliefs.:eek:
And anyone that disagrees with thier narrow and outdatres view appears to be ignored and/or riduculed.:rolleyes:

Rather than grow the buisness through constant improvment through communication and research, GW PLC seem to just search for less demanding customers!

IF GW PLC actualy wanted to connect with ALL of its customers,(collectors, crafters, AND gamers,) in a more cost effective way.
Then the new/social media methods used to full potential by other companies would be a great place to start.

Great thread The dude!
TTFN
Lanrak.

Pokpoko
05-11-2009, 08:44
I'm honestly not sure whether releasing information like unit stats will hurt the company or not. I'm watching Privateer Press' experiment in that regard quite closely. Their "open beta" concept may lead to a more balanced metagame with tighter rules, or it may not. We won't really be able to tell until Warmahordes MKII has settled a bit.
It's not really just PP you know? A lot of starting up companies release the rules stats and so on for free first, and print the rulebook second, usually putting enough art and fluff in it to make it worth buying even if you had the rules downloaded. So far no one went bankrupt from this too, which makes perfect sense when you realize it's the models that make real money, and if you''re given free rules to try out you're far more likely to buy models for the game if you liked it than blindly go and buy both models and rules at the same time to just see if you like it. As far as I am concerned, NOT releasing at least the basic rules for free is wierd and highly decreases chance of me buying anything than other way round.
In fact, I do not understand this attitude in GW (and for example , BF, although they do release a lot of free army lists), every single codex, ruleset and army book of theirs will be on the net a few days after release, if not earlier. there is nothing they can do to stop it, they're facing an entire new generation of youngsters brought up in certainty that "**** should be free". As the music media example proved, fighting this is as effective as whipping the sea for disobedience in ancient times. In GW's case, they actually have the upper hand, models can't be downloaded...just yet:angel:, so their main income source is still there. Treat free rules as an incentive, a way to increase the models sale, and there you go.

*disclaimer* I am not promoting or encouraging illegal downloads, I am just stating the facts that it's there and there's very little you can do about it in the long run.

jigplums
05-11-2009, 09:08
i understand how you guys feel, and in fact have had stirrings of these thought myself, however i think all this comes about from having a very limited perception of what actually goes on with the wider hobby. Many of the references here imply that gamers, and tournament gamers are the same thing. I have not found this to be true. My local club that i attend 2 of us attend tournaments, and thats out of 50 members. the nearest club to us has 3 tournament players, out of around the same number of people and both clubs are for adult gamers. My local GW's vet night has 20 regular attendees and various faces that come and go, there are 3 tournament players i can think of and all of them go to that second club[or are me]. so from 120 gamers 5 a tournament players. food for thought

Also on the point of wd again i have thought the same thing and had my perception challenged and so compare a current issue with one of my first issues that i loved at the time. Actually i was very suprised that i did think the new wd was better, there was actually alot more content when i broke it down then i thought there would be, the pics were better quality, there was more than one painting article that were all to a much higher standard. there was pretty much the same amount of advertising in both, slightly more in the new one, but the new one is much bigger too.

My challenge for you guys would be try to look at things objectively, take off the nostalga goggles and then see what things look like.

The Dude
05-11-2009, 09:16
iAlso on the point of wd again i have thought the same thing and had my perception challenged and so compare a current issue with one of my first issues that i loved at the time. Actually i was very suprised that i did think the new wd was better, there was actually alot more content when i broke it down then i thought there would be, the pics were better quality, there was more than one painting article that were all to a much higher standard. there was pretty much the same amount of advertising in both, slightly more in the new one, but the new one is much bigger too.

My challenge for you guys would be try to look at things objectively, take off the nostalga goggles and then see what things look like.

Possibly on a single issue comparison, but if you look at all the issues across a year, you'll see those same painting articles occurring over and over again, just applied to the latest releases.

Painting articles are probably better suited to one book every year or two. This allows new styles to be applied and new minis to be showcased.

What WD should have is ideas for rules, campaigns, missions, conversions, *gasp* counts as ideas! All that good stuff.

jigplums
05-11-2009, 09:31
thats all good stuff for you, but white dwarf is not for you its for Hobbyists. i really like the painting articles and the pictures of really well painted models. Im a good painter who has been in the hobby for 18 years. so those things appeal to guys like me. Bearing in mind also that over 50% of collectors dont game at all.

next last issue of wd had ideas for campaigns, had different missions had conversions and had ideas for rules. not sure about counts as but you'd be suprised as there has been a few things recently i can think of "hydra chariots springs to mind"

so there are the majority of things that you want, and stuff for painters.

Cheitan Shadowless
05-11-2009, 09:36
Painting articles are probably better suited to one book every year or two. This allows new styles to be applied and new minis to be showcased.
This is a reasonable idea, could replace and/or supplement the existing How To Paint Citadel Miniatures books. Including articles on modelling would be a plus, as well - and throughout, the articles should attempt to make explicit what sort of difficulty the reader is looking at with respect to the discussed painting/modelling techniques, accessibility to materials etc.

On a related note, internationalizing these things is a must as well; something being written in English does not equate to it being internationally understandable: As a Danish 40Ker, I've often found myself uncertain what sorts of materials are being referred to in British modelling articles; at a loss as to what I should be asking for in a Danish hardware store. For example, I've yet to find someone here who can find me plasticard...and kindly note that my grasp of the English language is not the issue. :p


What WD should have is ideas for rules, campaigns, missions, conversions, *gasp* counts as ideas! All that good stuff.
Essentially, I agree. Didn't Combat Patrol, for example, start out being published in WD as the creation of a couple of nondescript gamers? Possibly with or without due credit, I can't quite remember. This sort of stuff is the lifeblood of the hobby; without this kind of idea generation, it's less of a hobby and more of a pastime. No sir, I do not consider those two concepts to be identical!

However, I'm still not certain printed magazines will continue to have a place in this hobby if ever GW manages to embrace the social media. In my peculiar mind, a vision of White Dwarf as a strictly web-based phenomenon continues to linger as the ideal point to which the natural development of this medium must lead.

The Dude
05-11-2009, 09:38
thats all good stuff for you, but white dwarf is not for you its for Hobbyists. i really like the painting articles and the pictures of really well painted models. Im a good painter who has been in the hobby for 18 years. so those things appeal to guys like me. Bearing in mind also that over 50% of collectors dont game at all.

next last issue of wd had ideas for campaigns, had different missions had conversions and had ideas for rules. not sure about counts as but you'd be suprised as there has been a few things recently i can think of "hydra chariots springs to mind"

so there are the majority of things that you want, and stuff for painters.

I will admit that the content of the last couple of issues has been nice and diverse, and I'd like to point out I don't really have that much of an issue with WD in general, but I was making the point that the techniques outlined in the painting articles are generally the same.

jigplums
05-11-2009, 09:58
however there is alot more to painting a really good model than just drybrush, wash, highlight, blend, black line etc etc... for me seeing it in a new medium, how someone who is a great painter has combined different colours and techniques etc...all helps me to improve my painting. i dont think having a painting article in wd every month hurts the magazine, and if comparing to ald wd's it was the same then as well, but not of as good quality from what ive re-read recently

grissom2006
05-11-2009, 10:03
Yep we pretty much get the same painting guide month on month just using a different model and colours. Sooner or later their going to run out of colours to show us how to paint also makes the painting guide books some what mute. I don't need showing month in month out how to blend, mix colours, drybrush and stipple a model.

Most of the gaming community is a 2 way street well get info and they get feedback and we see the results of this feedback. GW stance though is pretty stand offish they'll engage us in the shops but then fall flat on their face for it in other departments.

GW needs to stop closing doors on it's customer and fan base and instead embrace it like it used to. WD bringing back a letters page would be a nice start to this instead of JJ and his monologue about a persons letter.

I can understand them not wanting us to know certain things but they supply indie stores for a starter, so info can and does get out from them long before GW starts mentioning them to joe public. Knowing in advance whats to come usually has me looking at my old armies and going wow i really should pull those out and start using them again.

Bobske
05-11-2009, 10:09
I'm glad jigplums has something else to say and I quite agree.
I'm 35, been in the hobby for 20 years, have a weekly game-club of which I'm paymaster and we organise a nationwide tournament every year and several club tournaments. I work at a big bank.
I hear the same complaints every time and I think people forget a few things

a) big companies do not change quickly even though the media do
b) changes cost time and money

Gw is already changing and for them to workout a change (codex, rulebook.mini's) takes several years.
If you see change in WD (f.e. the Phil Kelly battle report) this was made half a year ago.
Jervis Johnson is right, our hobyy is a niche. It will never be as popular and socially acceptable as Soccer or playing video games.
Wd was and will be their advertisement magazine. The only change I see in WD in 203 numbers is that we have gone to 3 game systems (LOTR, WHFB and WH40K) and no extra games.
But with Space Hulk back even that has changed.
WD is boring for everyone who has been reading it for 5+ years. I even know all the fluff by heart!?

Internet seems to be the place just to nag and whine. I'm not surprised GW shut thier forums down. Their are many forums now and they do not have spend money on any of them
And they should listen to their customers, which ones, those who buy online, those who visit the stores, those on internet, young ones, old ones.
To exist GW needs all of them and they would have an impossible task to satisfy all.
We would all like cheap cool miniatures with balanced rules without any grey areas.
But all I see is rants and complaints.
Somebody tell me exactly what they would like to see and how GW should achieve that for all their customers or most?
Because it seems people want mob-rule which is never a good thing.
Or all we all just control freaks saying boohoohoo they do not do as I want stupid them?

Yes, I'm a GW fan, always have been but I would never want to work for GW (several friends of mine have)
My joy in the hobby would become too constricted by the fact hat I had to earn my living with it.

Damn, now I went and made my own rant:D
happy gaming everyone

RobC
05-11-2009, 10:14
It will never be as popular and socially acceptable as Soccer or playing video games.Weird how these things work. I was heavily into computer games before I discovered GW, and both were seen as very geeky. How on earth did computer games become 'acceptable'?

Cheitan Shadowless
05-11-2009, 10:21
Weird how these things work. I was heavily into computer games before I discovered GW, and both were seen as very geeky. How on earth did computer games become 'acceptable'?
Casual gaming, mah boooiiiiii - now that you can vidya with even your older-generation family members, video games are comparable to classic activities like family board game nights with parcheesy and snacks.

Anyways, this is probably veering off-topic.

chrism
05-11-2009, 10:47
GW should and i'm sure will branch out into the social media at some point but it will be and has to be on their terms.

Being a publically traded company with shareholders they don't answer to the fans, regardless of we think and whether we grew up with the company in grained in our thoughts. They have to behave as a company.

Creating a forum such as this would be a very bad idea for them because of the amount of moaning (justified or not) that goes on. Platforms like this are perfect for jaders gamers who want to make a point, which soon whips up into a anti company sentiment with everyone threatening to boycot. There does not seem to be any balance to view points (why i'm posting really)

And the reaction to these words would be that we are the customers and they should listen to us or else we'll walk! And in an ideal world they would, and in an ideal world all box sets would cost nothing and come with a winning lottery ticket!

GW are operating the way they have to, to remain a large company and as already mentioned any change will take time.

The Clairvoyant
05-11-2009, 11:16
Someone mentioned about the podcasts. when i was at GDUK, my friend asked Jervis and Alessio about whether they would do any more podcasts and they said it was unlikely. The reasons they gave was that it was very difficult and time consuming to keep it clear with no background noise, or people walking in the office, coughing etc. Basically they said that they had to keep going back and re-recording parts.
They want a clear professional podcast rather than a random chat with all sorts of things going on in the background like you get in most podcasts, and it proved to be more difficult than they first imagined.

