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Templar Ben
10-11-2010, 18:09
This is a discussion that was in the GW financials thread that could serve as discussion on its own.


From a gamers perspective the time taken from initial purchase to playing the first game 'AS MARKETED' tends to dictate the initial investment -return evaluation.(The set up investment.)

Then the secondary evaluation is how long the game remains interesting.(The replay value.)

So its initial 'setup investment ', then the 'replay value.'

Most gamers want a small set up investment , and a large replay value.

GW appear to be heading towards the polar opposite.

Increasing the amount of investment to get to a 'proper 1750pt game' and limiting the amount of replay value by heavy strategic loading.

I belive this is why GW are loosing potential gamers to other companies.

The specific price per item is NOT relevant to gamers , as much as the percievd value for money .IMO.

lanrak.


Thats where your argument falls down fella. You can play perfectly good games with just the contents of the box games, or with 500pts 40K/WFB or 250 LotR. A new player will not know the difference between a 500 pt game and a 2k pt game. They also won't notice how the rules play.

Unfortunately in the community there is this massive misperception of what is a good game - and relating it to a size of army, in this the community is more guilty of following GW's marketing than a new customer. As a veteran gamer you will reach a size of game you feel brings out the best in the rules for you. As a new player, you just need to play some games and paint some models, but you probably want all the toys. Insisting on an ideal game size is not only an unwanted form of elitism, but it is an unnecessary dogmatic approach to wargaming. At it is misleading from a business perspective.

Lanrak your argument might hold water for an experienced hobbyist making the transition to GW, but it doesn't for someone who is unconsciously imcompetant about wargaming. It has been recognised that GW target this customer base with the idea of cashing in on a fad, and then hoping to pull out of that mass the few people who would have become wargamers anyway. They target 12-16 year olds as they are easier to manipulate. For these any argument about "ideal army size" is irrelevant.


Does it become an argument when those people look at continuing on with the hobby though? Could more players be kept within the market by not making it look a steep climb?


Yes, but if that is not GWs business plan then it is irrelevant. In addition, Blongbling and GW have made it quite clear that GW also target people to whom the price rises make little impact on. If GW wanted to actively focus on rentention then you would see evidence of it.


At the end of the day the likes of White Dwarf certainly does push the size of the games people expect to play, whether its intentionally done or not, and they are definitely playing bigger than 500-odd point games.


Of course it does - WD is a promoting tool and it sells dreams and aspirations. There is no business reason why GW should give a mixed message of "You could have this huge army (and give us loads of money) or you can have this little one, it makes no difference to the game". That won't sell more toy soldiers, it will just confuse things as well as remove some ammunition for those 12-16 year olds to bug their parents for the next box of shinys. However it doesn't change the fact you can play a perfectly reasonably fun game with a small army, and as such an ideal army size is a community-based misconception brought on by too many people being led through the nose by GWs marketing instead of taking control of their own hobby. A great example of this is the arrival of 8e and the idea of 3k being the ideal standard army size. Its rubbish.


Games Workshop has certainly pushed the size of the games Ė not to mention the number of models needed.

When 40K changed from 2. to 3. edition the cost of a marine (just to mention an example) was halved from 30 to 15 points. At the same time, the standard game was halved from 3000 to 1500 points which meant, in theory, that a Space Marine army should have the same size as before. However, since then the average size of the game has increased again and again. First to 1750 points, then to 1850 points and when I left the hobby some time ago there were players who regarded anything under 2000 points to be ďtoo smallĒ. Not to mention Apocalypse with its 3000+ point games...
The same goes, to an even greater degree, for Fantasy. From what Iíve heard of the 8. edition, hordes are now very much the name of the game with increased frontage on the regiments. I havenít really played much Fantasy since the old 5. edition, but when I see an ongoing game in the local shop Iím struck by just how much bigger the armies are today. And with the Fantasy version of Apocalypse apparently on its way...

Yes, you can play smaller games that this. However, in my experience the rules are horribly unbalanced at anything under 1000+ points. And even then some choices are just much more powerful than usual. For example, some years ago (early 4. edition 40K) I played a narrative 500 point battle against a friend. This involved me driving a Leman Russ and a squad of Guardsmen with a Chimera into an ambush by my friendís Chaos Marines. Boy, oh boy... A single Leman Russ might not be that big a problem in a standard game, but in a small 500 point game it simply dominated the field. We quickly concluded that the probably was a good reason why that sort of units were not allowed in 40K in 40 minutes games...
Basically, the rules are not balanced for such small games. And playing them requires a lot of restrain on the part of the players in order to make it enjoyable.

In addition, I agree with ashc that this is affecting the players on the long term. Yes, some players might still be suckered into starting these games, but once they realise how expensive it is they immediately quit again. And thatís assuming that they start in the first place. For a complete newb, startup can easily run at £100+ for starter set, armybooks, paint, glue, knives, clippers, and all the other small things you need to play. Weíre almost talking the prize of a Wii or Xbox here. And then they realize that theyíve only got 1/4 of a ďproperĒ army...


I think we are going off-topic, but I do believe the discussion which is arising from Ianrak's post onwards may be better served by a thread of its very own.

Wintermute

Hedgehobbit
10-11-2010, 18:48
I'm not sure you can completely discount price per model in a hobby where the vast majority of models sold will never end up in a battle in the first place.

Templar Ben
10-11-2010, 18:50
I guess that depends on if you saying people buy them for the collection aspect (painting only for instance) or players buy them and then do not use them for some other reason (poor performance, points cost, net list makers tell everyone they are bad because they are bad against MEQ, etc.).

burad
10-11-2010, 20:21
I don't get to use most of what i have at one time 'cause my buddies have half as much. In any case, though, I'm buying/painting at least one full unit of anything my force can have, so I'll have it if i ever want to use it.
7,000 points and rising now as a result.

nedius
10-11-2010, 20:45
I think you're discounting the hobby side of things in this a bit too much. A lot of the enjoyment in this hobby isn't just the playing - it's the modelling and painting. People often buy new stuff just for the modelling joy, not because their army needs it.

For example, I have a single SM squad modelled up to look like crusade knights (as in Kingdom of Heaven), just because I liked the imagry and the idea. I've not once used them in a game. However, I'd still say the enjoyment I got out of modelling and painting them was worth the expense.

Next time you're in a non-GW model shop, just look at how expensive the 1/32 and 1/48 tanks are. They are easily the equal of GW prices, and they are almost strictly for modelling purposes.

TonyFlow
11-11-2010, 03:52
While it is certainly possible to play smaller battles (like 500pts in fantasy), it clearly is not how it is marketed. In WD, rulebooks, armybooks etc. there are only pictures of quite large armies (up to ridiculous sizes). In 40K there is also Apocalypse to aim for, so the objective is cleary to have as large an army as possible.
Kids that are just getting into playing warhammer will see these things and think that at least 2000 points is the norm. It has nothing to do with the community... New customers havent even met the "community" yet.

burad
11-11-2010, 03:56
A lot of the enjoyment in this hobby isn't just the playing - it's the modelling and painting
I most certainly agree, which is why I have Orks. Maximum opportunity for creativity.


Next time you're in a non-GW model shop, just look at how expensive the 1/32 and 1/48 tanks are.
That surprised me when I discovered that a couple years ago. But now i buy almost all my military models to Orkify at historical wargaming conventions, where i can get them cheaply. Plus, since I'm gonna Orkify them, they don;t necessarily even have to be complete, which makes finding deals even easier.

AndrewGPaul
11-11-2010, 09:49
While it is certainly possible to play smaller battles (like 500pts in fantasy), it clearly is not how it is marketed. In WD, rulebooks, armybooks etc. there are only pictures of quite large armies (up to ridiculous sizes). In 40K there is also Apocalypse to aim for, so the objective is cleary to have as large an army as possible.
Kids that are just getting into playing warhammer will see these things and think that at least 2000 points is the norm. It has nothing to do with the community... New customers havent even met the "community" yet.

If you read Lanrak's post as quoted by Templar Ben, you'll see that's not the point. lanrak is suggesting that GW are widening the bar to entry by promoting larger and larger 'standard games'. They are promoting larger and larger games, but this doesn't affect the entry level. Kids don't think "well, I've got Assault on Black Reach, but Ican't play until I'be bought the other 1,500 points of the army". No, they start small and work up. Relatively quickly, to be fair - a box set a week? AoBR for Christmas then spend the cash from granny on more Marines, and get a Land Raider for a birthday present, perhaps. They'll be playing straight away, and increasing the size of games.

yabbadabba
11-11-2010, 12:13
TB - you could have asked ! :D

I'll have to think a bit and read this thread as I appear to be one of the main characters in the initial argument!

