PDA

View Full Version : GW - Bleeding out and declining?



Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5

Ulfson
25-05-2010, 12:32
Say what?

I've just recently started flopping about the forums again for the first time in over a year, blissfully unaware of any major happenings to gw other than new releases, some of which I got quite into (loving WotR at the moment).

But after flitting through some threads, it would appear there is a mass exodus of people
moving from GW to other companies product exclusively - not just dabbling but collecting something else with no GW product involved at all.


There have been a couple of terms thrown around too - like the heading of this thread, which was used to describe GW's customer base.

Is this really the case? I mean, what evidence is there of this happening at the levels and severity that forum goers here claim? Other than, of course, their word and personal experiences.

Personally, I've seen little of this happening in my own gaming community - well, no more than what has already been happening over the past decade or so - so I'm curious to see if there is any "Hard" evidence of mass shifting of hobbyists away from GW, or if its all just that the most prolific thread posters are also the most antagonised by the actions of GW recently...

rev
25-05-2010, 12:37
I think the mass exodus is a fallacy.

I think what it actually represents is the vocal minority sounding off.

I'd be interested to know out of those who claim to leave the hobby, how many actually do and what percentage of those who claim to leave make up the entire hobbying body. I'd wager it was suprisingly small number.

As for the rest of us, we sit at our tables painting and gaming as we've done since we were boys - because despite price rises, IP inquisition and other crazy decisions we are, quite frankly addicted.

It'll take more than current and recent upsets and the opinions of the vocal minority to break me of my addiction.

Rev

Damien 1427
25-05-2010, 12:53
I think you just came back at an odd time. Price Rises generally do lead to people scaling back or stopping their purchases from Games Workshop (Either directly, or at all), or at least claiming to do so.

What makes this more interesting is that there are plenty of seriously viable alternatives these days, and it'll only get better in that respect. I won't be stopping my painting or gaming, but I will probably trim my GW purchases back significantly, as there's so little in the range that I think is value for money. The money saved will either go to Wargames Factory, Pig Iron, any fine stockist of sheet styrene, Wayland Games or eBay, if it gets spent on toy soldiers.

However, to say they're doomed is a bit much. But there's plenty of topics around at the moment, with posts by people who know a damned sight more about that sort of thing than I do, about why they're not doing too hot either.

Satan
25-05-2010, 12:56
I don't think there's a mass exodus. However I think sales are in decline and as a result they've been raising prices in order to maintain a similiar level of profit.

Chaos and Evil
25-05-2010, 13:05
...we are, quite frankly addicted.

It'll take more than current and recent upsets and the opinions of the vocal minority to break me of my addiction.

Rev

Well, that's creepy.

=====

This sentiment mostly comes from seeing GW's annual financial reports, which indicate that over the last few years revenue has remained roughly static.

At the same time, there have been consistent price rises.

This indicates that less customers have been buying less models, for higher prices.


At the same time, new companies like Mantic Games (http://www.manticgames.com/) are putting out high quality plastics that compete directly with GW products but which cost 1/3rd to 1/2 the cost of GW's versions.

So GW don't have the lowest price, or unmatched quality. And GW's rule systems are not particularly special.

The one thing that keeps GW ahead of their competition is their retail chain... should other companies start moving in on this aspect of GW's business too, then they'll be in real trouble.

Satan
25-05-2010, 13:11
Well, that's creepy.

=====

This sentiment mostly comes from seeing GW's annual financial reports, which indicate that over the last few years revenue has remained roughly static.

At the same time, there have been consistent price rises.

This indicates that less customers have been buying less models, for higher prices.

Which would seem to indicated that their business model is failing and that they need to find a new one before reaching a critical point.

Not really a unique scenario as I've seen both great and small businesses fail on account of not being able to adapt or reinvent their business models. But the above points to this scenario in my book at least. Not that I have any alternative solution in mind, but I think they need to reshape large parts of their strategies entirely.

Jedi152
25-05-2010, 13:49
Well, that's creepy.
But true, for most of us.

Chaos and Evil
25-05-2010, 13:54
But true, for most of us.
You're genuinely saying you're addicted to buying plastic toy soldiers from Games Workshop?

Satan
25-05-2010, 13:58
You're genuinely saying you're addicted to buying plastic toy soldiers from Games Workshop?

I get the shopping itch sometimes. But I've seen it in other people with other hobbies. Don't know if I'd say it's an addiction. A slight obsession perchance?

Jedi152
25-05-2010, 14:03
You're genuinely saying you're addicted to buying plastic toy soldiers from Games Workshop?
Noy buying - i haven't bought anything for months - but to the games and the background? Yes, pretty much. I would miss GW if it folded tomorrow. Maybe more of an obsession as Satan says.

I'd say most of this forum is obsessed. People often drop out of the hobby and get pulled back in, or stomach another price rise because they need more marines.


Are you saying you could just quit tomorrow and throw every model and rulebook you own in the bin and never think about it again?

That sounds like the eternal smoker, who can "quit whenever he likes". ;)

rev
25-05-2010, 14:03
perhaps addiction is to strong a word :)

What I mean to say is that I enjoy the hobby. I find it fulfilling.

Just as I like to drive/ride and will continue to do so as petrol prices and insurance costs creep up, I will continue to pay over the odds for plastic soldiers as long as it brings me relaxation and joy.

I work hard for my money, although I'm not in favour of price rises, the sometimes baffling GW business model isn't enough to put me off. Not yet at least!

Rev

Chaos and Evil
25-05-2010, 14:06
Are you saying you could just quit tomorrow and throw every model and rulebook you own in the bin and never think about it again?

That sounds like the eternal smoker, who can "quit whenever he likes". ;)
I could easily quit painting and playing with toy soldiers... maybe not sculpting them, as that's actually my job!


I just get a very, very creepy vibe when people talk about how they are "addicted" to their "plastic crack".

sliganian
25-05-2010, 14:12
Tricky question, as most folks can speak only anecdotally about their experiences with the game community near them.

Now, the Financials indicate that the player base is declining (though they don't say that).

Personally speaking, it isn't so much that I don't play GW games -- I still do, as time permits (more on that later).

However, I just don't BUY much GW product. For example: my last few figure/game releated purchases from GW:

a) Some Codexes from GC Minis (Daemons, IG) Jan 2010
b) Box of Nobs over a year ago from a LGS (2009)
c) Assault on Black Reach (2009?) from GC Minis
d) Battle for Skull Pass (2008?) from GC Minis and probably the new High Elf book
e) A space Marine commander fig (2006?) GW Eaton Centre back when it existed.

Where does my gaming group's time and money go? Companies like Rio Grande Games (Dominion) and any of a plethora of other 'euro' board games. That is where -- for us -- the competition for GW lies (at least for our hobby dollar).

eriochrome
25-05-2010, 14:40
I think the player base is declining. We used to have an active local club forum that had people posting setting up games and running leagues. Now it goes like 2 months without posts some times.

If the revenue is flat while you are raising prices and increasing the model count on the table by both lowing model points and increasing average game point sizes then things are not going great in terms of player base.

Osbad
25-05-2010, 14:48
Personally, I've seen little of this happening in my own gaming community - well, no more than what has already been happening over the past decade or so - so I'm curious to see if there is any "Hard" evidence of mass shifting of hobbyists away from GW, or if its all just that the most prolific thread posters are also the most antagonised by the actions of GW recently...

There's plenty of pretty convincing evidence here:

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209297&page=70

I won't go over it all again, but their published accounts seem to indicate declining volume sales quite clearly. All that means is that less volume is being sold. It may or may not imply that fewer people are playing the games, as obviously you can still play their games with stuff bought years ago (I still have some RTB01 Beakies that see action on the tabletop from time to time!), so falling levels of sales may or may not imply fewer participants.

There are also plenty of anecdotal posts saying things like "I can't find anyone around here playing WFB/40k as people have switched to playing FoW or Hordes/Warmachine". I don't any posts saying the opposite, but that isn't proof, just multiple examples of anecdotal evidence.

I'm sure there are still plenty playing GW games. Whether there are so many as there used to be a few years back still buying their products, well the evidence seems to say there aren't.

There are also new games gaining popularity - such as Malifaux and Warmachine MkII which has caused a resurgence in interest in that game. Games come and go though, as do the companies that make them. Mantic seems to be being successful at pumping out plastic fantasy models at a fraction of GW's price, and there are no end of alternative suppliers on the market making interesting models. Just look at tabletopgamingnews.com and the likes of Wargames Illustrated for all the new stuff that is around in greater abundance than ever these days. Whether or not they are eating away at GW's turnover, who knows? That information is impossible to say as the stats are just not in the public domain. I do know that it is easier than it ever was, thanks to the internet, to access games and models (and find players) of other manufacturers if, for what ever reason, GW stuff no longer scratches your itch.

FictionalCharacter
25-05-2010, 14:51
Personally speaking, it isn't so much that I don't play GW games -- I still do, as time permits (more on that later).

However, I just don't BUY much GW product. For example: my last few figure/game releated purchases from GW:

yeah, in my experience it's pretty much the same. most people i know still play, they just either spend much less money on GW. last year's increase scuttled my buddy's plan to maybe start a small IG army. i started a small SM army recently but i'm limiting myself to AoBR figs and bargain bin ebay auctions (which i must admit is great self-control practice). so it won't be that competitive, but at least i'll be able to play 40k for under $100.

frankly, my main gaming friends and i have taken this price increase as a slap in the face, and we've all gotten over the perceived taboo of fielding alternative manufacturers in our armies (the LGS i play at apparently has a brettonian player who doesn't field any GW models). we'll still play the systems because we've done so for years, but GW won't see much (if any) of our money.

if i had to give recommendations for starting a GW game at this point, it would be either to start one of the skirmish specialist games, or to look around at other manufacturers to build an empire army or something. you can basically get 20 handgunners and 64 state troops from wargames factory for $55, for instance.

RevEv
25-05-2010, 14:57
You're genuinely saying you're addicted to buying plastic toy soldiers from Games Workshop?

Repeat after me...

'Hi, my name is ..... and I am a Games Workshop Addict'

It is scarily addictive, perhaps because there is so much more instant gratification from purchasing a GW product than, say, a computer or board game.

It's the smell of opening a new packet.
The thrill of taking out and touching the new sprues.
The satisfaction of constructing and painting a completely unique model.
The pride in showing that model to others, knowing it is all your own work.

I am, and always will be (mainly because I have invested heavily in it) a proud GW addict.:D

FictionalCharacter
25-05-2010, 15:01
Repeat after me...

'Hi, my name is ..... and I am a Games Workshop Addict'

It is scarily addictive, perhaps because there is so much more instant gratification from purchasing a GW product than, say, a computer or board game.

It's the smell of opening a new packet.
The thrill of taking out and touching the new sprues.
The satisfaction of constructing and painting a completely unique model.
The pride in showing that model to others, knowing it is all your own work.

I am, and always will be (mainly because I have invested heavily in it) a proud GW addict.:D

but... none of those things are exclusive to GW releases...

Brother Loki
25-05-2010, 15:08
Except the fact that you can go into a store in any medium sized or larger town in the UK and do it with GW. Not so with any other manufacturer.

logan054
25-05-2010, 15:27
Repeat after me...

'Hi, my name is ..... and I am a Games Workshop Addict'

It is scarily addictive, perhaps because there is so much more instant gratification from purchasing a GW product than, say, a computer or board game.

It's the smell of opening a new packet.
The thrill of taking out and touching the new sprues.
The satisfaction of constructing and painting a completely unique model.
The pride in showing that model to others, knowing it is all your own work.

I am, and always will be (mainly because I have invested heavily in it) a proud GW addict.:D

You actually scare me....



At the same time, new companies like Mantic Games (http://www.manticgames.com/) are putting out high quality plastics that compete directly with GW products but which cost 1/3rd to 1/2 the cost of GW's versions.

So GW don't have the lowest price, or unmatched quality. And GW's rule systems are not particularly special.

The one thing that keeps GW ahead of their competition is their retail chain... should other companies start moving in on this aspect of GW's business too, then they'll be in real trouble.

Im actually routing for Mantic games, i phone them up today about a order and they actually stunned me, they actually asked if i liked the models! when the hell was the last time GW did that, i really think GW has alot to learn from mantic on the customer relation side, hopefullt mantic will release its own rule system!

blongbling
25-05-2010, 15:27
dont assume that the vocal few on Warseer reflect the masses that are out there. It is an indicator of how some veteran gamers feel that is all

Poseidal
25-05-2010, 15:28
There's always an eventual drop in these as time goes on.

They should really be thinking about making new, lower revenue (but still profitable) systems for new players. If it works, it'll eventually grow and cannibalise their current systems (it can still use he same IP though, and it might extend it to players who only want a little).

If they don't, someone else will.

Getting more players would be better in the long run than getting more from a smaller player base.

FictionalCharacter
25-05-2010, 15:30
i guess any thrill/satisfaction on my end is severely tempered by the 'i really don't see why this should cost $40' sentiment.

in reality i'm probably the wrong person to comment. i've always been much more interested in the gameplay than the collecting/modeling/painting.

Reinholt
25-05-2010, 15:57
Ulfson,

To answer your question in a technical sense, what is going on is this:

1 - GW is experiencing declines in the number of customers they have, especially in the US and continental Europe.

2 - GW is facing greater competition in their space than at any other time in their history, especially in the US and continental Europe, and controlling less market share than in the past.

3 - GW has been consistently raising prices for some time now, and exactly as predicted by very basic economic theory, higher prices has resulted in less customers; there is still some debate about the elasticity of prices (as in, how many customers do you lose when you raise prices). This has also impacted their ability to recruit new gamers, as the value proposition has changed.

4 - GW posted a loss recently, and revenue has been roughly stagnant.

Thus, the concern comes from the fact that the company is losing customers and failing to maintain the growth they once had. I don't think they are going to die immediately (that would be a bit dramatic), but they are on the path to long-term trouble.

If anyone has specific questions, let me know.

Pacorko
25-05-2010, 16:15
I think the mass exodus is a fallacy.

Yet their sales are dropping while other companies and systems have a growth in theirs...

Yeah! Some fallacy! GW is unbeatable and never wrong in what it does! You, you... heathens!

:rolleyes:

sliganian
25-05-2010, 16:36
The problem comes when your company is controlled by people who have to do what is 'good for the shareholders' as opposed to what is 'good for the business'. And no, those two objectives are always the same thing.

A 'long term' growth strategy has little to go on if people want to meet their performance appraisals for THAT Fiscal Year. If your business case shows no substantial ROE in, say, 3 years, then it won' fly. Companies in even more desperate straights (like GW, IMO) can barely see past the next month end, let alone contemplate selling some wishy-washy 'feelgood for the sake of the hobby' concept to the directors of the Mutual Fund companies that own GW.

Wolf Scout Ewan
25-05-2010, 16:36
There are other games system and figure companies out there. People come and go.

I will point out that I don't like Kirby or his recent actions.

Reinholt
25-05-2010, 16:46
The problem comes when your company is controlled by people who have to do what is 'good for the shareholders' as opposed to what is 'good for the business'. And no, those two objectives are always the same thing.

A 'long term' growth strategy has little to go on if people want to meet their performance appraisals for THAT Fiscal Year. If your business case shows no substantial ROE in, say, 3 years, then it won' fly. Companies in even more desperate straights (like GW, IMO) can barely see past the next month end, let alone contemplate selling some wishy-washy 'feelgood for the sake of the hobby' concept to the directors of the Mutual Fund companies that own GW.

No.

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4666581&postcount=1287

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4666980&postcount=1294

Max Jet
25-05-2010, 17:00
Well I have to agree I might be called "addicted" too, because up until now I am toroughly playing 40k.
The only thing that changed however is the money I spend.
The last money GW has seen from me was early 2009, i.e. 4 paints, after a one year break of buying anything from them.
How come I STILL play the game? Well check out the Rules developement Forum. Enough to keep you busy! And yes I do play with paper markers and plastic clips. Why not? I can change the rules and bend the game with my friends until it is fun again. Actually I am now playing a game that is more experimental than 5th edition and for my modeling needs there are games like "Operation World War 2".
I don't think you can keep a gaming company running with costumers like me, however Italery, Wargamesfactory and Hasagawa are making a fortune with me.

ZeroTwentythree
25-05-2010, 17:06
But after flitting through some threads, it would appear there is a mass exodus of people
moving from GW to other companies product exclusively - not just dabbling but collecting something else with no GW product involved at all.



Keep in mind there are quite a few people who take part in the hobby of wargaming or miniatures, rather than the a specifically "GW only" hobby.

So when you see people playing some other game or collecting some other set of figures, it may not have anything to do with GW, or people leaving GW, at all.

jimbobodoll
25-05-2010, 17:14
Sorry to be nit-picky, but "it really grinds my gears" when people confuse addiction with compulsion... I know it seems silly (and yes I'm a psycho-babble-ologist), but its an important distinction as addiction relates to one having problems upon withdrawal whereas compulsion doesn't:
( http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_an_addiction_and_a_ compulsion )

...Anyway, sorry again, but I seriously hope no one on Warseer is actually addicted to "plastic crack"... You should probably seek some out some help if you think you actually do...

sliganian
25-05-2010, 17:38
No.

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4666581&postcount=1287

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4666980&postcount=1294

Actually, YES.

But I am not inclined to start debating in detail with you the impact of Corporate Lending Covenants, the maintenance of capital ratios and how such things would directly influence company operations.

I never said shareholders were 'evil' (as your first link implies). What I am saying is that a Corporation (especially one in debt) has certain systemic limitations on what it can or cannot do. These limitation affect what can done as a 'long term' strategy, as 'short term' goals NEED to be met or there are real and serious financial impacts. Meeting necessary short-term financial goals becomes the priority.

You are absolutely correct that the problems with GW are due to 'Bad Management'. However, Bad Management or not, there are now many more complications in the mix, especially when your strategic direction is not your own call.

Don't believe me? Fine. I get paid the same. ;)

defunct
25-05-2010, 17:47
Yeah, I also thought addiction was too strong a word.

And I think some people who use the "plastic crack" sentiment are joking for the most part.

The GW hobby is one of my larger passions, it's a very fulfilling hobby. I've been in it for over ten years, since I was kid, and I reckon I will be for the rest of my life. Regardless of price rises or other GW policies.
...because I've many models to paint and I've started to use eBay (for OOP models mostly). :D

(none of the other miniature companies haven't convinced me yet, and actually annoy me when some of those are titled 'Warhammer' on eBay for example.)
Well, actually Avatars of War is the only one, their models actually resemble the GW IP, and so I could justify using those myself.

lanrak
25-05-2010, 18:33
Hi Defunct.
You enjoy the 'Table top Minature Games' hobby, but limit your self to using GW products.
If I only use 'Titelist' equipment to play golf at a Titelist sponsored event, I am still playing the sport of golf, not the sport of Titelist!

GW just supply a range of products to use in your table top minature game hobby.
They dont own the hobby , YOU own your hobby .
(You probably know this, but hey, some people give far too much credit to GW, in every sense of the word... :D)

The only good GW corperate managment are doing at the moment, is making the other companies look very good value for money!:evilgrin:

TTFN
Lanrak.

defunct
25-05-2010, 20:14
Hi Defunct.
You enjoy the 'Table top Minature Games' hobby, but limit your self to using GW products.
If I only use 'Titelist' equipment to play golf at a Titelist sponsored event, I am still playing the sport of golf, not the sport of Titelist!

GW just supply a range of products to use in your table top minature game hobby.
They dont own the hobby , YOU own your hobby .
(You probably know this, but hey, some people give far too much credit to GW, in every sense of the word... :D)

The only good GW corperate managment are doing at the moment, is making the other companies look very good value for money!:evilgrin:

TTFN
Lanrak.
Hi! :D

Ahh, yes I used the term 'GW hobby' because I knowingly limit myself only to GW products.
To emphasize the fact that I haven't tried other companies' game systems. ;)

If there is a game system that interests me in the future, I'm willing to try it out, of course. :)

Edit: Though, in general, I do think it really is a good thing that competition has increased in the tabletop hobby a lot. It's only a good thing for consumers.

RevEv
25-05-2010, 22:58
@lanrak

I too limit my 'Table Top Miniature Games' (TTMG) experience to the 'GW Hobby'. This is not through lack of interest in other systems, but lack of access when I first started getting really interested in TTMG. FLGS are not common occurrences in the UK other than big cities, and when I started the internet was still very much in its infancy so MO was not a feasible option. Also I had no gaming group to join with, thus no opponents.

The local GW store offered me a place to get in to a hobby I had been interested in for years. Through the many years I have been involved I have never been more than an hour and a half from a GW store, yet FLGS have been scarcer. At the moment the nearest of both are 20 minutes and 50 minutes respectively.

Also, having spent a fair amount of money on the 'GW Hobby', I have no desire to switch systems. GW models have yet to be matched for quality by all but a couple of other manufacturers, and you pay a premium for their products thus negating any cost difference. The rules sets may not be perfect, but they are of lesser interest to me and thus I am happy with what they produce.

Ulfson
26-05-2010, 00:43
Keep in mind there are quite a few people who take part in the hobby of wargaming or miniatures, rather than the a specifically "GW only" hobby.

So when you see people playing some other game or collecting some other set of figures, it may not have anything to do with GW, or people leaving GW, at all.

Yeah, I've known this for a while, and collected games other than GW ones myself. Its just the amount of posts of people saying "i'm moving from GW product to -insert company here- product because I am unhappy."

Hmm... the graphs arn't overly inspiring are they? Do they take into account the massive debt payoffs that GW accomplished last year? I seem to remember them just about becoming debt free after pumping so much of their actual profit into it (this was about mid financial year). Would this have an affect on GW's general profits? I'm not a financial expert or anything like that, but a couple of you chaps seem pretty cluey...

I've always had the opinion that, ultimately, competition is good for Games Workshop. It is good that companies like PPP and Mantisgames are getting up to the standards of GW, because I am a predominately GW game enthusiast, and it forces GW (well, at least it should) to make their product and policies even better to catch up (hopefully, but I wonder how many price rises we are going to take).

TBH though, as a personal opinion here, I havn't seen anything from Mantisgames or Warmachine that has made me want to collect those. The models, for the most part, are not the match of GW (although I admit there are some really AWESOME ones that have hit the mark rather nicely) and the background of these systems just doesn't pull me like old Grimdark does. I suppose my hobby revolves more around the imagery and story aspect of the games, with representing them on a tabletop with cool mini's being an awesome bonus.

Hmm... maybe I should start a thread on what makes your hobby...? :D

iamfanboy
26-05-2010, 00:50
Question: why is it considered a 'vocal minority', when anyone who has truly left GW behind would be entirely silent?


I've seen games die before - not GW mind, but I watched the forums and the players for Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe peak, maintain, and.... gradually... decline... as... people.... left...

Sometimes, people would come back for a given release that had been promised or the 'new version' of the game, but the only ones who would stick to it and be vocal about the game would fall into one of three groups:

1) Those who think that the game's creators do no wrong,

2) Those who honestly like the game, but see the flaws and want them fixed,

3) The folks who just enjoy complaining and whining.

See any broad stereotypes that might sound familiar?

Over time, one notices a distinct slide from group 1) into group 2), finally becoming group 3) as it becomes obvious that the game creators will do their own thing without paying attention to their customers.

Joewrightgm
26-05-2010, 02:11
I think the mass exodus is a fallacy.

I think what it actually represents is the vocal minority sounding off.

I'd be interested to know out of those who claim to leave the hobby, actually do and what percentage of those who claim to leave make up the entire hobbying body. I'd wager it was suprisingly small number.

As for the rest of us, we sit at our tables painting and gaming as we've done since we were boys - because despite price rises, IP inquisition and other crazy decisions we are, quite frankly addicted.

It'll take more than current and recent upsets and the opinions of the vocal minority to break me of my addiction.

Rev

This. Napoleon once said something to the effect that ten people shouting make more noise than ten thousand who stand silent.

Reinholt
26-05-2010, 04:35
Actually, YES.

But I am not inclined to start debating in detail with you the impact of Corporate Lending Covenants, the maintenance of capital ratios and how such things would directly influence company operations.

Except that those things are not different for public and private companies; it's not like private companies magically get loans without covenants when public companies do. If anything, you are more restrictive about the private side because you often have less disclosure so you need to cover your ass better as a lender.

Unless you are in bed with them for fees on deals if it's a PE firm, but that's another story for another day.


I never said shareholders were 'evil' (as your first link implies). What I am saying is that a Corporation (especially one in debt) has certain systemic limitations on what it can or cannot do. These limitation affect what can done as a 'long term' strategy, as 'short term' goals NEED to be met or there are real and serious financial impacts. Meeting necessary short-term financial goals becomes the priority.

You are absolutely correct that the problems with GW are due to 'Bad Management'. However, Bad Management or not, there are now many more complications in the mix, especially when your strategic direction is not your own call.

Don't believe me? Fine. I get paid the same. ;)

Again, strongly disagree:

1 - There are limitations that exist because of a corporation being a corporation, rather than a magical entity where money is infinite and you can do whatever you want and people will always like it. But again, this is not a constraint related to being public, it's a constraint related to the scarcity of resources.

2 - Most of GW's shareholders are not paying any attention to the stock. I guarantee that it's small potatoes to virtually everyone invested in it (as GW is small potatoes period, among the smallest of publicly traded firms). GW's management has the freedom to do whatever they want much more than most other firms, because nobody is policing them actively, and they don't have analyst coverage of any major variety. They don't have an activist investor trying to shake them up. It's just being ignored.