Personally, i'd like to see JJ's standard bearer articles make it to the website, whether as part of the daily blog (or monthly blog as apparently he does suffer from writers block!) or in the WD archive, as its this part of white dwarf that talks to the gamers about gaming.

Cheitan Shadowless
05-11-2009, 11:37
A good first post Chrism, welcome to The World Beyond Lurking. :)

And I pretty much agree; GW is indeed a company, with all the obligations that entails. My main point in posting in this thread has been discussing what directions they, as a company, could/should go, with respect to their interaction with their consumer base; not to simply rant and act all jaded-like. I try to leave that to others. :p

However, I do not agree with your argument that being a publically traded company means they should not answer to their "fans". No, not to their fans, but certainly to their customers. Displeased customers leads to declining sales, leading to deteriorating stock, leading to displeased shareholders - and vice versa. Behaving as a company means you see the direct effect your actions will have on shareholders as well as customers, and the other way around.

So no, they shall not cater exclusively and submissively to our (sometimes rather irrational) demands, but they certainly cannot afford to dislocate themselves from us either. It is a balancing act, and like any other company, it is one they can always do better at.

Again, I think I get what point you were making, and largely agree - but with modifications. And again, welcome to the wonderful world of posting on Warseer. :)

spetswalshe
05-11-2009, 12:26
i really like the painting articles and the pictures of really well painted models.

I don't mean to bring it back to WD, but what gets me is we're seeing the same photos of the same painted models again and again and again. The battle report between two non-studio armies a few issues back was a revelation, and one of the most well-recieved articles in recent times - but only because we don't expect WD to interest us all that much anymore. It should be happening every month, not once in a blue moon.

Asymmetric
05-11-2009, 12:37
It's an odd twist of fate but GW mirrors its subject matter, the Imperium of Man. It's archaic in the way it runs, draconian to its very customers and generally treats any thought of change as an act of heresy. People have been expecting the thing to collapse on its face for years due to its practises and through a combination of sheer bloody mindedness on its part and loyality from its fans has kept itself dragging on despite a changing world.

I honestly don't see GW changing its ways unless it discovers an STC construct labeled "Marketing relations for the 21st century".

grissom2006
05-11-2009, 12:40
Its a odd twist of fate, but GW mirrors its subject matter, the Imperium of Man. It's archaic in the way it runs, draconian to its very customers and generally treats any thought of change as an act of heresy. People have been expecting the thing to collapse on its face for years due to its practises and through a combination of sheer bloody mindedness on its part and loyality from its fans has kept itself dragging on despite a changing world.

I honeslty don't see GW changing its ways unless it discovers an STC construct labeled "Marketing relations for the 21st century".

So very very true of them and the last parts going to have me smiling all day :D and the odd chuckle as well :p

If it does happen there will be a lot of kicking and screaming i'm sure :p

Raphaus
05-11-2009, 12:51
A good first post Chrism, welcome to The World Beyond Lurking. :)

And I pretty much agree; GW is indeed a company, with all the obligations that entails. My main point in posting in this thread has been discussing what directions they, as a company, could/should go, with respect to their interaction with their consumer base; not to simply rant and act all jaded-like. I try to leave that to others. :p

However, I do not agree with your argument that being a publically traded company means they should not answer to their "fans". No, not to their fans, but certainly to their customers. Displeased customers leads to declining sales, leading to deteriorating stock, leading to displeased shareholders - and vice versa. Behaving as a company means you see the direct effect your actions will have on shareholders as well as customers, and the other way around.

So no, they shall not cater exclusively and submissively to our (sometimes rather irrational) demands, but they certainly cannot afford to dislocate themselves from us either. It is a balancing act, and like any other company, it is one they can always do better at.

Again, I think I get what point you were making, and largely agree - but with modifications. And again, welcome to the wonderful world of posting on Warseer. :)

Absolutely. The internet is in the process of massively changing the world (just like industrialisation and writing did) When faced by massive change organisations need to adjust to the new reality and as of yet GW is pretty poor at it.

I should imagine that the GW top brass are thinking about how to best use this new medium and are trying to analyse the cost versus the benefit. I wish them luck.

The problem they have is that while the virtually free transfer of information is revolutionary there is still uncertainty as to how, exactly, the revolution will play out. GW (and many other organisations) have to try and second guess future developments and it is no surprise that sometimes they get it wrong.

My only concern is that GW are very wary of taking any risks on this front and that history shows that those who refuse to adapt fall by the wayside. They are some way from failing at the moment but it is a genuine risk for them and I would love to see a bit more progress from my favourite model makers.

xowainx
05-11-2009, 13:08
I think GW have definitely made some inroads recently. The daily blog on their website is actually pretty good: lots of photos of non-Eavy Metal models and scenery, previews of upcoming models and sprues (admittedly only a week or two before release) and notice of what articles have been added to the site (including some great painting guides, behind the scenes shots of the studio (including the how they made the Space Wolves diorama), White Dwarf archive material, new items in the store, supporting material for games), all of which I find worth a look. Sending out a twitter/RSS feed when this is updated is also a good move as it reminds me to check the site, especially if it's something that particularly interests me.

There's obviously more avenues for them to explore, but given that they've clearly been putting a lot of time into the website (which I think most people would agree has significantly improved over the last year), which i'd say for the moment is a good priority whilst other forms are still developing.

Doppleskanger
05-11-2009, 14:30
Well I really think GW have been quietly re-organising the whole shebang over the last five years, and that perhaps as its been such a slow process thie quiet revolution hasn't been that widely recognised. So for 40k we have a good set of core rules, three complementary supplements, a whole heap of new plastic minis, loads of new hobby gear and a huge array of new, high quality terrain. We're also only a few releases away from having all the codexes into a reasonable state.

Right so sorry for the long build up

Now all of those changes have taken a long time and suggest someone has a coherrant plan. Obviously there has been some indecision with some things, C: DA in particular being a short lived change in direction, and C:SM was designed to have legion codexes following it up which now seem to be off the agenda. But overall GW have gone from a big sprawling mess into something a lot tighter and more focused.

So we all know that the rumour thing has been locked down since the start of the summer. I would suggest that this means that they have now turned their attention directly at this, and will be making a lot of changes to this area over the next 2 years or so. The rumour clamp down should be seen as the start of the story, not the end.

I would imagine that GW will now cherry pick the best of the new ideas floating around and use and adapt them, it's what they've always done.

As for WD I too love the painting articles, and am only bored of the basic guides. The advance technique stuff is always worth reading, and the quality of the detailed photography exceeds almost everything on the internet. I would love some more fiction to lengthen the reading length, and seeing as they now have little need for terrain making articles they need to find a replacement.

itcamefromthedeep
05-11-2009, 14:34
Treat free rules as an incentive, a way to increase the models sale, and there you go.
Then again, most gaming companies fail. The big players (GW, PP, WotC) haven't had it work out yet. You may indeed be correct that releasing rules for free, and for the community to work on, will lead to an increase in sales.

EDIT: What was I thinking? Wizards has been releasing full rules for the game and cards for Magic: the Gathering for years now. It seems to have worked out for them. The specifics are a little different here, but not by all that much.

---

As an aside believe it or not, you can download some models. I've seen Rhinos and Drop Pods made out o carboard. Someone will measure the specifications and post a guide to making a knock-off of the model. The "models" I picked up were disturbingly accurate.

---

Vassal exists. An online gaming board with the programming to handle a tabletop game means that those who are purely interested in gaming or who have no other way of getting a game can do so without a gaming table, a willing friend, or even the models that Games Workshop makes its money on. It hasn't been a big threat so far, but...

---

Privateer (among others) have released sourcebooks for their pen and paper division for sale online as .pdf documents, for a reduced price. This could be a good move for Games Workshop. It could also be a terrible move. It's another experiment I'll have to watch.

---

First and foremost, the easiest and most effective thing Games Workshop could do to improve its public relations is to clean up the FAQ situation. I don't know why we need to have a third party council do the work of building and FAQ for their game. The kind of mentality that is required to refuse to admit or rectify so many mistakes boggles the mind. It would be so easy, such a dramatic improvement to the gaming experience.

It may be that this is a deliberate policy to dissuade people who think the rules are important from playing their games. An attitude like "if you can't solve the issue yourself, then you're not the kind of customer we want" is something that I can see from GW higher ups (and that disturbs me). A conspiracy theorist might say that Jaws of the World Wolf was written badly for the purpose of giving tournament players an aneurysm. I have no idea how such a terrible mechanic made it through the editing staff.

The problem with excluding Stop Having Fun Guys from your game is that they still buy models, and they still play the game. Being a source of income, I don't know why Games Workshop would try to toss these players out... at the same time as hosting tournaments. :confused:

chrism
05-11-2009, 14:34
Thanks for the welcome chieftan!

Sorry I wasn't clear, in business you have to listen to the market, and we certainly do constitute part of their market but we are not the whole market (ie customers on the whole vs the hardcore element - us) and as such when they do pick a direction it will based on their overall plan.

Which is what I think you thought i was saying anyway!

Very good thread though because as you said it doesn't have an agenda and is something I hope those in GW will have a look at take on board.

Further to them having a go in this sort of arena (not exactly social media but information sharing info) their web site is pretty good and constantly growing with articles and the out of print downloadable PDF which is something they certainly didn't have to do! (would really really like to see all the Hero Quest and Space Crusade add on missions and rules on there because we've been a bit nostalic recently and rocked those classics-just incase anyone does read this)

Cheers

grissom2006
05-11-2009, 15:18
While most all of you have made good points about how GW can change, the one thing that prevents them from doing so is that they have NEVER been very good at communication.

They fall down on that both with internal communication between departments and especially external communication with their customers and independent retailers.

Almost every year, without fail, at our objective meetings someone brings up communication issues but a few weeks later they just fall back into the "routine" and keep their eyes on their own desk and they forget there is a "bigger picture" at work.

If it wasn't for the fact that it's true i'd cry GW is pretty hopeless in this respect seen enough of the bad meno's that arrive late.

Xisor
05-11-2009, 15:23
Black Library Publishing

They're doing alright. Facebook, twitter, blogs, Youtube channel. It's great. I might just have my head in the sand, but they've always been fairly involved in the feedback. Steering the right 'image' for books, the right reception and 'selling point' seems quite important.

The detailed explanations of the thinking behind Dan Abnett and Graham McNeil's Prospero Duology seem to be a sure-fire way of avoiding the silly reactions recieved by Descent of Angels, for example.

It could be improved. Requires a real bit of expertise to really get things going, but they're at least demonstrating themselves to be willing to the new stuff.

I imagine Forgeworld could do fantastically well with something like that, but getting the designers and planners into the marketting side of things will always be a tough struggle. Still, GW should get its act together. C'mon folks!

The Dude
05-11-2009, 21:43
GW are operating the way they have to, to remain a large company and as already mentioned any change will take time.

I agree it will take time, and I have said, I have no idea what they may already be doing internally, but a good idea would be to communicate these planned changes, or at least some of them, to the customers. This would show they are actually doing something, even if it will take time.

@ xowainx - The website is certainly improving, and from what I hear, they are listening to feedback on that front. I'm not saying GW needs to use a forum specifically, but there are heaps of things they could be doing to harness social media. As Xisor points out, BL seem to be doing it well, and if GW followed suit, I think they could get lots of positive messages out there.

escobar
05-11-2009, 22:11
Good idea for a thread.

Really sorry to hear more podcasts are unlikely - personally i felt they worked really well and were of decent quality. While I understand their concern about the sound quality, cheap recording studio time can't be hard to find in nottingham?

Seem to be lots of movement on social media front the last year and while it is slow it is definitely a step in the right direction. Hope they keep at it and get some good advice rather than trying to muddle through themselves.