Sureshot05
11-11-2010, 13:09
Funny this coming up. Was a conversation I had this morning. With the recent edition of warhammer, I have strongly felt this is a major hurdle. It has been such that most people who find out about my gaming hobby I tell them not to get into GW games due to the difficulty getting started.

However, my standard line for the last four years to any friends or relatives who have expressed an interest is that the cost of getting that initial 1000 pt army is a lot and only if you are gonna be using it often enough that you feel you're getting your money's worth. This is due to the cost of fun these days and the speed of return. I also normally add that it is easier for those us who started a long time ago. This is not to say I am negative on the idea, but often is compared with computer games whose return is instant, football where the cost of a game is comparable to a regiment, and other tasks.

Normally the argument goes as follows:
1) GW costs so much
2) How much did that console/laptop cost?
3) Instant return
4) Longterm return

Other arguments (both for and against) include:
- not many people can live these days without a computer so that doesn't count.
- Subcription to online games
- don't like one aspect of hobby (painting, collecting, gaming, terrain, background, not balanced, can't find right army etc)
- personal pride in something you create
- real gamers play face to face ;)

Actually, this is always one of the strongest points I always make. Yes, it's fun to paly Call of Duty online, or sit at home and watch the game, but a table top game against others is actually a very social thing, something that the others lack.

Now as I stated at the outset, the recent edition of warhammer has exemplified this. A 500 pt game is much much harder to play and actually have fun under the current rules as it can very quickly evolve into deathstars and some armies have trouble with characters at that points level. However, i am basing this on two games of personal experience and my gut instinct. With a bit of house ruling of course this will be elevated, but that is something that is down to the person and the group, and when people argue about house rules, then you have to default back to the core rules.

The reason why this is funny however, is that recently a family member bucked the trend and ignored my advice. She has got herself a squad for 40k and a battalion for warhammer. She has almost painted up her first regiment (and her tomb kings look so much better than my early efforts when i first started!) and we're waiting on her to finish the second regiment before we try a few small games. I'll report back to this thread over the coming weeks what success she has, but i still suspect that my original quote may stand. However, I would be more than happy to eat my own words on this. :)

Templar Ben
11-11-2010, 13:31
TB - you could have asked ! :D

I'll have to think a bit and read this thread as I appear to be one of the main characters in the initial argument!

I could have asked but it is more fun to just push you into an argument. :p

yabbadabba
11-11-2010, 13:33
I could have asked but it is more fun to just push you into an argument. :p No need to push, I'll run headlong mate :D

f2k
11-11-2010, 16:11
Well, since Iím quoted in the opening post...

The problem is that the high entry cost kills any longevity that the game might have had. As I said in the quoted post, entry cost for a Games Workshop game can be equal to a Wii or Xbox. And while a Wii can be connected to the TV and booted within minutes, Games Workshp games require assembly and painting. Well, ok... Assembly at the least, painting can wait a bit. But the point still stands. Compared to a gaming console, a Games Workshop game requires a far greater investment of time and energy. And then you discover that youíre nowhere near having a ďfullĒ army as defined by not only Games Workshop itself, but also by the various gaming clubs.

Yes, you can play smaller games if you really want to. But the (already somewhat wonky) rules break down when playing below 1000 points. And Games Workshop continues to aggressively push Apocalypse level games. So while you might be happy playing 500 point games, there will be a huge pressure to paint and expand the army.

This leads to the current churníníburn cycle that we see. Not that thereís anything wrong with doing that Ė we see it done with things like iPods and mobile phones, it just doesnít work with tabletop games. Tabletop games are a social activity that requires two human opponents to be present at the same place and at the same time. In other words, it requires a core of dedicated players that not only recruits and teaches new players, but also provide opportunity for regular gaming. Letís just call these players ďveteransĒ...

Games Workshop has, throughout the last decade or so, slowly driven this group of players away. The ever increasing costs and the focus on new players has alienated them to the point where they have either stopped player or ďjumped shipĒ and started playing other games.
Now, if a player simply packed his army away and left without a word things might not be so bad. Players come and go, after all. But in this internet age this is not likely. Or rather, some (if not most) will do so, but a vocal minority will dump their army on eBay and then use Warseer, Dakkadakka, and other forums to complain bitterly. So, not only has Games Workshop lost a player, they also have to fight the negative publicity spread by the former player.

In the end, all of this feeds into itself, creating a downward spiral that I canít see how Games Workshop can get out of. The high entry cost and the lack of veterans kills the recruitment possibilities. And since fewer players are recruited, fewer veterans are in the hobby. This, in turn, makes it even harder to recruit new players...
Games Workshop seems to be combating this by downsizing, creating one-man stores, and emphasising the hard sale to the point of firing those who fails to sell enough starter sets.

In the end, weíre left with a game that has a rather high cost of entry and limited longevity. No wonder then, that sales are falling...


Man, listen to me rambling... I hope that all of this makes some sort of sense. My headís stuffed with the onset of a cold and Iím not sure Iím entirely coherent...

burad
11-11-2010, 19:45
If GW was completely devoted to churn and burn, there would be little need for all the constant codex & rules updating. By constant meaning they're always working on the next one. Wouldn;t need to do that if everybody left/turned over every 2 years.

f2k
11-11-2010, 20:14
If GW was completely devoted to churn and burn, there would be little need for all the constant codex & rules updating. By constant meaning they're always working on the next one. Wouldn;t need to do that if everybody left/turned over every 2 years.

Why not? It's win-win. The new players will buy the current codex regardless of how old/new it is. But the veterans have to upgrade every time a new codex is released.

Seriously, I can't see any other explanation. If Games Workshop was dedicated to making the best rules they would only upgrade as needed and every upgrade would be minor tweaks and corrections of errors in the previous codex. The constant re-releasing of the various books, with the wildly different layout, points cost, and units in each version, serve no purpose beyond forcing players to buy a new product.

Ozorik
11-11-2010, 20:23
GW's sales strategy is tied into the 'new army syndrome'. Massive hype (for GW at least) combined with lots of shiney new models in order to attract a surge in sales for the new army so they use their cyclical release strategy.

I strongly suspect that this is one of the reasons why their release schedule is so slow and why they don't update current army books mid cycle to any meaningful degree.

GW's core games break down in small games, 500 point games of warhammer simply don't work. Realistically a 1000 point army is required and is a significant investment (generally £100+).

The ideal entry level game would have simplified 'skirmish' rules based upon the core rules and a handful of models (fully compatable with the core games) for £20-£30. IoB and the like are a very poor intorduction on just about every level.

There really isn't much to say about this though other than that the cost of entry is far, far too high.

Templar Ben
11-11-2010, 20:56
I think GW does Codex and Army Book release the way it does because it has been done that way in the past.

yabbadabba
11-11-2010, 22:03
I wonder actually if this is a meaningful discussion. Hear me out.

We have no evidence here apart from personal circumstances. We know GW's sales volumes are on a downturn - we don't know if that is planned in fact we don't know diddly squat about GWs actual plans as regards to their worldwide strategy for their products - but their sales value is up and although its plateau'd for two years it has definitely turned around from the post LotR boom, and is up about 50% in ten years - not bad and not negative growth. The difficulty is separating the good from the bad.

In addition to this we have nothing to compare GW with. Everything we have is hearsay, internet grumbles and wild guesses. The wargames market has almost no information about it, we only have GWs official figures.

In the end, while for us GW might compete with other wargames companies for our time and money, GW might not see themselves as targetting us as a demographic. Therefore what are concerns or barriers for us might not be for GWs target market. This might mean that our perspectives are not inline with GWs and that means a disconnect and a difficulty in getting clarity based on actions.

For instance I am a full time, crusty, old student. I could complain that I need a car and Ford Modeo's are too expensive new. I reckon many would tell me to get realistic. Modeo's are not marketed for the student market, so there is no need for a cheap one. If GW don't see wargamers as their primary or even secondary market, then they are making £125m of a market that we don't know about and we are not included.