3 - The one strategic direction they have to follow as a public company, unlike most private companies, is that they have a duty to their shareholders to maximize the value of the firm. However, their recent strategic actions have indicated that they are interested in doing anything but. In fact, GW is behaving precisely like a private company being run as a lifestyle business for those in charge, where they just want to milk it for some cash flow before getting out and playing on the beach! If anything, their problems would be worse if they were not public.

The bottom line is that GW does have many problems, but in this case, being public is not one of them. I hear shareholders blamed over and over and over, so I would pose you this question:

Would they perform better as a privately owned firm with the same management in place with the same degree of control?

blongbling
26-05-2010, 09:14
especially when your strategic direction is not your own call.

Internally GW is very happy with the fact that their investors don't bother them very much.

All the major investors are there for the longer term and as such are more willing to let GW find their way back than a short term turn and burner.

I never heard any mention of shareholders when I was at GW in relation to the strategy or direction of the company. I heard a lot of MW and where he wanted the company to go, often head scratching ones, but never any reference to shareholders.

So I doubt any real direction being given to the company from its shareholders in terms of the direction and action they should take, certainly the strategy didn't fundamentally change in the last 5 years from what it was at the start, tactically it did but strategically it didn't

spaint2k
26-05-2010, 09:23
I think the mass exodus is a fallacy.

I think what it actually represents is the vocal minority sounding off.


A large number of this vocal "minority" can be found on Frothers (http://frothersunite.co.uk/phpBB2/index.php) and TMP (http://theminiaturespage.com/).

Frothers has over 2000 members but anonymous posting is also allowed in their um... unmoderated... forums.

TMP has over 25,000 members, and sees around 9000 visitors per day.

Warseer has over 65,000 members, of which around 12,000 are active. It got 6000 visitors per day in 2006 but there's no info available for 2010.

It would be fair to say that the majority of TMP/Frothers posters are NOT huge fans of GW. If you think the sounding off here is bad, you should read Frothers. Or don't, because it's filthy and foul-mouthed. :)

Glabro
26-05-2010, 11:38
Are you saying you could just quit tomorrow and throw every model and rulebook you own in the bin and never think about it again?

That sounds like the eternal smoker, who can "quit whenever he likes". ;)

That doesn't make sense, why would anyone do that? No, the "addiction" must relate only to buying new stuff.

spaint2k
26-05-2010, 12:35
That doesn't make sense, why would anyone do that? No, the "addiction" must relate only to buying new stuff.

I'll quit when I'm done smoking this carton. :P

Jedi152
26-05-2010, 12:47
I was talking about the hobby in general.

People can be addicted to buying shoes, people can be addicted to buying plastic models. Simple as.

Chaos and Evil
26-05-2010, 13:13
People can be addicted to buying shoes, people can be addicted to buying plastic models.
And both need help; "Addiction" is a very serious thing.

rev
26-05-2010, 14:12
my use of the term addiciton is taking this debate in ways it was never intended to go.

let me clarify - I use it in the jovial sense (if thats not too distasteful), in that it would take something far more serious than price rises to put me off the hobby.

Of course, I could stop at any time - but choose not too.

Perhaps instead of being addicted, we could talk about ourselves as 'enthralled' instead?

Rev

RevEv
26-05-2010, 14:31
Of course, I could stop at any time - but choose not too.
Rev

That's what all addicts say:evilgrin:

ashc
26-05-2010, 15:19
To bring this back round to topic, I feel that the declining sales figures of individual units kind of says a lot about it.

rev
26-05-2010, 15:32
That's what all addicts say:evilgrin:


lol that really made me laugh.

Of course, its funny cos its true *holds hands up* guilty as charged :D

thorgrim
26-05-2010, 16:23
Personally i don't believe that GW is doomed. Nor do i think that there is a 'mass exodus' from GW to any other producer. I do however know that GW as a company has enjoyed largly static profits for years. I also know that this is not entirely just because the prices have increased so therefore fewer people are buying from GW. Over the last decade GW has significantly increased its sales potential by setting up sister companies (Black library, Forge world etc) and has made massive investments into there production lines and more recently has begun a process of opening more numerous 1 man stores around the UK. Obviously these costs come out prior to profits and as a result GW's apparent profits have stayed largely the same despite actual sales figures rising. Also factor in that FW and BL sales figues don't actually contribute towards GW's sales figures as they are each seperate entities but the inital costs of setting up the comanies was from GW.

Chaos and Evil
26-05-2010, 16:45
GW as a company has enjoyed largly static profits for years
I think you mean static revenue; Their profits have been all over the place (Both positive and negative).

Brother Loki
26-05-2010, 16:45
The financial reports on the GW investor site are for the whole group, and so do take the FW and BL income into account.

It's not that profits have been declining over the last year or two - it's that sales have.

Chris_Tzeentch
28-05-2010, 12:23
I am seeing a steady decline in GW purchases within my gaming club, the Privateer Press stuff is proving to be far more popular. We have issues with the current edition of 40k, were left dissappointed with WotR, and the rumours on the new edition of WFB have not been particularly well received.

warhammergrimace
30-05-2010, 17:05
Recently a few of my friends who are die hard Warhammer Fantasy and 40K players, have started looking at other systems, or miniatures. There were 4 friends who all recently decided to buy a Mantic Fantasy army rather than a GW one becasue of price.

Another group of friends, who are all tournament players in both fantasy and 40K have all switched to Warhammer Ancient Battles, because the new plastic historicals are cheaper. This is a group of 10 players, and these aren't the only ones who are switching across to other games or miniatures.

The suprising thing is that the guys I know who have recently changed were all die hard fan boys, and I mean real fan boys, but they were just fed up of rising prices, especially when other plastic manufactorers were producing cheaper good quality products.

I think there is a trend at the moment of players changing to other products. I myself haven't played a GW game apart from specialist ones for 18 months now, though I have started playing Warhammer Historical. Most of my miniature purchases over the last 18 months have been non GW, where as originally they'd have been 100% GW.

warhammergrimace
30-05-2010, 17:18
Recently a few of my friends who are die hard Warhammer Fantasy and 40K players, have started looking at other systems, or miniatures. There were 4 friends who all recently decided to buy a Mantic Fantasy army rather than a GW one becasue of price.

Another group of friends, who are all tournament players in both fantasy and 40K have all switched to Warhammer Ancient Battles, because the new plastic historicals are cheaper. This is a group of 10 players, and these aren't the only ones who are switching across to other games or miniatures.

The suprising thing is that the guys I know who have recently changed were all die hard fan boys, and I mean real fan boys, but they were just fed up of rising prices, especially when other plastic manufactorers were producing cheaper good quality products.

I think there is a trend at the moment of players changing to other products. I myself haven't played a GW game apart from specialist ones for 18 months now, though I have started playing Warhammer Historical. Most of my miniature purchases over the last 18 months have been non GW, where as originally they'd have been 100% GW.

unheilig
30-05-2010, 17:21
I can't understand the draw to privateer press... the entire aesthetic of their miniatures line requires an attraction to bulbous and ridiculous sculpts I simply cannot wrap my head.

Its strange that on the internet, I read nothing but doomsaying and complaining, yet people here in the real world seem pretty excited and enthusiastic.

We do have small pockets of folks who now exclusively play privateer games... but they are few, and relegated to the dusty back room of a failing game store that doesn't stock anything.

Our local gw store is always full and buzzing with gamers of all ages (we may be lucky in that our younger gamers are good kids), and our new blackshirt seems way more hobby-oriented than sales oriented (which seems to help his sales actually).

I guess I'm luckt to live here, where GW games are thriving and exciting.

Reinholt
30-05-2010, 17:45
Unheilig, out of curiosity, are you UK, US, European, or other? As your comments would not surprise me at all coming from the UK, but would be a bit more atypical coming from the US, for instance.

RevEv
30-05-2010, 18:00
@Unheilig - I tend to agree on all your points.

I have looked seriously at the PP games, in particular Warmachine, but can't get much beyond the bulbous nature of the big suits - they remind me of suits from 'The Fifth Element', and I never could take that seriously. As someone who was drawn in to the 'hobby' by the models more than the rules, which I did not read until I had purchased the box set, the initial impression of a games system is important.

In contrast I still get very excited by GW models - I'm currently building up my Blood Angels, having converted an old style Ven Dread to a Librarian Furioso last night as well as building a Death Company Dread with Blood Talons. The sheer breadth of the model range and the interchangeable nature of the parts still astounds me.

unheilig
30-05-2010, 18:16
@Reinholt

In the US- wisconsin to be exact

Chris_Tzeentch
30-05-2010, 19:23
I can't understand the draw to privateer press... the entire aesthetic of their miniatures line requires an attraction to bulbous and ridiculous sculpts I simply cannot wrap my head.

Its strange that on the internet, I read nothing but doomsaying and complaining, yet people here in the real world seem pretty excited and enthusiastic.

We do have small pockets of folks who now exclusively play privateer games... but they are few, and relegated to the dusty back room of a failing game store that doesn't stock anything.

Our local gw store is always full and buzzing with gamers of all ages (we may be lucky in that our younger gamers are good kids), and our new blackshirt seems way more hobby-oriented than sales oriented (which seems to help his sales actually).

I guess I'm luckt to live here, where GW games are thriving and exciting.

Try a Privateer Press game, and you'll soon realise that the actual rules are way superior than any of the current GW games.

I am from Wales, part of the UK.

unheilig
30-05-2010, 19:37
I have played privateer games... and although the rules do show a concise design element, it feels more like a superhero brawl than a battle between armies,which is fine.. but I prefer the latter to the former.

Pokpoko
30-05-2010, 23:25
I can't understand the draw of GW minis either (any more, I should add)- the entire aesthetics of their miniatures line requires an attraction to oversized weapons, unnatural proportions and skullz and chainz everywhere. I simply cannot understand how anyone would find that intresting, it's like kindermetal in miniature form. :]

And back to the topic- I won't say if there's any drastic drop in number of GW players since I just don't have any reason to visit stores that sell GW models round here, but there is a visible (if not drastic) rise in other games players- some of it could be new gamers, but a good few are either branching out or just switchign games (as I did). Now, you'd think the ones switching are bad for GW, but actually it's the new gamers that decide not to start with GW that are direct threat to GW's modus operandi of selling whole armies to the new people and not trying to retain them later on- the old players already bought the army, they can go, but the new ones just never bother to buy in the first place. What's more, ever new player not getting into GW will probably bring one of his friends (usually there's someone intrested when they see the new hobby of the guy) to the other game instead of GW Hobby, further limiting the "community-driven" sales.

Kaptajn_Congoboy
30-05-2010, 23:26
I have played privateer games... and although the rules do show a concise design element, it feels more like a superhero brawl than a battle between armies,which is fine.. but I prefer the latter to the former.

Then why are you playing any of the core GW games? ;) Try out real army-scale games - there are dozens of historicals and even some fantasy ones, not to mention the modern combat and science fiction. The historicals even have a decent tournament scene, at least in the UK/US.

[edited] More smileys, damn it!

Reinholt
31-05-2010, 00:36
@Reinholt

In the US- wisconsin to be exact

Not quite as surprising then. The Chicago area extending northward to Milwaukee and Los Angeles are the two areas where GW is doing the best in the US right now, though I think their most profitable store might still be the NYC store in the village (now the only NY GW, as all the rest closed).

When you look at the gaming scene in some of the other places I have lived - San Diego, northern CA, NYC to name a few - you see a major drift away from GW. Very few of my friends in those areas still play GW games, minus NYC, where there is a significant crowd still playing Blood Bowl, of all things... though 40k and fantasy are slowly dying in this group in favor of other games.

Justicar Valius
31-05-2010, 02:01
Their player base is shrinking.

a 5% price increase should yield 5% more profits if nobody leaves the hobby or enough people fill the gapsright? Sadly their profits go up by somthing like 3%. This indicates a player base decline and has been like this for the last few financial reports for GW. Scary thing is that as the advertising is mainly word of mouth from other players and if you have no opponents you might move on their is a point where the player base will decrease a lot more quickly thus decreasing profits. So GW up prices to up the profit so maybe a few more leave thus decreasing profit so GW ups prices etc etc.

Reinholt will probably tell you all about this kind of thing, he knows a lot more than me about this kind of thing.

Also congratz on 1000th post Reinholt.

coyote1066
31-05-2010, 02:42
Hmmm...I'm not seeing a decline here (Denver). If anything I now know more players than ever...and we don't even have a GW store in CO anymore.

What I do know is that eBay/bargain hunting is increasing. With the economy still fairly weak, people certainly aren't buying through normal retail channels. From my perspective that's why GW isn't seeing the bump...the secondary market is king right now.

crandall87
31-05-2010, 15:17
I don't know why people are so obssessed with these types of GW articles. It's almost as if people want GW to go under and our hobby to no longer exist. I know they have shut down stores and changed many to be one man stores (which I hate) but that could well be because they need more staff working for their online sales which must be at a point now where they are getting almost as much if not more sales from online purchases than in store

Spectrar Ghost
31-05-2010, 15:21
Then why keep the stores at all? If the majority of sales are online, let the indies shoulder the fixed overheads and tied up capital of the retail chain, and transfer those funds to online/trade accounts?

Chaos and Evil
31-05-2010, 15:32
I know they have shut down stores and changed many to be one man stores (which I hate) but that could well be because they need more staff working for their online sales...

Nope, it was because the company was losing millions of pounds and needed to cut costs.

Erwos
31-05-2010, 16:38
What I do know is that eBay/bargain hunting is increasing. With the economy still fairly weak, people certainly aren't buying through normal retail channels. From my perspective that's why GW isn't seeing the bump...the secondary market is king right now.
What would be perhaps more interesting is to figure out how much GW price increases are affecting the secondary market. From purely anecdotal experience, the secondary market does not seem to be increasing prices as fast as the primary market in terms of percentage discount.

ICLRK625
31-05-2010, 17:40
I don't know why people are so obssessed with these types of GW articles. It's almost as if people want GW to go under and our hobby to no longer exist. I know they have shut down stores and changed many to be one man stores (which I hate) but that could well be because they need more staff working for their online sales which must be at a point now where they are getting almost as much if not more sales from online purchases than in store

How would that kill the hobby? Because Games Workshop isn't there to sell me stuff I'm not allowed to enjoy wargaming anymore?

Pokpoko
31-05-2010, 17:45
It's almost as if people want GW to go under and our hobby to no longer exist.
Thanks the fate I'm a wargamer, so my hobby can't die when one company goes under:D

Reinholt
31-05-2010, 18:35
I don't know why people are so obssessed with these types of GW articles. It's almost as if people want GW to go under and our hobby to no longer exist. I know they have shut down stores and changed many to be one man stores (which I hate) but that could well be because they need more staff working for their online sales which must be at a point now where they are getting almost as much if not more sales from online purchases than in store

To answer with a few points:

- The only hobby that will no longer exist is the "GW" hobby if GW goes under, and even then, the odds are pretty high that another company buys up their IP and continues to produce some form of game, as that's where some of the major value is. There are many other companies that produce wargames and will continue to do so if GW vanishes.

- As stated above, GW is cutting costs because they were losing money and the stores were underperforming, not to re-assign staff. Note that the staff were fired, not re-assigned, and they haven't been hiring other people to bulk out other divisions.

- People are 'obsessed' with this kind of thing for a few reasons: GW has been delivering service below their expectations and they are angry about it, some of the basic improvements to the business model are pretty obvious to anyone who has ever worked in business (yet GW is adopting the classic bunker mentality of poorly managed companies and refusing to listen to anyone), and many people feel that the wargaming hobby might be better off if GW died off and other companies delivering higher quality customer service and games design could take their place. There are others who want GW to succeed, and are angry about how poorly the company is being run as a result. Some of the people on this board are GW employees and/or shareholders, after all.

So, it's neither really surprising nor unfounded, depending on one's desires and viewpoint.

Faeslayer
31-05-2010, 23:39
But after flitting through some threads, it would appear there is a mass exodus of people
moving from GW to other companies product exclusively - not just dabbling but collecting something else with no GW product involved at all.


This 'mass exodus' has allegedly been underway since before I started paying attention, 'round 1996. All I've really learned since then is that, wherever you go, whatever the topic, gamers all think they're *******' nerdstradamus. I might as well listen to someone tell me how no one will be using Windows in five years, because, hey, Linux.


I can't understand the draw to privateer press... the entire aesthetic of their miniatures line requires an attraction to bulbous and ridiculous sculpts I simply cannot wrap my head.

There's always a few models in every Privateer army I really like and can get excited about working with. I just wish it was more than a few.


Try a Privateer Press game, and you'll soon realise that the actual rules are way superior than any of the current GW games.

This argument always strikes me as odd. They're trying to be two totally different wargames; you might as well compare magic with stud poker.

blongbling
01-06-2010, 09:03
I don't know why people are so obssessed with these types of GW articles. It's almost as if people want GW to go under and our hobby to no longer exist. I know they have shut down stores and changed many to be one man stores (which I hate) but that could well be because they need more staff working for their online sales which must be at a point now where they are getting almost as much if not more sales from online purchases than in store

GW's online sales are less than 10% of its turnover

iamfanboy
01-06-2010, 11:45
This 'mass exodus' has allegedly been underway since before I started paying attention, 'round 1996. All I've really learned since then is that, wherever you go, whatever the topic, gamers all think they're *******' nerdstradamus. I might as well listen to someone tell me how no one will be using Windows in five years, because, hey, Linux.
I've been paying attention and have only noticed any kind of lessening of players since 2004-2005, not coincidentally the same time GW started performing annual price raises.

Not only that, one CAN track by the performance of GW over the last 6 (quite possibly 8) years that, despite the fact that their distribution and manufacture costs have been lowered, their profits are at levels comparable to their 1999-2001 performance.

There were more players then, buying more kits and blisters, so the only logical conclusion is that there are fewer players buying less kits now. If people were buying the same volume of models, GW's profits would have risen.


Note that the amount of actual players need not have dropped - after all, one of the advantages of miniatures is that they don't wear out or depreciate over the years. What GW has done with their prices is raise the bar of entry to new players (what they claim to be their 'target audience') as well as inhibit people who might like to collect multiple armies and the shiny new widgets.

One thing that got mentioned in the pricing thread that rang true with me was this:


At one time, I treated the GW boxed figures and vehicles as raw modeling material. I picked up dozens of boxes of figures on a whim. New Brettonians? Should probably pick up a box to test out some conversions. Looking to try a Blood Pact force? Better grab a box or two of Marauders and some Catachans.

After several price hikes, I found myself thinking each purchase through more carefully. It wasn't that $30 was cheap and $35 was exorbitant, but the anger over the rapidly increasing prices really made me take a step back and look at what I thought was reasonable. The figures were more and more associated with being cheated.

Tonight I'm actually working through a box of Catachans I bought when the plastic kit first came out (turning them into a cheap-and-dirty Orlock gang), when $20 for 20 minis seemed like an awesome thing, even if I had no idea what I was going to use them for. I used to do that a lot; I have hordes of minis that I never wanted armies for, but were cheap enough that I figured, "What the hell, maybe someday I'll run a D&D game and use these Skaven as enemies. Imagine my player's faces when I plop a Doomwheel on the table..."

Nowadays?

My last actual Games Workshop purchase was carefully planned; a box of Bret Knights of the Realm and a box of Grave Guard to turn into Black Knights, GG, AND make a Wight King Standard Bearer on skeletal steed. Long gone are the days of GW impulse buys; now everything I buy from my FLGS has a purpose planned for long before I even save the money for it - and the fact that it requires saving money annoys me.

When was the last time you picked up a new box on impulse just to open it up and see what was inside?


And, if you count Google's Android/Chrome as Linux (which most people do) it really COULD be poised to beat the hell out of Windows within 5 years.

Ozorik
01-06-2010, 12:11
It seems a bit of a strange 'vocal minority' when the majority of posters hold a similar viewpoint, 'pro GW' posters seem to be the minority here. Thats neither here nor there though as the real indicator is within GW's financial reports.

A long and continuing trend in falling sales and the noticeable tailing off of GW games popularity in my local area are what suggests to me that GW is losing its monopoly. There is no mass exodus, but there is a steady migration.


W models have yet to be matched for quality by all but a couple of other manufacturers, and you pay a premium for their products thus negating any cost difference.

Thats not the case I'm afraid. It depends on what you are after but the Perrys produce far superior Empire state troops than GW (for a quarter of the cost), for example.

Lars Porsenna
01-06-2010, 14:45
Thats not the case I'm afraid. It depends on what you are after but the Perrys produce far superior Empire state troops than GW (for a quarter of the cost), for example.

Agreed. Back when I was looking at a Bretonnian army, I played a few games using Front Rank's Hundred Years War range. Besides being very good figures, they mixed fine with GW's 2nd generation bretonnians (the ones before the current plastic generation). While quality is in the eye of the beholder (I think the current bretonnians suck), objectively speaking FR sculpting quality is just as detailed IMHO.

Damon.

Faeslayer
01-06-2010, 15:22
I've been paying attention and have only noticed any kind of lessening of players since 2004-2005, not coincidentally the same time GW started performing annual price raises.

I noticed all games at the local game stores take a hit around 2004-2005, and so did the game store owners in my town at the time- because that's when World of Warcraft hit. Of course, this observation is as anecdotal as it ever was.

Which is beside the point- there's fewer purchasers of almost every luxury item than there were ten years ago. There's been some crazy stuff going on with the world's economy that you might have heard about.


Not only that, one CAN track by the performance of GW over the last 6 (quite possibly 8) years that, despite the fact that their distribution and manufacture costs have been lowered, their profits are at levels comparable to their 1999-2001 performance.

You can track it, for the past 10 years, actually! It's pretty amazingly not a straight line up or down, either. They've managed to keep what's really an expensive luxury business afloat- and profitable- through the last decade, goldswords and all.

FictionalCharacter
01-06-2010, 15:52
again, for the umpteenth time, if GW wants to be a luxury business, then it can't expect to sustainably command a majority of the market share regarding wargaming. at some point, GW can't have it both ways, and they'll start losing more and more sales to the model-makers that don't operate on the same basis. so, hey, maybe the decline in sales while maintaining profits is exactly what they're after, or something...

Reinholt
01-06-2010, 16:09
A few points:

1 - Agreed with Ozorik there is no major 'exodus', nor has there ever been (well, perhaps from LotR after the movies ended, depending on how you want to spin it). The losses are incremental over time, so rather than one explosive demolition, you have the more traditional death by 1,000 paper cuts. This is typical of bad companies - they are often in a death spiral for years or decades before they finally crash and burn. Look at Chrysler and GM. Look at the slow demolition of newspaper companies. Rarely do companies explode overnight, unless they are levered financial services firms (I am looking at you, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers).

2 - The World of Warcraft argument is necessarily incorrect as a general thesis, as there are other geek-based gaming/entertainment companies that did not see a hit to sales through this same period. Were people who played GW games in particular somehow abnormally attracted to WoW at the expense of Warhammer? Yes? No? Maybe? But that's the argument you would have to make. You cannot blame WoW in general for the GW situation.

3 - GW is not a luxury business. GW sells toy soldiers to hobbyists, and given the cross section of people that I run into at the local GW in NYC (or anywhere else I have ever played), I don't think GW caters to a particularly high end demographic. We have the occasional lawyer and one doctor that I can think of at the shop, but it's not like we're hip deep in big law people or investment bankers. We also have a bunch of construction workers, teachers, social workers, and the like. It's not the crowd that you would run into out in the Hamptons, let's say.

Ferrari is a luxury brand. Hermes is a luxury brand. Games Workshop? Not so much, no. It simply does not fit the definition or the business model. One could argue that something like Forge World, to take something more narrowly defined, is a luxury item within the gaming sphere... but you are going to find that Forge World has the profile of a classic luxury company (low fixed costs up front compared to the typical operator in the field, higher variable costs, higher perceived quality, made-to-order or restricted production flow, etc).

4 - Iamfanboy makes perhaps the most important point with regard to the future performance of GW here: they have been consistently raising the cost of entry for years, which discourages new players and either drives them away from tabletop gaming in general or (more frequently, now) drives them to GW's competitors, meaning GW is unlikely to get them back unless those competitors stumble and deliver poor quality and service. Thus, the future revenue projections for GW should be decreasing every year, given that they recruit through word of mouth and that vibrant hobby communities tend to grow organically, while shrinking ones tend to eventually die. Increasing the difficulty of recruiting new players while driving away veterans means that they are suffering a double hit. Recruitment is no good without retention, and right now, GW is no good at either.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 16:19
There's plenty of pretty convincing evidence here:

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209297&page=70

I won't go over it all again, but their published accounts seem to indicate declining volume sales quite clearly. All that means is that less volume is being sold. It may or may not imply that fewer people are playing the games, as obviously you can still play their games with stuff bought years ago (I still have some RTB01 Beakies that see action on the tabletop from time to time!), so falling levels of sales may or may not imply fewer participants.

There are also plenty of anecdotal posts saying things like "I can't find anyone around here playing WFB/40k as people have switched to playing FoW or Hordes/Warmachine". I don't any posts saying the opposite, but that isn't proof, just multiple examples of anecdotal evidence.

I'm sure there are still plenty playing GW games. Whether there are so many as there used to be a few years back still buying their products, well the evidence seems to say there aren't.