The Dude
05-11-2009, 22:36
Really sorry to hear more podcasts are unlikely - personally i felt they worked really well and were of decent quality. While I understand their concern about the sound quality, cheap recording studio time can't be hard to find in nottingham?

Hell, I find it hard to believe they can't book a meeting room for an hour :rolleyes:

gorgon
06-11-2009, 19:07
Dude, great thread.

Regarding GW being a "big company"...it's not. It's a big company for its niche industry. It's not large in the global marketplace. There are companies MANY times larger than GW that do a better job interacting with their customers. Something I've said before is that GW is destroyer-sized at best, and yet it turns like a battleship. And that goes back to leadership not getting it and being unwilling to change.

If GW wanted to join the 21st century quickly and in a big way, it could certainly do it. It'd have to bring in some outside thinking and spend some money. My impression is that GW isn't that inclined to do either, especially the former. It just seems like staffers tend to come up through the ranks and get rewarded for their loyalty as much as anything else. I think there's something nice about that in an old-fashioned way. However, that doesn't lend itself to new thinking within the organization, and sometimes you have to pony up and bring in outside talent to fill out the right competencies. I dunno that GW is willing to do this...especially for fluffy stuff like communications issues, which management clearly doesn't trust.

It's too bad for GW, because from a product standpoint, I think they're mostly on the right track. The quality of their miniatures is higher than ever, and the games -- although still prone to the occasional breakdown -- are more tightly written as they've ever been. Yet the relationship with customers is almost poisonous at times, and I don't think it HAS to be that way.

grissom2006
06-11-2009, 20:27
Really sorry to hear more podcasts are unlikely - personally i felt they worked really well and were of decent quality. While I understand their concern about the sound quality, cheap recording studio time can't be hard to find in nottingham?

More like their just being lazy not wanting to spend the cash after all they manage to do it perfectly well enough for the audio books. Which just further makes it harder for them to justify the move as with the books the not only pay for the studio and recording and production costs to CD etc... they also pay a actor to read it out.

Brother Loki
06-11-2009, 20:50
Yes, but they sell the audio books for money. It's a lot easier to justify production costs for an actual product, than for a marketing exercise.

grissom2006
06-11-2009, 20:56
You can't put a price on good publicity which can be used to increase sales in multiple areas of a company.

Condottiere
06-11-2009, 21:02
Goodwill is one of those virtual properties that's hard to quantify.

The Dude
08-11-2009, 22:31
So it seems to me that Games Workshop is expending a great deal of effort trying to put a cap on information leaks, even going to the extent of restricting access to the preview copies of the books etc. This is no doubt designed to stop internet discussion of the rules prior to launch.

However, is it wise from a Public Relations standpoint?

I would argue no. One of the biggest problems I have to deal with professionally is information vacuum. It is the PR professional's worst enemy. To quote Parkinson's Law:


The vacuum created by a failure to communicate will quickly be filled with rumor, misrepresentation, doubt and poison.

We see this every day on the Rumour boards. People have no info on what's happening with upcoming releases, so they get frustrated, or make stuff up.

If GW were to offer something a little more regular, a tidbit every week or so, they would be filling the vacuum, thereby avoiding the "rumor, misrepresentation, doubt and poison"

My only hope here is that GW are still at the stage of controlling the information, and will in future start an information "drip feed". If they don't, I can only see things getting worse for them online.

Doppleskanger
08-11-2009, 23:40
So I'm an archaeologist right and we have an obligation to publish our work. Now it costs a ton of money and is never recouped. One of the things that has started happening in the last few years is Print On Demand, where once the document is ready it can be printed off in any number whenever copies are needed. I think this is something they should look at. So if there's out of print source books, you just have them make you a copy. There's loads of stuff I'd be interested in that I can't get without paying silly money.
Now there is a cost increase in buying a one off edition but it's really not that bad. What I don't know is in their business model if the small print runs and one off editions are part of the marketing plan. Like they print so many thousand and customers are actually buying copies in case they can't get one later, like making things instant collectors issues. But on the other hand GW get no slice of the over priced second hand market so it might be viable.
Personally I don't like the whole Ltd edition thing anyway, but I really don't know how much they factor that collectibility into their selling strategy.
Also could be interesting to combine PoD with Pdf rapidly updated/fixed codexes...

synapse
09-11-2009, 06:19
If GW were to offer something a little more regular, a tidbit every week or so, they would be filling the vacuum, thereby avoiding the "rumor, misrepresentation, doubt and poison"

hear hear! wizards of the coast have things like preview weeks where in the month or so leading up to a big release they show off a new product or rule or artwork or something. even small things like that will easily sate the apetite of the voracious rumour-mongers out there, while also getting more interest in the website

EDIT: and i think jervis's exuse for not doing more podcasts is truly pathetic. im an admin on another gaming forum and we manage to do good quality podcasts with no background noise from our own rooms. im sure GW head office has at least 1 conference room they can use for such things.

doombanner
09-11-2009, 12:58
On a related note, internationalizing these things is a must as well; something being written in English does not equate to it being internationally understandable: As a Danish 40Ker, I've often found myself uncertain what sorts of materials are being referred to in British modelling articles; at a loss as to what I should be asking for in a Danish hardware store. For example, I've yet to find someone here who can find me plasticard...and kindly note that my grasp of the English language is not the issue. :p

It's sheet styrene. Your local Hobby Town should have a Plastruct rack, or you can order tons of it from plastruct.com

~Doom Banner

Vlad Urkana
09-11-2009, 15:02
It's sheet styrene. Your local Hobby Town should have a Plastruct rack, or you can order tons of it from plastruct.com

And the stuff is dirt cheap, or at least it is where I buy it from, until you start getting to the pre-textured stuff. If you can't find any at the store you buy your other modeling supplies from try a model train store. I, for one, usually buy all of my terrain-making, and random supplies from Hobby Lobby, but they don't carry styrene, so until it closed down I would buy mine from the model train store across town.

/end offtopic.

The Dude
09-11-2009, 21:08
EDIT: and i think jervis's exuse for not doing more podcasts is truly pathetic. im an admin on another gaming forum and we manage to do good quality podcasts with no background noise from our own rooms. im sure GW head office has at least 1 conference room they can use for such things.

Exactly. My work has a dramatic shortage of meeting rooms, but it's still not that hard to get one, especially for something planned like a Podcast.

Maybe it just never occurred to them to do it anywhere but at their desks :eyebrows:.

canucklhead
09-11-2009, 23:29
You think trying to find plasticard is bad, try explaining to your North Amercian Opponent that your unit is fielding a Flamer. With a straight face.

GW has always kept a very British sensibility about its writing, and I've found it endearing in some ways, but it is also a telling point when you begin a discussion about GW and its comittment to a world market.

Crazy Harborc
10-11-2009, 00:12
GW the company, is not too likely to move forward into new/social media methods.

GW has and still does come across has a company that treats it's customers as if most are immature and inexperienced with life. Hey, their target market is 10 to 16 year olds. Well, the kids develope the wants/needs/the gotta have its. Parents and grandparents/relatives foot the bill. That's what has built the GW empire.;)

The Dude
10-11-2009, 00:34
GW the company, is not too likely to move forward into new/social media methods.

GW has and still does come across has a company that treats it's customers as if most are immature and inexperienced with life. Hey, their target market is 10 to 16 year olds. Well, the kids develope the wants/needs/the gotta have its. Parents and grandparents/relatives foot the bill. That's what has built the GW empire.;)

That completely ignores the fact that that age group is among the biggest users of social media (not THE biggest, but up there). Utilising it more would be way smarter for targetted marketing.

starlight
10-11-2009, 00:54
And the fact that their original customers are now the parents of their current target customers...and have long memories... :(

Imperius
10-11-2009, 03:13
If GW put a single worker, maybe 2 hours a day on this and other forums they would get so many good ideas it is crazy.
It wouldn't cost them too much to do it either, such as simple job has no real requirements other than 'must know how to read.'

starlight
10-11-2009, 03:17
The problem is that they've done this :eek: and the person is ignored if they report back with anything other than glowing praise. :cries:

GW only responds to direction from the top. The only way this plan would have an effect would be if the person filling this job was in the top 5% (I'm being generous here) of the company and had Kirby's ear as well.

The Dude
10-11-2009, 04:07
The reading isn't the key, it's the analysis. A major part of this analysis is understanding which parts of the noise to listen to. Which bits are your actual customers. Here is where GW are falling down.

They are continuing to hold on the the outdated notion that their key demographic is young teens. The way they engage these customers is probably fine, but there continues to be an absence of connection with older segments. We've all heard the stories of people not wanting to go into a GW store on games night because of all the kids screaming WAAAAGH! at the top of their lungs.

If GW were to promote a segmented approch to customer relations across all aspects of communication, from shop floor to website etc, they would find themselves engaging more successfully with these other market segments.
Some of the best GW employees I've known have understood this. They don't gush overenthusiastically at older customers (parents or no), but engage them in a mature and dignified fashion.

If GW had other communications channels targetted in this manner, these segments wouldn't have to go to other channels to feel included.

Vets night is a prime example. Allowing veteran gamers a night where there wasn't screaming kids harshing their mellow made them feel part of the GW experience. But GW felt they were a waste of time because the Vets had all the minis they need, and therefore the nights didn't promote sales. So out the door with Vets night.

starlight
10-11-2009, 04:28
...and out the door with knock-on sales from people like me who drop hundreds of dollars at a time on entire armies... :(

Imperius
10-11-2009, 04:49
The best place to improve the game would simply to listen to actual customers and people who regularily go to Gamesworkshop for a game or two.
Most of these people know the game and how to improve it, I'm sure they would happily tell their thoughts on the games.

Maybe have things like reports on how satisfied customers are with a new release from each store could help them out.

___

The only problem I can see with that is people like me who do not go to GW for half-orc children reasons would not be able to fully participate in telling GW how much (X) sucked and why (Y) was better than (X).

This is where the internet comes in, but thats a part of life that I always trip over so I won't even bother trying to decipher all the complicated shenanigans that come with it.

itcamefromthedeep
10-11-2009, 16:42
(Games Workshop is) continuing to hold on the the outdated notion that their key demographic is young teens. The way they engage these customers is probably fine, but there continues to be an absence of connection with older segments. We've all heard the stories of people not wanting to go into a GW store on games night because of all the kids screaming WAAAAGH! at the top of their lungs.
I've noticed several secondary benefits in a store to having veterans around, as I'm sure most of you have as well. It's understandably difficult to quantify the value that a veteran community represents to a Games Workshop Hobby Center.

I don't have any information on what proportion of sales come from veterans, and how much comes from snotty-nosed children. It may be that the regular small sales from a revolving door of young gamers vastly outweighs the intermittent large purchases from veterans, in which case it would not be entirely unreasonable to target young gamers at the expense of veterans.

---

What vexes me (and clearly a number of you guys) is how easy it would be to improve the situation on a big scale, regardless of what happpens at a local level. A Games Workshop Twitter account with news and release updates would not be difficult to make. Same goes for Facebook. Most of all, the Rules Boyz online should be working to compile the FAQs based on the questions that people actually ask (rather than their nuts idea of FAQs written exclusively by the original author months or years later). An internet FAQ guy sounds remarkably easy to do.

starlight
10-11-2009, 17:02
I don't have any information on what proportion of sales come from veterans, and how much comes from snotty-nosed children. It may be that the regular small sales from a revolving door of young gamers vastly outweighs the intermittent large purchases from veterans, in which case it would not be entirely unreasonable to target young gamers at the expense of veterans.