So while we as wargamers look at GW and know there are cheaper hobbies, look at their products and promotions and know exactly what it means. While we know that GW are pushing the numbers of models up and how much it will cost, there are thousands of people, probably kids, who don't know and more importantly don't care. GW have been targetting them for years. And if GW's understanding is that the majority of the minority who stay on playing wargames bugger off to other companies' products anyway, then as long as they get their cut in right at the beginning they won't care; its job done.

Without far more sales data from GW and other companies we cannot say if GW are right and wrong, only that GW are not selling to us anymore and anything they do just won't appeal the same way.

IJW
12-11-2010, 00:01
In the end, while for us GW might compete with other wargames companies for our time and money, GW might not see themselves as targetting us as a demographic. Therefore what are concerns or barriers for us might not be for GWs target market. This might mean that our perspectives are not inline with GWs and that means a disconnect and a difficulty in getting clarity based on actions.

If GW don't see wargamers as their primary or even secondary market, then they are making £125m of a market that we don't know about and we are not included.

And if GW's understanding is that the majority of the minority who stay on playing wargames bugger off to other companies' products anyway, then as long as they get their cut in right at the beginning they won't care; its job done.
That's pretty much the conclusion I came to some years ago - the majority of GW's 'modern' target market aren't wargamers and were never going to become wargamers. They are basically 'extra' gamers who wouldn't have been playing TTG in the first place if it hadn't been for GW (warning - UK-biased view!) and are not going to continue gaming, just like all the people I knew at school in the Eighties who stopped playing as soon as they hit A-levels.

Skaven13
13-11-2010, 20:13
Without far more sales data from GW and other companies we cannot say if GW are right and wrong, only that GW are not selling to us anymore and anything they do just won't appeal the same way.

And that's pretty much the gist of it. We're just not going to get that data. What we do have are confessions of people who have been there and have seen what they have seen. That, while helpful, unfortunately still does not offer numbers to take a look at (which I am dying to see, frankly). It never, ever, made sense to me how you could completely ignore, even alienate, one segment of a market in favor of another one. One poster in another thread (think it was C&E) gave some estimated statistics on what kids spend vs vets, but even if that is true, ignoring and alienating vets completely is marketing wisdom in...which respect really? The costs cannot be that much higher just to give the vets some love every now and then.

The very nature of the GW hobby itself favors longevity of play. Systems like Apocalypse (which JJ usually stated in SB has vets in mind) are directed towards a player that has been around a while (I'm not sure most LTs would accumulate 3,000+ pts in one initial investment). But even without Apoc games in mind, the nature of the hobby, building your army, spending time painting, even releasing codexes with dozens of options for adding to your army, to me, seems to have the aspect of long-term commitment built right into it.

I guess that is one aspect that makes me scratch my head where it doesn't itch. GW seems to be marketing to these kids that buy a starter set, a few models here and there, and then quit, while at the same time the very hobby itself has so many optional units and products you can buy that by its very nature seem to favor a long-term commitment.

Templar Ben
13-11-2010, 22:44
What are the true entry costs today?

Say you are Little Timmy (henceforth LT) and you see a store and go in with your Christmas/Birthday money. How much are you really coming out of pocket to play?

Assault on Black Reach is 90 USD. By far the most popular army is SM so let's say LT gets a wild hair and decides to do a full blown SM army. He will pick up a Codex for 29 USD and a Battleforce for another 90 USD. I haven't seen all of the pieces but that should be a pretty good sized army. It won't be the best tourney army but that is a small segment of the population.

Is that price enough to really keep many players out?

The fact that LT is going to drop doesn't matter generally because LT will generally buy all plastic and coat it with plastic glue and then several layers of paint. Not a good chance of resale there so they will (again generally) go in a cupboard or in an attic or perhaps in the trash. GW really isn't out anything.

For longevity of play, what does GW get out of having LT being one of the few that doesn't drop? There are little marketing costs to get him to buy another army, in fact LT may be paying for his own marketing by purchasing WD. LT will continue to buy until he reaches some limit (we could be really nerdy at this point and derive a poisson distribution for the number of armies collected).