There are also new games gaining popularity - such as Malifaux and Warmachine MkII which has caused a resurgence in interest in that game. Games come and go though, as do the companies that make them. Mantic seems to be being successful at pumping out plastic fantasy models at a fraction of GW's price, and there are no end of alternative suppliers on the market making interesting models. Just look at tabletopgamingnews.com and the likes of Wargames Illustrated for all the new stuff that is around in greater abundance than ever these days. Whether or not they are eating away at GW's turnover, who knows? That information is impossible to say as the stats are just not in the public domain. I do know that it is easier than it ever was, thanks to the internet, to access games and models (and find players) of other manufacturers if, for what ever reason, GW stuff no longer scratches your itch.

FOW is not really any cheaper when you add in rulebooks, paints, the army itself, suppliments/rules changes constantly etc.

Epicenter
01-06-2010, 16:39
I don't know why people are so obssessed with these types of GW articles. It's almost as if people want GW to go under and our hobby to no longer exist.

Amongst the "attack" posters in these threads, there's a tremendous amount of anger towards GW (not blazing flames hatred, but rather that sullen, simmering resentment), wherein people feel they've been swindled somehow by GW or there's a bait-and-switch going on and that their loyalty and money should have bought them more than they're getting (sometimes referred to as "entitlement").

The anger starts in a surprisingly predictable fashion, too. First with anger at GW's scheduled price hikes, then blooms to include unclear rules, lacking of rules clarification, the sanity of the latest codex's power (be it under or overpowered), and the philosophy that drives codex/army book updates at GW.

At some point, people acquire this sadistic desire to watch GW suffer and simply think of it as a kind of karma - I think some want to see GW go bankrupt and reorganize (receivership, for those of you in the UK, I believe) under more sane leadership while other people want it the mouldering giant to die entirely. They want to see validation of their anger so that it's not just a belief but something they can point to and go, "See? Those abusive idiots finally suffered for what they did to me!"

For the record, I would get some sadistic glee from watching GW fail.

FictionalCharacter
01-06-2010, 16:42
i, for one, would much rather they just stop charging too much rather than completely implode.

the former will provide me with far more gaming buddies than the latter.

bert n ernie
01-06-2010, 16:50
It seems a bit of a strange 'vocal minority' when the majority of posters hold a similar viewpoint, 'pro GW' posters seem to be the minority here. Thats neither here nor there though as the real indicator is within GW's financial reports.

Ha! True.
I think I would fall into the category of having a negative overall view of GW, and it's connotations as the GW hobby.
Yet, since I've put a lot of money into it, and I haven't finished painting the armies I have, I'm in a limbo.
I will switch games, and I have already stopped playing 40k, but I don't want to buy a whole new army from a different company when none of the armies I've worked on for some years have been finished yet.
Even if I don't find someone to play Warmachine, or some other game I am going to start an army for one of these games, as I like making armies, and I don't intend on starting another GW related army unless some major changes occured. Even then, I would buy the mantic undead, as I like them so much, and just use them in my games.

I try not to complain unnecessarily about GW. There are plenty of people who still do that. However I'm still on warseer(not even close to ready to leave this community{warts and all} for an exclusively warmachine/mantic community), I play warhammer with the army I have, I have no intention of putting any more money into GW minatures, but I fully intend on being a part of the table top gaming hobby for many years to come.
I like the idea of going to tournaments, so as long as I can only get that through warhammer I will keep it up.

Perhaps it's because people like me don't fit into the already left category, or even precisely the about to leave category, that there are a vocal number of people who hover around warseer like bees*, waiting for some company to win out over the other, so that they can side with them.


*Some species of Bee during a war between two hives will switch sides if they think their side is loosing. Some people are waiting to see who will come out on top(if anyone) so that they can play their game, and get their regular tournament gaming in.

gorgon
01-06-2010, 17:48
3 - The one strategic direction they have to follow as a public company, unlike most private companies, is that they have a duty to their shareholders to maximize the value of the firm. However, their recent strategic actions have indicated that they are interested in doing anything but. In fact, GW is behaving precisely like a private company being run as a lifestyle business for those in charge, where they just want to milk it for some cash flow before getting out and playing on the beach! If anything, their problems would be worse if they were not public.

The bottom line is that GW does have many problems, but in this case, being public is not one of them. I hear shareholders blamed over and over and over, so I would pose you this question:

Would they perform better as a privately owned firm with the same management in place with the same degree of control?[/color]

Yeah, I gotta say I don't trust the management at all.

In particular, the strategy with their company stores in the U.S. leaves me scratching my head. We've been told over and over that the store chain is there to create new hobbyists. Fine. But there have been some important changes to stores. Staffing has been cut to the bone, hours reduced, stores moved out of mall locations to strip malls, etc., and more product shifted to direct sales only.

So how does fewer staffers available for fewer hours in locations that get less foot traffic lend itself to new customer generation? The answer might be there, but I'll be darned if I can see it. Personally, I think it smells of management ignorance with a healthy dollop of unwillingness to admit mistakes. I'm not against the US store chain, but IMO there needs to be a strategy for them beyond "it worked in the UK 20 years ago and will work in the US now."

I'm a hobbyist and customer and want GW to do well, but I'm really struggling to see the catalyst that's going to reverse current sales trends. And I guess that's my question to those thinking that GW will thrive in the long-term -- what's going to turn it around for them? It's going to have to be something significant, because inertia is a b*tch.

Ozorik
01-06-2010, 17:58
FOW is not really any cheaper when you add in rulebooks, paints, the army itself, suppliments/rules changes constantly etc.

The average 1500 point FoW infantry army (a mid war German grenadier army using Battlefront miniatures) is slightly cheaper than a 1500 point generic marine army, at least it was last spring and it will be even more so now. *edit* Its currently approximately 50 (or 30%) cheaper at full retail.

You can get a legal army for much less than that if you shop around and/or use a more elite force. The books work out cheaper and are more vesatile, in additon old 'codex' editions are still considered legal even if they have been updated.

So, yes, FoW is cheaper than GW.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 18:41
The average 1500 point FoW infantry army (a mid war German grenadier army using Battlefront miniatures) is slightly cheaper than a 1500 point generic marine army, at least it was last spring and it will be even more so now. *edit* Its currently approximately 50 (or 30%) cheaper at full retail.

You can get a legal army for much less than that if you shop around and/or use a more elite force. The books work out cheaper and are more vesatile, in additon old 'codex' editions are still considered legal even if they have been updated.

So, yes, FoW is cheaper than GW.

Having Played Battelfront/FOW I disagree. The cost is negligible. Sure if you stop at one army box and don;t buy any suplimental units. And keep your army to one Time period etc.

But how many do that? Really?... I had a mid-late German army. A Pioneer Kompanie as well as Panzergrenadier company, then I needed tanks. Then I needed 88's to deal with enemy tanks, then I wanted Armored Cars because they are cool, then there was an Sig Artillery battery and nebel werfers etc.

I never even got into aircraft. So no, In my experience and or gaming group experience its not that much cheaper.

Vic
01-06-2010, 18:48
The average 1500 point FoW infantry army (a mid war German grenadier army using Battlefront miniatures) is slightly cheaper than a 1500 point generic marine army, at least it was last spring and it will be even more so now. *edit* Its currently approximately 50 (or 30%) cheaper at full retail.

You can get a legal army for much less than that if you shop around and/or use a more elite force. The books work out cheaper and are more vesatile, in additon old 'codex' editions are still considered legal even if they have been updated.

So, yes, FoW is cheaper than GW.

Match goes to Ozorik!

General Veers
01-06-2010, 18:49
Having played FoW (A LOT with a lot of "armies") I disagree with razormasticator. Since this is OT I won't go into why but over the long term FoW "gaming" is signifcantly cheaper than any one GW game if you're buying multiple armies within it. Not sure why FoW costs so much more in NY but again that's OT so I'll stop here.

OK, one more item. The only gamers in FoW I've met who have "1" army have been German Grenadier players. That's usually because it's a "one army for two periods" type list. Soon to be a "one army for three periods" list. OK, now I'll stop this OT stuff.

On topic, the few remaining WFB gamers I know all seem to have a wait and see attitude towards the next version of WFB. That's a BIG change from previous releases where people generally were falling all overthemselves about a new release. It's a small sample true but the real diehards, or fanboys, are expressing concern. These are people who don't browse the web forums much either, they're simply into GW games. Even they're not starting new armies like they used to and admitting it out loud.

Vic
01-06-2010, 18:51
Having Played Battelfront/FOW I disagree. The cost is negligible. Sure if you stop at one army box and don;t buy any suplimental units. And keep your army to one Time period etc.

But how many do that? Really?... I had a mid-late German army. A Pioneer Kompanie as well as Panzergrenadier company, then I needed tanks. Then I needed 88's to deal with enemy tanks, then I wanted Armored Cars because they are cool, then there was an Sig Artillery battery and nebel werfers etc.

I never even got into aircraft. So no, In my experience and or gaming group experience its not that much cheaper.

I have a full org chart of US Armored Tank company as well as a full German Grenadier Kompanie. I have a mix of BF and Old Glory armor, as well as some Roster packs for my infantry. I also have the first and second edition of the rule book, as well as Festung Europa. That said, I have spent equivalent to what was spent building up my SM army since 1988. So yes, GW is WAY more expensive to build.

It's just a fact....

mdauben
01-06-2010, 18:57
But how many do that? Really?... I had a mid-late German army. A Pioneer Kompanie as well as Panzergrenadier company, then I needed tanks. Then I needed 88's to deal with enemy tanks, then I wanted Armored Cars because they are cool, then there was an Sig Artillery battery and nebel werfers etc.

I never even got into aircraft. So no, In my experience and or gaming group experience its not that much cheaper.
So, you are comparing prices of a rabid FOW player to what, someone with just enough minis to field one list of one GW army? We all know that GW players are just as prone to excess (if not more) than players of any other game system. How many of us know people with three, four or even more armies for one of GWs games? How many of us know people with 3000, 4000 or more points of miniatures for a GW army? If a player is buying multiple FOW armies with multiple list options, the same player would be doing the same thing with WFB or 40K.

Comparing apples to apples and based on years playing both systems; I have to agree with the previous poster that a basic, playable FoW army is on average significantly cheaper than a basic, playable WFB or 40K army.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 18:59
I have a full org chart of US Armored Tank company as well as a full German Grenadier Kompanie. I have a mix of BF and Old Glory armor, as well as some Roster packs for my infantry. I also have the first and second edition of the rule book, as well as Festung Europa. That said, I have spent equivalent to what was spent building up my SM army since 1988. So yes, GW is WAY more expensive to build.

It's just a fact....

You cant count since 1988. FOW wasn't around in 88. You should only be talking about costs associated with building an army from the get go and the game system. You guys can act like FOW is cheap all you like but its run by a GW defector. Sure if you want to spend all your money on Peter Pig and Old glory stuff, some of which is not as nice as some of the Battlefront/FOW stuff then yeah your going to save significant costs. But perhaps you can buy these FOW boxed sets so much cheaper because its not as popular as GW and hence gets discounted quite often?

And the main rulebooks and supps arent that much different in cost.

FOW 2nd edition Main Rulebook
http://www.thewarstore.com/rulebooksandsupplements.html

http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat420001&prodId=prod1400018

And thats from from the GW website. Where most people dont get the 25% discount etc. The warstore cant show the GW product due to thier retarded policy.

I think your all underselling the Cost of battelfront because your angry. Take emotion out of it. I am not condeming FOW the game, I just didnt find it all that much cheaper when your spending anywhere from $8 to $15 for blister of tanks or trucks. Never mind the $45 to $60 boxed sets.

The best deals are the army deals, and they dont always have everything you would want to play. They may have enough for you to be able to play, but so does Black Reach so that argument does not hold water.

Vic
01-06-2010, 19:03
Fine, lets go date to date. GW has jacked up their prices and charged for their main rule book at least 5 times. BF gave the 2nd ed copies of the rulebook for free provided you could show proof of ownership of the previous edition. I did later go on and buy a hard cover edition as well. Ive yet to see GW do this other than to offer wafer thin codecii (BA, Assassin). Heck, GW has even moved to new versions of the same tired material without having updated codex' from previous tired editions.

AND, I can field BF minis as well as those from other companies. Last I checked, GW still frowns on that.

"But perhaps you can buy these FOW boxed sets so much cheaper because its not as popular as GW and hence gets discounted quite often?" Your joking, right? You really are going to try to stretch that argument across?

GW's book comes to 320 pages, BF comes to 256 pages. But then compare content. GW's is full of pretty picures (catalog), as well as tired old recycled artwork (a great deal that can be found in previous editions - cmon, give me something fresh to stimulate my imagination, Im paying for it!). BF's provides CONTENT, not filler.

Ozorik
01-06-2010, 19:13
You guys can act like FOW is cheap all you like but its run by a GW defector.



Quite apart from the rest of your post, whats that got to do with anything? Defector is also a rather strange term to use in this circumstance.

Additionally the pricing I did earlier was on individual units.

Lars Porsenna
01-06-2010, 19:28
FOW is not really any cheaper when you add in rulebooks, paints, the army itself, suppliments/rules changes constantly etc.


Well, IF you choose to buy the whole FOW package. If you buy from Old Glory (here in the states), it can be quite a bit cheaper. After all, you can't copyright a Sherman tank (as much as IIRC General Dynamics tried to copyright the Stryker)...

Damon.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 19:42
No argument from me. I had some Old Glory Tanks etc.

@ Ozorik. I mentioned that because I think they took some of their rules updating/pricing strategies from GW when they left.

Dont get me wrong I am not declaring GW cheap etc. I just dont think FOW is all that much cheaper when you add the Rules, Supps, and additional units you would want to play. GW is expensive, there is no denying it. I should know, I have sunk thousands of my hard earned dollars into the game, especially since I have been playing since 89.

I just bristle at the notion that your getting off so much better with FOW, because your not in my experience. Plus there is the whole concept that the game is scenario driven and thus has limited playbility outside the scope of the conflict theatre and time frame you play in. This is something that has steered people like my younger brother away from FOW.

bert n ernie
01-06-2010, 20:11
The best deals are the army deals, and they dont always have everything you would want to play. They may have enough for you to be able to play, but so does Black Reach so that argument does not hold water.

I'm just wondering, since I don't play the game. What points equivalent do those army deals give (are they equivalent to 500pts, 1000pts or what of 40k, assuming 1500 is a standard size game)?
Also, how much do they cost?
I want to know because I'm as to whether there is a price discrepancy or not. It sounds like a fairly minor one, if there is.


I guess a lot of people's perspective goes as follows:
The games where the models cost the same or more than the GW equivalents need far less models for a standard force, thus the game is cheaper (Warmachine as an example).
The games where the model requirements are similar in number tend to have much cheaper models (perry minis).

It's not always this clear cut I guess.

burad
01-06-2010, 20:27
So 15mm minis are cheaper than 28mm minis?
What a surprise.
Play FOW using 28mm minis and see how much it costs.
Duh.

Meanwhile, let's wait ten years and see if FOW is still popular, or has been superseded by the next "great new WWII game system".
It might become one of those game systems that gets played by multiple generations, like 40k, WHFB, Command Decision, Aerodrome, and others. Or it might not. So play what you like until you find something you like better.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 20:49
I'm just wondering, since I don't play the game. What points equivalent do those army deals give (are they equivalent to 500pts, 1000pts or what of 40k, assuming 1500 is a standard size game)?
Also, how much do they cost?
I want to know because I'm as to whether there is a price discrepancy or not. It sounds like a fairly minor one, if there is.


I guess a lot of people's perspective goes as follows:
The games where the models cost the same or more than the GW equivalents need far less models for a standard force, thus the game is cheaper (Warmachine as an example).
The games where the model requirements are similar in number tend to have much cheaper models (perry minis).

It's not always this clear cut I guess.

The standard FOW army box, the big ones are 1500 points. But so are GW's.

So for instance...
http://www.thewarstore.com/product42685.html
$185 with the discount... 1500 points.. Competitive? I dunno. Some of the army boxes are better than others. Much like GW,

Ork Megaforce as listed on GW
http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat1020046&prodId=prod320001a

can get one at 30% off at my local FLGS.

Once again, 1500 points... competitive? Who knows.

Here is my point, so all you FOW folks should just calm down. My point is that the pricing structure isn't all that different. You want to cite FOW and Battlefronts company policies as being better... fine. They are for now. But I have seen enough from them to tell me they are headed in the same direction as GW,. I have seen things like Kubelwagons go from poorly casted metal models to better casted more expensive resin models. Increase in quality for an increase in cost. Sound familiar?

They have raised their prices as well. Its not like GW has cornered the market on price increases and or un-cool company policies.
And I understand the backlash and or attitude. Hell I have a friend who swore off the game when they did away with squats. And to my knowledge other than a Tau battleforce and a few games with the Tau he stopped playing 40K.

But the bottom line is that in my opinion, your not making out all that much better with FOW and Battlefront. Similar company practices, similar costing structures. Its just GW has been out longer, and has done this more consistently and over a longer period of time.

eriochrome
01-06-2010, 21:04
Probably over pointing the models in that megaforce. I do not know Orks points by heart but the space marine box was about 1000 points worth if you used more expensive options.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 21:08
Probably over pointing the models in that megaforce. I do not know Orks points by heart but the space marine box was about 1000 points worth if you used more expensive options.

Just going by what GW says. they typically sell those as 1500 point armies. Not my opinion because I don't play orks so I cant speak to it. I know that was the case with the Space Marine strike force. But that was more $$$ due to all the vehicles.

But the FOW boxed sets fluctuate based on models too.
This one is listed at $243...
http://www.thewarstore.com/product42689.html

eriochrome
01-06-2010, 21:37
Not sure if the Megaforce boxes were ever listed as complete 1500 point armies or came with many vehicles. You might be thinking of the Strike Force boxes that they sold a couple of years ago. Chaos Strikeforce is still up there and it mentions 1500 points but comes in at 240 dollars and not currently available.

GW has cut down significantly recently on the larger set discounts with the battleforces being about the biggest bundles still sold for less than the included parts.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 21:41
Yeah, I have noticed that. The best time to buy that kind of thing was the splash releases for Apoc. Those were some of the best deals out there if you had the coin.

The Eldar Windrider Host, Tau Rapid Insertion Force etc. Those were some deals.

eriochrome
01-06-2010, 21:45
Yeah, I have noticed that. The best time to buy that kind of thing was the splash releases for Apoc. Those were some of the best deals out there if you had the coin.

The Eldar Windrider Host, Tau Rapid Insertion Force etc. Those were some deals.

Especially when they were not direct only deals. Then you could get the GW deal plus the 20-25% independent discount on top. Problem for GW was that people were breaking up the parts and sell the sub components for significantly reduced prices. They will not make that mistake again. Any discounted bundles will probably be direct only.

My tyranid assault brood worked out to like 42% of the seperate model costs after the bundle and prepaid order through independent discounts.

razormasticator
01-06-2010, 21:52
Agreed. I got that Boxed Army deal and one of those Crusher Broods at the time.

Heero-Severus
02-06-2010, 09:10
Some good debate here.

Im interested in the complaints of GW price rises, are there any figures available to the increase in costs to manufacture since say 2004? I imagine not only materials, but also the investment in production techniques. Its also worth noting that the Lord of the Rings licence brought alot of gamers and revenue, and once that bubble burst the game had the same interest as the other core items, without a giant trilogy to spark the imagination of new wargamers.

Will GW get "The Hobbit" licence?

Im not a GW fanboy, but I respect what they do. I see alot of whats happening now as disappointing where the company is becoming more corporate focused and less gamer focused. But if thats whats necessary to survive.

Locally I can say, I have tried 2 new games, Malifaux, and FOW. Really impressed with the models and game in Malifaux small start cost, and alot of interesting play. I was very disappinted in FOW. I bought2 boxes 3 blisters for a Witman Tiger army, in over 50% of the boxes parts were missing, in the Tigers March box 4 of 10 tracks were hideously miscast. Lovely Resin parts and the game seems fun. But QC at FOW seems poor. GW is not perfect, but is a giant leap in the QC department from my experience.

I have also bought 3 40k armies in the last 6 months. I went to my local Indie store and asked for a game of 40k, no one was really interested. One of the shop owners gave me a game though as somthing to do. In general the store was playing FOW and WM, 6 months down the line I can approximate 10 whole 40k armies have been bought and are being played often just by a core of about 6 regulars. I think on a store to store basis these things go on trend of gaming preference rather than how much the "addi.....compulsion" costs. No doubt the continued interest in Hordes will peak and take dominance for a while, as will WFB.

I think alot of negetivity is being cast around without a total picture being surveyed. Id imagine the number of active wargamers has increased dramatically in the last 10 years, I would also say that the total sale of wargaming items has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. It would be incredibly nieve for anyone to believe that GW intended to hold and monopolise all wargaming, and that an increased total market is a much more appealing situation to work within.

Personally I laugh at people who side with one company over another, like their loyalty actually means anything, or the company will even acknowlege them for it. They are the real losers in this very exciting time for gamers.

iamfanboy
02-06-2010, 11:42
Manufacturing costs have dipped to an insignificant point - materials are at a low, they've paid off every bit of debt related to their redoing the manufacturing lines long since; I've seen figures that estimate their cost to make and box a set is less than 5% of the sticker price. In that regard, they were quite wise to invest the money from the LotR bubble back into their company.

They should be able to sell plastic boxed sets for the same price, if not cheaper, than they cost in 2000; inflation is offset by the reduction in manufacture costs in that time not only for GW but for plastic miniatures in general. Witness the fact that a start-up company like Mantic can sell a box of 20 skeletons for $25 USD and that GW sells 10 for $22.

Their main cost, and the albatross 'round their necks, are the stores - the US ones, that is. Trying to move heavily into US retail was the disastrous move that should be studied in business classes for years to come.

I mean, it still just baffles me why they thought it was a good idea, and it definitely was the beginning of the end. GW had a perfectly profitable situation in the US already; it seemed like just a ham-fisted grab for the whole pie instead of being content with sharing it.

(made more hamfisted by the fact that they moved stores specifically near the most profitable independents, and tried to undercut said indie's GW sales by any means necessary. Hell, it's still happening THIS YEAR - in April GW opened a new store in Fullerton, CA literally three minute's drive away from an independent that opened only a few years ago and has worked his kiester off to promote GW despite the prices because he loved those games.)

The key to the whole downward spiral, the root cause, is the US retail strategy. Everything else relates to that - raising prices to cover the cost of stores, declining purchases due to raised prices, refocusing on "new entry" gamers for that quick profit, loss of playerbase due not only to prices but poorer public perception....


Rather than nurturing sales and allowing them to grow slowly (as they were doing up until GW started trying to have a major retail presence), GW is cannibalizing their sales. Whether or not they admit it, there is a corporate attitude that each person coming in is nothing more than a percentage of the day's sales - which might be a good attitude for Wal-Mart, but a good gamestore owner knows to treat each customer like a prospective friend, even to the point of listening to their unbearable stories about their third-level gnome wizard who killed a liche with nothing but an angry weasel.

A gamestore is where we go to be with those who understand us; our fellow fanboys who dedicate ourselves to these pursuits that seem trivial to outsiders because they do not bring reward beyond the sheer pleasure of the dedication itself. People don't become Golden Demon winners or MtG World Tournament winners because they wanted the prizes; they pursued those titles because to reach them is to reach the pinnacle of our chosen avocation. One does not open a gamestore because of profit (for one thing, you sure as hell won't be seeing it easily!); to open a gamestore is to create a shelter, a haven for others who know that what is best in life is to enjoy it in the company of friends.

Money... power... materialism... leave the mindless pursuit of those for the ones who do not know how to fill the emptiness in their souls. We, the fanboys, know that those are fleeting illusions; the true measure of a man lies in how he regards himself, not how others regard him.

Once, Games Workshop understood that. Now, they do not.

Is it any wonder that we have begun to move away from them?


OK, that's it, I'm going to sleep. When I can spout meaningless drivel like that and think it sounds good, it means that I've officially crossed the line.

CapitanGuinea
02-06-2010, 11:46
Manufacturing costs have dipped to an insignificant point - materials are at a low, they've paid off every bit of debt related to their redoing the manufacturing lines long since; I've seen figures that estimate their cost to make and box a set is less than 5% of the sticker price. In that regard, they were quite wise to invest the money from the LotR bubble back into their company.

They should be able to sell plastic boxed sets for the same price, if not cheaper, than they cost in 2000; inflation is offset by the reduction in manufacture costs in that time not only for GW but for plastic miniatures in general. Witness the fact that a start-up company like Mantic can sell a box of 20 skeletons for $25 USD and that GW sells 10 for $22.

Their main cost, and the albatross 'round their necks, are the stores - the US ones, that is. Trying to move heavily into US retail was the disastrous move that should be studied in business classes for years to come.

I mean, it still just baffles me why they thought it was a good idea, and it definitely was the beginning of the end. GW had a perfectly profitable situation in the US already; it seemed like just a ham-fisted grab for the whole pie instead of being content with sharing it.

(made more hamfisted by the fact that they moved stores specifically near the most profitable independents, and tried to undercut said indie's GW sales by any means necessary. Hell, it's still happening THIS YEAR - in April GW opened a new store in Fullerton, CA literally three minute's drive away from an independent that opened only a few years ago and has worked his kiester off to promote GW despite the prices because he loved those games.)

The key to the whole downward spiral, the root cause, is the US retail strategy. Everything else relates to that - raising prices to cover the cost of stores, declining purchases due to raised prices, refocusing on "new entry" gamers for that quick profit, loss of playerbase due not only to prices but poorer public perception....