Don't kid yourself about how much accurate information GW has either. :(

GW has proven itself remarkably resistant to any information that conflicts with it's existing world view...which (in my experience) has come from poorly written surveys (we used to accurately predict the results based on the questions) and dated anecdotal accounts from staffers...most of whom had less time working for GW that many customers did shopping for them...thus eliminating any sort of long-term research... :(

The higher ups at GW have demonstrated a great interest in being patted on the back and reminded how great their ideas are. The status quo is a very popular and comfortable thing at GW. Very, very few have demonstrated any interest in making the hard, unpopular decisions that will move the company forward... :(

The Dude
10-11-2009, 21:18
A Games Workshop Twitter account with news and release updates would not be difficult to make.

They do have a Twitter account, but it seems to just be there to tell people when new stuff has gone up on the website.

http://twitter.com/VoxCaster

xowainx
10-11-2009, 21:22
They do have a Twitter account, but it seems to just be there to tell people when new stuff has gone up on the website.

http://twitter.com/VoxCaster

Including news items and updates on new releases.. What more do you expect from 140 characters?

The Dude
10-11-2009, 21:28
Including news items and updates on new releases.. What more do you expect from 140 characters?

It wouldn't be hard to drop some veiled hints though. You can pack a lot of vague ideas into 140 characters :p. In fact, it is the limited nature of Twitter that makes it appealing for dropping hints. It means you don't need to feel compelled to write a whole page of text, or post pictures etc.

Different people using the same account could be cool too. Have some of the studio guys drop clues on what they're working on. Very easy to keep people interested.

However, this tweet is quite telling:


@Luke_Davies @Seuchenpapa @twistinthunder Anything the Studio tell us about goes in the newsletter first and on the site second.
1:45 AM Oct 30th from Tweetie in reply to Luke_Davies

This is clearly the only way they plan on using the account, and for that, I will not follow it (not that I even have a Twitter account, but anyway...)

Edit: Michael Hyatt has a great Blog (http://michaelhyatt.com) about this sort of stuff. This post (http://michaelhyatt.com/2009/08/where-is-your-organization-in-the-twitter-life-cycle.html) in particular sums the current GW situation quite well:


Stage 1: Ridicule. The executives initially think these technologies are silly. In the 1980s when I started using email, one of the executives in my company made fun of me, because email didn’t provide (he thought) a permanent record. “Besides,” he said, “Not everyone has it. It will never catch on.”
Twitter is similar. When I first heard about it, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of. “Why do I care what you had for lunch?” I protested.

Stage 2: Control. The executives grow concerned about abuse of the technology and try to control it. With email, the company I worked for issued a formal “email policy.” You had to have a legitimate business reason to use email. You then had to get approval from a Vice President. Finally, you had to sign-up for your own AOL or CompuServe account and pay for it yourself. (We didn’t have a corporate email system at the time.)
This is why some companies today are developing formal Social Media Guidelines and Policies. They know it’s seeping into the workplace, and they want to control it. After all, that’s what executives do, they think.

Stage 3: Experimentation. The executives begin experimenting with the technology themselves. Again, to use email as an example, as more and more people started using email, I saw executives begin to tip-toe into the water. I remember one executive who had his secretary print out his emails and put them in his physical inbox. He would then dictate a response.
Believe it or not, I know of a couple of executives today who are doing the exact same thing with Twitter. I don’t try to discourage them. If it gets them started, great.

Stage 4: Adoption. The executives start using the technology themselves. Eventually, executives learn that the technology is not so scary, and they can actually be more productive if they use it themselves. I don’t know about you, but I never really learned ho to dictate a memo. I am so much faster just banging out my own messages. Besides, it gives me a chance to edit and respond more quickly.
Some executives are figuring this out with Twitter, too. They can use it as a competitive advantage to be more responsive to their customers, employees, and even vendors. Besides, it’s kind of fun.

Stage 5: Dedication. The executives wonder how the organization could function without the technology. Can you imagine joining a company today and not being given an email address? It’s now standard operating procedure. Everyone is expected to use email. No one I know would even think about sending a paper memo any more.
Twitter is not quite ubiquitous, but I think it—or some version of it—will eventually get there. We’ll eventually wonder how we got along without it.

I reckon GW is somewhere between Stage 2 and 3 now.

I think the biggest problem is that GW didn't consider how Social Media would affect them as a company early enough. Now they're behind the eight-ball, and really need to work to get back on top of things.

itcamefromthedeep
11-11-2009, 14:53
They do have a Twitter account, but it seems to just be there to tell people when new stuff has gone up on the website.
My cursory search clearly wasn't good enough. I stand corrected.

On Facebook, it should be noted that there are a number of groups that use the Games Workshop logo and typeface that are clearly not sanctioned by Games Workshop or Citadel. Some stuff must inevitably evade notice by the GW IP Inquisition. Either that or GW just doesn't care yet.


I think the biggest problem is that GW didn't consider how Social Media would affect them as a company early enough. Now they're behind the eight-ball, and really need to work to get back on top of things.
Work? It's not all that hard. The toughest thing about it I think would be figuring out what exactly the policy for posting will be. Somehow they've managed to mess up something as basic as online rules support, so maybe it's not as easy for them as I had thought.

Of all things, social media are nearly free advertising. All you pay for is the labor of the guy who updates things. It sounds like a PR dream come true.

---

With regard to IP infringement, I've been trying to get hold of GW legal about the 2007 Battlefleet Gothic FAQ from the old Specialist Games website. The problem is that this FAQ isn't on the new site. Most of the old articles are there, but there is no FAQ. So, I've been trying to figure out whether or not it's okay for me to distribute the old one.

Nearly a month on and it looks like GW legal have been pretty much ignoring me. This is an email sent to the address they have for quetions about IP. They might want to get someone on top of this "email" thing.

The Dude
11-11-2009, 21:33
My cursory search clearly wasn't good enough. I stand corrected.

It's pretty buried on their site too.

Personally, I'd be promoting these things on the home page, but what do I know? E-Comms is only my actual profession :rolleyes:;)


On Facebook, it should be noted that there are a number of groups that use the Games Workshop logo and typeface that are clearly not sanctioned by Games Workshop or Citadel. Some stuff must inevitably evade notice by the GW IP Inquisition. Either that or GW just doesn't care yet.

Yeah, that's a tough one. They could get them for using the logo, but other than that, I don't think they have a leg to stand on. That said, they somehow managed to kill a Blood Bowl fansite by forcing them to stop using the name Blood Bowl :rolleyes:

It's funny though, because looking at some of the comments, it seems that many of the users of those groups are actually under the impression that they ARE run by GW. This in itself could cause a problem.

Team Fortress 2 has a Facebook page which essentially just rehashes what they post on their blog, but it allows people to post their own links/comments etc. There's a lot of nastiness on there, but obviously Valve understand that with profile comes criticism. You can't stop it, so why try?

The beauty of Social media is that all the individual users are able to voice their opinions, and if you're doing things right, the supporters will engage the critics without you having to.

DasKhorne
12-11-2009, 00:56
I hate playing with little kids (10-15) though i am 17, i have been playing with adults (25-50) for about 3 years now and prefer adults and cant stand playing with kids.
And now all the adults are going to other gaming systems (FoW,WW2,Warmachine) and im stuck playing kids again:cries:

GW should so something about promoting the hobby for adults, if not everyone will have SM bikers with lascannons :(

Though i do believe the hobby should be introduced about 12-13 years of age, not 5 -_-

The Dude
12-11-2009, 01:46
I hate playing with little kids (10-15) though i am 17, i have been playing with adults (25-50) for about 3 years now and prefer adults and cant stand playing with kids.
And now all the adults are going to other gaming systems (FoW,WW2,Warmachine) and im stuck playing kids again:cries:

GW should so something about promoting the hobby for adults, if not everyone will have SM bikers with lascannons :(

Though i do believe the hobby should be introduced about 12-13 years of age, not 5 -_-

Age isn't the issue though, it's maturity. I've played against immature players of all ages. Those that take it too seriously, or have some sort of control issues.

GW should be promoting a high level of maturity, camaradarie and sportsmanship rather than just getting the customers hyped up. They also shouldn't pull too many punches when doing intro games. Kids should learn early that defeat is not the end of the world and that chucking a tanty about it is unacceptable.

This is, of course, a bit off topic.

Imperius
12-11-2009, 01:50
Simply put though, a substantial number of CHILDREN would be seeing the advertising over the internet.
No matter what you do it seems that oldies are slowly moving on to other things. My gripe is that for every other game comparable to Warhammer needs shipping and has very little 'LGS.'

___

At the rate GW are closing down some stores I'm expecting that to happen with them in a decade or so. With large chunks of countries being completely left in the dark from our obsession over toy soldiers.



Edit: This is off topic but, how did it feel when you reached the '6,666' post count? :P

The Dude
12-11-2009, 01:55
Edit: This is off topic but, how did it feel when you reached the '6,666' post count? :P

I didn't even notice...

Just counting back, it seems it was a flippant comment about the Crimson Fists conversion pack :p

Crazy Harborc
12-11-2009, 02:41
I don't know about elsewhere. In my area there are many unofficial groups of wargamers. There is one club (that I know of) with a fair number of members. They have more than one open to the public event/small con yearly. They gather for gaming once/twice a month.

There are several non-GW cons yearly. There are unofficial GW systems events/cons too. It can take some digging and some time....Look for groups, google for them. Check with/at hobby shops, comic book stores (that have other stuff too). Search a list of hobby clubs, wargaming clubs.;)

Imperius
12-11-2009, 03:52
I infact am part of a non-GW group. Its 21 members that once in a blue moon some of them come over and we play some Warhammer in the basement of someones business.

Recently though the number of people who keep in contact with us has dwindled substatially.

itcamefromthedeep
12-11-2009, 03:55
Yeah, that's a tough one. They could get them for using the logo, but other than that, I don't think they have a leg to stand on. That said, they somehow managed to kill a Blood Bowl fansite by forcing them to stop using the name Blood Bowl :rolleyes:
The confusion you mentioned is actually not a bad reason to politely tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to use a different logo for the group.

Games Workshop actually has a fairly lax IP policy as far as corporations go. After all, every conversion of a model is in a way a challenge to GW's IP.

This relaxed attitude may be due to the rather extreme "inspiration" lifted for many of Games Workshop's work. The big ones being, of course, Tolkein and Michael Moorcock. Tyranids are heavily inspired by the novel Starship Troopers, and even the Skaven are quite derivative. You can't get much done in fantasy literature without stepping on someone's toes, so tread lightly.


GW should so something about promoting the hobby for adults, if not everyone will have SM bikers with lascannons :(
I've played one or two of those. Some people just can't be bothered to read their army book before assembling their models. ;)

Adult gamers most definitely make better opponents, which makes them incredibly importnt to the game. Having said that, GW minis still dominate coolminiornot.com. The non-gaming aspects of the hobby don't much suffer from a large number of children participating.

The Dude
12-11-2009, 04:17
The confusion you mentioned is actually not a bad reason to politely tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to use a different logo for the group.

Games Workshop actually has a fairly lax IP policy as far as corporations go. After all, every conversion of a model is in a way a challenge to GW's IP.

I think it's more that they understand the need for flexibility due to the nature of the hobby. They do, however come down hard on people using their logos and copyrighted materials (names etc).

I suppose once it comes to their attention that their logo is being used, they will likely come down hard on the people doing so.

Imperius
12-11-2009, 04:55
Are you saying that a portion of GW's revenue comes from them suing? :p

Shadowfax
13-11-2009, 07:47
The Dude: I wish I'd seen your link to this thread in the old Tyranid Rumour Summary sooner, because it's a very interesting topic and I'd have liked to have gotten in on the discussion earlier. Guess I'll have to content myself with picking at the scraps. ;)

I still need to read the bulk of it, but one item from a recent post you made caught my eye.