From GW's perspective is it worth trying to keep a player around if they will buy an army worth of merchandise each year for the next several years?

~~~~
Ignoring LT for a moment, should GW try to grab the early twenty market? These are people that are in a first job and have higher disposable income. Then again these are people also more likely to compare the cost of GW models to similar models out there and the rules to those of competitors. They are also more likely to explain those issues with others which is not good for GW.

GW doesn't want to turn away those people but we are dealing with people that don't use GW stores, want high quality books and models and would be willing to pay for that quality. Sounds a lot like Forge World.

Tarax
14-11-2010, 08:33
Templar Ben, on the basics you are right. I would just like to add that LT will get older and, like you said, buy bigger and more armies. Eventually he will become twenty years of age and by then will have found other means to buy GW. It is this initial buy that is most important. And therefore I understand GW.

Another point I like to make is that, while we all like to play 'big' battles, there is nothing wrong with small battles, 500-1000 points. However, LT will probably go to a gaming group, maybe in the GW-store, where he will see bigger armies. He now starts to think that his army is too small. This will in turn mean that he will buy more stuff. While this may be good for GW, it is not good for the player (LT or otherwise). He will not know what to get, will only buy what GW tells him, will only want the most shiny thing (not the most effective). And will probably will feel let down, because he still doesn't feel like he is up to scratch, because his army still doesn't win, still isn't big enough and still isn't painted.
What LT should do, is find a similar LT and start playing together. That way, they will both grow in experience and army in equal manner.
Lets face it, most veterans don't want to play small games anymore now they have big armies. So, LT is unlikely to find a veteran to play with.

f2k
14-11-2010, 09:33
What are the true entry costs today?

Say you are Little Timmy (henceforth LT) and you see a store and go in with your Christmas/Birthday money. How much are you really coming out of pocket to play?

Assault on Black Reach is 90 USD. By far the most popular army is SM so let's say LT gets a wild hair and decides to do a full blown SM army. He will pick up a Codex for 29 USD and a Battleforce for another 90 USD. I haven't seen all of the pieces but that should be a pretty good sized army. It won't be the best tourney army but that is a small segment of the population.

Is that price enough to really keep many players out?

In Denmark that army would be 1400 Dkr. Thatís the same as a new Wii with Sports, Sports Plus, and Motion Plus. Itís 400 Dkr less than a new Xbox 360S plus a free game. And itís 1000 Dkr less than a PS3 (but then again, PS3's cost way more than theyíre worth).
If youíre willing to get by with a used console then you could, with a bit of luck, get both an old Xbox 360 and Wii for that kind of money.

No assembly or painting required... And I havenít even included the cost of paint, glue, and brushes...


The fact that LT is going to drop doesn't matter generally because LT will generally buy all plastic and coat it with plastic glue and then several layers of paint. Not a good chance of resale there so they will (again generally) go in a cupboard or in an attic or perhaps in the trash. GW really isn't out anything.

For longevity of play, what does GW get out of having LT being one of the few that doesn't drop? There are little marketing costs to get him to buy another army, in fact LT may be paying for his own marketing by purchasing WD. LT will continue to buy until he reaches some limit (we could be really nerdy at this point and derive a poisson distribution for the number of armies collected).

From GW's perspective is it worth trying to keep a player around if they will buy an army worth of merchandise each year for the next several years?

Yes, itís very much worth it...

When Little Timmy becomes Big Timmy he also becomes highly valuable as a recruiter and teacher for the next generation of gamers.

Perhaps players in England can get by due to the sheer number of Games Workshop stores. But elsewhere clubs are still alpha and omega when it comes to recruiting and retaining players. Without a club, whereíre you going to play? And clubs require a core of dedicated older players.

When you lose Little Timmy you also lose Big Timmy. And once youíve lost Big Timmy youíve lost the club, the local community and, most importantly, the chance of recruiting more Little Timmyís.

I know that anecdotal evidence isnít worth much on the internet. But that was exactly what happened in my local community. The ever increasing prices drove the players away. Then the local hobby shops closed. Then the clubs shut down. And then it was all over...

We went from having four hobby stores dedicated to tabletop gaming, a small selection of Games Workshop models in every bookstore, and two thriving clubs, to one hobby store (where tabletop gaming takes up less than half their shelf-space) and a single club that struggles to retain its members.

Thatís what happens when the Big Timmyís leave...


Ignoring LT for a moment, should GW try to grab the early twenty market? These are people that are in a first job and have higher disposable income. Then again these are people also more likely to compare the cost of GW models to similar models out there and the rules to those of competitors. They are also more likely to explain those issues with others which is not good for GW.

GW doesn't want to turn away those people but we are dealing with people that don't use GW stores, want high quality books and models and would be willing to pay for that quality. Sounds a lot like Forge World.

I think youíve nailed it here...

Games Workshop are so dedicated to the churníníburn cycle that theyíve stopped caring about the quality of their product. Who cares that the rules are really wonky and that the cost of a ďproperĒ army is skyhigh as long as Little Timmy buys a starter set?

The problem is that the entry cost is now so high that Little Timmyís parents would rather buy an Xbox than a few handfuls of plastic toy soldiers. What could have convinced them to buy the toy soldiers was a Big Timmy telling them about all the great times than can be had while playing with your mates. And how much enjoyment Little Timmy will be getting out of those toy soldiers. Instead, what they get is a hard sale speech by a stressed employee who knows that heíll get fired if he fails to meet this monthís quota...

If Games Workshop cared about their product then they would have an easier time retaining the Big Timmyís. And those Big Timmyís, while they might not buy as much as Little Timmy (an assertion that I personally doubt), are invaluable in providing free publicity and recruitment of Little Timmyís.


Templar Ben, on the basics you are right. I would just like to add that LT will get older and, like you said, buy bigger and more armies. Eventually he will become twenty years of age and by then will have found other means to buy GW. It is this initial buy that is most important. And therefore I understand GW.

As I said above, Games Workshopís focus on churníníburn and as-long-as-Little-Timmy-buys-a-starter-set-weíre-okay is at the root of their current problems. Without Big Timmy, how will you get Little Timmy to buy models?

Does it really matter where Big Timmy gets his models from? With the exception of eBay, every model sold is still money for Games Workshop (although, admittedly, less money that if the models are bought directly from their own webshop).

What matters is that Big Timmy takes Little Timmy by the hand and shows him how cool it is to play with toy soldiers...


Another point I like to make is that, while we all like to play 'big' battles, there is nothing wrong with small battles, 500-1000 points.

Well, apart from the fact that the rules break down completely and that Games Workshop wants you to buy more, more, more (and don't forget the Giant)...


However, LT will probably go to a gaming group, maybe in the GW-store, where he will see bigger armies. He now starts to think that his army is too small. This will in turn mean that he will buy more stuff. While this may be good for GW, it is not good for the player (LT or otherwise). He will not know what to get, will only buy what GW tells him, will only want the most shiny thing (not the most effective). And will probably will feel let down, because he still doesn't feel like he is up to scratch, because his army still doesn't win, still isn't big enough and still isn't painted.
What LT should do, is find a similar LT and start playing together. That way, they will both grow in experience and army in equal manner.

What gaming group? Thereíre no Big Timmyís left to run the clubs, remember...

If there were Big Timmyís left then Little Timmy would get the guidance that he requires to slowly expand his army in the right direction. Thatís not something that another Little Timmy can help him with...


Lets face it, most veterans don't want to play small games anymore now they have big armies. So, LT is unlikely to find a veteran to play with.

Huh? When I was dragged into tabletop gaming again, the veterans in the group had no issue whatsoever in playing small 600 point games with me. But perhaps Flames of War players have a different mindset than Games Workshop players these days... Donít know... I havenít played a Games Workshop game in years...

yabbadabba
14-11-2010, 10:36
The problem is that the entry cost is now so high that Little Timmyís parents would rather buy an Xbox than a few handfuls of plastic toy soldiers. What could have convinced them to buy the toy soldiers was a Big Timmy telling them about all the great times than can be had while playing with your mates. And how much enjoyment Little Timmy will be getting out of those toy soldiers. Instead, what they get is a hard sale speech by a stressed employee who knows that heíll get fired if he fails to meet this monthís quota... Not according to GWs figures. They are up 50% growth in 10 years. Now I am no economist but that isn't too bad. Sounds like their churn-and-burn strategy works just fine. See below about one man stores.


If Games Workshop cared about their product then they would have an easier time retaining the Big Timmyís. And those Big Timmyís, while they might not buy as much as Little Timmy (an assertion that I personally doubt), are invaluable in providing free publicity and recruitment of Little Timmyís. No I think you have that wrong. There is no evidence to suggest GW don't care about their product, it is essential to their business afterall, just because they are not appealing to you. You don't buy Ben 10 toys to play with do you? You might be confusing yourself as a demographic GW wants to target.


Perhaps players in England can get by due to the sheer number of Games Workshop stores. But elsewhere clubs are still alpha and omega when it comes to recruiting and retaining players. Without a club, whereíre you going to play? And clubs require a core of dedicated older players....
As I said above, Games Workshopís focus on churníníburn and as-long-as-Little-Timmy-buys-a-starter-set-weíre-okay is at the root of their current problems. Without Big Timmy, how will you get Little Timmy to buy models?...