Rather than nurturing sales and allowing them to grow slowly (as they were doing up until GW started trying to have a major retail presence), GW is cannibalizing their sales. Whether or not they admit it, there is a corporate attitude that each person coming in is nothing more than a percentage of the day's sales - which might be a good attitude for Wal-Mart, but a good gamestore owner knows to treat each customer like a prospective friend, even to the point of listening to their unbearable stories about their third-level gnome wizard who killed a liche with nothing but an angry weasel.

A gamestore is where we go to be with those who understand us; our fellow fanboys who dedicate ourselves to these pursuits that seem trivial to outsiders because they do not bring reward beyond the sheer pleasure of the dedication itself. People don't become Golden Demon winners or MtG World Tournament winners because they wanted the prizes; they pursued those titles because to reach them is to reach the pinnacle of our chosen avocation. One does not open a gamestore because of profit (for one thing, you sure as hell won't be seeing it easily!); to open a gamestore is to create a shelter, a haven for others who know that what is best in life is to enjoy it in the company of friends.

Money... power... materialism... leave the mindless pursuit of those for the ones who do not know how to fill the emptiness in their souls. We, the fanboys, know that those are fleeting illusions; the true measure of a man lies in how he regards himself, not how others regard him.

Once, Games Workshop understood that. Now, they do not.

Is it any wonder that we have begun to move away from them?


OK, that's it, I'm going to sleep. When I can spout meaningless drivel like that and think it sounds good, it means that I've officially crossed the line.

I quote every single word. The same mistakes are undergoing here in italy too...

isaac
02-06-2010, 12:00
They do the same thing in Germany, it made me go from just unhappy at GW for the prices to them taking out my FLGS. Now there are no shops that sell other geeky things (besides Special orders, but that is just not the same).

gorgon
02-06-2010, 17:49
Their main cost, and the albatross 'round their necks, are the stores - the US ones, that is. Trying to move heavily into US retail was the disastrous move that should be studied in business classes for years to come.

To be fair to GW, they're right to believe that a lot of game stores don't do a good job of showing GW product in the best light. There are some great indy game stores out there, but many others are horribly-run businesses. So I get that GW is reluctant to stake its future on some really bad operations, and that GW stores allow GW to control how their products are promoted.

Having said that, the reality is that they can't "own" the US the way they own the UK. For one thing, it's geographically impossible. For another, the FLGS -- even with its faults -- traditionally has a stronger presence in the gaming community here.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the idea of a US store chain per se, I just don't get the strategy. They say they're for new customer acquisition, but now they're almost all down to one employee, and open for limited hours. Locally, I've seen a GW store move from a mall location (next to a video game store) to an out-of-the-way strip mall. And the strategy here is acquiring new customers? :eyebrows:

I get that they're trying to cut costs, but when said cuts diminish the ability of their stores to achieve their strategic objective...well, doesn't the strategy (and therefore management) come in to question here? And in the face of all of this, Kirby wants to keep *expanding* the chain. I've heard it said that no one internally has been able to convince him that the strategy in the US is flawed, even though plenty have felt that way. *shrug*

Maybe there are reasons this wouldn't be attractive or feasible, but I wonder if the stores would be more effective and profitable in the US as a limited chain (talking like 15-20 nationwide) of destination stores in major markets. That's kind of what Americans expect of a company store anyway -- a larger store that carries the full product line and more, and a customer experience that's worth the drive. As is, why would anyone drive 30+ miles to visit a strip mall GW store that doesn't even carry the entire line and has less gaming space than their FLGS?

gorgon
02-06-2010, 18:01
Their main cost, and the albatross 'round their necks, are the stores - the US ones, that is. Trying to move heavily into US retail was the disastrous move that should be studied in business classes for years to come.

To be fair to GW, they're right to believe that a lot of game stores don't do a good job of showing GW product in the best light. There are some great indy game stores out there, but many others are horribly-run businesses. So I get that GW is reluctant to stake its future on some really bad operations, and that GW stores allow GW to control how their products are promoted.

Having said that, the reality is that they can't "own" the US the way they own the UK. For one thing, it's geographically impossible. For another, the FLGS -- even with its faults -- traditionally has a stronger presence in the gaming community here.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the idea of a US store chain per se, I just don't get the strategy. They say they're for new customer acquisition, but now they're almost all down to one employee, and open for limited hours. Locally, I've seen a GW store move from a mall location (next to a video game store) to an out-of-the-way strip mall. And the strategy here is acquiring new customers? :eyebrows:

I get that they're trying to cut costs, but when said cuts diminish the ability of their stores to achieve their strategic objective...well, doesn't the strategy (and therefore management) come in to question here? And in the face of all of this, Kirby wants to keep *expanding* the chain. I've heard it said that no one internally has been able to convince him that the strategy in the US is flawed, even though plenty have felt that way. *shrug*

Maybe there are reasons this wouldn't be attractive or feasible, but I wonder if the stores would be more effective and profitable in the US as a limited chain (talking like 15-20 nationwide) of destination stores in major markets. That's kind of what Americans expect of a company store anyway -- something that carries the full product line and more and a customer experience that's worth the drive. As is, why would anyone drive 30+ miles to visit a strip mall GW store that doesn't even carry the entire line and has less gaming space than their FLGS?

Reinholt
02-06-2010, 18:02
Low quality FLGS offerings are definitely a problem. There exists a huge variety of FLGS stores, ranging from the truly awesome to the truly awful, and GW without a retail chain would be handcuffed by that variation in areas where it is a problem.

However, the decision to start a company-only retail chain in the US does not necessarily follow from this. The reality is that GW is a niche product within the geek world, and that there are many other offerings (board games, roleplaying games, various modeling options) within the directly adjacent sphere, much less those somewhat tangentially related (video games, comics), though those domains clearly have much more established players.

The net result is that a single-company store is almost doomed to have too narrow of a focus unless you restrict them to stores in key locations that are destination stores. I mean, would anybody go to a Blizzard store for all their video games? No. But you could have a handful of destination stores to show off and it could work.

To this end, if you asked me what the best strategic alternative for GW in the US would be, it would be that a quality, large distributor of hobby products already existed in the US retail world. Something like a Gamestop (I am not making reference to the quality or lack thereof with regard to Gamestop, to cut anyone off at the pass, but rather just saying a store built around model games that carried the whole gamut and was standardized and well distributed across the US in appropriate locations) for model soldiers.

However, that doesn't exist, so you have to ask why: has it not been done yet, or does it not work? If you think it is the former, the answer is not to crowd it out with your own narrow focus stores (unless you really believe that can work), but rather to fund someone to build it and thus also hedge your bets if your particular product doesn't fare so well, or to just sit back and wait with your destination stores and internet sales. If you think it is the latter, well, maybe you should ask why you want to get into retail...?

Either way, if Kirby really believes there are no flaws with the current US strategy as alleged above, Kirby is a fool.

Vic
02-06-2010, 18:16
@fanboi:

Having worked management for a Euro based retail company for 7 years, as well as for US operations, I tend to think it is GW attempting to apply a Euro-centric retail model to the US. My experience has been that the Euro retailer will by course, carry as high a price tag as the market will bear, where as the US retailer will run sales, have price lower than SRP etc. The US retailer faces more competition, locally, nationally and via the internet.

Also, GW would like to achieve market saturation much like in the UK, but I think that this is impossible due to the scale of the US as compared to the UK and most of Europe. GW just doesnt have that kind of war chest. Now if they went with small boutiques or kiosks they might have a chance, but I dont think GW product and it's asking price lend it self to this form of retail real estate.

sliganian
02-06-2010, 18:47
Either way, if Kirby really believes there are no flaws with the current US strategy as alleged above, Kirby is a fool.

That Kirby is a fool has been evident (to me at least) ever since he made an absolutely stunning, brain-dead comment in the preamble to one of the financials a few years ago (2008?iirc). To paraphrase (not by much) he said:

"We don't know what compels people (mostly male) to buy toy soldiers but we fill that need."

So, in essence, the CEO in the report to shareholders admited upfront that he had NO UNDERSTANDING of the target market of the company he was heading. Absolute lunacy.

eriochrome
02-06-2010, 19:11
Low quality FLGS offerings are definitely a problem. There exists a huge variety of FLGS stores, ranging from the truly awesome to the truly awful, and GW without a retail chain would be handcuffed by that variation in areas where it is a problem.



I would think this would be the reason to have a trade sales division in the company to work with the independents to get your products the best possible representation. Share ideas with retailers about how to market and sell your stuff?

Santiaghoul
02-06-2010, 19:34
I would think this would be the reason to have a trade sales division in the company to work with the independents to get your products the best possible representation. Share ideas with retailers about how to market and sell your stuff?

The US Trade Sales team is supposed to do this. The team gets training on this. Example, they can teach how to run intro games. This is harder than you might think. A good intro game takes skill. In practice though, the individual team members often seem to mis-understand this training and attempt to strongarm the FLGS into simply buying more stuff in order to make sales quotas.

eriochrome
02-06-2010, 19:42
I could also imagine that the weird interplay between trade and retail divisions might make independent wary of listening to suggestions from the trade people. Out perform your expectations and GW will drop a store near by. Or Once you have a GW store nearby can you trust the trade guy is treating you fairly and giving you good advice since he works for someone who is now your competition.

iamfanboy
02-06-2010, 19:45
Reinholt, it makes perfect logical sense that GW doesn't like the way inferior FLGS's offer their games and wants to have control of the retail delivery of their games.

BUT, but butbutbutbutbutbutbuttbut, why would their location strategy for retail outlets be 'chase the most successful independent stores'?

Now, admittedly, this is not always the case - they also locate stores in large population centers like Chicago, for example - but trying to undercut currently successful FLGS's is an unfortunately common phenomenon, especially out here in the western US.

But if that's their main concern, expanding and elaborating on an Outrider-style program, possibly even targeting one-man stores in areas that sell some GW product but have an inferior FLGS, would work out well I should think.


As far as a successful chain of gaming stores, there's a guy in Montana who (last time I was there, in 2004) has 5 gaming stores in Montana and Idaho. Considering that he only had two in 2000, I think that he was being successful. The stores are nice; the one in Missoula was my main gaming outlet for a time, but he remembered me four years later in the Billings one because I was the guy who convinced him to carry volumes of manga.

EDIT: And eriochrome, the times I've seen a GW store spring up near an indie, the trade guy indeed DID favor the GW store... to the point of even delaying new release shipments to the indie so the GW store would get more business, or even 'misinterpreting' shipment orders... once is an accident, but over and over? *sigh*

Reinholt
02-06-2010, 19:52
There are definite issues with how the us operation is run currently, related to the issues that any conglomerate type entity faces. The reality is that the retail chain and trade sales have missions that are not perfectly aligned and are sometimes at odds while at other times are aligned against an outside distributor.

I know that us distributors can be quite wary of gw, often justifiably, as gw does not have a good track record with them. Similarly, I would not say that trade sales has done a good job developing independents; some refuse to improve, others do not trust gw, and many trade sales people either communicate poorly or offer bad ideas.

Overall, until gw solves the strategic problems with their us operations, I doubt they can improve operations here. Similarly, I am not sure they have the talent in place to improve their us operations.

eriochrome
02-06-2010, 20:11
We can see the problems even in how they rolled out the price increase(ignoring the fact that there was a price increase in face of stagnet sales). Yesterday was supposed to be the day but we have seen somewhat randomly timed increases throughout today.

isaac
02-06-2010, 20:15
GW is at odds with itself in so many ways it is not funny.

bert n ernie
02-06-2010, 21:23
You know Reinholt, you just reminded me of something.

When I was working at Toy/Hobby shop, the manager was sent a bunch of GW stuff, and asked if he would stock it. This happened around the time the local Hobby store went from a large gaming store with over 8 tables to a small shop with 2 tables surrounded by shelf space(which larger players could hardly walk past).
He said no, they didn't want to stock GW again, because of previous experience. He didn't want to stock it, and build up a group of people playing it again just to end up loose all his business once they re-open the big store.
I thought it was an over-reaction, until I was visiting London, and saw their London store in Camden market. There was a GW store right next door. Ho hum.

Crovax20
02-06-2010, 21:34
I haven't stopped playing GW games as of yet. But at my local club where we almost exclusively played Warhammer/40k I see a trend of increased interest in other game systems. Right now we have a couple of people starting Flames of War and there is interest in Hordes/Warmachine & Freebooters Faith.

Personally most of my spending still goes to GW products, but Flames of War is becoming a strong second and making me cut back on GW purchases

yabbadabba
02-06-2010, 22:54
I haven't stopped playing GW games as of yet. But at my local club where we almost exclusively played Warhammer/40k I see a trend of increased interest in other game systems. I see that as a healthy thing. Forget GW's issues, having fingers in lots of toy soldier pies is a good thing :D

TheMav80
02-06-2010, 23:38
mmmm...toy soldier pie...

blongbling
03-06-2010, 09:31
I would think this would be the reason to have a trade sales division in the company to work with the independents to get your products the best possible representation. Share ideas with retailers about how to market and sell your stuff?

and they do have some very talented sales teams around the world doing just this but they are also restricted by what they can and are allowed to do through restrictions on time and money.

blongbling
03-06-2010, 09:39
Reinholt, it makes perfect logical sense that GW doesn't like the way inferior FLGS's offer their games and wants to have control of the retail delivery of their games.

BUT, but butbutbutbutbutbutbuttbut, why would their location strategy for retail outlets be 'chase the most successful independent stores'?

Now, admittedly, this is not always the case - they also locate stores in large population centers like Chicago, for example - but trying to undercut currently successful FLGS's is an unfortunately common phenomenon, especially out here in the western US.

But if that's their main concern, expanding and elaborating on an Outrider-style program, possibly even targeting one-man stores in areas that sell some GW product but have an inferior FLGS, would work out well I should think.


As far as a successful chain of gaming stores, there's a guy in Montana who (last time I was there, in 2004) has 5 gaming stores in Montana and Idaho. Considering that he only had two in 2000, I think that he was being successful. The stores are nice; the one in Missoula was my main gaming outlet for a time, but he remembered me four years later in the Billings one because I was the guy who convinced him to carry volumes of manga.

EDIT: And eriochrome, the times I've seen a GW store spring up near an indie, the trade guy indeed DID favor the GW store... to the point of even delaying new release shipments to the indie so the GW store would get more business, or even 'misinterpreting' shipment orders... once is an accident, but over and over? *sigh*

There are doubts at GW about the legality of the Outrider program to begin with (for the EU at least) so that is why that is not something that are pressing hard for, the other thing to remember is that GW is a control freak, it has to control and Outriders, not being employees, are beyond their control.

In my quite massive experience in trade sales for GW, you can count the number of good trade stores on your hands, there just aren't the many. Now let me clarify that, when compared to how a GW store would intro game its products, get add on sales and introduce people to the hobby there aren't that many good hobby stores.

Now if you have a good performing indie in terms of turnover in a location, you can guarantee that a GW store going into the same town would generate more turnover; I have seen this repeated over and over again. So the reason why GW opens on their good stores is that simple, they can do more turnover.

Now I Europe it is a bit more sophisticated, they have target locations that they want store sin but if there are good indies in those locations, doing a good turnover they will miss that location out.

As for the GW guy delaying stock to the indies, I would very much doubt this was his fault as he has his sales quotas to hit, delaying products will impact upon that. Most likely there are supply chain issues and in such a case GW always supplies its own stores first, the same thing happens in Europe over and over where allocations to stores are cut or restricted to try and mitigate the issues.

blongbling
03-06-2010, 09:41
You know Reinholt, you just reminded me of something.

When I was working at Toy/Hobby shop, the manager was sent a bunch of GW stuff, and asked if he would stock it. This happened around the time the local Hobby store went from a large gaming store with over 8 tables to a small shop with 2 tables surrounded by shelf space(which larger players could hardly walk past).
He said no, they didn't want to stock GW again, because of previous experience. He didn't want to stock it, and build up a group of people playing it again just to end up loose all his business once they re-open the big store.
I thought it was an over-reaction, until I was visiting London, and saw their London store in Camden market. There was a GW store right next door. Ho hum.

So you are talking about Erik Snook I guess then? There is a definite synergy between having hobby and toy stores near each other, though I wouldnt place one next door to the other personally

iamfanboy
03-06-2010, 11:35
Y'know, I usually don't like picking apart someone's posts point by point, but you've presented the corporate view blongbling and I'm feeling cranky, having difficulty breathing, so I think I need something to focus on.


There are doubts at GW about the legality of the Outrider program to begin with (for the EU at least) so that is why that is not something that are pressing hard for, the other thing to remember is that GW is a control freak, it has to control and Outriders, not being employees, are beyond their control.
I don't know how the EU works. But I do know what works for the US, and having 'ambassadors' who are willing and able to set up tournaments, intro games, and explain to gamestore owners why GW games are 'superior' worked in the United States for over ten years. One of the things that caught my attention about Privateer Press is that they actively emulated GW's Outrider system with the Pressgangers. I may not care about Warmachine in the slightest (and won't, until I can create my OWN Warcaster), but they certainly know what works.

As for the obsessive micromanagement GW insists upon, why do they? The cynic in me suggests that it's because they want the players to be little more than gaming serfs, not knowing about anything but GW games, which would unfortunately make a great deal of sense when compared to... well, I'll get into that later on.


In my quite massive experience in trade sales for GW, you can count the number of good trade stores on your hands, there just aren't the many. Now let me clarify that, when compared to how a GW store would intro game its products, get add on sales and introduce people to the hobby there aren't that many good hobby stores.
This is because any independent store that carries GW also carries dozens of other product lines; generally speaking, a store that has a significant investment in GW only does so because the owner himself plays and enjoys the games. It's actually quite inconvenient for a trade store to carry GW products; displaying them entails a great deal of space, storing them requires a great deal of space, and then there's the hassle of feeling as though Games Workshop "Doesn't want your business," as gamestore owners from Florida to Washington have said in almost identical words.

The reason that independents stay afloat is for the same reason GW doesn't want their business: they dare to sell and promote companies other than Games Workshop products.

A proper indie appeals to a broad range of interests that by themselves are not enough to carry a single-interest store, but together can keep a man eating. Wargaming, RPGs, anime/manga, comic books, Magic and other CCGs, RPG-related novels, hosting tournaments, and anything else they can think of - I've seen a store that rents DVDs and video games, and hosted Guitar Hero/DDR/Halo tournaments as part of their rotation.

With that broad variety comes cross-seeding - someone who comes in for Magic may have his eye caught by an interesting-looking manga, or someone who likes cyberpunk RPGs may pick up a box of Cadians to use as security guards for a tabletop session. Cross-seeding also prevents customer burnout; a player might put away his Magic decks for a while and pick up a Tomb Kings army, whereas a Magic-only store would only make the player shrug and say, "I'm sick of the game, there's nothing in there I want to see."

The same lesson could be applied to any single-focus store. Hint, hint.


Now if you have a good performing indie in terms of turnover in a location, you can guarantee that a GW store going into the same town would generate more turnover; I have seen this repeated over and over again. So the reason why GW opens on their good stores is that simple, they can do more turnover.
It generates more turnover.... for how long? Because the pattern I have seen over and over is this:

1) Independent stakes their business to build up a good turnover of Games Workshop games because of a personal interest and enjoyment of those games.

2) Games Workshop opens store nearby and through over and underhanded techniques, pulls customer away from the independent.

3) The independent either goes under (if he was overinvested in GW games) or refuses to stock them any more (as in the example given above of the store manager actively refusing a GW presence in his store.)

4) After a few months to several years of decent business, the customers start to drift away. Burnout, boredom, and other factors contribute to a downward spiral.

5) The store either closes or (as is their plan now) turns into a single-man store or relocates. (a friend of mine confided to me recently that a GW in Florida relocated to the same shopping center that the gamestore they drove out of business was in.)

Net result? No turnover in the area compared to enough that it attracted corporate's attention, a loss of profits over time when comparing the two (opening a failed store versus just being satisfied with trade sales), and a cadre of embittered, once-loyal customers who would do anything to see GW fail.

Is this a profitable and successful result? Even if the GW store does eke out a fair bit of business (something that I HAVE seen more than once, in all fairness), is there an overall gain of profit versus staying safe and just being a supplier, letting someone else take the risks of FLGS failure?


Now I Europe it is a bit more sophisticated, they have target locations that they want store sin but if there are good indies in those locations, doing a good turnover they will miss that location out.
When you say 'miss that location out' do you mean 'not open a store near there' or 'open a store near there'?


As for the GW guy delaying stock to the indies, I would very much doubt this was his fault as he has his sales quotas to hit, delaying products will impact upon that. Most likely there are supply chain issues and in such a case GW always supplies its own stores first, the same thing happens in Europe over and over where allocations to stores are cut or restricted to try and mitigate the issues.
Now, a few times, I could grant you this scenario. But in California I watched an indie battling it out with a newly opened GW store over the course of a year and a half - the GW employees were rude, especially to veteran players, and customer loyalty actually won out over the lure of an official store, so the indie kept stocking GW games. But then, every new release, EVERY ONE, was delayed by at least two weeks to a month in favor of the GW store.

It could well be that the supply chain issue was created artificially higher up than the regional supplier. It could have been coincidence. I could also be Santa Claus, typing this from an undisclosed location near the North Pole.



When I said earlier that it all comes down to the stores, I was wrong. It all comes down to control. Games Workshop wants to be a gamer's entire hobby, from the first box unwrapped under the Christmas tree to dying alone with an GW Hobby Knife clutched in his withered fingers. Such complete control is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-destructive in the end.

To quote a famous line, "The more you tighten your grasp Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

yabbadabba
03-06-2010, 12:40
When I said earlier that it all comes down to the stores, I was wrong. It all comes down to control. Games Workshop wants to be a gamer's entire hobby, from the first box unwrapped under the Christmas tree to dying alone with an GW Hobby Knife clutched in his withered fingers. Such complete control is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-destructive in the end.
To quote a famous line, "The more you tighten your grasp Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." Sorry I don't agree with this at all. If you think for one moment that any business would not like complete and unfettered domination and control over their market then you are wrong. Such is the need for control over the consumer we now have global businesses which own smaller companies not only competing in a huge variety of markets, but often against each other. Market domination and complete control might repulse marxist principles but are part of the driving force behind businesses and only (often wimpish) government intervention and similar competing businesses prevents too much globalised merging.

Ozorik
03-06-2010, 13:09
If you think for one moment that any business would not like complete and unfettered domination and control over their market then you are wrong.


Of course they would, its also obvious why this is a terrible thing for the consumer (and its far, far more than 'Marxist' principles).

eriochrome
03-06-2010, 13:35
They might generate more turnover but does that added turnover after you subtract out the lost sales to trade and the operating costs of the store make them more money. The independents do add on sales but they add on value for money products to their customers as opposed to GW's overpriced stuff. Our FLGS who loves GW games well telling us that even at his discount it does not make sense for even him to use many of the GW add on products.

Reinholt
03-06-2010, 15:53
They might generate more turnover but does that added turnover after you subtract out the lost sales to trade and the operating costs of the store make them more money.

This is the key.

If an independent will generate less turnover, before placing a retail store, you have to consider what the costs will be. If you get, say, $5,000 in revenue from an independent per month, and you know a GW store could do $15,000 per month, you are going to lose money if the running costs of the GW store are, say, $14,000 per month. Ignoring the issue that your real incremental revenue from the store is also only $10,000, as the FLGS sales will invariably vanish.

GW has too many unprofitable stores in the US, and a very poor history of locating their stores. So even if the argument that GW stores can generate more turnover holds, the question becomes: at what price? Similarly, as GW uses the argument that stores are recruitment centers (which begs the question of why they are raising the cost of starter sets and the units you need to get into the games...) and not intended for veterans, the effect in the US is that when a GW store opens and the LGS closes, your veterans slowly bleed off as they have nowhere to congregate, and then the new people you have recruited don't stick, eventually leaving an unprofitable shell of a store that has to be closed.

There are a handful of exceptions to this in Seattle, LA, Chicago, and NYC, and GW should be figuring out what works there and making those the model for retail. Instead, they strong-armed everyone into a new training regimen at the latest Las Vegas convention (which is possibly even worse than the old one, a feat I find personally impressive), and ignored every single strategic and tactical issue that people on the ground are actually facing.

Costs are not low enough and profit is not high enough make it worth having a US retail chain under the current conditions. The bottom line is that GW has both major tactical issues (product selection, store location, staff quality) and strategic issues (alienating independents, failing to focus on customer retention, poor long-term employee development) with the US chain before one even approaches the question of how the US chain should be structured.

Thus, GW either needs to get their act together on US retail very soon (before they have poisoned the well badly enough that large parts of the US hobby community strongly oppose them - witness the number of WFB tournaments steadily shrinking, and the interest in PP games growing), or they need to get out and stay out before the next run of burnouts.

iamfanboy
03-06-2010, 19:52
Sorry I don't agree with this at all. If you think for one moment that any business would not like complete and unfettered domination and control over their market then you are wrong. Such is the need for control over the consumer we now have global businesses which own smaller companies not only competing in a huge variety of markets, but often against each other. Market domination and complete control might repulse marxist principles but are part of the driving force behind businesses and only (often wimpish) government intervention and similar competing businesses prevents too much globalised merging.
Of COURSE every business wants complete control, just as every child wants infinite candy and every teenager wants unlimited poontang.

But is complete control good for a business? The current financial crisis stemmed in large part because the financial sector lobbied for, and got, large sections of law removed that were enacted after the crash of 1929 specifically to PREVENT another large crash! They got the complete control they wanted, and just like a kid eating too much candy, ended up getting sick on it. And the rest of us have to clean up their rainbow-colored vomit.