They are continuing to hold on the the outdated notion that their key demographic is young teens. The way they engage these customers is probably fine, but there continues to be an absence of connection with older segments.
I don't know if I'd agree with that. Their approach towards younger gamers has always seemed abhorrent to me. When you watch a GW employee pitch the hobby to a kid and/or his parents it's usually a despicable smoke and mirrors sideshow. I've seen redshirts straight-up LIE about things like game balance, army popularity, projected costs, etc.

There's nothing wrong with glamourizing the hobby to prospective customers, but I imagine this outright dishonesty fosters cynicism and rebellion in a lot of their customers as they become more experienced in the hobby and begin to test GW's claims for themselves. I know, speaking personally, my friends and I have become more and more jaded about the company and its practices since our earliest days flirting with the games.

With the amount of information accessible to the average individual, people are more willing and able than ever before to call ******** on disingenuous behaviour, misleading claims, sugarcoating, etc. GW needs to relax the iron grip.

scarletsquig
14-11-2009, 09:27
I just got a beastmen teaser email in my inbox.

The GW site has had regular new articles every day for the last few months, with no gaps and some good new content every day. I've been visiting the site a lot more than I used to.

I'd say they're doing a pretty good job on the rumour and articles side of things.

I don't want loads of interaction with the company, I want a quality product. They've got the miniatures and artwork sorted, but their rules are severely lacking.

Best use of the internet that GW could make would be a yearly errata and update article for all codexes and army books, posted on their site once per year. Not just rules clarifications, but changes to points values as well.

Video games release patches, GW should stop being too proud and admit when they have a flawed product and fix it. Privateer Press being the best example of a company that knows how to sort out rules problems, that may be out of necessity... I dunno, but I think PP's fans would have ditched them if they released something as blatantly terrible as the daemon army book and didn't sort it out pronto.

Just because rulebooks aren't profitable compared to models it doesn't mean they aren't incredibly important, they enable and determine sales levels.

Also woo, 2000 posts. :D

itcamefromthedeep
14-11-2009, 15:05
I don't want loads of interaction with the company, I want a quality product. They've got the miniatures and artwork sorted, but their rules are severely lacking.
Amen to that.


Best use of the internet that GW could make would be a yearly errata and update article for all codexes and army books, posted on their site once per year. Not just rules clarifications, but changes to points values as well.
People hate having to buy new rulebooks in quick succession, so I can understand the desire to keep virtually all of a document consistent for years at a time. Unlike video games, where a patch is free, in this context people would need to buy a physical product for each "patch" on the game.

I'll settle for comprehensive and consistent FAQ and errata documents.


Also woo, 2000 posts. :D
And good quality, I'll wager. Good on ya.

Crazy Harborc
15-11-2009, 02:47
Don't forget....GW builts it's wargaming financial empire doing what they still do the way they still do. Of course the financial track record HAS been dipping lower for ohhhh....5 years now.

canucklhead
16-11-2009, 19:53
People hate having to buy new rulebooks in quick succession, so I can understand the desire to keep virtually all of a document consistent for years at a time. Unlike video games, where a patch is free, in this context people would need to buy a physical product for each "patch" on the game.


See, this is where I get annoyed. Not at you, but at the idea that I should be required to purchase a fix for a product that I purchased, which is now admitted to be in need of fixing.

GW has dumped the responsability for fixing the rules in the lap of players, as long as they don't infringe any IP doing it. They as much as directly state that the rules need help, but wont release a patch, free or otherwise.

This is a prime example of not being connected to the current concepts of social media and how it is re-defining how we and our various providers interact. If a company wishes to market a game that competes with Video gaming, it needs to match the accessibility of Video games to updates and upgrades. In fact, since it's a table top game, hoping to lure customers away from the beep beep of the screen, it needs to exceed the user friendlyness of a video game by a fair bit.

Reinholt
16-11-2009, 20:06
Canucklhead has it right.

If GW wants me to develop their rules, I expect a paycheck, basically. I'm paying you to produce a game, and while I will tinker with it as I see fit, if you do a crap job in the first place, I'm not going to play your game. I'm going to play something else.

It's like buying a car and then expecting the customer to do half the work to put the thing together. There is a reason GM and Chrysler went bankrupt, even though it took a while.

I'd like to see GW not tread the same path.

Virtues
16-11-2009, 20:37
hello all

After reading through this thread they are some very interesting arguaments made and it is my belief that GW could be doing a lot more to use social media to there benefit.

Having been in and out of the hobby for the last 15 years my views are probably not as biased or one sided as others. My points in no particular order are these.

Firstly i think the quality of the models and literature produced by GW has improved no end in the time i have been part of the hobby.

The problem's are the lack of support for the rule systems often even though things are playtested rules can end up being broken or overpowered for certain units or army styles.

This is where GW could step up to the plate and use New/Social media to there benefit. I don't believe it would be that hard for a set or employees to sit down once every 6 or 12 months to review rules, point cost etc, for all systems.

Many forums exist that have many inteligent people who make great points of how to improve rules or point costs, they could use these as a basis for there reviews before adjusting things in house and playtesting things.

You could then Release's a FAQ once yearly as a PDF on there website and distribute copies via there stores. I'm sure people would not mind updating the rule books and codex's/army books once per year and the cost to produce a PDF would be neglagable to the good feeback they would receive.

This leads me on to my next point Leeks and sneak previews. Again this is a area i feel GW could really improve on. I'm sure most people would like to know if there armies are inline for a new book or models in the forceable future.

By using there website every 3 or 6 months they could post a article covering army's or ideas they plan on reviewing/improving this would keep people interested by providing niblets of info or photo's of models that could be made. They could also use it to post basic stats for units to see what people opinions of them are.

They inturn would recieve valuable feedback again helping them improve there rulesets, also as it get closer to release of a army they could use the website to release mroe pictures or info again feeding the buzz around any new products released

This could also be intergrated with there monthly magazine White Dwarf more. Which brings me on to my third point. I have White Dwarfs in my collection from the late 100's through the 200's to the present time. I must say in GW's defence the quality of the photos artwork and general feel of the magazine have improved tremendously over the years.

But although recently things haven't been so bad it has become a bit a of a expensive catologue. I Beleive every issue should have articles that intrigue every section of people who play there wargames, From the absolute beginner to the grizzled veteran. Features like jervis's rants while providing a interesting insite in to how things are thought or viewed by the higher ups at GW should be restricted to quarterly sections or again used in conjunction with website.

Its the same with the painting section although this is invaluable to beginners and refreshing your knowledge a lot of the section are just rehashed article re used time and time again with differant colours. Again use of the Website here would be good.

I think taking out the back section too with all the stores listed would be a good idea using this once quartely would be fine.

This would free up more space to include more articles. For instance looking at Tournement armies or peoples collections Bigger better Battle reports, maybe offering them from differant angles like one month using fluffy list one month more strong list and another absolute cheese lists. Simple things like this would spruce up things and keep a buzz around the magazine.

Lastly i like to mention there website. Recently again this has improved no end but i would like GW to step back in to the forums. From what i've scene BL's seem to be moderated quite well so obviosly there are peole there who know what there doing.

The reason i think they stopped using them is the amount of boo boys around. It is very easy to be a detractor of something from the internet as you are a faceless individual, and it is these minirity who very often spoil things for the majority.

One idea i think they could do is just open up forums at first to comments on new realeses, then expand from there. With a simple straight forward moderation policy that is activally enforced.

well that turned in to bit of a rant :) i hope some of my ideas get people thinking and maybe together we can all improve this great hobby of ours

Virtues

SonofBaharlu
17-11-2009, 00:20
If GW wants me to develop their rules, I expect a paycheck, basically. I'm paying you to produce a game, and while I will tinker with it as I see fit, if you do a crap job in the first place, I'm not going to play your game. I'm going to play something else.

Couldn't agree more. If GW expects me to fix thier rulebook, I'm awaiting a fat paycheck for fixing their rules. If they don't take care of the customer there are superior games (ala Armies of Arcana, HoTT) that are much better and provide constant FAQ or Errata for their rules.

It is entirely suprising that a company like GW, with a multi-million dollar profit base is constantly beaten down by a not so big company such as Osprey and their FoG rules, DBA or even Armies of Arcana.

The Dude
17-11-2009, 00:28
So, to drag this back to new / social media, perhaps taking up where they left off with the Blood Angels Codex could be an idea. Publish rough lists online and in WD and ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE feedback. Using an online form could mean issues and feedback are given in a useful format.

This would effectively open up the playtesting pool to all those horrible power gamers who find the loopholes and combos that GW miss due to their friendly game attitude.

It would also keep people interested in armies that are looking a bit stale. How much interest would a WD playtest list for Dark Eldar generate?

Crazy Harborc
17-11-2009, 00:31
GW seems to be doing just fine......at driving away customers and or potential customers. $9(USD) for ONE WD mag. Closing various GW stores, even ones that had and did meet company goals---monthly. Planning AND announcing there will be ONE oficial GW event/GD in the USA for all of 2010.

Iseult
17-11-2009, 08:14
I played WoW for far too long and one thing I got used to was that when my class was broken it was broken now, and Blizzard had better get off their fat lazy arses, stop counting their money and patch it YESTERDAY in a way that not only fixed the original problem but probably gave me a silence or mortal strike ability too.

Yeah OK, thats Warcraft and you don't want Warhammer going down the WoW path (trust me). However I think Games Workshop should take notice of this, and all the other factors listed in the thread. This is not 1992. It is NOT OK to launch buggy products and leave them in the market. Time for something radical.

- Publish a quarterly "amendments" document containing all updates to all armies for a particular system and use it to balance points costs/ rules. Do something NOW about fixing broken rules and power creep.
- Be more open with your development process. Let us know what the trial rules were for units and WHY they were changed in final, and why GW think they are balanced.

Some ideas, among the many other good ideas already raised.

Brother Loki
17-11-2009, 09:08
That's the thing - the 'product' is fine. Their 'product' isn't the games. The 'product' is the miniatures. The games are marketing materials to give a framework to collecting miniatures. The rule development is a very low priority (from a corporate point of view - I'm sure its a big deal to those in the studio).

For the vast majority of GW customers it is their first exposure to any kind of non-electronic gaming, so they will have no basis for comparison. Most of them will be involved for a couple of years or less, before they discover girls. They will play at home with their friends, or maybe at a GW store at weekends. For every person who stays in the hobby long enough to care about the rules (or even learn them fully), or go to a tournament or whatever, there will be 10 more who fit the model described.

How this relates to GW's online presence I'm not sure. I do know I'm actually torn on the idea of regular FAQs and errata, as the proliferation of rules can cause further confusion as people are using different ones. It's better than the idea of doing different printings of books with different rules and the same covers (like they did with Dark Eldar) though.

The idea of releasing trial rules and soliciting online feedback is great - like Privateer with the Mk2 Field test, but would require such a strategic shift within the company I think it would be very unlikely. First, they'd have to decide it was important - i.e. start thinking of themselves as a games company not a miniatures company, and then they'd have to allow themselves to trust outside opinions and learn to take criticism, which I understand from various posters who've worked at different levels within the company is a real problem for them.

Reinholt
17-11-2009, 12:21
That's the thing - the 'product' is fine. Their 'product' isn't the games. The 'product' is the miniatures. The games are marketing materials to give a framework to collecting miniatures. The rule development is a very low priority (from a corporate point of view - I'm sure its a big deal to those in the studio).

From an investors perspective, this argument does not wash.

If your rules are a tool to sell more models, and people complain consistently about your rules, then your rules are becoming a tool to discourage selling models.

Either fix them or get rid of them. Obviously, getting rid of them would kill GW's sales, which should tell you there is something fishy about the argument in the first place.

Good rules are an integral part of a gaming product, which is a component of the overall hobby. This is like GM claiming they don't need to produce good brakes for their cars, because they are just a tool to sell engines. It's an intellectually vacuous argument, and anyone who says it that actually works for GW should be fired.