What matters is that Big Timmy takes Little Timmy by the hand and shows him how cool it is to play with toy soldiers...

If there were Big Timmyís left then Little Timmy would get the guidance that he requires to slowly expand his army in the right direction. Thatís not something that another Little Timmy can help him with... Personally I think that GWs one man store policy is in place to aid a buy out. But in case it isn't it is a corporately ideal answer to this issue. Clubs are uncontrollable and dangerous places for GW. GW don't want to go anywhere near clubs, they got their fingers burnt by their own in the UK and US (I think or it might have been Oz), and the GCN while a great organisation, is something GW haven't understood at the highest levels. GW don't need Big Timmy if they can expand their retail business. They cut out, to be frank, unreliable, inconsistent and potentially disloyal older customers for direct control over younger ones recruited through WOM and a high street presence. I appreciate in its essence that is simplistic but done correctly it fits into GWs overall strategy and desire for control.

I suppose being a GW customer is like having your first girlfrind/boyfriend. Intense, exciting, you think it will last for ever and its the best thing ever. However you will get dumped, it will hurt like hell, but you will get over it and discover there is far more to life.

f2k
14-11-2010, 11:47
Not according to GWs figures. They are up 50% growth in 10 years. Now I am no economist but that isn't too bad. Sounds like their churn-and-burn strategy works just fine. See below about one man stores.

And yet the unit sales seem to be going down year by year. To me that is a clear indication that theyíre selling fewer models. Ever increasing prices and store-closures will only mask their problems so long...

As for growth... A quick look on their shares shows that itís currently worth only half of what it was in 2005. Although, to be honest, itís worth quite a deal more than the low-point in late 2008...


No I think you have that wrong. There is no evidence to suggest GW don't care about their product, it is essential to their business afterall, just because they are not appealing to you. You don't buy Ben 10 toys to play with do you? You might be confusing yourself as a demographic GW wants to target.

I might not have explained myself clearly... My point is that it is the quality of the product that will retain the Big Timmyís. The quality of the models and the quality of the rules. I canít fault the quality of the models (aesthetics aside) but the rules are actually pretty dire.
If Games Workshop really cared then they would only tweak the rules as needed rather than completely rewriting them every four years as part of a marketing ploy to force people to buy the new book. If Games Workshop really cared then they wouldnít let armies linger in limbo for decades. If Games Workshop really cared then they wouldnít invalidate units and even entire armies.

No, I donít buy Ben 10 toys. But then again, I donít buy Games Workshop ďtoysĒ either. I used to buy a lot of Ďem, but not anymore. Is that a big lose to Games Workshop? Probably not. But how many new players could I have recruited in the 15+ years that I could have been playing?
Quality is what would have kept me playing. And me playing is what would have helped recruit new players.

So while Little Timmy doesnít really care about quality, Big Timmy does. And when the quality is so bad the Big Timmy leaves, Big Timmy is not only going to badmouth Games Workshop on the internet, heís also going to tell everybody else to go buy something else.

Yes, I do realise that Iím not the kind of player that Games Workshop is targeting. My entire point is that Games Workshop is flat out wrong in not targeting me as Iím the kind of player that keeps the hobby alive in the long run.

And in any case, I donít think itís a question of black or white. Rules can be written to be clear and concise, to appeal to Big Timmy, while still being easy to understand and play for Little Timmy.


Personally I think that GWs one man store policy is in place to aid a buy out. But in case it isn't it is a corporately ideal answer to this issue. Clubs are uncontrollable and dangerous places for GW. GW don't want to go anywhere near clubs, they got their fingers burnt by their own in the UK and US (I think or it might have been Oz), and the GCN while a great organisation, is something GW haven't understood at the highest levels. GW don't need Big Timmy if they can expand their retail business. They cut out, to be frank, unreliable, inconsistent and potentially disloyal older customers for direct control over younger ones recruited through WOM and a high street presence. I appreciate in its essence that is simplistic but done correctly it fits into GWs overall strategy and desire for control.

But they canít expand the retail business. Theyíve tried for years and look where it got them One-man stores in second-rate malls. It might be working in England since they have something close to a monopoly there. But getting into Europe, and particular America, is a lost cause.

When they donít have the high-street presence they fail miserably. And thatís why they need the independent shops and the clubs to run the show in areas where they donít have a company store. Unfortunately, theyíve alienated the independent stores and lost the clubs through lack of support and skyhigh prices.

And then Privateer Press and Battlefront moved in...

eldargal
14-11-2010, 12:36
Sales have grown in the UK and the US, to a lesser extent, but this has been compensated for by a significant drop in Europe. Worst that might happen for GW is they drop the European (and Asia-PAcific from memory) branch(es) of the business and leave those unfortunate enough to live on the Continent* with buying online or from non-GW stores.
Also, there has been a significant decrease in sales in luxury goods, except lipstick, accross the board since 2007, its not just GW. If sales fail to pick up over the next five years or so (assuming the economic situation improves), then we might be able to say GW is in trouble.



*By which I mean, unfortunate enough to live in Europe if GW ceases European operations, not unfortunate enough to live on the continent in general.

Ozorik
14-11-2010, 13:35
GW could easily cater for both mature/advanced gamers and little Timmy and his friends. They simply choose not to and it is something that they are likely to regret.

yabbadabba
14-11-2010, 13:59
And yet the unit sales seem to be going down year by year. To me that is a clear indication that theyíre selling fewer models. Ever increasing prices and store-closures will only mask their problems so long... Hmm, ever increasing prices is far too easy, although don't get me wrong GW is expensive. Everything I currently buy is more expensive than it was before. As for closing shops .....

As for growth... A quick look on their shares shows that itís currently worth only half of what it was in 2005. Although, to be honest, itís worth quite a deal more than the low-point in late 2008... ... it gets in with this as being potentially wrong and certainly misrepresentative. They are also opening stores, moving stores and downsizing stores. In addition the 2005 share price was not an inidication of GWs value, but of stupid people getting far too over excited by the success of LotR effect on GW - remember, the bubble? I think the current share price is far more indicative of GWs true market value. This is the problem with the wargames market and in particular GW - too much rumour and very little actual facts. Even Reinholt stresses that he is "speculating". So let's try and be a little more balanced in our appraisals shall we?


I might not have explained myself clearly... My point is that it is the quality of the product that will retain the Big Timmyís. The quality of the models and the quality of the rules. I canít fault the quality of the models (aesthetics aside) but the rules are actually pretty dire.
If Games Workshop really cared then they would only tweak the rules as needed rather than completely rewriting them every four years as part of a marketing ploy to force people to buy the new book. If Games Workshop really cared then they wouldnít let armies linger in limbo for decades. If Games Workshop really cared then they wouldnít invalidate units and even entire armies. But none of that is necessary for GWs' sales strategy. As C+E said, what is good for the hobby isn't necessarily good for GW's bottom line. As it is while it might annoy you, GWs new releases are major sales drivers for them. GW have changed their retail sales strategy...... 5 times that I remember. So we might want to give them an iota of credit that they have actually looked at this data. GW has to care about the money first. Anything else is secondary. If GW believe their sales strategy is correct (and the moving trend seems to indicate it) then why are they wrong not to carry on with it?


No, I donít buy Ben 10 toys. But then again, I donít buy Games Workshop ďtoysĒ either. I used to buy a lot of Ďem, but not anymore. Is that a big lose to Games Workshop? Probably not. But how many new players could I have recruited in the 15+ years that I could have been playing?
Quality is what would have kept me playing. And me playing is what would have helped recruit new players.First part proves a point. Second point it yes you could have recruited a few customers over the years, but far less than a store could recruit in a month or two. What you are saying is that if GW wanted you as a customer then there are certain things they should have done. They didn't, so draw your conclusion. They have put that resource elsewhere which they think is more profitable.


So while Little Timmy doesnít really care about quality, Big Timmy does. And when the quality is so bad the Big Timmy leaves, Big Timmy is not only going to badmouth Games Workshop on the internet, heís also going to tell everybody else to go buy something else. And what effect is that happening, really? Nice anecdotal evidence but it doesn't prove that GW is wrong. In fact ity appears that for GWs core market they could be right.


Yes, I do realise that Iím not the kind of player that Games Workshop is targeting. My entire point is that Games Workshop is flat out wrong in not targeting me as Iím the kind of player that keeps the hobby alive in the long run.
And in any case, I donít think itís a question of black or white. Rules can be written to be clear and concise, to appeal to Big Timmy, while still being easy to understand and play for Little Timmy. C+E explains the rules bit better than me. So would you say that GW is flat out wrong not targetting girls? Or mothers? Or grandparents? Or are you as a wargamer just a bit narked that you have done what so many others have done - succumbed to GWs marketing and then been left emotionally tied?


But they canít expand the retail business. Theyíve tried for years and look where it got them One-man stores in second-rate malls. It might be working in England since they have something close to a monopoly there. But getting into Europe, and particular America, is a lost cause.
When they donít have the high-street presence they fail miserably. And thatís why they need the independent shops and the clubs to run the show in areas where they donít have a company store. Unfortunately, theyíve alienated the independent stores and lost the clubs through lack of support and skyhigh prices. Asides from the fact I agree that the US is a waste of time and effort for GW, they are trying a new retail strategy. Funnily enough thousands of small, one person retail businesses survive and flourish across the world. Why can't GW? In the end, if they are focussing on the 11-16 year old market, and looking at a 2-4 year "fad" for these customers, then it makes very little difference what kind of store they are in.