The reason Apple almost died once is because they insisted on complete control from end to end on both software and hardware, but Microsoft licensed Windows to run on any hardware and let people program software for it willy-nilly. Sadly, they seem to be walking down the same path again, and Steve Jobs is getting a bit long in the tooth to save them yet again.

Hell, the reason that Marxism fails is because it insists on complete control! Control of the factories, control of transportation, control of your population, control control control.

Competition is healthy for business; it shakes up stagnant practices and strengthens your company. The only people who think otherwise, and desire that complete control, are CEOs who've lost touch with reality and can only wish that the entire world worked like their corporation - say 'frog' and everyone jumps.


Look at what the lack of competition did in the quite small UK market; it led GW to believe that the whole world would work just like England, which is a provincial attitude at best. To misquote Shakespeare, "Forgive him; he is a barbarian and believes that the customs of his land are the laws of the world."

yabbadabba
03-06-2010, 21:52
Of course they would, its also obvious why this is a terrible thing for the consumer (and its far, far more than 'Marxist' principles). Agreed.


Of COURSE every business wants complete control, just as every child wants infinite candy and every teenager wants unlimited poontang.... {snip}
...Look at what the lack of competition did in the quite small UK market; it led GW to believe that the whole world would work just like England, which is a provincial attitude at best. To misquote Shakespeare, "Forgive him; he is a barbarian and believes that the customs of his land are the laws of the world." I think you might find that last point was down to a lack of a professional approach to the US market - something Reinholt often mentions. And I am sure he would say more.
As to what you have posted - again I don't agree. Any CEO would squash their competition like a bug if they could, but in the meantime they should be realists and use the competition to keep costs down, keep prices competitive and keep customers interested. GW's problem in this regard is that they have lacked a true internal market competitor for their core market and they still don't. Veteran players have always known there was more out there, so that there is more competition for their business and it is marginalising GW's sales is nothing new, just impacting to a greater or lesser degree.

For me there is a natural progression from GW's games to other wargames for some of GW's customers at a point in their gaming lives. That progression isn't always easy depending on how absorbed into GW's culture the customer got. In my day we went mostly from roleplaying into wargames, or through our fathers. The fact I play a wider variety of wargames than I did when I was a kid and only role playing doesn't upset me or make me angry towards D+D for ignoring me, I just see it as a natural part of my development in this hobby. Maybe thats just how GW see it.

FictionalCharacter
03-06-2010, 22:35
Hell, the reason that Marxism fails is because it insists on complete control! Control of the factories, control of transportation, control of your population, control control control.

i mean, that's not really true, but i guess this is hardly the place for a classic economic theory debate.

crandall87
03-06-2010, 23:41
I think GW have had this market to themselves for far too long and now that more game systems are starting up and becoming popular GW really need to change their strategy. It's not going to happen soon. As we have seen this week prices are still going up. There will come a time which may be sooner than GW think when they will actually need to start lowering prices, having sales etc so their game systems can compete sales wise with others.

They turnover a lot of money from their trade account holders yet they do give them such a raw deal.

I still don't agree with the first post though. Whether people agree with GW policies and business strategies is irrelevant. The facts are that yes they had quite a bad blip and they did lose a lot of money but their back on track now and making a profit again and lets hope they continue to do so for the sake of the hobby.

ashc
03-06-2010, 23:46
I think GW's biggest danger at this point is not that people are going to wander off and play other game systems... I think the biggest danger is that their stuff is becoming so expensive that the fresh young gamers (and by extension their parents) that they are so desperate to squeeze money out of will look at it as being too expensive for what it is and will miss the boat completely.

iamfanboy
03-06-2010, 23:51
i mean, that's not really true, but i guess this is hardly the place for a classic economic theory debate.
Centralizing the banks into a government instrument, putting all communication and transportation into the hands of the state, abolishing inheritance, extending the government aegis over factories and dictating what they should and should not manufacture.... I dunno, sounds like "complete control by government, for government" to me. Or did you skip over that part of the Communist Manifesto in your Polisci 101 class?

Under the guise of "freeing the proletariat", an elite few operating according to Marxist principles can throw down an established government and create a new tyranny with themselves at the top. Not one of the creators of a Communist government has ever, ever cared about the people; he was only using Marxist principles in a coldblooded attempt at personal power.

There is a difference between 'socialism' as practiced by most European countries and 'Marxist-communism'; but socialism has its own problems... just read about what Greece is going through lately. Capitalism ain't perfect, but at least a man can make something of himself with hard work and some luck.



*ahem* Sorry, Marxism is one of my buttons. ANYWAY, blongbling, what is beating GW isn't one competitor; it's a death of a thousand tiny cuts. Each new mistake builds upon the last. The key mistakes, IMHO:

1) The US retail stores. Not the establishment of them, but how they are placed, how they are managed, the lack of attention to what makes a GW store succeed or fail, etcetera. Reinholt has covered this quite a bit.

2) Raising the cost of entry into the hobby (this seems to stem from needing to raise prices in order to cover underperforming stores that should never have been established in the first place, but each new price raise creates more underperforming stores, which creates another price raise... but I could be wrong). One of the few smart moves GW did was to price the starter boxes under $50 - and the only reason that they raised the price on them was because the starter boxes were cannibalizing their other sales. Rather than take from this the lesson, "People WANT to play our games, but can't afford them, so they take the cheapest way they can find," they reacted in the second most petulant way possible. First would have been discontinuing BFSP and AOBR entirely.

3) They rely purely on word of mouth for advertising, yet make no effort to create a true, long-term network with their customers. Each new customer should NOT be treated as a disposable asset; he should be treated as a potential gateway to all their friends, provided you can make him feel as though he is welcome and that this game will last him a lifetime. While quite a few people will stop playing, most do not stop being gamers unless they're chased away; at most they go dormant for a while. If you squeeze a young kid for all you can in the first six months and they drop the game after that, you've not only lost out on future sales from that kid, but any sales that might result from him recruiting friends, AND you've established the idea that "GW=stupid waste of time" into his noggin.

4) They have a nonsensical, nigh-on schizophrenic business plan. Are they a miniatures company? Then they should be happy with trade sales and work with independents to improve their stores. Are they a retailer? Then they should be carefully evaluating which stores succeed and fail, as well as giving due consideration to proper store placement. Are they a game company? Then they should put more work into the rules as well as promoting tournaments and other events.


I know what I woulda done, had I been GW ten years ago: established a system of Battle Bunker-style retail outlets, one or two to a state (possibly more depending on population), with paid employee Outriders who are based out of those Bunkers but who travel from indie store to indie store, hosting tournaments, teaching employees to run 'proper' intro games, giving out promotional goodies, and not only that, operate as auditors to make sure that a given store has the 'proper' amount of space required.

Create a network, tie indie stores and the players into it, make them all feel as though they're part of a grand experience bigger than themselves (the much-touted "GW Hobby"), and achieve domination of the wargaming market that way. To take from that aforementioned polisci 101 class, instead of "hard power" (the threat of cutting them off directly) or "soft power" (economic domination), I would use "sticky power" to bind the stores to my way of doing things.

isaac
04-06-2010, 01:16
I have also mentioned how great outriders would be, others have disputed it here. Sadly I do not know enough to debate it properly.

FictionalCharacter
04-06-2010, 05:28
Centralizing the banks into a government instrument, putting all communication and transportation into the hands of the state, abolishing inheritance, extending the government aegis over factories and dictating what they should and should not manufacture.... I dunno, sounds like "complete control by government, for government" to me. Or did you skip over that part of the Communist Manifesto in your Polisci 101 class?

Under the guise of "freeing the proletariat", an elite few operating according to Marxist principles can throw down an established government and create a new tyranny with themselves at the top. Not one of the creators of a Communist government has ever, ever cared about the people; he was only using Marxist principles in a coldblooded attempt at personal power.

hey, it's one of my buttons, too. what you're talking about is subject to political flaws, not economic flaws. basically you just described leninism, which doesn't actually follow marxist principles. don't mistake economic centralization for authoritarianism (and don't mistake economic centralization for the be-all/end-all of marxism), and i wouldn't recommend viewing theory purely through the guise of past totalitarian regimes. a degree of capitalism does not require freedom or democracy (see: south america), and a degree of marxism does not require oppression (see: actual marxism).

after all, nobody would reasonably say the united states is capitalism. it makes just as little sense to say the soviet union, for instance, is communism (let alone marxism).

and even while the 'freeing the proletariat' analogy you reference is indeed misguided and prone to abuse (lenin persecuting 'the middle class' out of existence, for instance), it's no more prone to abuse than capitalism's whole 'captains of industry' hypothetical.

as for your little 'poli sci 101' snipe... hey, whatever you need to tell yourself. this is economics not civics, anyway. it's not like anyone's arguing that they prefer chinese authoritarianism rather than representative democracy. i don't really like the manifesto all that much, as well. way too much engels spewing gibberish about family or whatever. the best part is when marx lays out why basically every other modern economic system is wrong and stupid, including several systems that i much prefer to marxism.


There is a difference between 'socialism' as practiced by most European countries and 'Marxist-communism'; but socialism has its own problems... just read about what Greece is going through lately. Capitalism ain't perfect, but at least a man can make something of himself with hard work and some luck.

well every economic system has its problems, but like i said up top, most of them are actually the result of imperfections within political structures rather than shortsightedness within the theory. and of course there's a difference between european socialism or 'welfare capitalism' or whatever you want to call it and marxist communism. they're not remotely the same thing, just like warsaw pact communism and marxist communism aren't remotely the same thing.

but hey, there may actually be literally no way to get more off-topic than this, so i suppose if you really want to start a button pushing contest, we should probably do it by pm (if at all), so whatever.


as for my money, i actually kind of think there will be a decent-sized 8th edition bump. i'm also curious as to whether or not the space marine console action game thing that's supposed to be coming out soon will produce any kind of bump. the gaming community is so fickle these days, who knows.

Poseidal
04-06-2010, 08:56
GW would be in far less trouble also if hey made a product for low end customers (people who only like skirmish games, family board games, other non customers to GW), even if it's not very profitable keeping a customer is better than losing one as long as there's some profit, and expanding your customer base is better than shrinking it down.

This could work with a GW spin off company, but their spin offs seem to aim for the top end: the most hardcore fans are the ones Forge World and Black Library aim at (though there can be some overlap with BL, the book industry itself isn't in great shape to my knowledge, which isn't much).

blongbling
04-06-2010, 09:41
Iamafanboy - its ok to challenge me on what I have written. I tend to write from two points of view, either trying to explain to people why GW does stuff and what I saw in my time there, or from my own personal viewpoint, which generally is more attacking on GW :)

I also do feel that people do a lot of guesswork on what they think is happening without knowing, for instance lets look at the statement you made:

I know what I woulda done, had I been GW ten years ago: established a system of Battle Bunker-style retail outlets, one or two to a state (possibly more depending on population), with paid employee Outriders who are based out of those Bunkers but who travel from indie store to indie store, hosting tournaments, teaching employees to run 'proper' intro games, giving out promotional goodies, and not only that, operate as auditors to make sure that a given store has the 'proper' amount of space required. .

That idea has been tried, maybe not in the US but all the heads of sales were able to see the results from the battle bunkers and outriders programs set up across Europe. Fundamentally the Battle Bunker concept didn't work. It increased overheads dramatically and didn't increase turnover enough to make it profitable.

In terms of the outriders, I have explained this one already so I wont do it again. This is all fact, not me making it up, fact. So I really dont mind you arguing against me about it but I wont labour the point by going over it again.

The only thing I will talk about is the trade/indie thing you touched on. I have never once met either a GW trade manager or heard any of the staff in those departments think of the stores as expendable. Every trade guy has a vested interest in keeping their region and customer base alive and kicking as they are KPI'd on it and against the results it produces and to infer otherwise is to insult a team of great people, many of whom I employed.

Where things do start to come unstuck is with the constant retail expansion plans that GW has for its own retail chain. Now in the UK over the last three years there have been half a dozen new one man stores opened (brand new stores), some of which were opened near a poorly performing indie (and there were also two locations dismissed as the indie there was doing well). GW gives the indie several options here on what they can do, they can return all the stock straight away, in six months or carry on trading as normal. GW would always advise on at least 6 months as you tend to find that opening a GW store grows a customer base (and not everyone wants to shop in a GW stores). If you then look at what was going on in the Northern European stores where you would have store managers visiting the local indies, helping them out, running joint events and on a couple of occasions that I know of, giving them new release stock from their store as the stores orders hadn't replied you can see that I have a different view on what you are seeing.

The danger from having only a few sources, listening to all the bad rumours or not seeing a bigger picture can mean that sometimes we forget that GW is a global company and not a US one and they still have a lot to learn about how to manage the US business the right way but it will certainly be a case of trial and error, as it has been all of the life of GW

Baboon
04-06-2010, 09:44
I have also mentioned how great outriders would be, others have disputed it here. Sadly I do not know enough to debate it properly.

Hell this is the internet... the less you know the better you can debate. :)

spaint2k
04-06-2010, 11:04
That idea has been tried, maybe not in the US but all the heads of sales were able to see the results from the battle bunkers and outriders programs set up across Europe. Fundamentally the Battle Bunker concept didn't work. It increased overheads dramatically and didn't increase turnover enough to make it profitable.


But I felt that the crux of the matter was exactly that. Namely, that GW ignores the demography and geography of North America and applies Europe-centric rules to the region. "This didn't work in Europe, hence it won't work in the US. Our chain of stores works in the UK, hence it'll work in the US."

gorgon
04-06-2010, 15:19
But I felt that the crux of the matter was exactly that. Namely, that GW ignores the demography and geography of North America and applies Europe-centric rules to the region. "This didn't work in Europe, hence it won't work in the US. Our chain of stores works in the UK, hence it'll work in the US."

Yep, that's the long-running contention.

@blongbling: I think the problem others have identified is GW's schizophrenic approach. On one hand you have trade sales working to support the FLGSs (and they do). On the other hand GW is (by your own admission) ready to swoop in and place company stores near underperforming trade accounts. I see what the company thinking is, but that's creating a very fine line to walk, especially in the US.

blongbling
04-06-2010, 15:20
But I felt that the crux of the matter was exactly that. Namely, that GW ignores the demography and geography of North America and applies Europe-centric rules to the region. "This didn't work in Europe, hence it won't work in the US. Our chain of stores works in the UK, hence it'll work in the US."

Honestly I agree, there is one approach from GW and that's the European way, if it works here it "must" work everywhere.

Now they did try and do something different in Japan but that once again hasn't been a resounding success either.

The basic premise behind GW is that they are growing into becoming a retailer and want to have a massive chain of stores across the globe, that is being seen in lots of decisions over the last couple of years. This also falls into the comfort zone for MW and a lot of this senior staff as ex Boots employees involved in the retail chain.

Personally I have no issue with that, however they fail to realise a key point, namely that the trade side of the business drives massive profit and has kept the business afloat for the last few years because retail has under performed globally. Add onto that the fact that they are making it more difficult to work with GW as an indie unless you are a toy store, hobby stores/Internet stores in the EU have to jump through so many hoops now it is crazy.

In order to be successful GW needs to remember what made it successful, that was a smaller retail chain with good stores, lots of good indies and a lot of successful licensing going on.

Reinholt
04-06-2010, 15:34
To expand on what blongbling has said:

1 - Retail is definitely where GW feels most comfortable, which is somewhat ironic, as it is also where they have failed most notably in the US. They will continue to push a the traditional UK retail strategy as long as the current management is in place, which is why I expect the current management to eventually not be in place unless they can figure out their mistakes in the US.

2 - The dynamic between trade sales and US retail is definitely becoming a major problem for GW in the US. If the issue of the US retail chain opening stores near successful trade accounts was either isolated or not publicly known, this would be one thing. However, the fact that this has happened more than once, and is public knowledge means that it serves as another hurdle for trade sales to try to cross to get independents to sell GW product. I know, personally, of independents that either refuse to stock GW or deliberately take less GW product than they could sell for this reason. Now this varies on a case by case basis, and I am not claiming it is universal. But the fact that it is out there is a problem, and I suggest the problem was not created by trade sales.

3 - When looking at GW's management practices, one must strongly consider that they feel retail is their strength, yet the failures they have had in US retail have been spectacular. They screwed up in NYC, opening too many stores in odd locations and then closing all but one of them, burning bridges with the hobby community that many never be repaired in the single most profitable and well-suited US market for them. They haven't figured out Boston. Or San Diego. Yet they have a plethora of stores in Maryland (because their HQ was there and they were lazy about store placement, taking the easy option rather than the best option), and they had a store in an outlet mall in Philadelphia made to sell clothing for women and babies. What the <expletive deleted>?

4 - The issues I raise with regard to GW as a company are often management level decisions. To back up blongbling here, I know there are plenty of solid people in trade sales and retail who are just trying to do their jobs. Unfortunately, the job description they are being given might as well be "we want you to turn into a fire truck and then dance on the table", because GW has created a situation where success is impossible due to the incredible strategic mistakes being made at the top.

yabbadabba
04-06-2010, 15:40
The basic premise behind GW is that they are growing into becoming a retailer and want to have a massive chain of stores across the globe, that is being seen in lots of decisions over the last couple of years. This also falls into the comfort zone for MW and a lot of this senior staff as ex Boots employees involved in the retail chain.

Personally I have no issue with that, however they fail to realise a key point, namely that the trade side of the business drives massive profit and has kept the business afloat for the last few years because retail has under performed globally. Add onto that the fact that they are making it more difficult to work with GW as an indie unless you are a toy store, hobby stores/Internet stores in the EU have to jump through so many hoops now it is crazy.

In order to be successful GW needs to remember what made it successful, that was a smaller retail chain with good stores, lots of good indies and a lot of successful licensing going on. Yeah mate but there just aren't enough people left in important decision making positions who remember that, or have the courage/knowledge to do it. And they are also losing that experience and ability at the dirty end too. GW isn't just a hobby company but also a toy company now. If thats how MW as the rest of the board see it evolving then fair enough, but even Lego found dedicated single brand stores too much hard work and their brand is far more secure.

For me its sad to think that actually GW could be all things to everyone with the right approach and balance to its direction and culture, instead of the perceived culture they have now.

eriochrome
04-06-2010, 15:56
I have to disagree with you on one thing. Putting a GW store in an outlet mall is not a bad idea since mothers shopping there have sons which they might need someplace to drop off while they shop around. But it has to be a reasonable outlet mall with some brand name stores there so that some of the clients are in the proper middle class demographic.

As for retail mistakes GW used to have 4 stores in the Detroit Metro area. They sort of ringed detroit to the north and west (toward the money). They closed 2 both to the west so essentially now the nearst GW store for most of the area is like 1 hour away.

Interestingly my FLGS essential keeps only about 1K of GW stuff on hand. Anything you want he will order in at 25% off list for standard line. Order it by wednesday before he makes his GW order and it is usual there by friday. So he essential runs his store as a mail order place with gaming tables. He has pretty low rent(basement location) and also sells comics and other gaming stuff.

FictionalCharacter
04-06-2010, 16:54
GW would be in far less trouble also if hey made a product for low end customers (people who only like skirmish games, family board games, other non customers to GW), even if it's not very profitable keeping a customer is better than losing one as long as there's some profit, and expanding your customer base is better than shrinking it down.

This could work with a GW spin off company, but their spin offs seem to aim for the top end: the most hardcore fans are the ones Forge World and Black Library aim at (though there can be some overlap with BL, the book industry itself isn't in great shape to my knowledge, which isn't much).

seems rather unlikely since they baaaarely support the skirmish games they already have.

gorgon
04-06-2010, 17:56
I have to disagree with you on one thing. Putting a GW store in an outlet mall is not a bad idea since mothers shopping there have sons which they might need someplace to drop off while they shop around. But it has to be a reasonable outlet mall with some brand name stores there so that some of the clients are in the proper middle class demographic.

The aforementioned outlet mall has name brand stores and draws from a variety of income levels. However, a sizable amount of mall traffic would probably be considered lower middle class. Which is fine, but "the money" as you put it is *definitely* in other areas and malls in the region. It's kind of a stark contrast if you know the scene. There's LOTS of money around the Philly region, but that part of NE Philly is not a wealthy neighborhood. There's also more problems at that mall in terms of people getting assaulted, shot, cars broken into, etc. than most others around the region.

I'm sure the store was placed there at least partially because of GW's relationship with the Mills chain (i.e. they probably got a break on rent for multiple stores in the mall chain). But IMO, it's a classic example of someone doing a bit of research but not really understanding the situation on the ground and knowing where a given mall draws from and what areas it's convenient to and not.

They've now moved to a strip mall location nearby. I'm told by a friend who lives in the area that it's really not a good spot either. I imagine they did that to try to preserve the customer base they had there. But yeah, in general they pretty much look like they have no idea what they're doing.

eriochrome
04-06-2010, 19:33
My brother lives in fishtown which I think is about 4 miles South South/East from that store. He was never really a GW guy though so would probably never even know it is there. Fishtown also does not appear like a place I would put a GW store from my visit to see him last year.

ivrg
04-06-2010, 19:47
More and more high quality games are coming to the market. Just look at privateer press. Ask youself, if you didnt know anything about gaming and walked into a room where the different games were being demonstrated.
Would you choose GW? Sure GW wold seem interesting but not superior in any way. Its not the best mini-game out there. I think more people will see this and GWs price policy is a good driving force for people to start looking around.

In PP-games and other newer mini-game syou dont need many miniatures to play and enjoy the game. If you are going to play warhammer you need alot of expensive models. For the price of one GW army you can get two armies in Warmachine/hordes at standard size. I think this will play a role when gamers decide what to buy.

And i recomend all that is hooked up on GW to try something else. Dont have to skip GW for that.

I dont think the company will collapse. But its golden days are past.

tezdal
04-06-2010, 21:05
I don't know, more and more Warmachine and FOW seem to be stealing the thunder at stores I happen to visit.

Demrush
04-06-2010, 22:02
More and more high quality games are coming to the market. Just look at privateer press. Ask youself, if you didnt know anything about gaming and walked into a room where the different games were being demonstrated.
Would you choose GW? Sure GW wold seem interesting but not superior in any way. Its not the best mini-game out there. I think more people will see this and GWs price policy is a good driving force for people to start looking around.

In PP-games and other newer mini-game syou dont need many miniatures to play and enjoy the game. If you are going to play warhammer you need alot of expensive models. For the price of one GW army you can get two armies in Warmachine/hordes at standard size. I think this will play a role when gamers decide what to buy.

And i recomend all that is hooked up on GW to try something else. Dont have to skip GW for that.

I dont think the company will collapse. But its golden days are past.

What lots of people don't understand is that the majority of newcomers to the GW wargaming scene aren't 20+ year olds but rather, teenagers and kids. The latter, at least initially, won't run into the store at the prospect of playing an amazing game system but rather because the models they sell look really "cool". In fact, these new initiates don't know and would most likely not care (initially) about other gaming systems out there. It's only later, when they have grown up and have been filtered down to the very few who actually stick with war gaming later in life, that other gaming systems and new alternatives become interesting. And this, is exactly why GW is so hard pressed into keeping their retail model. If they gave up their shops, they wouldn't be able to attract the same amount of customers that they do.

Let's face it, GW is a big company with plenty of new releases every month. If they were to solely sell online and give up on retail, they'd not only lose a lot of younger customers but also end up being, in my eyes at least, just another Miniature company. This is something they (GW) definitely don't want to see happen. Do you know why? Because retail is their greatest asset. The fact that they can attract the majority of the teenagers whilst other online companies can't is why they are so successful. You know as well as I do that veterans alone and word of mouth (to go buy online or at FLGSs) can't support GW and that without retailers, you would essentially lose your kid/teenager customer base. Invariably, even without having to pay retail chain rent anymore, GW would still have irrecoverable losses. More losses would finally mean less content being released and that would obviously not help the situation either.

duffybear1988
04-06-2010, 23:02
They are just bad.

eriochrome
04-06-2010, 23:17
What lots of people don't understand is that the majority of newcomers to the GW wargaming scene aren't 20+ year olds but rather, teenagers and kids. The latter, at least initially, won't run into the store at the prospect of playing an amazing game system but rather because the models they sell look really "cool". In fact, these new initiates don't know and would most likely not care (initially) about other gaming systems out there. It's only later, when they have grown up and have been filtered down to the very few who actually stick with war gaming later in life, that other gaming systems and new alternatives become interesting. And this, is exactly why GW is so hard pressed into keeping their retail model. If they gave up their shops, they wouldn't be able to attract the same amount of customers that they do.

Let's face it, GW is a big company with plenty of new releases every month. If they were to solely sell online and give up on retail, they'd not only lose a lot of younger customers but also end up being, in my eyes at least, just another Miniature company. This is something they (GW) definitely don't want to see happen. Do you know why? Because retail is their greatest asset. The fact that they can attract the majority of the teenagers whilst other online companies can't is why they are so successful. You know as well as I do that veterans alone and word of mouth (to go buy online or at FLGSs) can't support GW and that without retailers, you would essentially lose your kid/teenager customer base. Invariably, even without having to pay retail chain rent anymore, GW would still have irrecoverable losses. More losses would finally mean less content being released and that would obviously not help the situation either.

Something seems wrong with this. If the kiddes in the stores drive the sales why are the stores which sell at full retail not profitable enough to be open everyday or maintain more than 1 staffer in many locations.