Ironically, the tools to also develop much better, faster, and more efficiently are right under GW's nose with the contact you can have with fans via social networks and the internet...

warhammergrimace
17-11-2009, 17:21
Should GW embrace new and social media more, the answer is bleeding obvious, yes. Lets face it most gamers are glued to the internet when not playing a table top mini game. The amount of varying forums on-line for discussing anything and everything in regards to gaming is evidence enough that GW customer base are avid users of new media.

I belong to a mini painting group called Sheffield Irregulars, we make use of a blog, which get updated on reasonably regular basis and this takes some work, we have a very active facebook group and we also utilise twitter a lot, and not only does the group utilise all these but so does the Irregular Magazine. To be honest it takes a lot of work to make sure they are active.

I suspect that the reason GW doesn't use social media to any great effect is as many people have pointed out its low on their priorities, it would require full time staff working on the project, staff which they don't have. They don't court advertising out side of White Dwarf and word of mouth, and to be honest a social media strategy would be a form of advertising, which is probably another reason why they don't fully embrace social and new media.

I personally would like to see video painting guides like those over on miniature mentor, http://www.miniaturementor.com/. These could be subscribed to or download individually, rather than trying to figure out how it was done by the use of limited text and pictures. Since watching these videos my painting has improved far more than trying to follow a magazine article.

I would also like to see a downloadable magazine for the specialist range, Wizards of the coast have both of their magazines as downloadable pdf's. so demand isn't a problem. In fact Irregular magazine gets around 6000 downloads an issue, so there is a willingness to download and read a pdf. I also download several other fan mags out there.

They don't need to release previews of products, letting people know what is going to be released, with some images of the products in advance would be nice, it may stop or slow a lot of the rumours.

A lot of people have said the old guard don't embrace new technology, and this may be true, it is true of several of the older members of the gaming club I belong to. In fact one member said the nearest to new fangled technology he has is a digital calculator. That may be part of the problem the older generation has yet to embrace the new ideas and technology in the same way that a lot the gamers/hobbyists have.

People don't like change, and the internet and social media has meant that the hobby has changed dramatically over say the last 5-10 years, more people speak about the hobby on a global scale, through forums and chat rooms, rather than between friends down the local store. The internet community can have a big influence on a product or an idea, and for this fact they should be interacted with.

For GW to embrace this area of new and social media will take time, they seem to be making tentative steps towards embracing it, but I think its going to be done very cautiously. The eavy metal team have a facebook page, which was quite active when it first went up, but seems to have waned a little recently. There is a twitter feed, which lets you know when things like new articles have gone on-line. Blog pages would be interesting, along similar lines as the standard bearer, looking at the community side of the hobby, as well as interesting gaming articles.

I think we'll just have to wait and see how thing progress in this area, its an interesting discussion, because there are probably a lot of organisations who have yet to fully embrace the new technology, such as social media, and use it well.

We at Sheffield Irregulars and Irregular magazine are quite fortunate in that a few of the members are very keen on the area of social media, because if it was left to me we'd be worse than GW at it, :evilgrin:

itcamefromthedeep
17-11-2009, 17:25
From an investors perspective, this argument does not wash.
No, the argument has some merit. There is a segment of the customer base that never plays, who buy models for the sake of modeling and painting them.

In the car analogy, I'd say that the rules are more like the paint job. There are people who buy the car just to get from one place to another, but there are also people who buy cars that look good. There are more choices than improving the trim of a car and dropping the body work completely.

I can see that Games Workshop thinks of itself as not as a gaming company but as a company that sells models. However, it shouldn't be that hard to go next door to a designer of Eurogames to get some rules writing talent on board. That and find an editor. Any editor, really. After hearing about what's in the Skaven book I have trouble believing that they have an editor on the development staff.

Reinholt
17-11-2009, 18:45
No, the argument has some merit. There is a segment of the customer base that never plays, who buy models for the sake of modeling and painting them.

The argument does not have merit.

That group will be satisfied with the game regardless of rules; the rules could be good, or the rules could be bad. They don't care, they are in it for the models.

However, there is another entire segment that does, in fact, care about the rules! So ignoring that segment simply because some of your customers don't care is not a sound business practice!

Especially when one considers that the added cost of producing good rules is trivial compared to the amount of revenue it drives; the argument doesn't hold. It's basically "we don't care about something important to most of our customers, even though it would cost us very little to fix it, and we'll focus on another part of our business instead".

That's fine if you want to dick around with your own money, but not if you are a public company. There is a reason their stock price is 1/4 of what it was at the peak.

Imperius
17-11-2009, 22:36
I played WoW for far too long and one thing I got used to was that when my class was broken it was broken now, and Blizzard had better get off their fat lazy arses, stop counting their money and patch it YESTERDAY in a way that not only fixed the original problem but probably gave me a silence or mortal strike ability too.

Yeah OK, thats Warcraft and you don't want Warhammer going down the WoW path (trust me). However I think Games Workshop should take notice of this, and all the other factors listed in the thread. This is not 1992. It is NOT OK to launch buggy products and leave them in the market. Time for something radical.

- Publish a quarterly "amendments" document containing all updates to all armies for a particular system and use it to balance points costs/ rules. Do something NOW about fixing broken rules and power creep.
- Be more open with your development process. Let us know what the trial rules were for units and WHY they were changed in final, and why GW think they are balanced.

Some ideas, among the many other good ideas already raised.

I find this 'Wow' complaint insulting to my geekyness (this isn't off-topic, so don't go all BAN on me.) I've made flash games, in one of my flash games there was a glitch where each level was beaten because the characters sword was killing everything on the screen at that moment. It took me THREE HOURS to fix that one little glitch.
Now imagine modifying an MMORPG game engine to fix something generally not too bad. My mage will always be able to freeze Sir.Rigs-a-lot in his tracks.

Now think about Gamesworkshop. Think about how much WORK must go into fixing these things. Yes the work is ultimately beneficial and makes the game quite better, but they are spending money on people to make the models and people to write the rules. If one gets more money than the other to 'fix' a terrible model, or redo some ridiculous rule, the opposite one will come up short.

My only answer is that GW should playtest, it would not be that difficult to just run a few games with an army to see the results. Maybe even distributing 'BETA' type rules.
Blizzard playtests, its just that they are quite literally pioneers in the gaming industry and never before seen problems will catch them off guard.

- Sorry that was a bit of a rant, that is in-short my opinion.

Iseult
18-11-2009, 09:37
The comments about Blizzard on my part were slightly hyperbolic ;)

Seriously though, GW could do well with a well moderated web forum where the painters, writers and sculpters are active members. Even hire Eyonix...

As to the argument of 95% of the business being models, I think it's definitely true that 95% of customers are kids, but the last 5% contribute alot more in dollar terms as they have jobs, and they have also shown that the hobby is not a 'fad' for them and they are therefore more likely to continue to be an income stream in the future. So GW should be looking after their interests by ensuring the game they deliver is as balanced as can be.

My opinion.

The Dude
18-11-2009, 10:03
Seriously though, GW could do well with a well moderated web forum where the painters, writers and sculpters are active members.

You could get the same effect by each area having a devoted blog to which members can contribute on a regular basis. Even if it's just small hints at what they're working on, inspirations, ideas etc. Feedback from these early ideas could be useful for GW too.

Wintertooth
18-11-2009, 10:14
Most of this thread has nothing to do with social media. It's just the "bawww! I want rumours" thread all over again. Twitter's existence doesn't change the fact that, for better or worse, they've decided their strategy is to announce new products three months before release. They could announce what Jes is sculpting this week by telegram. They don't want to announce it yet at all.


Seriously though, GW could do well with a well moderated web forum where the painters, writers and sculpters are active members.

Yeah, right. And next time you're bitching about Army X not getting an update, think back on the time you thought it was a good idea for Studio staff to spend part of every working day posting on web forums instead of painting, writing or sculpting.

The Dude
18-11-2009, 10:27
Most of this thread has nothing to do with social media. It's just the "bawww! I want rumours" thread all over again. Twitter's existence doesn't change the fact that, for better or worse, they've decided their strategy is to announce new products three months before release. They could announce what Jes is sculpting this week by telegram. They don't want to announce it yet at all.

It's not that, it's wanting a greater engagement with the company. Regardless of what they think it's best for us to hear, GW have a great opportunity to engage their audience on a whole other level.

The podcasts are a great example. They don't need to be about what's coming up (although using something upcoming as an example is a good way of creating hype), they just need to offer some sort of insight into the inner GW. Their thought processes, inspirations, approach to design etc.

To be honest, I'd find that stuff just as insightful as rumours about what new models are coming out.

SonofBaharlu
18-11-2009, 14:34
Yeah, right. And next time you're bitching about Army X not getting an update, think back on the time you thought it was a good idea for Studio staff to spend part of every working day posting on web forums instead of painting, writing or sculpting.

Considering Reaper, Privateer Press and hosts of other companies participate in forums and not just their own but still meet the deadlines of their products makes me think the GW counterparts are not of equal skill than others. Are the GW creators of lesser value than their counter parts in Reaper etc? Or are they just one track minds that have an inability to do two things at once?

Brother Loki
18-11-2009, 15:21
Since it seems pertinent to the discussion in terms of what resources GW could or should allocate to this, does anybody know roughly how many people actually work in the studio? How many games developers, miniature designers and writers etc? I guess Blongbling probably would.

I'm completely speculating here, but I suspect that in a company like Privateer, which has maybe 30-40 employees, at least half of them are in the 'creative' side of the business, and most of its sculpting is outsourced to freelancers. GW is many times the size, with thousands of employees and many more product lines, but I still wouldn't be surprised if the 'creative' department is only about 20 people.

GW is currently downsizing its head office staffing further - as the recent thread about the mail order trolls attests. When Dave Taylor, the US community relations person left, they didn't replace him, they got rid of the position. I doubt they have anyone with any free time to look at forums or handle social media, and in the current climate I doubt they're likely to hire anyone to do it, as its not a job that directly generates revenue.

Reinholt
18-11-2009, 15:49
GW is currently downsizing its head office staffing further - as the recent thread about the mail order trolls attests. When Dave Taylor, the US community relations person left, they didn't replace him, they got rid of the position. I doubt they have anyone with any free time to look at forums or handle social media, and in the current climate I doubt they're likely to hire anyone to do it, as its not a job that directly generates revenue.

The fact that you cannot easily measure it does not mean it does not generate revenue.

This is a classic business mistake. I blame accountants.

;)

SonofBaharlu
18-11-2009, 15:58
I doubt they're likely to hire anyone to do it, as its not a job that directly generates revenue.

Yes it does. Getting people to talk about it, getting people to discuss it and finally getting people to buy it is what generates revenue.

For example, Reaper came out with a PDF that lists their items that don't sell well or sell little and put it on the Frothers forum. What did it do? It generated enough interest that people started talking about using Orcs and other miniatures in their games, where to buy said miniatures etc.

It generated interest in lines which doesn't sell well. If this doesn't generate revenue for the company (it certainly has as I bought some myself) and showcases the companies talents I don't see why GW could not do the same. Unless of course Reaper has a better product (which I might think it does regarding Human miniatures.)

Brother Loki
18-11-2009, 16:54
I said, it doesn't DIRECTLY generate revenue. I know it would indirectly, but as Reinholt says, that's tricky to measure, and so is unlikely to be considered.

SonofBaharlu
18-11-2009, 17:02
I said, it doesn't DIRECTLY generate revenue. I know it would indirectly, but as Reinholt says, that's tricky to measure, and so is unlikely to be considered.

Other companies seem to be doing this fine. Apparently its not so tricky to measure.

canucklhead
18-11-2009, 21:41
A direct expample of direct revenue as a result of Social Media.