And then Privateer Press and Battlefront moved in... So are you advocating a monopoly by GW? I don't think so, but PP and BF are beside the point or if anything emphasise GWs correct strategy of targetting new customers instead of entering a self defeating fight with smaller companies for an established customer base. Nobody likes a bully. When PP and BF learn to reach out beyond the wargames market then they can be considered a threat.

Funny thing is as a nostalgic hobbyist I agree with you. As an ex-retailer, I consider GW to be looking for a buy out or moving themselves entirely into the young teenage boy market where the only competition is consoles which still aren't that trusted by middle class families as the sole source of entertainment for their children. As such you, me and pretty much most people on here are inconsequential and a sales bonus.

FabricatorGeneralMike
14-11-2010, 14:04
Sales have grown in the UK and the US, to a lesser extent, but this has been compensated for by a significant drop in Europe. Worst that might happen for GW is they drop the European (and Asia-PAcific from memory) branch(es) of the business and leave those unfortunate enough to live on the Continent* with buying online or from non-GW stores.
Also, there has been a significant decrease in sales in luxury goods, except lipstick, accross the board since 2007, its not just GW. If sales fail to pick up over the next five years or so (assuming the economic situation improves), then we might be able to say GW is in trouble.



*By which I mean, unfortunate enough to live in Europe if GW ceases European operations, not unfortunate enough to live on the continent in general.

You don't seem to get it Eldargal, their sales are not up. There profits are up but their sales per unit are down. What does that mean? It means they keep jacking up prices and slashing costs so that it looks like they are doing well. That will only work for so long. It's like paying one credit card off with another, it only works for so long. Another analagy is, your robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I think Wells and Co are priming for a buy-out from someone. If you read the financial report it looks like its all peaches and cream, but if you read inbetween the lines it's not looking that well.

What really gets me is they don't know why people keep on buying GW stuff, but they say they will keep on doing the same thing because it seems like its working. If it was working I would of bought my 3000 point SoB army from a GW store, oh wait I can't because its direct only now. I would be buying the bits I need for a pre-heresy army from a GW store, oh wait I can't now so I will be buying from bitz order store. I would be playing at a GW store, oh wait I can't because they took out all the tables and because its only one man you don't know what times it's opening. I would be playing BFG and epic at the store, oh wait I can't no SG's at GW which has no tables for playing on anymore just ONE intro table with 40k, WFB and LoTR on it.

We used to be like you, we used to defend GW from all the haters, we just got burned so much there is no point anymore. I don't hate 40k,WFB or GW, I just hate the way the company is procceding now. It doesn't know what it wants to do. I used to work at a GW have you ever? I know what goes on behind the senes. I know the manager giving us ***** because we didn't ' try hard enough' ( the HARDSALE) at the end of the month to make the stores core requirements. Do you like walking into a GW to look for some 40k stuff and have a IoB shoved in your face 4 times? even after you told the staffer you don't play fantasy, don't want to learn to play fantasy and don't want to spend $118.75 Canadian on a box of figgies just to paint up? I mean really 118 dollars, when the AoBR came out up here it was $65, and they where still making money off of it BTW its now $108 canadian, I guess adding the new sprews to the box set to hike the price off was worth it the new models are awsome.... what there is no new models in it :wtf: Skull Pass was $70, still making a profit on it. $50 for 10 Sisters of Battle that used to be $27. $24 for 10 tac-marines are now $42. No new recuts, no new nothing in it, they used to say the reasion for the prices being high was because playing and painting in the store was built into the cost. Now there is neither so why don't the prices come down? Why not because GW isn't a hobby anymore, its get you to spend your money as fast as possible then get the hell out of my store so I can hardsell some little timmy's mom on why this is better then a videogame system.

The GW hobby is long dead. Now im not againsted GW but there business model is just really fu***d up. With prices like they are now why go after little timmy, he can't afford anything anymore. And honestly there are not luxury items, thats just a load of BS to help justify the high prices and the yearly a$$-raping, I mean price hike. These are little plastic (and metal) army men( and women). A rolex is a luxury item, a pair of Air Jordans is a luxury item, these are plastic army men( and women).

eldargal
14-11-2010, 14:18
No, you don't get it. GW are profitable, even if they are experiencing a sales decline beyond what the entire luxury goods industry is experiencing*, they have plenty of time and money to change tack and arrest that decline.

I am not pessimistic about GW because I don't my own sense of entitlement cloud mt expectations from GW and then have an immature hissy fit when those expectations aren't met. Fact is the only place GW is facing imminent demise is on the GW General Discussion Thread on Warseer. Hell, first time I read some of the detritus in this place I became so worried I asked some friends of the family who work in corporate finance to look at GWs financials and they couldn't find a damned thing wrong with them. I can't prove that to anyone, but I'm going to take their word over a bunch of haters on the internet, so I just can't get worked up over it anymore. I fully realise this same logic applies to me and I don't expect anyone to change their views based on what I have said. But I don't care, because it doesn't change the situation in what I like to call reality.

*Which is unclear to say the least.

You know what, nevermind. This is like trying to argue with religious fanatics anyway. I had these same discussions in the early 200s and GW is still here. I'm really going to try and avoid this part of Warseer from now on and just back to enjoying the hobby.

logan054
14-11-2010, 14:32
And yet the unit sales seem to be going down year by year. To me that is a clear indication that theyíre selling fewer models. Ever increasing prices and store-closures will only mask their problems so long...

To be honest You can really see the impact this has had even in the stores in the UK, I do game in my local GW and I can remember 5 years ago and you would actually have to wait hours for a game. Now when you walk you have maybe 6 people wanting to game, If you go in on a sunday (as they do vets instead of LotR after 3) you can easily get a few games in. The constant price rises have really put me of buying from GW these, infact I cant really afford it, if I buy any GW products these days it either ebay or I trade stuff on various forums.

I think its other silly things that have impacted sales, one if the big things for me is a lack of Bitz service, I have a lot of converted characters, I even have one with a shaggoth axe, I am hardly going to go out and buy a shaggoth just for is axe and that is at the end of the day lost sales. For me, something that is very important is the modelling aspect, I love have unique looking models, models that stick in peoples mind (infact I bumped into a guy from warseer who said "hey you have a log on warseer don't you").

Anyways I wondered a bit away from the point lol, I still buy a lot of warhammer, If G didn't keep on raising its prices I would still be doing the same, this year alone I have bought:

2500pts VC army (mantic)
additional 2k of DE (atleast trade)
converted Chaos warriors with halberds & great weapons
Converted several chaos hero characters
Expanded my Tzeentch army
3 drop pods
2 tactical squads
2 terminator squads
scouts
Landraider crusdaer
landspeeder (mind you I would have always bought this from ebay unless GW rereleased the old one at a decent price)
several blood raven characters

I think from GE I have bought about 6 paints and some greenstuff!

The interesting question is really how many more people are like me and how much could GW be making from us if they didn't insist on these constant price rises which they seriously cant sustain. I don't think I would have ever got into warhammer if it was the price it is today, my family would not have been willing to pay for it.

Kwisatz Haderach
14-11-2010, 14:39
GW could easily cater for both mature/advanced gamers and little Timmy and his friends. They simply choose not to and it is something that they are likely to regret.

It seems to me that GW does cate to both. What do you think they should be doing differently to cater to mature/advanced gamers?

FabricatorGeneralMike
14-11-2010, 14:41
No, you don't get it. GW are profitable, even if they are experiencing a sales decline beyond what the entire luxury goods industry is experiencing*, they have plenty of time and money to change tack and arrest that decline.

I am not pessimistic about GW because I don't my own sense of entitlement cloud mt expectations from GW and then have an immature hissy fit when those expectations aren't met. Fact is the only place GW is facing imminent demise is on the GW General Discussion Thread on Warseer. Hell, first time I read some of the detritus in this place I became so worried I asked some friends of the family who work in corporate finance to look at GWs financials and they couldn't find a damned thing wrong with them. I can't prove that to anyone, but I'm going to take their word over a bunch of haters on the internet, so I just can't get worked up over it anymore. I fully realise this same logic applies to me and I don't expect anyone to change their views based on what I have said. But I don't care, because it doesn't change the situation in what I like to call reality.

*Which is unclear to say the least.

You know what, nevermind. This is like trying to argue with religious fanatics anyway. I had these same discussions in the early 200s and GW is still here. I'm really going to try and avoid this part of Warseer from now on and just back to enjoying the hobby.

I'm sorry if that sounded like a personal attack, it wasn't ment to be. Honestly I don't go to the GW store anymore because anything I want to get I can get cheeper anywhere else, and because im not buying anything most of the time I go there I get the ' buy something or get out of here' look. I don't think GW should have to cater to me personally to make me feel like im getting something out of the hobby ( not the GW hobby, but minature painting, converting hobby.) I just love the 40k universe so much, its been a huge part of my life since I was 13, im now 33. I look back and what it used to be, then look at it now and just shake my head. I can forgive most of the stuff GW does, but the yearly price increases just **** me off to no end. I understand that what it used to be might not be the most effient way to run a business or maxamize profits, but I think if you have more engauging products that are reasionably priced you would do better over all as a business. I understand that us 'vets' are really not wanted at the GW stores. They still want us to buy stuff, but not to hang out at the stores or play games at the stores. Thats what clubs are for, in GW's opinion.