GW needs both the vets and the kiddies to be successful. If they lose one side, they will end up losing it all.

iamfanboy
05-06-2010, 01:19
Something seems wrong with this. If the kiddes in the stores drive the sales why are the stores which sell at full retail not profitable enough to be open everyday or maintain more than 1 staffer in many locations.

GW needs both the vets and the kiddies to be successful. If they lose one side, they will end up losing it all.
GW sees that most of their 'profit' as such comes from people just starting the game, but fails to know (in the words of Kirby himself!!) why they start the game. A few might do it because the models are nice, a few might be attracted to it from video games/other licensing, but most are there throwing down money for minis because their friends play and they want to play too!

The network of players, with its center in the gaming store, is the most important draw. By linking one person in, you link in their friends, and the quite often the ones with the biggest links ARE the veterans - they have the shiny, fully-painted armies to inspire people, they're the ones who want more people to play with and are willing to teach, and they're the ones who are out there actively spreading the word about your game, one way or another.

If they like your game, then they'll draw more people in. If, on the other hand,they've been burned by a decade of arbitrary rule changes, spiraling costs, and corporate disdain for their very existence...


We can witness the positive effects of networking by watching the spread of Warmachine. When it first came out the only people who really played it were those REALLY pissed at GW - not coincidentally, who were often vets of GW games. But now, Warmachine is equal to WFB in most stores, coming in second only to 40k, thanks to those same veterans working to draw more people into their network and away from GW, which sets up a snowballing effect - no one wants to be the one who brings in a fully-painted Empire army into a store and realize he's the last one playing WFB...




<_< And why do Marxists think that Karl Marx was an idiot? "He set forth the perfect structure for a long-lived, totalitarian government that would have iron control of its people's minds in his writings, but, uh... he never meant to, and Stalin/Mao/dozens of others have just twisted his words..." Feh. Marx was a frickin' genius; he knew what he wanted (himself, and people who thought like him, at the top) and created a document that talked about freeing the masses while containing the chains that would bind them. Funny how much wordspace he used on overthrowing oppression and how to establish a government of the proletariat, but how little he spent on the idea that "after a certain amount of time, government would wither away..."

Demrush
05-06-2010, 01:38
Something seems wrong with this. If the kiddes in the stores drive the sales why are the stores which sell at full retail not profitable enough to be open everyday or maintain more than 1 staffer in many locations.

GW needs both the vets and the kiddies to be successful. If they lose one side, they will end up losing it all.

And I totally agree with you...GW needs both the veterans and the kiddies. When did I ever say otherwise? I never mentioned that alienating the veterans would make their business any better!

As for your statement about GW stores not being profitable, that's not a fact...That's just what you see around your living area and can hardly be applied to every other GW retail store. In fact, the GWs I've frequented often in North America have full hours and are quite profitable as they are situated in downtown malls where upper middle class kids abound. Whether the stores are profitable or not all depends on the location and it's plainly obvious that GW doesn't understand this concept as they often aren't willing to make the financial sacrifices needed to get the right locations. These shortcuts in regards to opening stores invariably results in bad sales and eventual closures.

eriochrome
05-06-2010, 03:13
I am still not sure about your data. Only a few years ago GW was leaving the big malls for the strip mall locations since the rents in the malls were to high. Now they recently closed a bunch of those stores.

I think we will all agree that GW does not really know what it is doing in US retail.

Now the only stores I see that are open full hours are the mall stores in both regions I am familar with (Metro Detroit and San Francisco Bay Area). I would bet that some of these are only open full hours due to requirements in their leases.

ICLRK625
05-06-2010, 03:31
Now the only stores I see that are open full hours are the mall stores in both regions I am familar with (Metro Detroit and San Francisco Bay Area). I would bet that some of these are only open full hours due to requirements in their leases.

Yep, malls charge a fee if your store isn't opened during a malls operating hours, this means abiding by holiday hours (some malls are open until 10 PM or so during Christmas, and considering they open at 8 or 9 AM, this can be a rough schedule) and being open 7 days a week, no matter what. I'm not sure if the Great Lakes Crossing GW is down to one employee, but if it is, I'm going to feel very, very bad for him come the holidays.

eriochrome
05-06-2010, 04:00
Open hours are to long for it to be one person. Probably why they left the rochester hills store open even though it is pretty close to great lakes crossing so the extra employee could cover sick days there also.

iamfanboy
05-06-2010, 05:06
Iamafanboy - its ok to challenge me on what I have written. I tend to write from two points of view, either trying to explain to people why GW does stuff and what I saw in my time there, or from my own personal viewpoint, which generally is more attacking on GW :)

I also do feel that people do a lot of guesswork on what they think is happening without knowing, for instance lets look at the statement you made:
Bloody hell, I didn't even see your post before. <_< So let me respond to it...
.

That idea has been tried, maybe not in the US but all the heads of sales were able to see the results from the battle bunkers and outriders programs set up across Europe. Fundamentally the Battle Bunker concept didn't work. It increased overheads dramatically and didn't increase turnover enough to make it profitable.
The Battle Bunker store model in my business isn't about profitability of the Battle Bunker itself; it's about expanding awareness of the game by having a central location from which the orders for the Outrider program issue. Perhaps once every few months a mega-tournament could be hosted there, there could be 'special events' where new release miniatures are sold as a pre-release, etcetera, etcetera.


In terms of the outriders, I have explained this one already so I wont do it again. This is all fact, not me making it up, fact. So I really dont mind you arguing against me about it but I wont labour the point by going over it again.
Europe and the US are radically different markets. Were the EU Outriders paid employees? Or just outside recruited hobbyists?

But that's beside the point. One thing that most Europeans overlook about the US is the scale of our country - we have states that are bigger than most European nations! What gamers like about the GW games is that they tie the States together; I can pack a Space Marine army in my bag and find a game two thousand miles from home. And I have.

With traveling employees working to tie all the independent stores into similar practices and expand GW game presence into stores that don't currently carry it, a central location in each state that could serve as a 'pilgrimage' point of some sort, and no more confusion about their business plan, GW could come out rosier than they've ever been.

Good thing they're wedded to an impracticable working plan, because I am one of those embittered veterans who is currently enjoying a great deal of schadenfreude over GW being forced to acknowledge that being a retailer is what's helping to destroy their business.


The only thing I will talk about is the trade/indie thing you touched on. I have never once met either a GW trade manager or heard any of the staff in those departments think of the stores as expendable. Every trade guy has a vested interest in keeping their region and customer base alive and kicking as they are KPI'd on it and against the results it produces and to infer otherwise is to insult a team of great people, many of whom I employed.
Yes, but are they valued more highly on independent stores, or on official GW stores?

You already answered that question. A trade manager is instructed to keep the official stores supplied first, with any shortages being transferred to the indies. They don't have to think independents are expendable, but if they're instructed to value the retail stores more highly than they will - especially because in the US they place retail stores into proven sales areas already, so what does it matter if the indie that's there goes under as long as GW still gets the sales?


Where things do start to come unstuck is with the constant retail expansion plans that GW has for its own retail chain. Now in the UK over the last three years there have been half a dozen new one man stores opened (brand new stores), some of which were opened near a poorly performing indie (and there were also two locations dismissed as the indie there was doing well). GW gives the indie several options here on what they can do, they can return all the stock straight away, in six months or carry on trading as normal. GW would always advise on at least 6 months as you tend to find that opening a GW store grows a customer base (and not everyone wants to shop in a GW stores). If you then look at what was going on in the Northern European stores where you would have store managers visiting the local indies, helping them out, running joint events and on a couple of occasions that I know of, giving them new release stock from their store as the stores orders hadn't replied you can see that I have a different view on what you are seeing.
Once again, can't talk all that much about the EU model; sounds like a healthier relationship to me. But I do know that GW store managers Stateside treat indies as hostile competition, and this is apparently an attitude from the top. I know personally of one store manager in southern California who tried to do just that, host a joint event with several of the local indies, and he was dismissed summarily within three weeks. As were half the employees.


The danger from having only a few sources, listening to all the bad rumours or not seeing a bigger picture can mean that sometimes we forget that GW is a global company and not a US one and they still have a lot to learn about how to manage the US business the right way but it will certainly be a case of trial and error, as it has been all of the life of GW
For a period of about five years (2001-2006) I was extremely mobile all over the US in everywhere but New England, sometimes staying in one place for only a few weeks. For me, GW and Magic the Gathering were boons as I could drop in for a game anywhere without really having to set down roots.

Over the years in independent gaming stores across the nation, I noticed a distinct shift in attitude that was universal across the States. I saw a number of things that I didn't like, and heard stories of worse, most of them from the people they'd happened to. While the details were never the same (always a key hint in picking out what's internet rumor adapted to make oneself sound like a victim), the general plot was nearly identical.

And that was back in 2006. If I still had that job, I would have to add a Warmachine army to my case! At least a FoW army doesn't take up much space or weight...

And one more thing: As a veteran with his own army looking for a game and obviously not to buy anything, I was never welcomed into an official GW store except once, when there was a tournament about to happen.

Reinholt
05-06-2010, 05:27
What lots of people don't understand is that the majority of newcomers to the GW wargaming scene aren't 20+ year olds but rather, teenagers and kids. The latter, at least initially, won't run into the store at the prospect of playing an amazing game system but rather because the models they sell look really "cool". In fact, these new initiates don't know and would most likely not care (initially) about other gaming systems out there. It's only later, when they have grown up and have been filtered down to the very few who actually stick with war gaming later in life, that other gaming systems and new alternatives become interesting. And this, is exactly why GW is so hard pressed into keeping their retail model. If they gave up their shops, they wouldn't be able to attract the same amount of customers that they do.

Let's face it, GW is a big company with plenty of new releases every month. If they were to solely sell online and give up on retail, they'd not only lose a lot of younger customers but also end up being, in my eyes at least, just another Miniature company. This is something they (GW) definitely don't want to see happen. Do you know why? Because retail is their greatest asset. The fact that they can attract the majority of the teenagers whilst other online companies can't is why they are so successful. You know as well as I do that veterans alone and word of mouth (to go buy online or at FLGSs) can't support GW and that without retailers, you would essentially lose your kid/teenager customer base. Invariably, even without having to pay retail chain rent anymore, GW would still have irrecoverable losses. More losses would finally mean less content being released and that would obviously not help the situation either.

I disagree completely about the stores being an asset in this situation.

If you are functioning as a loss leader to recruit kids, as they will not do the majority of their spending then, and subsequently lose them to competitors when they mature, you are doing two things wrong:

1 - You are spending the money to recruit them, only to have them fail to make the investment valid by leaving.

2 - You are strengthening your competitors by recruiting people into the hobby who defect to their games.

Recruitment means nothing without retention in long-tailed cash flow situations, which this is.

yabbadabba
05-06-2010, 08:12
This is turning into a very narrow discussion, too US-centric. The US policy of GW, something GW and this forum have already admitted hasn't worked, so to be honest this doesn't answer the question because GW have never been in a position to proclaim that they are "established" in the States.

This is, for all intents and purposes, going off topic.

iamfanboy
05-06-2010, 10:36
Mmmm. I dunno yabbadabba; if we're trying to figure out why GW is bleeding out, we need to inspect the wound.

In the UK, GW is doing fairly fine despite the price raises because they're still in a position of dominance.

In the EU, the countries they're most heavily based in are also the most prosperous (aside from Spain).

In Australia, they don't have a strong presence anyway, but what IS there is fanatic - they'd have to be, to pay that much for their game! Also, the Aussie corporate seems to be a lot more top-down supportive and involved with their customers, something that no doubt helps quite a bit in customer retention.

Their presence in the Asian countries is negligible.


That leaves North America.

It's my theory that the price raises were enacted to prop up the failing line of retail outlets across the US; it's just a theory, but considering the timing it's hard not to believe. Since this was the point that the decline began, it's that which we have to examine.

Like not getting involved in a land war in Asia, GW made one of the classic blunders, and they're still paying for it to this day.

Pokpoko
05-06-2010, 11:46
In the UK, GW is doing fairly fine despite the price raises because they're still in a position of dominance.

In the EU, the countries they're most heavily based in are also the most prosperous (aside from Spain).

I'm not even trying to act like some sort of financial specialist, but a short read through the GW's own 2009-10 final halfyear report shows revenue (in pounds)
for Continental Europe 15,3 mln compared to 17,8mln in the comparable period of 2008. US is less so, 13,6 compared to 13,9, and northern europe lost just 0,1mln. The US and NE is neglible, but 2,5mln in the continent is not exactly what I'd consider prosperous.

eriochrome
05-06-2010, 15:43
I'm not even trying to act like some sort of financial specialist, but a short read through the GW's own 2009-10 final halfyear report shows revenue (in pounds)
for Continental Europe 15,3 mln compared to 17,8mln in the comparable period of 2008. US is less so, 13,6 compared to 13,9, and northern europe lost just 0,1mln. The US and NE is neglible, but 2,5mln in the continent is not exactly what I'd consider prosperous.

Most of that continent business was just transferred to UK online independents who ship to Europe. Many people have discussed that it is cheaper for them to buy gw online from the UK and have it shipped to them due to GW poor currency exchange rates in their pricing. This has also been happening in the states also now that the pound has dropped to less than 1.5 dollars. I think GW is just really shedding sales everywhere.

yabbadabba
05-06-2010, 16:04
Mmmm. I dunno yabbadabba; if we're trying to figure out why GW is bleeding out, we need to inspect the wound.
In the UK, GW is doing fairly fine despite the price raises because they're still in a position of dominance.
In the EU, the countries they're most heavily based in are also the most prosperous (aside from Spain).
In Australia, they don't have a strong presence anyway, but what IS there is fanatic - they'd have to be, to pay that much for their game! Also, the Aussie corporate seems to be a lot more top-down supportive and involved with their customers, something that no doubt helps quite a bit in customer retention.
Their presence in the Asian countries is negligible.
That leaves North America.
It's my theory that the price raises were enacted to prop up the failing line of retail outlets across the US; it's just a theory, but considering the timing it's hard not to believe. Since this was the point that the decline began, it's that which we have to examine. You can argue about when GW's decline started tbh. In this case GW have issues all over their business. The biggest problem in the US is one that everyone recognises - that they haven't made it a success. It could almost be worth cutting back their and spending more resources in the Tiger economies to establish the brand their and especially in China.
The US is a part of this, but not the sole issue, and this thread is in danger of making it seem that way.

Santiaghoul
05-06-2010, 16:31
*snip*
As for your statement about GW stores not being profitable, that's not a fact...That's just what you see around your living area and can hardly be applied to every other GW retail store. In fact, the GWs I've frequented often in North America have full hours and are quite profitable as they are situated in downtown malls where upper middle class kids abound. Whether the stores are profitable or not all depends on the location and it's plainly obvious that GW doesn't understand this concept as they often aren't willing to make the financial sacrifices needed to get the right locations. These shortcuts in regards to opening stores invariably results in bad sales and eventual closures.

I just exited working for GW. I can tell you that out of the 80 or so stores in the US, less than 15 bring in more money than it takes to keep the store open. Other than the few mall stores that are profitable, GW will exit the malls in order to transition stores to 1 man environments. With reduced hours, reduced inventory, reduced payroll the goal is to make stores profitable.

Sorry if this post moves the thread to US centric.

Reinholt
05-06-2010, 16:38
The US is interesting because it is the symptom, not the disease. Usually, the best way to find the weak points of an organization are to look for the areas where they are having trouble and begin to determine why those things are happening.

Thus, the lessons from the US reverberate throughout the company, and reveal some of the issues that they have on a corporate management level as well.

In terms of how I view GW, I feel that their UK operation is probably strong enough to stand on its own without major issue, I feel that they are slowly losing ground in the EU, but that they could turn that around, I feel that they are a non-player in Asia (and if they can't figure out the US market, they are definitely not figuring out Japan or China), and that the US has been their 'land war in Asia', as they keep trying the same tactics and expending dramatic efforts only to fail for the same reasons repeatedly.

To me, that is revealing of the people at the top. Wise companies make mistakes, but they don't usually make the same ones twice.

yabbadabba
05-06-2010, 16:53
The US is interesting because it is the symptom, not the disease. Usually, the best way to find the weak points of an organization are to look for the areas where they are having trouble and begin to determine why those things are happening.

Thus, the lessons from the US reverberate throughout the company, and reveal some of the issues that they have on a corporate management level as well. Here I disagree. Its not just the US, but everywhere that needs examination. You say the UK position is strong? It might be strong relative to the rest of the business but it is weak compared to where it was even pre-LotR. Also what about the culture in the UK? How is the UK business managing its customer base etc etc. In addition how are the mistakes in the US reflected in the UK and EU markets and vice versa? There are 1001 proposed solutions to make the US business a success on Warseer, but precious little spent examining other parts of GW's empire.
The US is an important market for GW and I have no doubt that the internal politics reflect this. But without the UK GW are nothing, and the UK isn't going all that great either.

Ozorik
05-06-2010, 17:09
What would work for the US would, by and large, work here though. Cheaper prices, entry level games, better support, better quality control, better customer interaction; these are all things that would work right across the world.

The main UK/US difference are the viability of brand stores, everything else is essentially the same.

Demrush
05-06-2010, 20:27
I disagree completely about the stores being an asset in this situation.

If you are functioning as a loss leader to recruit kids, as they will not do the majority of their spending then, and subsequently lose them to competitors when they mature, you are doing two things wrong:

1 - You are spending the money to recruit them, only to have them fail to make the investment valid by leaving.

2 - You are strengthening your competitors by recruiting people into the hobby who defect to their games.

Recruitment means nothing without retention in long-tailed cash flow situations, which this is.

Hehe...don't be putting words in my mouth because I never said the stores are perfectly good as is. What I am trying to argue here is that working retail is something that was giving GW the advantage over its competitors but of course, we know that currently, their retail strategy is not working in the US and losing ground in EU. Obviously, in the best of worlds, GW would be using their stores to attract young bloods to their stores and keep them as life long customers as well! Actually, I do think this is what GW higherups hope to aim for but considering the niche market that the wargaming scene is, I wonder if they aren't going after an impossible goal?

lanrak
05-06-2010, 22:25
Hi all.
GW plc remind me of 'Richard Guilt' in Terry Pratchetts 'Going Postal'.

Constant price rises, poor customer relations and he said '...good buisness doesnt mean providing a good service, it means providing the ONLY service...'

As long a GW pretend thier competitors dont exist , and provide isolated marketing in their own brand stores , they can maximise returns of new customers.

Unfortunatley for GW the internet and word of mouth inform thier new customers of better value for money elsewhere.

Without the massive overhead of the B&M stores, as an online only retailer GW would be able to sell product at very competative prices.

And if they actualy invested in game development, to provide a engaging game experiance , rather than '...just the iceing on the cake...'
They might actualy retain customers for more than a few months...:eek:

As far as table top wargaming being a 'niche market'.

Its odd how other companies are increasing thier player base and turn over.
And most other companies seem to keep thier customers for longet than a few months.
(In a wargames magazine article most gamers play thier favorite systems between 5 and 8 years.)


TTFN
Lanrak

sliganian
07-06-2010, 15:43
Europe and the US are radically different markets. Were the EU Outriders paid employees? Or just outside recruited hobbyists?

But that's beside the point. One thing that most Europeans overlook about the US is the scale of our country - we have states that are bigger than most European nations!


Ah, that old favourite quote comes to mind about misguided mindsets on both sides of the pond:

"North Americans think 100 years is a long time and Europeans think 100 miles is a long way."

:D

blongbling
07-06-2010, 15:57
But that's beside the point. One thing that most Europeans overlook about the US is the scale of our country - we have states that are bigger than most European nations!

Well that is no more true than most Americans think that you should declare war on France next because they didn't support you during Desert Strom 2, yes a minority of uneducated Europeans think that, but literate, educated people do not.

I don't think that GW misunderstands what the US market is all about, I believe that they don't care and want to enforce this model on it anyway. There are plenty of retailers in the US who have stores all over the country in the same way that GW has in the UK and parts of Europe, that is what they want to achieve.

It was often touted around that if the US had the same amount of stores per capita that the UK had then GW would be four times the size in terms of turnover, so it has been a stated policy for a long time that they want to open their own stores there and not rely on indies

General Veers
07-06-2010, 16:39
...I don't think that GW misunderstands what the US market is all about, I believe that they don't care and want to enforce this model on it anyway. There are plenty of retailers in the US who have stores all over the country in the same way that GW has in the UK and parts of Europe, that is what they want to achieve... Oh, quite clearly they misunderstand, even worse than I thought if it's as you presented it above.

Most retailers in the US are "retailers" not "manufacturer direct retail outlets". There is a HUGE difference between the two.

GW is trying to be a "retailer" without understanding that the US consumer knows instinctively that GW is not. Even the ignorant american who hates France will see when they enter the store that there is only one "manufacturer" or as they would call it "Brand" on sale in the store. US Consumers avoid stores like that unless they're; 1. luxury (Rolex, Apple*, etc) or 2. deep discount manufacturer outlet stores.

Go ahead GW try to impose your control on the US consumer like you have the last 20 years. It will continue to fail.

*Apple is considered a somewhat luxury item in that it's build a following (veterans) who are given a very high level of service and also they offer products that appear to provide value for the money such as; iPhone and iPad to new consumers and to veterans as well. This is in stark contrast to GW offerings in their product space.

isaac
07-06-2010, 17:48
I would say apple also does the "showcase" store. I have never seen an apple store that was not a showcase for their products. You can use them, play with them, get service for your products, etc.

spaint2k
07-06-2010, 18:05
It was often touted around that if the US had the same amount of stores per capita that the UK had then GW would be four times the size in terms of turnover, so it has been a stated policy for a long time that they want to open their own stores there and not rely on indies

As General Veers points out in the reply below your post, it shows how poorly GW understands the US market, and to a degree, Geography (despite your stance to the contrary).

In most of the US there simply isn't the population density to support such a model because while it has only 5 times the UK population is has 40 times the area. If you consider only England versus the continental US, the population of the US is larger by 5.6 while the land area is 59 times larger.

It should stand to reason that you can't serve this kind of demographic in the same way as the British demographic is served.

Max_Killfactor
07-06-2010, 18:52
As someone who has been playing GW games exclusively for nearly 13 years, I feel like I'm turning into a grumpy old man whenever I talk about them now... even though I'm under 30.

Warmachine has stole the thunder from GW in my group. We're all excited about 8th edition still, but none of us has plans to start a brand new army any time soon. I drive past a GW on my way home from work every day. It used to be hard for me to resist starting a new army every week.

For the first time since starting GW games, I have no desire to start a new army. I'm just going to stay updated with rules and models for my existing forces.

WM/Horde's number of models, cheaper armies, and quicker games (especially set up time) also made it an easy sell to coworkers. When I first started my job I tried to sucker get people into GW games, but failed with all but one guy... who has only played one game and never figured out the movement phase.

Since I started WM at the tail end of 2009, I got 3 coworkers into it without even trying and another one is probably going to start soon. 3 people in my gaming group also have interest now because I played one demo game with them. It was enough to hook them.

So from my personal experience... yes, GW is bleeding out. My biggest frustrations with them has been their secrecy about upcoming releases, which is also what I found to be the most refreshing thing about PP.

iamfanboy
08-06-2010, 03:51
Well that is no more true than most Americans think that you should declare war on France next because they didn't support you during Desert Strom 2, yes a minority of uneducated Europeans think that, but literate, educated people do not.

I don't think that GW misunderstands what the US market is all about, I believe that they don't care and want to enforce this model on it anyway. There are plenty of retailers in the US who have stores all over the country in the same way that GW has in the UK and parts of Europe, that is what they want to achieve.

It was often touted around that if the US had the same amount of stores per capita that the UK had then GW would be four times the size in terms of turnover, so it has been a stated policy for a long time that they want to open their own stores there and not rely on indies
There's a difference between knowing and understanding. I knew childbirth was painful, but I didn't understand it until I passed a kidney stone.

GW muckymucks know the US is different, but they don't understand it. Today I just drove 200-odd miles round trip to get a tooth pulled and buy a few things at the nearest game store (80 miles away) - and it was a worthwhile day. I can't say it was all beer and skittles, but I did not mind it.

Why did I go there, instead of stopping at the slightly closer store? Because I could pick up a piece of Battletech terrain (6mm), some WFB Goblins for a Bloodbowl team (at a 10% discount off the OLD PRICE), some booster packs of Magic to feed that random thrill, and a couple volumes of manga in a series that I'm catching up on.

Just the idea that GW thinks it can dominate here the way it does in the UK or Europe is laughable. If a GW store that is filled with rude employees, unavailable tables, and only one game was within ten miles and a good indie was within 50, we'd go to the indie whenever possible.

Until GW gets this, they can't do anything worthwhile in the US.

Llew
08-06-2010, 05:48
Well, there are two things I see at play here.

First, the U.S. is a lot larger than the UK. However, you can probably reach (put a store within 1 hour of) 75% of the population by siting stores correctly. (Look at AT&T's coverage map and the idea that they cover 97% of all American's or whatever they tout.) We're no longer an agricultural country. Heck, just dropping Alaska cuts out a huge chunk of low-population land. So on that front, we're more approachable than it may seem at first.

However, I can't think of a single brand retailer that can have that kind of coverage. Maybe some fast food stores can acheive that, but not retailers. After all, everyone may decide they want a $1.79 Coke when they're just running around. Not many people are going to just have to have a new unit of Space Marines. Even the ubiquitous Wal-Mart carries tons of products from a gazillion manufacturers and they don't plop down stores at random.