I rarely purchase any new Miniature or literature for any of my current hobby games without first asking the opinions, or at least perusing the existing opinions, of people who's taste I have some confidence in. This is done almost exclusively through the medium of the internet.

therefore, social media has directly resulted in revenue for the company which produces products which are talked about on intrernet forums.

escobar
18-11-2009, 22:01
Some great points on this thread and nice to see people pulling it back on track.

One of the big issues in this area for GW is the lack of diversity and experience staff seem to have. As starlight mentioned they don't conduct proper research which is pretty much a given for organisations in my view (although this is a professional opinion). How you can make strategic decisions without having a clear understanding of where your customer is or heading normally results in internally focused short term measures like... all that stuff they do.

Realistically, if you had to market sell ANY entertainment product/service primarily targeted at 12-20 year olds today you need a social media strategy. Any bit of decent research will tell you this. Oh they don't do it. sigh...

Imperius
18-11-2009, 23:01
The podcasts are a great example. They don't need to be about what's coming up (although using something upcoming as an example is a good way of creating hype), they just need to offer some sort of insight into the inner GW. Their thought processes, inspirations, approach to design etc.


I remember Gamesworkshop Canada had a podcast series before it was shut down. They also had all these online interacty thingys with them, they were silly in my opinion, but certainely worth the effort.
Most of it was dribble though, nothing worth listening to really.

I wonder how many people DO actually go on the internet to check on whats going on. I'm sure its quite a large number, but it would be nice to have a measuring stick to go by.

SonofBaharlu
19-11-2009, 01:06
I remember Gamesworkshop Canada had a podcast series before it was shut down. They also had all these online interacty thingys with them, they were silly in my opinion, but certainely worth the effort.
Most of it was dribble though, nothing worth listening to really.

I wonder how many people DO actually go on the internet to check on whats going on. I'm sure its quite a large number, but it would be nice to have a measuring stick to go by.

Considering a good amount of people spending (not just registered, count in lurkers as well) on miniatures within the UK/North America visit TMP, Frothers etc are a large section of the majority who do spend on miniatures and thus any media interaction with them results in them directly spending money on said miniatures.

Like in my previous example, I myself upon seeing the Reaper catalog did spend as did many others on various miniatures in that catalog that I wouldn't be aware of and thus contributed to money for Reaper. This is called directly effecting the purchase.

The only way I did spend money on GW is through this complicated method:

1) Found out through word of mouth the GW has a new range of Lizardmen for 7th edition from one of my club mates.
2) When online, decided to pick up a few miniatures (Special Characters, an Army BSB, a Razordon and a few more)
3) Drove down on my precious weekend (30-50 minutes to nearest GW store) and found out that they don't carry them, even the Razordon and that I had to order online through the Internet which I could do in the store or through my house.
4) Angrily when back to my house (30-50 minutes AGAIN) and ordered online what I needed.

So the only way I even knew about this was through my friend telling me they have new models, the going to the store to find out that your being directed to the online store (what use is the brick and mortar store then?) because someone forgot to tell me you could only order metal miniatures online. If GW had enough skill to use social media I could have saved 2 hours and done it the correct way and not wasted 2 hours of my precious time.

Compared to that, Reaper Miniatures was far too easy:

1) Found out through Frothers that they have a PDF even though I was not looking at miniatures at the time
2) Went cool! I've got to have this, this and this.
3) Ordering instructions which state they are still available through their online store.
4) Went there and bought what I wanted.

Time saved? 1 and a half hour. Happy? Very. Could GW do something like that? Impossible. After all a Multi-Million dollar company doesn't have time to inform its customers that the majority of its metal models are now sold online and not all the range is always available in stores even if it the armies special/rare choices.

yabbadabba
19-11-2009, 07:30
I would have called the store first Son of Baharlu. I have had enough experience of stores carrying product and not having any instock, so now I always call ahead and reserved.

In the end it is down to 2 things, time and strategy. It still amazes me how much people still cry "but they don't tell us what they are doing" but there you go. Things could be happening but not for a while. Alternatively (or working in tandem) GW Upper Management's interpretation of its sales data is that at the moment these ideas won't benefit their main customer base and/or that they will not raise enough revenue to regenerate the costs within the recouperation timescale.

Brother Loki
19-11-2009, 09:03
GW have a newsletter which you sign up for on their website, and have had for years, that tells you about new releases. Seems a fairly adequate way of informing those few people who haven't seen any rumour threads on the dozens of forums out there. I find it hard to believe anybody who's interested can't find out what's coming out. The policy of carrying fewer of the slower selling metals in stores has been around for a couple of years now, and has been widely publicised, although including new releases in this is fairly new, and in my opinion counter-productive.

SonofBaharlu
19-11-2009, 14:24
GW have a newsletter which you sign up for on their website, and have had for years, that tells you about new releases. Seems a fairly adequate way of informing those few people who haven't seen any rumour threads on the dozens of forums out there. I find it hard to believe anybody who's interested can't find out what's coming out. The policy of carrying fewer of the slower selling metals in stores has been around for a couple of years now, and has been widely publicised, although including new releases in this is fairly new, and in my opinion counter-productive.

Fairly Publicised where? Not in any of the forums I visit. TMP/Frothers never had a topic of "Hey we are GW and I'd like to tell you whats changed." Considering these two are one of the largest UK/USA forums based on the miniature war gaming hobby I was not informed in anyway. Yes they have a newsletter but I had left the hobby back before 7th edition came out. I'd lost my interest and thus never would have wanted to receive "Mailers" about a topic that I wasn't interested in anymore.

And I never saw any news item on the website telling me so when I visited. And I like that quip about dozen of forums everywhere. You mean specific Warhammer forums? If you mean that, then yes I never saw them because I was interested in other products and thus had no reason to go into a forum of I product I never followed. If you mean the other hobby forums then I'm sorry but that's woefully mistaken. GW never have come into TMP/Frothers and said "Hey guys this is whats up!" So until I go into a forum for their specific product I don't get any information.

And yes, its not my duty to find out all their news items. If I can't find it on other websites or forums then I'm not going to search for it. If GW had done their job right they would have used any of the new types of social media especially using the Internet and visiting the forums then I wouldn't have gone to the store.

Reaper Miniatures has a great product, is smaller than GW, holds it own convention yet it is still able to make rounds into forums and tell people whats going on. GW who has a product, is larger than Reaper Miniatures, has a larger money base and holds its own convention is unable to do anything about the new social media for the entire wargaming hobby. It is reduced to giving "news" items to those that only play its games it in its tiny sphere of web presence and this is given by GW anyway, its those who are "close" to it. Official releases? "Well golly gee, go to our website and sign up, because we ain't giving it to ya! " mentality of GW is quite confusing and self defeating. They are going in a downward spiral and until they wake up, well the end result is known.

Brother Loki
19-11-2009, 14:57
TMP/Frothers never had a topic of "Hey we are GW and I'd like to tell you whats changed." Considering these two are one of the largest UK/USA forums based on the miniature war gaming hobby I was not informed in anyway.

Really? If by Frothers you mean frothersunite.com the forum there has less than 2,000 members. TMP has just under 20,000. Warseer has 60,000 of which 11,000 are regularly active, and over 1,200 are on the site right this minute. I have to say although I've heard of both those sites (from links on sites like Warseer primarily), I've only very rarely vidited them - they simply fon't have much of a profile as far as I'm aware.

The vast majority of people enter miniatures gaming via GW. There are far more people who know about GW but not other manufacturers, than there are who know about other manufacturers but not GW.

starlight
19-11-2009, 19:18
It is not the customer's job to find out what GW (or any company) is offering...it is the company's job to ensure that the word gets out to every potential customer...

How many people here think that Coca-Cola or McDonald's sell products that people are unaware of...yet they continue to spend *billions* on advertising and product promotion.

If GW wants me to buy their product, then they have to do three things:

1) ensure I am aware of it and how it fills *my* wants
2) ensure it is available in a form that is suitable to *my* wants
3) ensure I understand that their solution provides the best value solution for *my* wants

If they can't do these three simple things, then they are failing at the most basic function of business - selling product/service to the customer.

General Motors did what GW is doing and look what happened to them... :( Toyota engaged their customers and delivered *what the customer asked for* and look at them now... :eek:


Oh, and Brother Loki...most people *in the UK* may enter miniatures gaming via GW, but that certainly isn't the case anywhere else in the world... In North America (a market approximately six times larger than the UK) the *overwhelming* majority of gamers I'm aware of were introduced through friends, and *most* still don't know who or what Games Workshop is... Sadly your UK-centric view is a huge part of what is hurting GW sales in North America... :(

Wintertooth
19-11-2009, 19:19
GW never have come into TMP/Frothers and said "Hey guys this is whats up!"

Yeah, I can totally imagine that ending well for them.

starlight
19-11-2009, 19:25
If done well (it's possible) and maintained with consistency (GW's usual failing point), it could certainly go *very* well for them.

Unfortunately, GW seems to prefer to operate on the *We spent money on this last month, how come sales didn't skyrocket...? This is a waste, bin that plan!* model. Sadly the concept of giving plans a proper run to test and evaluate their effects seems foreign to them. :(

Wintertooth
19-11-2009, 19:32
Hey, if I adblock that blue smilie, your posts are almost bearable.

Have you ever read Frothers? This place is the GW Fan Club by comparison.

SonofBaharlu
19-11-2009, 20:18
Hey, if I adblock that blue smilie, your posts are almost bearable.

Have you ever read Frothers? This place is the GW Fan Club by comparison.

Frothers are like that for almost every company. I've lurked there for a long time so I know that its not just GW they are "hating" on.


Yeah, I can totally imagine that ending well for them.

Well then they won't reach out to the US market where the majority of players including me were not introduced to GW but to DBA/DBM. In the UK its pretty clear that they are a big player, but in North America other companies know how to play the game much better and unlike GW they hadn't had to close GW Canada, Close Stores and cut down events to one event a year.

Reapercon and many other conventions are becoming more popular and are starting to appear more than once a year. That's the rumor on the grapevine. Compared to GW which one would be winning in the NA market? The company that is looking to increase their output and conventions or the company that closed down their HQ in Canada, closing US stores right and left, reducing the inventory so that people have to buy online thus rendering the stores frankly useless (if I can buy the metal models I need online, why do I need to go to the stores? I can get everything online.) and reduced their conventions to once a year?

yabbadabba
19-11-2009, 22:31
Well then they won't reach out to the US market where the majority of players including me were not introduced to GW but to DBA/DBM. In the UK its pretty clear that they are a big player, but in North America other companies know how to play the game much better and unlike GW they hadn't had to close GW Canada, Close Stores and cut down events to one event a year. GW are a big player across the world and a huge player in the UK. In NA they have always struggled. How many wargames companies do you know who have a set up like GW? I haven't heard of Reaper's highly successful chain of NA retail stores.
Again mate, you might have some good points but you need to be careful about the way you look at your criticism. You can't compare GW to a lot of other Toy soldier companies especially in infrastructure and retail business. No other toy soldier company has that level of business.

I do agree that GW need to take some leaps of faith but that is a tough call in the current GW climate. Get it wrong and it could have major repercussions. At least they have paid a huge chunk of their debt of so maybe we will see something in the new financial year?