I'm just glad that Chapters sells the 40k books cheeper then GW's stores do and that FW is just a order away.

One more thing, if GW wasn't doing something right back in the day then why did Kirby initiate the buy out back then? They must of been doing something right back then. It's not like GW was on the brink of going under around that time.

I wasn't saying GW isn't profitable. What I am saying is that it's unsustanable the way they are making that profit. They can only price hike and slash costs so much, they can only pimp the GW IP so far then what? Are we going to have SM tooth brushes, Primarch underarm deoderent? " After a hard day of killing Xeno's I like to be 'fresh' for that date I have later on":wtf:

Ozorik
14-11-2010, 14:59
It seems to me that GW does cate to both. What do you think they should be doing differently to cater to mature/advanced gamers?

Quite simply better, more varied, games. On top of this are more minor things such as a bits service, better value for money, well mainted and supported products and generally a feeling that the entire buisness isn't purely about money.

GW don't do this and if anything are showing signs of concentrating even more on their 'burn and churn' strategy.

f2k
14-11-2010, 15:16
Yabbadabba...

The Fabricator General said it better than I ever could. But Iíll try anyway. Or rather: since I donít actually disagree with you on most points Iíll just concentrate on the few where I disagree...


But none of that is necessary for GWs' sales strategy. As C+E said, what is good for the hobby isn't necessarily good for GW's bottom line. As it is while it might annoy you, GWs new releases are major sales drivers for them. GW have changed their retail sales strategy...... 5 times that I remember. So we might want to give them an iota of credit that they have actually looked at this data. GW has to care about the money first. Anything else is secondary. If GW believe their sales strategy is correct (and the moving trend seems to indicate it) then why are they wrong not to carry on with it?

This I disagree very strongly with. Games Workshop is not correct and theyíre not moving in the correct direction. The resent losses, the stagnating turnover, and the falling unit sales all indicate that they are moving in the wrong direction.

As for why theyíre carrying on with it...? I honestly donít know... Perhaps they really are getting ready for a turnover as some posters suggest? Perhaps they truly believe that thereís light at the end of the tunnel? And that it isnít a freightrain...


First part proves a point. Second point it yes you could have recruited a few customers over the years, but far less than a store could recruit in a month or two. What you are saying is that if GW wanted you as a customer then there are certain things they should have done. They didn't, so draw your conclusion. They have put that resource elsewhere which they think is more profitable.

Do you really think that one-man stores practicing the hard sale is going to recruit new players. From what Iíve heard of how the UK stores are being run, I would never ever set a foot in any of them. Neither now, as a disgruntled ďveteranĒ, nor back then as a clueless newb.



And what effect is that happening, really? Nice anecdotal evidence but it doesn't prove that GW is wrong. In fact ity appears that for GWs core market they could be right.

Games Workshopís presence in my town has gone from everywhere-you-look to Games-Workshop-who? Is that really right?

Yes, itís purely anecdotal. But from what Iím hearing my town isnít the only one...


C+E explains the rules bit better than me. So would you say that GW is flat out wrong not targetting girls? Or mothers? Or grandparents? Or are you as a wargamer just a bit narked that you have done what so many others have done - succumbed to GWs marketing and then been left emotionally tied?

As for girls and grandmaís... Well, theyíre not really the target for tabletop games no-matter what you do. Targeting them would probably be a lost cause. Targeting the veteran tabletop players on the other hand...

And yes, I a bit ďnarkedĒ. I gave Games Workshop quite a few years of my time Ė not to mention a bucket load of my money.

From early 2. ed. 40K to somewhere around mid 4. ed. I bought every game and magazine they released except for ManíoíWar which I sadly never got hold of. Three editions of 40K, three editions of Fantasy, four editions of Epic, Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Gorka Morka, Dungeon Quest, Space Hulk, some 200 White Dwarf magazines, nearly all Citadel Journals, several dozen Warhammer Monthly and Inferno magazines, a dozen or so Black Library books and thousands upon thousands Dkr worth of models.

And now they tell me that Iím not really welcome anymore? That theyíre not interested in selling to me?

Yeah, you can bet that Iím ďnarkedĒ...

Reminds me of my grandparents. For over 25 years they bought Citroens from the same dealer. No matter where they lived. No matter how long they had to drive. They always returned to the same dealer. Then a younger dealer took over. And he had the audacity (my grandmotherís words) to tell them that he didnít have time to look at the oil-pressure indicator right now and that they should go to another Citroen dealer some 20 miles away instead.
Let me tell you, my grandmother was livid. Having been a faithful customer for a quarter of a century she was now being told that she wasnít welcome there anymore. So they did as suggested and went to another dealer. Unfortunately for Citroen, this time they went to a Toyota dealer. Sold their Citroen and vowed never to buy one ever again.

Perhaps not a particular great loss to Citroen, all in all. But they lost a customer who would always return to the company, who would always buy their cars from that company, and who would always praise that company for their great service. In effect, a customer who required no introduction from the staff, who required no commercials, who didnít require any hard sale speech to be talked into buying a new car. A customer who could be counted upon to return again and again without Citroen having to expends as much as a single dime to lure them in.

I was like that once. I thought the 40K universe was the best thing since the invention of slized bread. Games Workshop didnít have to give me any hard sale speech to get me to buy all those shiny new models. They didnít have to do anything at all to get me into the shop except making sure that the new White Dwarf was there on time. I was a good dependable customer who would buy something every month. But now, apparently, Iím worthless to them...


Asides from the fact I agree that the US is a waste of time and effort for GW, they are trying a new retail strategy. Funnily enough thousands of small, one person retail businesses survive and flourish across the world. Why can't GW?

Because you canít churníníburn a product, almost as expensive as an Xbox 360, to children and young teens. They simply donít have the money for it. And their parents are too smart to shell out that kind of money for a few hundred grams of plastic.


Funny thing is as a nostalgic hobbyist I agree with you. As an ex-retailer, I consider GW to be looking for a buy out or moving themselves entirely into the young teenage boy market where the only competition is consoles which still aren't that trusted by middle class families as the sole source of entertainment for their children. As such you, me and pretty much most people on here are inconsequential and a sales bonus.

Indeed. I actually think that we mostly agree on this. Itís just that my look on Games Workshop is a bit bleaker than yours...

As for the consoles... Well, itís more anecdotal evidence but... I was part of an attempt to activate the youths of this area by starting a gaming-cafe. We couldnít get anyone to come. Every last one of the children we spoke to had some sort of console or computer at home. Games Workshop ignores the consoles at their own peril...

Templar Ben
14-11-2010, 15:17
How badly would it hurt sales to LT if GW had different games with "equal" support?

For instance, if there was a low level game with very highly detailed combat rules then it could appeal to those wanting high levels of detail. They could then release supplements like CoD or Planetstrike. I see the low hanging fruit there being Necromunda, Gorkamorka, and Combat Patrol.

They will keep 40K as a more generic abstraction (much like it is now) which allows for platoon level combat. Supplements are added to flesh out the system as happens now.

For larger battles GW explains that Apoc is there if you have room and want to keep 40K wonky-ness or you can change scales and pick up Epic.

How much would GW lose in sales to the younglings?

Epic exists

yabbadabba
14-11-2010, 16:02
The Fabricator General said it better than I ever could. But Iíll try anyway. Or rather: since I donít actually disagree with you on most points Iíll just concentrate on the few where I disagree... OK, fire away


This I disagree very strongly with. Games Workshop is not correct and theyíre not moving in the correct direction. The resent losses, the stagnating turnover, and the falling unit sales all indicate that they are moving in the wrong direction. Ok, lets look at it another way. If you take out the LotR hump (because of so many reasons) and then you assume that GW have grown their business from around £85m in 2000 to £125m in 2010 despite one of the world's worst recessions, mounting competition against one sector of your market AND competing against falling customer numbers surely that shows some good business strategy? What GW also are sticking to is a tried and tested method of recruiting their way out of a sales slump. Now that is a true weakness as they are subject to the population fluctuations of their demographic. Remember, overall sales are up, despite unit sales being down. Solve that with the current strategy and GW will give even less of a monkeys to any veteran players asking for the old days.


As for why theyíre carrying on with it...? I honestly donít know... Perhaps they really are getting ready for a turnover as some posters suggest? Perhaps they truly believe that thereís light at the end of the tunnel? And that it isnít a freightrain... Maybe. Again without hardocre evidence we have no definitive answers. What I do know is despite all I know and despise about GW, what happens on here is we get a very unbalanced and excessively critical and negative representation of GW - and that, without proper data, does tend to "write the history". Its emotional driven and very rarely factually or analytically driven.


Do you really think that one-man stores practicing the hard sale is going to recruit new players. From what Iíve heard of how the UK stores are being run, I would never ever set a foot in any of them. Neither now, as a disgruntled ďveteranĒ, nor back then as a clueless newb. But thats you. As a retailer one man stores work, there is no denying it. Retail is built on it. As a hobbyist no of course it doesn't sound right, but so many things about the wargames market make no sense from a retail perspective including that a lot of LGSs are effectively one man stores. GW have tried 1 man stores before and they have failed - Loughborough, Beckenham etc, but the strategy was never well implemented. I don't know what the difference is (the bonus structure won't be) so thats why I am backing a buy out.