The market for a game store over here is just different, and GW doesn't offer anything that I can't either, 1) get for the exact same price from a store that is probably closer, 2) order cheaper from an internet retailer, or 3) order directly from the GW web site. That's just a recipe for disaster.

As a retailer, they don't have anything that will compel a buyer to shop at their store over anyone else's. Bright, clean retail shop? I can go to Something to Do. Wide selection? I can go just about anywhere else. Terrain making stuff? I can get that at Hobby Lobby or a model railroad shop. (And that model railroad shop's unpredictable and crappy hours are still better than what a one-man GW shop is promising.)

In the meantime, I'll be taking a leisurely drive to my FLGS and picking up some Vallejo paints, a copy of Mouseguard, a Spider Man comic for my son, a couple Uncharted Seas ships, maybe a new Warmachine caster and grabbing a new box of Mantic miniatures as I pass by the $9 White Dwarf and glance at GW's shrinking shelf-space.

They want to do the U.S., but they don't have the will or the business model to make it worthwhile. It'll be good money after bad and they'll look puzzled and wonder why we Yanks don't just gobble the stuff up.

burad
08-06-2010, 06:25
Here in this county, GW briefly had a monopoly. They were the only gaming store in the county after the local FLGS closed. And they failed to see what that meant and closed the GW anyways. And it was the biggest (space-wise) GW store in the region outside of the Bunker, with ten tables to play at in addition to the demo table. All of the other stores in the region have no more than four tables, and at least one of those is permanently set up as a demo table.

Parents who can drop the kid off at the GW store that is in the nearby shopping center, go hit the grocery and Marshalls, etc and come back and pick the kid up later are not inclined to drive 15 miles down the interstate to the regional mall when they can do their errands at the strip mall 3 miles away. So now i see a bunch of WHFB and 40k stuff for sale on craigslist from kids who can't get down the interstate to the regional mall without mom/dad's help. And of course that strip mall where the GW was is in the middle of a huge residential area, so in the summer kids could walk there if they wanted. Not true of the big regional mall. So all those customers are gone.

It seems to be a given that GW targets teenagers - and oh, btw, many of those teenagers either can't drive or don't have cars. That may not be a big deal in the UK, but here in the US EVERYBODY DRIVES EVERYWHERE, and generally if they can't drive there they don't go, unless it's real close, 'cause there's no mass transit in a lot of places.

It appears that they may not understand how geography affects the travel culture of the demographic they seem to be targeting. Here you either have to target customers who can drive to your store or you have to make it so they don't have to drive there. This means either more support to mature gamers, or stores in places closer to residential areas.

spaint2k
08-06-2010, 07:38
It seems to be a given that GW targets teenagers - and oh, btw, many of those teenagers either can't drive or don't have cars. That may not be a big deal in the UK, but here in the US EVERYBODY DRIVES EVERYWHERE, and generally if they can't drive there they don't go, unless it's real close, 'cause there's no mass transit in a lot of places.


Well said.

blongbling
08-06-2010, 13:55
interesting short article http://pivotpointsolutions.net/2009/11/13/too-big-to-manage-too-big-to-succeed/

Although not a large company by any means I wonder if GW is too large compared to what it should be

Llew
08-06-2010, 14:25
I don't think GW is necessarily too large. I think they've cut areas that should have been important (customer service staff) and they don't focus on customer retention. I think they're not particularly well run at the moment and have conflicting goals that they don't seem to be able to reconcile. However, I don't think there's anything that would prevent a good managment staff from getting in there and making them a much better company.

Hence, my frustration when they appear to bang their heads on the same old walls time and again. I find it instructive that a number of talented employees leave and found companies working in various aspects of the miniature industry and seem to run profitably.

Reinholt
08-06-2010, 14:57
The "is GW too big" question clearly needs some context. I mean, can larger companies run profitably? Obviously; just look around for some examples. We can start with Wal-Mart.

However, is it too big for the miniatures gaming market? Probably not, as they had very good turnover for a while, and even with their run of poor management, they are still alive.

Are they too big for the current management to run the company effectively? Almost definitely. The international scale, in particular, seems to be giving them fits. Likewise, the knowledge and strategic understanding necessary for running a company like this do not seem to exist in the current management team.

eriochrome
08-06-2010, 15:36
While GW is certainly large in the gaming hobby I think they still have room to grow. They sold more pounds worth of products a few years ago at lower prices.

Ofcourse I think both WFB and W40K have less room to grow then the company as a whole.

blongbling
08-06-2010, 16:47
Reinholt, that was more where I was going with it without wanting to lead it. Yet most of the real senior management have come from even larger companies so I am at a loss as to where the issues really lie and to why they cant get a grip on sales growth and customer retention

Chaos and Evil
08-06-2010, 17:00
I am at a loss as to ... why they cant get a grip on sales growth and customer retention
Lack of customer retention is almost entirely down to the games design philosophy that drives the style and variety of the games sold by Games Workshop, IMHO.

Simply put, the game rules are very broad, but also very shallow; Once you get over the "visceral", there's little of the "intellectual" to hold attention over the long term.

GW's attempted solution to a lack of long-term appeal has been to add even more "visceral" supplements like Apocalypse, Planetstrike, Spearhead, etc. and to "up-visceral" their core rules with WOTR & WFB 8th edition, and to scale back on the "intellectual" even further... only time will tell whether that ever-expanded breadth can compensate for an ever-shallower depth (It may well do; lots of people like Michael Bay movies, after all, and they're 110% "visceral"... maybe GW likewise can hit a "visceral event horizon" where "teh awesomeness" of the rules overrides all other considerations, like game balance and tactical complexity).

Kaptajn_Congoboy
08-06-2010, 17:08
GW's attempted solution to a lack of long-term appeal has been to add even more "visceral" supplements like Apocalypse, Planetstrike, Spearhead, etc. and to "up-visceral" their core rules with WOTR & WFB 8th edition, and to scale back on the "intellectual" even further... only time will tell whether that ever-expanded breadth can compensate for an ever-shallower depth (It may well do; lots of people like Michael Bay movies, after all, and they're 110% "visceral"... maybe GW likewise can hit a "visceral event horizon" where "teh awesomeness" of the rules overrides all other considerations, like game balance and tactical complexity).

Heh. Well, I wouldn't be playing it, but it would likely be good for the miniatures hobby as the whole. GW could draw in lots of easily dazzled kids who then could "graduate" to other game systems (GW or not). :p

Ozorik
08-06-2010, 17:50
.....maybe GW likewise can hit a "visceral event horizon" where "teh awesomeness" of the rules overrides all other considerations, like game balance and tactical complexity).

Or maybe the desire for two dimensional games will kill the company. 'Churn and burn' clearly doesn't work.

It is so easy to cater to both types of player that I am genuinely at a loss to explain why GW doesn't do so; aside from the usual 'short term profit' answer. However, that is a strategy that seems to have been failing for years yet GW seems determined to stick to it even though they are heading for a very real crash in a few years time. Something is going to have to give somewhere and it will almost certainly by a good thing for wargaming when it does happen.

Sykorax
08-06-2010, 21:06
I've been paying attention and have only noticed any kind of lessening of players since 2004-2005, not coincidentally the same time GW started performing annual price raises.

Not only that, one CAN track by the performance of GW over the last 6 (quite possibly 8) years that, despite the fact that their distribution and manufacture costs have been lowered, their profits are at levels comparable to their 1999-2001 performance.

There were more players then, buying more kits and blisters, so the only logical conclusion is that there are fewer players buying less kits now. If people were buying the same volume of models, GW's profits would have risen.


Note that the amount of actual players need not have dropped - after all, one of the advantages of miniatures is that they don't wear out or depreciate over the years. What GW has done with their prices is raise the bar of entry to new players (what they claim to be their 'target audience') as well as inhibit people who might like to collect multiple armies and the shiny new widgets.

One thing that got mentioned in the pricing thread that rang true with me was this:



Tonight I'm actually working through a box of Catachans I bought when the plastic kit first came out (turning them into a cheap-and-dirty Orlock gang), when $20 for 20 minis seemed like an awesome thing, even if I had no idea what I was going to use them for. I used to do that a lot; I have hordes of minis that I never wanted armies for, but were cheap enough that I figured, "What the hell, maybe someday I'll run a D&D game and use these Skaven as enemies. Imagine my player's faces when I plop a Doomwheel on the table..."

Nowadays?

My last actual Games Workshop purchase was carefully planned; a box of Bret Knights of the Realm and a box of Grave Guard to turn into Black Knights, GG, AND make a Wight King Standard Bearer on skeletal steed. Long gone are the days of GW impulse buys; now everything I buy from my FLGS has a purpose planned for long before I even save the money for it - and the fact that it requires saving money annoys me.

When was the last time you picked up a new box on impulse just to open it up and see what was inside?


And, if you count Google's Android/Chrome as Linux (which most people do) it really COULD be poised to beat the hell out of Windows within 5 years.

I totally agree. Now I have to plan out full lists of what unit is armed with what before a purchase is made. Even as simple as - I want 4 meltas and lightning claws for this unit and 2 plasmas here, but since I only get 1 per box I'll have to take a unit of 2 meltas , 2 flamers and 2 plasmas and powerfist another unit to get full use of everything in each box.

Gone are the days when I can easily purchase several elite/heavy/fast slots and choose as I need without spending close to $1000. It's ~$300 to $400 for just HQ, troops and a few transports now.

burad
09-06-2010, 04:19
now everything I buy from my FLGS has a purpose planned for long before I even save the money for it -

Yeah. I even built my tankbustas from boyz with rokkits and tankhammers from deffkopta rokkits i cut off so i could mount big shootas I made by lengthening shootas i got from boyz. So I wouldn't have to pay for the metal tankbustas.
Similar with my kommandos, made from boyz 'cause it's cheaper. And most of my nobz are made from modified AOBR nobz, with new arms, longer axes, and converted weapons instead of having to buy multiple boxes of nobz to get what i needed. I only buy metal when it's unavoidable, 'cause they just cost too much. Half of my bikez are made from parts from ebay, plus scratchbuilt dakkaguns and have boyz for riders, 'cause it's cheaper than just buying bikes by the box.
To be sure, it's all either GW stuff or scratchbuilt (no other manufacturer's minis), but I do it the cheapest way I can, even if it's more work. Plus I guess there is the added benefit that nobody else has what you have if you do it that way.

Reinholt
09-06-2010, 06:17
Reinholt, that was more where I was going with it without wanting to lead it. Yet most of the real senior management have come from even larger companies so I am at a loss as to where the issues really lie and to why they cant get a grip on sales growth and customer retention

Bigger in some ways, but smaller in others. The companies they come from tended not to be hybrid producers/retailers in the same way, so they seem unable to solve that puzzle, and likewise, they didn't have the worldwide presence that GW was.

Likewise, I don't know that any of them have design, QC, or finance experience, from what I can find (or at least not any that is really meaningful). So bigger in market cap, but smaller in many other ways?

Satan
09-06-2010, 12:27
Likewise, I don't know that any of them have design, QC, or finance experience, from what I can find (or at least not any that is really meaningful). So bigger in market cap, but smaller in many other ways?

Reinholt, I love your posts on these matters. Lways full of insight and sufficiently explanatory. Thank you.

It should be stated that contrary to popular belief - the size of a company or previous experiences of key individuals does not equal success nor fulfillment of potential.

I say this based on my experience with internationally prestigious small-medium-sized companies...

Lars Porsenna
09-06-2010, 14:08
For those of you grousing about the costs of products, and how you either have to scratchbuild or are "forced" into specific loadouts for plastics, have you all looked at bits services? I buy a lot of bits from Battlewagon (FREX theWarStore just told me my latest order of Posessed wings, and Berzerker shoulderpads have shipped). While individually some of them are fairly expensive, it's cheaper than buying a whole other box to get what you need...

Damon.

iamfanboy
09-06-2010, 20:15
For those of you grousing about the costs of products, and how you either have to scratchbuild or are "forced" into specific loadouts for plastics, have you all looked at bits services? I buy a lot of bits from Battlewagon (FREX theWarStore just told me my latest order of Posessed wings, and Berzerker shoulderpads have shipped). While individually some of them are fairly expensive, it's cheaper than buying a whole other box to get what you need...

Damon.
*sigh*

*facepalm*

This thread isn't grousing about the price of X item; it's examining the accelerating decline of GW as a whole. Price is one factor in that (if beginners can't afford to buy armies and vets are experienced enough to maximize their usage of what they have to buy via, as a random example, bits services, GW's profits decline), but not the only factor.

Mismanagement from the top down (Mr. "We don't know why people buy toy soldiers" Kirby), a schizophrenic business plan (are they a retailer or a supplier?), spiraling upward prices, disaffection and outright neglect of established customers, declining player base, and a catastrophic US chain of stores are all consequences of a basic failure to understand their basic mission statement:

Games Workshop exists to sell toy soldiers made of plastic and metal.

GW does NOT exist to create the "GW Hobby".

GW does NOT exist to establish a chain of retail stores.

GW does NOT exist to virulently protect their IP from their own biggest fans.

GW does NOT exist to defeat the Internet resale of their items.

GW does NOT even exist to publish tabletop wargames, except as an advertising tool!


Its raison d'etre is to sell toy soldiers. Period. Full stop.

Anything that detracts from that is foolishness. Some of those things may lead to selling toy soldiers, but they should not be pursued past the point of not selling toy soldiers any more.

Lars Porsenna
09-06-2010, 20:50
Thanks IAMFANBOY, I couldn't quite figure out what this thread is about after having followed it from the beginning...

Damon.

iamfanboy
10-06-2010, 10:37
Thanks IAMFANBOY, I couldn't quite figure out what this thread is about after having followed it from the beginning...

Damon.
If you've been following it from the beginning, why post something that bears no relevance to the discussion? Trolling randomly? *shrug*


Truth be told, most of us vets remember when GW used to offer their own bits service through the website; you could order anything from them - I ordered half a dozen weapon sprues for my Necromunda buddies and I, way back when.

Strangely enough, the bits service disappeared when they started raising prices, if memory serves...

Lars Porsenna
10-06-2010, 13:49
If you've been following it from the beginning, why post something that bears no relevance to the discussion? Trolling randomly? *shrug*


Hardly. Some people were complaining that in order to get a bit, they'd need to buy an entire box. There is no way for me to know if they knew of the various bits services, and I was trying to be helpful. Your post...wasn't.

And it is relevant -- possibly to that person -- as an aside from the larger conversation.

No good deed ever goes unpunished, as the old saying goes.

Damon.

blongbling
10-06-2010, 15:41
Truth be told, most of us vets remember when GW used to offer their own bits service through the website; you could order anything from them - I ordered half a dozen weapon sprues for my Necromunda buddies and I, way back when.


I remember having to stay on the phones in the mail order office till 1am every morning taking orders for bits from the US

lanrak
10-06-2010, 16:06
Hi blongbling.
I fail to see the relevance of your comment.:confused:

Didnt GW have an American HQ then?

Didnt you get paid enought for your trouble?;)

Didnt they sell enough to America to pay your O/T rates?:eek:

Or are you just saying how much you loved working for GW ? :D

TTFN
Lanrak.

gorgon
10-06-2010, 17:33
The US only started bitz service around 1998 or 1999, I think. Before that you had to order bitz from the UK. So blongbling, I was one of your customers, although I think I typically snail mailed my orders. ;)

blongbling
11-06-2010, 09:07
Hi blongbling.
I fail to see the relevance of your comment.:confused:

Didnt GW have an American HQ then?

Didnt you get paid enought for your trouble?;)

Didnt they sell enough to America to pay your O/T rates?:eek:

Or are you just saying how much you loved working for GW ? :D

TTFN
Lanrak.

ah buddy, this was before the US business had a proper mail order service so the crazy Americans would ring through with thousands of dollars of orders...used to be a nice way to finish a twelve hour shift off tbh

Ulfson
11-06-2010, 13:07
I noticed a couple of you that have posted here seem to be looking forward to a day when there is no GW - I saw the comment "Wargaming will be better off" thrown in there somewhere, couldn't be bothered quoting it...

Why do you think it would be better?

Marshmalo
11-06-2010, 13:40
Well if GW's stock quote is anything to go by theres no mass exodus, its risen dramaticaly since 2010.

And as for other games companys, whilst some are thier models are better quality than GWs overal GW still offer the best range of quality models in general.

Thouigh I admit the quality of its competitors is steadily increasing.

eriochrome
11-06-2010, 13:51
Yes there stock price went up since they are no longer losing money and have reduced debt but it is still lower than it was 5 years ago.

gorgon
11-06-2010, 14:35
And as for other games companys, whilst some are thier models are better quality than GWs overal GW still offer the best range of quality models in general.

Thouigh I admit the quality of its competitors is steadily increasing.

Actually, I think the new wave of manufacturers producing quality plastics at a lower price point is the biggest threat to GW yet. Unlike the Warzones, Warmachines, Confrontations, etc., their business isn't about producing alternative games, but simply producing cheaper alternative miniatures for GW games. That hits GW right where it hurts.

These companies are very small fries compared to GW -- but they're going to peck at GW's market share at a time when GW's in a long, multiyear sales decline. IMO GW badly needs some kind of major catalyst if they're going to reverse that kind of inertia. And the last thing they need right now are competitors nipping at their heels while they're trying to do that heavy lifting.

And again, so I'm clear -- I'm not rooting for GW to fail. I want GW to be healthy. I hope they come out of this a stronger, smarter company.

Lars Porsenna
11-06-2010, 15:00
I think making comments like GW's demise will be better off for wargaming is disingenious. So as I've posted elsewhere, I'm a lo-ong time gamer (since 1983! Though I'm sure there are others even older than that), and have my fingers in a number of different minis wargames, not to mention RPGs and the like. The above comment however still shows a myopic perspective in the same way as the "Games Workshop Hobby." Wargaming is BETTER off having known GW, because it has driven the quality of sculpting up in just about every segment of the industry. 20 years ago, historicals had a serious lack of really high quality figures...except for the ones produced by Citadel (back when they did that sort of thing, and before Foundry took the molds) and a handful of others. These days, I pass on the "premium" Foundry figures because there are so many other figures of good quality at better prices. And I think GW is indirectly responsible for this...

Damon.

Reinholt
11-06-2010, 15:44
Well if GW's stock quote is anything to go by theres no mass exodus, its risen dramaticaly since 2010.

And as for other games companys, whilst some are thier models are better quality than GWs overal GW still offer the best range of quality models in general.

Thouigh I admit the quality of its competitors is steadily increasing.

As noted before me, the stock is still significantly down off the highs in the 800p range from earlier in the decade. 340p, which is about where it is trading right now, is more than a 50% drop over ~5-6 years. Ouch.

As to the rest, GW's stock was extremely low last year because there was a real chance the company was going to go bankrupt if they could not fix the debt problem and continued to run losses. I am not saying the chance was high, but it was large enough that one had to consider it, and usually the potential for you to nose-dive into bankruptcy court doesn't raise your stock price.

Thus, I think it's likely most of the bump was the elimination of that as a concern, rather than a vote of confidence in the long-term health of the company. If GW hits 800p again, then you will know they are being viewed with approval by investors.

Ozorik
11-06-2010, 20:42
I noticed a couple of you that have posted here seem to be looking forward to a day when there is no GW - I saw the comment "Wargaming will be better off" thrown in there somewhere, couldn't be bothered quoting it...

Why do you think it would be better?

GW won't go away, GW may fall but the GW name/brand wont as it is too valuable.

This will almost certainly mean that some form of competent (at least in comparison) management will take over. This is why wargaming will be better off.

isaac
11-06-2010, 22:20
Why would I not want GW? I like the IP, most minis and see it has great potential. Only idiotic management is mucking it all up.

If they fail, it is because those guys ruined it, not because of IP and models (some are iffy, but overall it is a great range)

Bigbot
12-06-2010, 00:02
the price of the hobby the emphasis on ranges that arn't as popular (LOTR), the recent lack of opening times, magazines that are ran like a monthly catalogue rather than feeling like it is written by fans of the hobby like it used to be - these are all contributing factors to why GW doesn't seem to be doing so well.

I love the hobby, I will defend it and stick by it but I really am seeing a company in trouble here.

iamfanboy
12-06-2010, 12:48
the price of the hobby the emphasis on ranges that arn't as popular (LOTR), the recent lack of opening times, magazines that are ran like a monthly catalogue rather than feeling like it is written by fans of the hobby like it used to be - these are all contributing factors to why GW doesn't seem to be doing so well.

I love the hobby, I will defend it and stick by it but I really am seeing a company in trouble here.
You're mistaking the "GW Hobby" for the hobby of wargaming. If Games Workshop goes under (temporarily; there's no way that IP and the gigantic manufacturing process they've created will stay away for long) then there's nothing to stop people from playing with the GW miniatures that they still have.

When I thought FASA was gone for good, I could still play Battletech - and did, but not often enough. And now it's back,and I like it even more.


Quite honestly, a hiatus in the existence of GW would only improve WFB, W40k, and all the lovely specialist games. It would give focus and meaning back to the games themselves, instead of all this ancillary nonsense around "preventing the devaluation of our IP" when they're the ones making people's opinion of their games sink faster and faster...

It's not as if most of me WANTS GW to fall and fall hard, but the part of me that does and the rest of me that doesn't are in agreement that it would only be for the best were that to happen.

lanrak
12-06-2010, 20:24
Hi all.
I often wonder how many GW customers put up with the mis managment of the GW buisness , because they think without GW they wont have a hobby?:eek:

Most of the players (appx 80% acording to GW sources,) leave before they get to spend 18 months in the 'GW hobby'.

So rather than improve customer retension ,GW plc simply sting new players for as much as they can before they leave.:mad:

MOST non GW gamers tend to stay in the wargames hobby on AVERAGE for 5 to 8 years.
Ths means by comparison, GW is actively disuading people from staying with them...:evilgrin:


I wonder how many of these people are put off wargaming in general, through the negative GW experiance of wallet rape and poor game play support.

RevEv
13-06-2010, 10:11
And you get your statistics from where? GW sources could be any number of disgruntled employees.

80% leaving still leaves 20% staying. I'd like to see comparable statistics for other hobby's.

I play GW games exclusively, and have done so for 13 years. It is not because I fear that, if I stop playing, the company will go under but rather I have not found anything else out there that I like.

Bloodknight
13-06-2010, 10:53
Signed, with one exception - I really love BattleTech; it was my first Wargame in 1992 and I play it with a couple of old friends every Christmas.

lanrak
13-06-2010, 12:57
Hi RevEv.
If you only play GW games.Then your TTMG hobby is totaly encompassed by the GW hobby isnt it?
Yet you dont feel obliged to support THE ONLY company that provides you with your core hobby products ?
(So you realy are not influenced at all by the amount you have already invested in GW product?)

I, like many others , buy my hobby related products from the companies that offer me the best value for money.
And rule sets that deliver the most gameplay with the minimum of written rules.
(CBT is a good rule set IMO, I liked it back in the early 1990s and still do...same as Bloodknight.)

I am not making comparisons to other hobbies, just other people playing the same TTMG hobby , with a wider range of products and companies to choose from.
(If you only eat out at Mc Ds , you get fed up with eating out a lot quicker than those who go to all food outlets...;))

EG actual gamers will stay with the TTMG hobby , if they belive they are getting value for money. (This is a massively varied thing , dependant on individual values.)
GW plc openly state they belive thier main customers are 'collectors' NOT gamers.
And GWs lead game developer states '...the games are just the icing on the cake..' and '..the rules are not important...':rolleyes:

So the other companies that produce games for gamers, tend to keep gamers in the TTMG hobby longer than a minature company that uses thier rule sets to market the latest releases...dont you agree?

And GW are so concerned about poor comparisons to other companies product they feel its necissary to run isolationist marketing. (Own brand stores own mag etc.)
And thier chain of own brand B&M stores eat up over 65 % of thier profits!!!!:eek:
(As an online only retailer GW could cut prices to approximatley 25% of current prices, and STILL make more profit by maximising the economies of scale.)

Tom Kirby stated '...GW is in the buisness of selling toy soldiers to kiddies...'
Not providing great games to engage with a wide range of long term gamers then...:evilgrin:

Appealing to a large easy to please demoghrapic of 11 to 16 year olds with direct marketing , is far easier for GW corperate managers to sell to the shareholders ,than investing in actual game development to appeal to 'actual long term gamers'.
As the first is easier to quantify than the second.

GW plc develop games to appeal short term,'... to maximise return of new customers....'

The fact that only small proportion of this 'new blood' turn out to be actual long term gamers.
And a proportion of these gamers have invested so heavily in GW product they feel obliged to 'see it through'.
Ties up with the very low retension rate of GW customers.
(20 to 30% retension rate is what GW corperate belive to be accurate.:eek:)

Despite GW increasing prices WELL OVER the rate of inflation, thier turnover has remained quite static.
This means people are spending less and less each price rise,and or less people are buying GW product.

The average gamer stays with the TTMG hobby for 5 to 8 years was printed in a Wargames magazine a while back.(Wargames Illustrated I think..)

I am NOT saying people should NOT enjoy playing GW games:rolleyes:.

Just that ignoring what keeps a large proportion of repeat customers comming back for more is hurting GW as a buisness far more than they admit.

Minature collectors want great minatures at competative prices.
GW fail.(B&M stores overheads leads to artificialy inflated prices.)

Gamers want well defined intuiative rule sets .
GW fail.(Marketing driven rules restrictions hamper game development.)

It is possible to let the asthetics ,(background artwork and sculpting), be ALL the inspiration customer need.

And the rules set to be the clear and consise instruction to achive the best game play with the minimum fuss.