Bregalad
20-11-2009, 00:04
The next stage in GW's "what would be the most stupid marketing decision" game:

Hunt down fansites with lawyers. After trying to kill the topics for "word of mouth" marketing (remember that they don't believe in normal marketing like advertising, so they rely on word of mouth), they now want to kill the internet websites where word of mouth happens. Normal companies provide extra software for fansites to spread the news, but GW wants to keep everyone talking about GW products on the internet to be kept in fear of detection.:rolleyes:

Imperius
20-11-2009, 01:54
The next stage in GW's "what would be the most stupid marketing decision" game:

Hunt down fansites with lawyers. After trying to kill the topics for "word of mouth" marketing (remember that they don't believe in normal marketing like advertising, so they rely on word of mouth), they now want to kill the internet websites where word of mouth happens. Normal companies provide extra software for fansites to spread the news, but GW wants to keep everyone talking about GW products on the internet to be kept in fear of detection.:rolleyes:

This is basically why everyone has steam spouting out of their ears and theirs eyes are popping out of their sockets. Because GW sued their fansite and instead of going to jail they decided to freak out until the death sentence is re-instated.
(Which I think that in some American States you can still choose to be shot in the heart rather than jail for life.)

SonofBaharlu
20-11-2009, 02:35
This is basically why everyone has steam spouting out of their ears and theirs eyes are popping out of their sockets.

No this is not. While this maybe a small section in the overall angry at GW, there are countless of other "veteran" miniature hobbyists who are one of the main supplies of money in this hobby, who were treated badly by GW and kicked to the curb. These are the real people that are the reason for GW slide into mediocrity. Without the Veteran players who are parents themselves, a river of monetary funds is/has dried up. One can only go so far as to rely on 11 year old when much better systems (ala game systems, computer games etc) are much better and require less work.

The UK is the only market where GW can and does compete well. In the NA market, which honestly is the largest market and clearly is supported by the players as evidence of NA companies and UK companies increasing not decreasing, GW are floundering like a fish out of water because they aren't the biggest bullies in town. 60,000 maybe here, but how many still play? How many are still active? GW is not a well known brand for them to rely on word of mouth here in Canada at least and I can only see them gone within the next few years until they shape up and learn to use technology. Because others have been doing this well and have edged out GW from the market. You only need to look at the recent store closing and GW Canada HQ closing to the point being made that they are a fish out of water. They should realize that what worked in the UK will not work here.

starlight
20-11-2009, 02:53
Unfortunately they *have* realised it...:eek:...doubly unfortunately they haven't been willing to try alternatives which have been proven to work in other industries *and* give said alternatives the time to succeed or fail *on their own merits*... :(

I lost track of the number of changes to the direction the wind was blowing during my time there...it was extremely frustrating to put time and energy into a project that you knew was likely to end up being quashed because some manager or director changed their minds, or a new manager or director (an all to common occurrence with the frequency people moved positions or left) decided to go in a different direction.

By all means be nimble enough to take advantage of new opportunities, but for the love of fuzzy bunnies stick with a plan long enough to figure out if it's going to work or not... :(

Oh well, the directors and managers at GW Can must be doing something right, after all you don't shut down successful divisions...right...? Oh wait... :(

Brother Loki
20-11-2009, 10:07
In the UK its pretty clear that they are a big player, but in North America other companies know how to play the game much better and unlike GW they hadn't had to close GW Canada, Close Stores and cut down events to one event a year.


That's a strange argument. No other miniature company has stores of its own. The only games company that did was WotC, and I'm pretty sure they shut them all down years ago. GW is the only gaming chainstore that exists, with the exception of a few local chains of 3-4 stores. Nobody but GW has multiple offices in different parts of the world either, with the possible exception of WotC.

I suspect the reason GW doesn't do a lot to engage the rest of the wargaming market is precisely because theyve simply given up on them. Nearly everyone who primarily plays other games seems to have a hostile attitude to GW. Many play them precisely because they're NOT GW, and look down on people who play GW games. For GW it's a lot less grief to get the next generation of newbies in through the door for a couple of years than it is to jump through hoops to please grumpy old men like us.

I've been a GW customer for 23 years or so, and have probably spent between 3,000 and 5,000. In that time, for every one like me there have probably been a hundred kids who come and go in a year or two, spending maybe 200 each, totalling several times the total sales value. Obviously turning some more of those kids into 20 year veterans would improve it even further, but not if it means changing their marketing so they don't attract as many kids in the first place.

Maybe you're right and GW is only a minor player in North America. They're still a hell of a lot bigger than anyone else worldwide - even WotC. Maybe they feel that trying to convert ex-GW customers back, or engage customers who are predisposed to be anti them is simply not worth the time and money. That would explain why they don't promote themselves in the wider wargaming community. They're not interested in acquiring people who are already gamers and are aware of their competition - they're interested in creating new gamers who think GW is the only option. They've been pretty good at that over the last decade or two.

Don't get me wrong - I do think they have been shortsighted in a lot of their policies, and they make a lot of mistakes. They probably should make the effort to engage more with the wider community, but I can see why they don't.

itcamefromthedeep
20-11-2009, 16:02
Oh well, the directors and managers at GW Can must be doing something right, after all you don't shut down successful divisions...right...? Oh wait... :(
The hobby centers are still there. It was the bunker and the offices that went. I can see why they would try to close office space if they don't need it. A big part of getting over the LoTR bubble was laying off staff and closing office space that the company didn't need. The GW Canada offices were part of that.

The directors claimed that they're implementing a system to automatically keep track of stock to streamline delivery of new product this means that theoretically they could have an online listing of what each hobby center has in stock. Does someone want to let them in on this?

SonofBaharlu
20-11-2009, 16:20
The directors claimed that they're implementing a system to automatically keep track of stock to streamline delivery of new product this means that theoretically they could have an online listing of what each hobby center has in stock. Does someone want to let them in on this?

Doesn't mean much. They've reduced their stores to a place where you are directed to the online store anyway. Whats the point of going to the local GW store here in Canada when they:

1) Don't have many metal models in stock?
2) Don't have many choices for Special or Rares in Stock that ain't plastic (1 Kroxigor isn't enough for a special slot)
3) Don't have any of the special characters in stock?

Whats the point of seeing whats in the store when you could just order online and cut the store completely? Plastic sets are the only thing in the GW thats there in large quantities but who would go there when you can buy it online and with free shipping? Is there a point to a store anymore?

What do you get in the store thats not avaliable online? I would argue community and playing in store, but that just means that GW are paying money for a space to play and thats it.

starlight
20-11-2009, 16:55
For GW it's a lot less grief to get the next generation of newbies in through the door for a couple of years than it is to jump through hoops to please grumpy old men like us.

I've been a GW customer for 23 years or so, and have probably spent between 3,000 and 5,000. In that time, for every one like me there have probably been a hundred kids who come and go in a year or two, spending maybe 200 each, totalling several times the total sales value. Obviously turning some more of those kids into 20 year veterans would improve it even further, but not if it means changing their marketing so they don't attract as many kids in the first place.

Don't get me wrong - I do think they have been shortsighted in a lot of their policies, and they make a lot of mistakes. They probably should make the effort to engage more with the wider community, but I can see why they don't.

Except that standard sales/marketing research tells us that it costs fifteen times more to attract a new customer then it does to retain an old one...:( So for every one of us who continues to purchase after the first year or so, GW is faced with a huge bill to replace the ones who have left... Their own numbers say that they only keep one customer in ten past two years (UK numbers, NA is one in twenty after one), so now they have to spend that same recruitment money all over again to replace that huge number of people heading out the back door.

When I was at GW as the Canadian Community Manager, I wanted to do something about stemming the huge losses, yet I was forbidden and told to focus on getting new kids in the door. :(


The hobby centers are still there. It was the bunker and the offices that went. I can see why they would try to close office space if they don't need it. A big part of getting over the LoTR bubble was laying off staff and closing office space that the company didn't need. The GW Canada offices were part of that.

The directors claimed that they're implementing a system to automatically keep track of stock to streamline delivery of new product this means that theoretically they could have an online listing of what each hobby center has in stock. Does someone want to let them in on this?

Actually the tills in Canada have been able to do that for at least ten years. That was the whole point in purchasing such an expensive system...that the entire process from till to manufacturing was streamlined and the human component minimised. Sadly GW lacked the initiative to follow through...


GW has a simple problem - declining sales volumes. This simple problem means that they have fewer customers buying fewer toys. This is the opposite of how a successful outfit works. Part of this problem is that they don't seem to understand that their core customers are:

a) far more sophisticated then GW believes
b) in many cases far more sophisticated than GW *is*.

We're online and using social media to communicate like never before...it would be nice if GW was with us in this, but if they aren't...we'll find people who are...


Until GW gets their head out of the *we make and sell models* mindset and into the *we provide customers with a fantastic experience* mindset, I don't see much changing... :(

canucklhead
20-11-2009, 18:20
That sounds like the cry of a 90's era GW canada employee if I ever heard one. A dear friend of mine, who introduced me to GW, worked in missassauga in the mid 90's. It was his dream job, and it pretty much broke his heart.

starlight
20-11-2009, 18:53
If it was like that in the 90's, it certainly didn't stop there... :(

Sadly, GW seems stuck in the 80's when it comes to business and it's recognition of both internal talent and external resources (ie social media). :(

grissom2006
20-11-2009, 19:28
They are very much stuck in the dark ages of new and social media you only have to look at how somethings have changed for the worse with them.

The Dude
20-11-2009, 22:28
Until GW gets their head out of the *we make and sell models* mindset and into the *we provide customers with a fantastic experience* mindset, I don't see much changing... :(

This +1. Absolutely SPOT ON!

Unfortunately I feel such a radical shift may be beyond the current administration.

Iseult
21-11-2009, 20:58
I often wonder, what are the shareholders doing?

starlight
21-11-2009, 21:06
The overwhelming majority of shares are held by a few institutional investors who find GW a good investment because:

1) They make toys in the UK/US - no overseas sweatshops, no guns/booze/tobacco/porn, good solid UK outfit.

2) They pay (erm...*paid*) a reasonable dividend for the investment (not great, but reasonable).

I would be shocked if their representatives actually even attended shareholders meetings, instead of assigning their voting shares to someone like Tom Kirby and swallowed his reassurances that either all is right (during the LotR cash-cow years), or that they're on top of things and doing the best they can in the current economic climate (ie now).

Reinholt
21-11-2009, 22:35
The overwhelming majority of shares are held by a few institutional investors who find GW a good investment because:

1) They make toys in the UK/US - no overseas sweatshops, no guns/booze/tobacco/porn, good solid UK outfit.

2) They pay (erm...*paid*) a reasonable dividend for the investment (not great, but reasonable).

I would be shocked if their representatives actually even attended shareholders meetings, instead of assigning their voting shares to someone like Tom Kirby and swallowed his reassurances that either all is right (during the LotR cash-cow years), or that they're on top of things and doing the best they can in the current economic climate (ie now).

This is not entirely true. There are several of gw's top ten shareholders that are passive investment funds. They hold gw as part of an index or sector fund and couldn't care less about gw as a company individually. The upside for gw is that they have less investor scrutiny, the downside is that it makes them very vulnerable to a takeover if they underperform.

Imperius
22-11-2009, 20:11
This is not entirely true. There are several of gw's top ten shareholders that are passive investment funds. They hold gw as part of an index or sector fund and couldn't care less about gw as a company individually. The upside for gw is that they have less investor scrutiny, the downside is that it makes them very vulnerable to a takeover if they underperform.

I don't get it, they are vulnerable of being taken over because they have little investing scrutiny?

I would atleast think that the more investors pry into GW affairs the more likely it is they find a disgusting problem and take it over.

Reinholt
23-11-2009, 01:37
I don't get it, they are vulnerable of being taken over because they have little investing scrutiny?

I would atleast think that the more investors pry into GW affairs the more likely it is they find a disgusting problem and take it over.

The problem is that without strong individual investors who hold large positions, it's easy to just buy in the daily order flow over and over to accumulate large positions. Passive funds have no horse in the race; you can often buy them out with an offering at a premium (over the current price), or you can buy while they are rebalancing and snap up small amounts of stock over time with no real footprint.

It's easier to take over firms where nobody is home.