But while GW write 'inspiring rules' in an attempt to attract 'new blood' they are forgoing the ability for long term growth that 'engaging rules ' provide.

TTFN
Lanrak.

Ulfson
13-06-2010, 14:18
Gamers want well defined intuiative rule sets .
GW fail.(Marketing driven rules restrictions hamper game development.)

Game rules is a really subjective thing lanrak, and I don't think they are even really worth throwing in to this debate. For instance, I genuinely love the GW systems, and play all three core and the majority of specialist games. It simply attracts me because of the type of hobbyist I am.

It doesn't mean that you are wrong for disliking their rulesets (as your post seems to construe, though I am curious to know why you post on a GW focused forum if you don't like GW product), it is just your opinion, which is completely fine.


Minature collectors want great minatures at competative prices.
GW fail.(B&M stores overheads leads to artificialy inflated prices.)

Hobby shouldn't be about competitive prices - it should be paying for the enjoyment of toy soldiers, with their price equivalent to the enjoyment they supply. I find GW's mini's to - personally- be the best quality available, along with kick ass IP and rulesets I enjoy. This is why they get my business. I'm sure other people's level of enjoyment with GW product isn't as high, hence a sense of dissatisfaction and focus on prices. Which is fine too, everyone has their own priorities in life.

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 15:48
Marketing driven rules restrictions hamper game development.
I disagree that this hampers games development, as I think succeeds very well in making the games appeal to the core demographic (Kids).

That the Core games have little to offer to adults other by way of intellectual challenge is irrelevant to GW's marketing, design, and recruitment strategy, which concretely targets their Core games at children.

FabricatorGeneralMike
13-06-2010, 17:11
I disagree that this hampers games development, as I think succeeds very well in making the games appeal to the core demographic (Kids).

That the Core games have little to offer to adults other by way of intellectual challenge is irrelevant to GW's marketing, design, and recruitment strategy, which concretely targets their Core games at children.


Great post C&E (BTW I love your epic stuff ;) ) and this is the problem I think. Do you not think a company would work better if it targeted the people who had the money? IE the older gamer with the disposable income. This is what the video game depelopers did and its working fine for them.

I know new blood is the lifeline of any hobby, it sucks playing by yourself. I think tho if they just changed their marketing practices a little they could get more of the ' money pie' then just going after timmy for a few hundred pounds. Since video games took that route, arn't they the second most popular hobby industry? I think they made more then hollywood last year didn't they?

How many people on here have more then one army? How many people have bought a cool looking mini just because it looked cool? How many people said' wow thats a cool looking tank, the only thing better then one of them is three?' I don't want to see GW fail, I just want the managment changed and some sence of rationallity brought back to the company.

But until that happens I love the fact that there is a thriving second hand market for all my 'little figgie' needs.

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 17:34
Great post C&E (BTW I love your epic stuff ;) )
Cheers. :-)

Would you like to guess why I enjoy Epic's rules more than any of the Core games' rules? :angel:


and this is the problem I think. Do you not think a company would work better if it targeted the people who had the money? IE the older gamer with the disposable income.
Well, GW have always built the core of their business on "selling toy soldiers to kids", and in doing so they became the biggest player in the industry. So it would be a big departure for them to start marketing their core products towards adults, big enough that it'd kill the company, IMHO.

I think a lot of people underestimate just how many times kids outnumber adults, when it comes to GW's customers.

RevEv
13-06-2010, 18:05
@Ianrak

Having read your post with interest I have now deleted my initial response as it would get me banned from these boards. Yours is possibly the most condescending and arrogant post I have ever read on these boards. I have reported it as I am deeply offended by the implications of your statements.

I have stayed with GW over the last 13 years simply because, of all the TTBG companies on the market, it has remained the most accessible and enjoyable. As I have moved around the country with my work I have never been more than 20 minutes from a GW store or FLGS. The staff have, generally, proven to be helpful, interesting and polite. I have made good friends through visiting GW stores and GW clubs. In that same 13 years I have got married, got ordained, had two children, gone to war, moved six times, and had quite a busy social life. That I remain a gamer is a miracle at times, but it has proven to be an anchoring element that has, at times, kept me sane (especially when I have been seeking cover in a war zone whilst being rocketed as I was speaking to GW MO).

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 18:36
I don't see what's so deeply offensive about Ianrak's post.

Chucklemoney
13-06-2010, 19:21
I don't see what's so deeply offensive about Ianrak's post.

Was thinking it, glad someone said it.

silence
13-06-2010, 19:23
Ifound Ianraks's post quite interesting, I may not agree with it all but I think he has some valid opinions. But then again so does RevEv. What I find harder to understand about the rules sets arguments is if you consider Warhammer Historical rules. Which have stiff competion but have still done very well in a much more competetive market.

Spectrar Ghost
13-06-2010, 19:35
And GW are so concerned about poor comparisons to other companies product they feel its necissary to run isolationist marketing. (Own brand stores own mag etc.)
I think the insular marketing strategy GW has adopted is another sign of an unhealthy company. As the dominant name in the industry, bar none, GW should not need to ban non-GW models. An industry leader will not remain one if it cannot stand on it's own merits.

GW is known for the best models, the largest community, and one of the most rabid followings of any wargame. If GW cannot allow outside models in it's stores, the reason is because GW is afraid of the competition. Afraid of models of good to near-GW quality, for a lesser price. Afraid that their models will not stand up to the competition.

GW should try to position themselves so they have no reason to ban non-GW models, because their players have no reason not to use GWs sculpts, based on quality and value. The fact is, this is not the case, and so GW has adopted a strategy of insulating their customers from the fact that a wider hobby exists (this is the core of "The GW Hobby" ideal).


(As an online only retailer GW could cut prices to approximatley 25% of current prices, and STILL make more profit by maximising the economies of scale.)

Unfortunately, in doing this, they would make people buy and game at LGSs or clubs. They could not pretend that "The GW Hobby" exists. Players would wander off to other games. They would need to rethink their business model to make players have a reason to stay, instead of a reason to leave. GW's B&M are also what sets them apart from every other TTWG in existence. Abandoning them would mean the company would no longer be the same GW, for better or worse.

isaac
13-06-2010, 20:09
That is the real problem of GW.

They act so insecure because they are, with their prices they can't compete on an equal basis, forcing them into using the stores, which forces them to raise prices, driving them into this cycle.

IMO, the reliance of GW on its stores was one of the worst things to do.

RevEv
13-06-2010, 20:17
OK - for those that don't get why Ianrik's post was offensive then try looking at it my way.

I have been accused of not being a true gamer, of being so blinded by the GW hobby that I cannot see the worth of other systems, of being duped by Tom Kirby into buying childrens toys and of wasting my money on inferior games, products and services. All this with a snide and accusatory manner that offended me deeply.

Spectrar Ghost
13-06-2010, 20:23
That is the real problem of GW.

They act so insecure because they are, with their prices they can't compete on an equal basis, forcing them into using the stores, which forces them to raise prices, driving them into this cycle.

IMO, the reliance of GW on its stores was one of the worst things to do.

It is certainly a double edged sword. GW would not be where they are today without the stores. However, the stores are why GW is, well, where they are today.

I think mismanagement and overextension of the retail chain, and the expectation that it should pay for itself, are why the stores are dragging GW down. Applying the right business model to the stores would drive sales. GW has a store model that practically defines ad hoc right now, though.

The stores make GW what it is. without them I suspect it would be just another bit player.

isaac
13-06-2010, 20:38
Oh, the stores were good, I mean the OVER reliance. Using them to bludgeon out indies, putting them everywhere, basing their entire business on them, forcing them everywhere.

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 20:58
I have been accused of not being a true gamer, of being so blinded by the GW hobby that I cannot see the worth of other systems...
Why should you take offense at such an odd "accusation"?

Everybody's toy soldier hobby is personal, and different. Not everybody wants a hardcore simulation-style ruleset with a miniscule fanbase for their gaming.


...of being duped by Tom Kirby into buying childrens toys...
I don't think Ianrak made any mention of duping or lying by GW as regards their intended target demographic... Quite the converse, he provided a quote by their executive Tom Kirby saying what their main demographic is.

Most adult fans of GW's games know that GW's core game rules are designed primarily for kids... and so what?

It's fun to turn off your brain and roll dice and tell some cool stories with your toy soldiers.


and of wasting my money on inferior games, products and services.
Inferior is a very subjective concept.

It's all too easy to say that because GW's Core games are tactically shallow and written in a byzantine style they are "inferior"... but the truth is they're not, as that style and level of tactical complexity makes them brilliant for kids and for casual play by adults.

The same can be said about their prices, or services, etc.

GW games come with certain caveats and restrictions, but in return you gain approachability, ease-of-use, and a widespread network of opponents.

So I think you may have taken his opinion a little more personally that it was intended?


All this with a snide and accusatory manner that offended me deeply.
I didn't see the snide, I'm afraid. Still can't, even after your explanation of what offended you...

Satan
13-06-2010, 21:03
Most adult fans of GW's games knows that GW's core game rules are designed primarily for kids... and so what?
It's fun to turn off your brain and roll dice and tell some cool stories with your toy soldiers.


Inferior is a very subjective concept.

It's all too easy to say that because GW's Core games are tactically shallow and written in a byzantine style they are "inferior"... but the truth is they're not, as that style makes them brilliant for kids and for casual play by adults.



BTW, I've never quite been able to grasp the fact that the game is marketed at kids as much of the background story is quite adult in nature/style. I'm reading the Beastmen book right now and I sure wouldn't want a kid or young teenager reading stuff like this - defecation and eating the flesh of children on the same page, oh my.

All I can say is GW ought to be lucky there's no PEGI-rating for miniature gaming. ;)

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 21:10
BTW, I've never quite been able to grasp the fact that the game is marketed at kids as much of the background story is quite adult in nature/style. I'm reading the Beastmen book right now and I sure wouldn't want a kid or young teenager reading stuff like this - defecation and eating the flesh of children on the same page, oh my.
We could discuss this topic in detail, but I feel that the resulting discourse would not be appropriate for Warseer, which is a family-friendly forum.

Best not to delve too deeply on this topic, I think.

Though I do feel that the background aims a little higher than the game rules (In that there is sometimes more than meets the eye), but it doesn't aim older than teens, really.

lanrak
13-06-2010, 21:23
Hi RevEv.
If my post caused offence it was not ment to.

I merely wished to question you stance as an 'impartial' gamer when you are soley dependant on one company for hobby product.

And the fact you have invested 13 years into one companies product MAY effect your assesment of the expansion of your hobby to other products.
And it also MAY make you more tolerant to GW buisness practices, as you have far more invested in GW product than newer less engaged customers do.

If you wish to respond to these assumptions , please feel free.

I posted...' EG actual gamers will stay with the TTMG hobby , if they belive they are getting value for money. (This is a massively varied thing , dependant on individual values.)'

What is offensive about this?:confused:

I also quoted from official GW statments.
GW plc openly state they belive thier main customers are 'collectors' NOT gamers.
And GWs lead game developer states '...the games are just the icing on the cake..' and '..the rules are not important...'

Tom Kirby stated '...GW is in the buisness of selling toy soldiers to kiddies...'

Not providing great games to engage with a wide range of long term gamers then...:evilgrin:

This is my attack on GW plc corperate short sighted retrospective self lauding atitude NOT you personaly or GW gamers in general.

Now if you read my post as a personal attack on you because you prefer to play GW games over all others , was not written with that intent.

I simply wanted to point out , short term marketing decisions are negativley effecting the potential long term growth of GW.IMO.

This is MY interpritation of GWs official financial staments and the official statments of Jervis Johnson (GW senior games development chap.)

I am not GW target audience .I know this.
However , I feel as a wargamer of 28 years experiance,my opinions based on statments on record, are just as valid as anyone elses.

I still play games of 40k and WH, I just dont use GW rules , or exclusivley thier minatures...:D.

If what GW produce is right for you... great.

But GW appears to be failing to keep the majority of thier customers engaged with GW product in the long term.
This SHOULD be cause for concern to them, but doesnt appear to be.

Other companies provied far more chioce and variety in the open market, where gamers can maintain thier TTMG hobby in any way that right for them, thus extending longevity of return.(5 to 8 years on average.)

GW try to dictate the terms and conditions of the 'GW hobby' offering a comparitivley more restrictive hobby, and therfore could be seen as prematurley ejecting those gamers who want something GW dont want to offer.
As GW only hold their customers for an ever decreasing time on average , they appear focus on maximising initial returns , rather than extending the period of customer engagment like other companies do.

I hope that clears things up a bit.
TTFN
Lanrak.

Satan
13-06-2010, 21:39
Though I do feel that the background aims a little higher than the game rules (In that there is sometimes more than meets the eye), but it doesn't aim older than teens, really.

Yes, that's the conclusion I was trying to get at. Eventually. :)

I agree, it's off-topic and probably not suited for Warseer. Personally I don't think I'd ever feel the need to discuss the subject further as I think your statement above hit the nail right on its head. Though I do feel there's background material that could arguably be considered adults only (and thus, older teens) without any need for inclusion of "naughty stuff" which I don't perceive as particularly prevalent in the background at all.

Anyways, it's a bit paradoxal and the reason I brought it up was because it highlights another paradox in this department:

- Why does GW market their products to teens (a group whose financial liability and thus customer potential is without a doubt at least questionable) when said products could arguably be perceived as adult in nature?

We know the basics, which I think Reinholt and Chaos and Evil have managed to cover pretty well between them in their posts around this forum, but to me as an international marketer it sometimes appears baffling as to why they persist in doing the above. I would love to spend a day at their HQ asking them stuff about their market analysis and strategies. Has the possibility been considered that it might be more profitable marketing the products to an older audience? Is there anything that can be done in order to increase the retention rate of customers? What is their current marketing strategy based on? Analysis? History (not entirely unfeasible as I take it models back in the old days were primarily purchased by teens and young adults, but is this really the case still)?

RevEv
13-06-2010, 21:52
At no point have I claimed to be impartial - I am, unashamedly, a supporter of the GW hobby. Personally I have gained more from it than I have been frustrated by it. I still decry the decision by GW not to support Specialist Games (I am currently teaching my eldest son Blood Bowl), but I do recognise that GW is a business over and above being a hobby. This tempers my view of the games system, GW need to sell models to survive hence the emphasis on bigger units, more powerful units or expensive models, but does not lessen my admiration of the imagination involved in developing the games and their background (which is, as noted by others here, far superior at times to the games system but which often becomes secondary in other systems I find).

Maybe your 28 years of experience may have given you a chance of experiencing a wider range of TTBG, that's great for you. I have looked at other games and other game forms (including RPG, CCG, and computer games) but find them lacking in many of the areas that I find so satisfying with GW, namely the models and that they are set in a fantasy/ sci-fi background (which is very important as it takes me away from the day job).

Finally other game systems are not so readily available to me as I travel around the world - Garrison Towns rarely are situated near or in towns with FLGS (Colchester had a good comic store, but it still didn't sell TTBG). I am old fashioned enough to want to have scanned the rules or seen a game demonstrated before investing in any further games systems - including those by GW. Partially this is miserliness, but partially it is because I can guarantee that I will have to move my whole darn collection every two years. It's bad enough having to move the GW stuff as it is.

I hope that clears up a few things for you.

WYNI

logan054
13-06-2010, 21:56
- Why does GW market their products to teens (a group whose financial liability and thus customer potential is without a doubt at least questionable) when said products could arguably be perceived as adult in nature?

We know the basics, which I think Reinholt and Chaos and Evil have managed to cover pretty well between them in their posts around this forum, but to me as an international marketer it sometimes appears baffling as to why they persist in doing the above. I would love to spend a day at their HQ asking them stuff about their market analysis and strategies. Has the possibility been considered that it might be more profitable marketing the products to an older audience? Is there anything that can be done in order to increase the retention rate of customers? What is their current marketing strategy based on? Analysis? History (not entirely unfeasible as I take it models back in the old days were primarily purchased by teens and young adults, but is this really the case still)?

To be honest i just wish GW did two sets of rules for its game system, the basic (what we have bow) and then a advanced game system, it would be very nice if they could use the same army books.

We can dream i guess :(

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 22:18
We know the basics, which I think Reinholt and Chaos and Evil have managed to cover pretty well between them in their posts around this forum
Interestingly, whilst Reinholt and I normally agree on GW's intentions and aims, we often disagree on what the result of changing their modus operandi may be!


- Why does GW market their products to teens (a group whose financial liability and thus customer potential is without a doubt at least questionable) when said products could arguably be perceived as adult in nature?
Because when all is said and done, they're toy soldiers. :-)

Worse, they're toy soldiers with oversized bobble heads! :angel:



Has the possibility been considered that it might be more profitable marketing the products to an older audience?
The "Fanatic" department was an experiment in that, specifically with the 3 "advanced" versions of their core game equivilents (Epic, Warmaster, BoFA).

It turned out that their adult audience mostly kept playing the kids'/less "advanced" versions.


Is there anything that can be done in order to increase the retention rate of customers?
GW are trying to increase retention mostly by:
- Making the games easier/more "awesome" to play as revision opportunities occur.
- Adding extra supplements that add new ways of playing their core games.
- Releasing models that are bigger than ever before / more destructive in games than ever before.
- Releasing products that make it easier to achieve an awesome looking gaming setup at home (New paint range, modular gaming board, lots of new scenery, etc).

All of that, taken together, shows GW focusing on products that will either ease the earlier stages of a newbie customer's hobby (Thus making it more likely that they'll progress further in the hobby), or add "extra bits" to extend the current gameplay experience a little bit more.

So GW *are* trying to extend their customers' interest in their hobby.

Whether you agree with GW's chosen direction (Focusing on extending a new player's average stay in the hobby from 1 year to 2 years, rather than extending a new player's stay in the hobby from 1 year to 10 years) is a different topic!



What is their current marketing strategy based on? Analysis?
Market Research has certainly been done. To what extent I couldn't tell you.


History (not entirely unfeasible as I take it models back in the old days were primarily purchased by teens and young adults, but is this really the case still)?
At least in the UK, yes, children 11-15 form the overwhelming and absolute majority of GW's customer base.

Reinholt
13-06-2010, 22:52
I thought I had responded to this, but my post may have vanished into the warp...

A few points on the topic of demographics and GW:

- Kirby has stated that kids are the lifeblood of the company.

- The background and fluff is not entirely kid friendly, to put it mildly.

- The games themselves are confused in target, as there is the typical flash one would expect for a kids game, but conversely, there are rules and situations far too convoluted to be accessible to 12 year olds.

- The entry cost of the hobby is higher than most children can pay easily.

- To the best of my knowledge, there exists no real research on this topic within GW. They believe kids to be their best customers, but they do not track the numbers in any way that allows them to adequately capture the real demographics and buying patterns of their customers, and they certainly don't get any data on the topic from independent retailers. The information simply is not there.

This, I think, is part of what leads to the confusion on this subject. There is not an answer that one could point to and then point to the data on. For my part, as a result, I tend to fall back on data I have seen from related companies, which reveals that the following is often the case:

1 - Either your product is virtually all children. ( This is clearly not the case for GW )

2 - Or you have a lot of children as a percentage of your customers (though if you do a survey, the numbers people suggest are always too high, because kids are louder and more noticeable, and thus tend to stick in the mind more than adults), but they are actually not a large percentage of revenue. Most hobbies tend to have a revenue distribution such that a majority of revenue comes from a much smaller minority of customers; I would not be shocked if the top 20% of GW customers were 75% of revenue or more, and those people are going to overwhelmingly be older (and often at least middle class) unless GW really is some kind of unique snowflake that magically has a customer distribution unlike any other company on the planet.

I am doubtful that is the case.

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 23:36
I would not be shocked if the top 20% of GW customers were 75% of revenue or more
Having worked in a GW retail store, I can only say that 20% of our customers did not in any way form 75% of our yearly revenue. Not even close.

Of course, that golden 20% you say is likely to exist could all be purchasing online, or from discount retailers, or other retail outlets, etc.

=====

And I still contend that the majority of GW's main customer base really don't give a damn about concisely written rules, tactical complexity, and elegant game mechanics, otherwise they would have all switched over to the "Advanced" versions of the games back when Fanatic was fully supported.


- The background and fluff is not entirely kid friendly, to put it mildly.
I don't think it (The background) has much worse in it than an average fairy tale, or TV show, for the most part; Doctor Who regularly features the destruction of civilisations, and a race of lobotomised slaves was a major plot point in a recent season, and that too is intended for kids of about the same age group...

As regards the GW tie-in novels, I've read the whole Horus Heresy book series to date, and of the 12 books released so far, I'd say only one (Fulgrim) is unsuitable for young readers (And even then, 95% of the book is fine for younger readers).

When people say they think GW's fiction/background is very adult, I kinda tend to wonder just how much genuinely adult-intended fiction they are consuming...


- The games themselves are confused in target, as there is the typical flash one would expect for a kids game, but conversely, there are rules and situations far too convoluted to be accessible to 12 year olds.
I tend to disagree on this ; Only when you put the codexes/army books and rulebooks in the hands of competative adults do you get the kind of rules problems that are complained about ad-nauseum on the internet, IMO. Kids tend to brush over any issues that do occur quite quickly, and indeed seem to gain a sense of accomplishment in working out how rules should apply to new situations.

But I don't disagree very strongly, as I think there is a lot of room for improvement, which GW would most likely prefer to change, yet they are hampered by the need to keep all their current army books / supplements compatible with any core rule changes.

War of the Ring is a good example of a GW system unfettered by backwards-compatibility issues, I think. Balance and tactical complexity take a backseat to "awesomeness", but the rules themselves are approachable enough.


- The entry cost of the hobby is higher than most children can pay easily.
Agreed. And I do agree that this is actively hurting GW's rate of recruitment.

Reinholt
13-06-2010, 23:43
C&E - did you have access to the actual data, or was that just a guess? The three GW stores I have talked into sharing data on customers with me (because I knew the managers and was giving them a bit of advice on their business, though they will remain nameless so I don't get anyone in trouble) had the following distributions:

1: Turnover of ~$250k, with over 175k coming from the top 20% of purchasers, and over 50k coming from a group of 12 people.

2: Turnover of ~375k, with half of that coming from about 15% of their customers.

3: Turnover of ~500k, with a single customer accounting for 5% of the total two years in a row, and over half of total revenue from the top 10%.

So wherever I have actually seen the compiled data, it's fit the pattern. If you just attempt to eyeball it, the numbers end up so ludicrously off base that it really makes you question your ability to guess (as an example, I asked the manage of number 2 and 3 before we looked at the numbers what they thought the case was, after seeing how skewed it was with number one. Both of them were guessing it would take 35% or more of their customers to get to 50% turnover, and both were very wrong).

For my part, I have ZERO faith that I could accurately guess at the distribution just by observing the till for a month in the store. Human intuition goes horribly awry when you are dealing with non-normal distributions, and I guess what I can say on the topic is that I know I'm going to be wrong if I guess, so I just don't guess and demand to see the actual data.

Chaos and Evil
13-06-2010, 23:59
C&E - did you have access to the actual data, or was that just a guess?
Call it a judgement based on experience*, as we didn't take down specific notes on who was spending what, but the customer base wasn't so large that such a huge portion of spending (75%) being undertaken by a small proportion of the customers (20%) would get lost in amongst the general "noise" of trading IMO.

We were a relatively new store mind you, without an established customer base (Though some "veterans" were poached from other stores' previous catchement areas when it opened); Our annual turnover was lower than #1.

We were also UK based, which (anecdotally, at least) has a far greater level of younger customers than the US (Which would tend to level off the higher peaks of spending, as kids simply don't have that kind of disposable income available, in general!).

Any, all, or none of the above factors may have worked to modify the picture you saw when you examined the accounts of 3 GW stores (Had them record all their cash transactions for a month, added them to the recorded card transactions, and extrapolated, did you? I'm interested to know your methodology here).

*Or a guess, if you must. :angel:

Reinholt
14-06-2010, 00:32
In the US, they started keeping track of customer names and phone numbers so that they can call people when they have direct orders that arrive at the stores. Any time you make a purchase at the store, they try to get the info, and it's rare that they have recurring customers who refuse to hand it over.

Once they have it, they can track sales based on that. Most of those numbers come from 3 month or 6 month runs (1 month has too much variation).

I do agree that a new store would have a different distribution (you don't have an established veteran core yet) and that in the UK you are likely to have more children (and thus more diversified spending).

I'd still like to have seen the actual numbers for your store, but part of the problem is that they aren't tracked (which makes me want to pull my hair out from a managerial perspective) accurately at many places - which makes the job of the people working there harder, as they don't have access to this data!

The three biggest volume customers I know are all mail order people, however, using independent retailers and forge world as their main points of contact with GW for transactions. But here we are talking the truly hobby crazed, with $50k annual spending or more.

Chaos and Evil
14-06-2010, 00:57
In the US, they started keeping track of customer names and phone numbers so that they can call people when they have direct orders that arrive at the stores.
Sure, that's done whenever an in-store mail order is done.


Any time you make a purchase at the store, they try to get the info...
But this part doesn't happen in the UK.


Most of those numbers come from 3 month or 6 month runs (1 month has too much variation).
I would have thought a full 12 months would have been nessesary to start drawing year-long conclusions, considering how seasonal GW's sales are (Again, at least in the UK they are).


$50k annual spending or more (On GW product).
Wow.

And you know 3 people that spend that much?
What kind of satisfaction do they manage to get out of the hobby?
Do they just buy every single thing that gets released and stick it in a warehouse somewhere?