Games Workshopís presence in my town has gone from everywhere-you-look to Games-Workshop-who? Is that really right? Yes, itís purely anecdotal. But from what Iím hearing my town isnít the only one... Ok lets look at it form another perspective. Trade sales, while very profitable, is market driven. If another company comes along with a better offer (not even product) for the shop owner, you get marginalised. Now it is more complex than that, I know, but this is for brevity. Your own retail store gives you 100% of the control in an area. Now in an area with a good LGS a GW should not be able to compete, but they do and in some cases drives them out of business. GW will look at your town and either decide its too small (find another stockist and let it tick over) or just right and open a store especially if the local stockist isn't cutting the mustard. Where GW often fail is to take into account regional shopping preferences adopting an old fashioned McDonalds/Disney approach to their store openings which they do need to change. Apart from the US (just fire and forget), they could have a retail business in any country with an established and traditionally motivated middle class.


As for girls and grandmaís... Well, theyíre not really the target for tabletop games no-matter what you do. Targeting them would probably be a lost cause. Targeting the veteran tabletop players on the other hand... Why? If GW don't see you as a viable market, then they will not target you just as they don't target grannies. Which might explain...

Yeah, you can bet that Iím ďnarkedĒ... This might be why its tough to undertsand you've been "dumped".


Because you canít churníníburn a product, almost as expensive as an Xbox 360, to children and young teens. They simply donít have the money for it. And their parents are too smart to shell out that kind of money for a few hundred grams of plastic. Again, for 16 years GW will disagree. The data you need is year on year, core game and paint set monthly sales cross referenced with population data on the 11-16 year olds. This will give you a better idea about how the "recruitment" drive is working.


Indeed. I actually think that we mostly agree on this. Itís just that my look on Games Workshop is a bit bleaker than yours... Nope, trust me mine isn't any more joyful than yours. I couldn't give a monkeys from my perspective; but these things do have 2 purposes for me. The first is that I know I am onto a loser, so I get to practice debate in the face of what is often fanatacism. The second is that there is so much subjective, uninformed opinion on here that you can see a history being written and believed without any use of real evidence. If GW folds tomorrow I will have the most sadisitic smile on my face, but I will still continue to fight for a proper, balanced perspective on things before making decisions.
Still this is the internet :rolleyes:, but I don't see why it should get away with such carelessness.


As for the consoles... Well, itís more anecdotal evidence but... I was part of an attempt to activate the youths of this area by starting a gaming-cafe. We couldnít get anyone to come. Every last one of the children we spoke to had some sort of console or computer at home. Games Workshop ignores the consoles at their own peril... I think they have seen consoles and want a slice of the action mate, not ignoring them.

I think two things seperate us. I long stopped being bitter/narked about GW, because I am maybe fortunate enough to have a good insight into how they work over the past 20 odd years. My nostalgia lies in my choice of gaming and modelling, not in wishing GW would do something. I also look at other wargames companies and believe that they are still fairly stuck in the 70/80s but there is something quite comfortable with that.
The second is that I will present balance even at the risk of being condemned as a "fanboi". The only way people are going to be able to make a reasoned and sensible decision about their hobby and everything that goes with it is by seeing things with as much balance as possible. It then allows us to make a decision and be as emotionally over excited as we like about it :D.

The GW I know died/morphed a long time ago. I think it is just taking a while for the rest of the world to catch up and realise it.

maximu160490
14-11-2010, 22:06
Hmm, I have been reading this with interest.

As it has been said before games workshop do not want people who have been in on the hpbby for years. I've just hit 9 years of warhammer - started with freinds as a 12 yr old and have not looked back.

However the current situation really worries me. The manage of my old shop now cares more about getting the school clubs up and running rather than look to his rather large contingent of vets. Now i am further "north" my two local shops would be Bristol and Bath.

Now i have not been into the bristol store as I have found a GREAT independnat about 200yds away who is everyting I want from a games store. I went into Bath as I know the manager from my days in plymouth/Truro to see how he was getting on and maybe paint some stuff. Only to find the store is TINY now and barely any room at all - One table 4x4 was used for both "participation" games and "hobby". Ok i was only in to paint some Blood Bowl for a tourny in a weeks time but I just didnt feel good about being in there and felt I was more of a hinderance than a valued customer (god knows how much i have pumped into that company).

If you can call them "vets nights" anymore, are a joke. only open till8pm now and i dont even think there is an age limit. It wouldnt be worth my wile driving to Bath to play on the SAME GENERIC TERRAIN AS EVERY OTHER BLOODY STORE.

I feel that I have now gone past the OMG i must go to GW to see people I know etc - the new Truro manager killed that after a week - you just didnt want to spend time in there as it was an uncomfertable atmposphere.

I now prefer to go and relax in the independant in bristol (Cut n Thrust wargaming) rather than go to GW.

I will go into Bath if i am there anyway but only to see the manager as a person I know and POSSIBLY buy somthing - only because i like the guy running the place - not the compnay.

Moving away from conrwall has made me see the hobby from a different light

Trasvi
15-11-2010, 05:11
I think that, while effective in the short term, prices eventually will be raised to a point where cost of entry is too much. In the end, warhammer NEEDS 2 or more people to play. Lets say prices are at a point where 5 kids get into it at the same time. They play for a while, 3 get bored and drop out/move onto other hobbies, while the other 2 are left playing. Eventually they get bored of playing just each other, one quits, and the other continues with the hobby, eventually finding a good gaming club and sticking with it for the rest of his life, during which time he spends more on GW product than the other 4 kids combined. (i've seen this happen 4 times just in groups of people i know).

Now, imagine prices were at a point where only 4 people could afford to start/thought it was worth the investment over an Xbox or similar. You're going to have a much lower chance of getting that one player who continues and eventually buys more. If instead of one in every 5 players you get to 1 in every 8 who continues on, you'll end up with much less chance that that player finds a good club and keeps going. If, instead, prices were such that 8 people started at once and 4 drop out, you're left with a core of 4 people who can continue to play together in some variety, rather than getting bored and quitting. By lowering the prices a small amount, due to the social nature of the game you end up with higher player retention.
On the other hand, if prices go up to the point that only 2 of those original 5 kids start playing, much less chance. And if prices go up further, and only 1 kid can afford to start... he won't, because there is no-one to play against.


Regardless of their actual business strategy, I feel like GW could retain more interest amongst their older player base by making the rules a bit better, without significantly impacting the draw of the game to younger players, or significantly altering the cost of production.

FabricatorGeneralMike
16-11-2010, 03:07
I think that, while effective in the short term, prices eventually will be raised to a point where cost of entry is too much. In the end, warhammer NEEDS 2 or more people to play. Lets say prices are at a point where 5 kids get into it at the same time. They play for a while, 3 get bored and drop out/move onto other hobbies, while the other 2 are left playing. Eventually they get bored of playing just each other, one quits, and the other continues with the hobby, eventually finding a good gaming club and sticking with it for the rest of his life, during which time he spends more on GW product than the other 4 kids combined. (i've seen this happen 4 times just in groups of people i know).

Now, imagine prices were at a point where only 4 people could afford to start/thought it was worth the investment over an Xbox or similar. You're going to have a much lower chance of getting that one player who continues and eventually buys more. If instead of one in every 5 players you get to 1 in every 8 who continues on, you'll end up with much less chance that that player finds a good club and keeps going. If, instead, prices were such that 8 people started at once and 4 drop out, you're left with a core of 4 people who can continue to play together in some variety, rather than getting bored and quitting. By lowering the prices a small amount, due to the social nature of the game you end up with higher player retention.
On the other hand, if prices go up to the point that only 2 of those original 5 kids start playing, much less chance. And if prices go up further, and only 1 kid can afford to start... he won't, because there is no-one to play against.


Regardless of their actual business strategy, I feel like GW could retain more interest amongst their older player base by making the rules a bit better, without significantly impacting the draw of the game to younger players, or significantly altering the cost of production.


What most people arn't seeing is that if 5 people 'start up' a GW game 40l or WFB and spend a few hundred pounds and after two years 3 of them quit then GW doesn't care about ANY of them anymore. Those two that are left over and play for another year until one of them drops out doesn't matter to GW one bit. The one that decides he likes playing with little army men and plays until he is 40-50ish and spends heaps of cash at GW is just icing on the cake to GW.

Their thinking is that there is always more ' little timmys' out there to fill the spots of people hitting the two year mark. As my boss used to say to me after 12 hours into a 24 hour shift " Suck it up buttercup."

burad
16-11-2010, 03:41
As far as a never ending supply of Little Timmys goes, one wonders if they have noticed the birth rates in their favorite markets....

Trasvi
16-11-2010, 09:33
What most people arn't seeing is that if 5 people 'start up' a GW game 40l or WFB and spend a few hundred pounds and after two years 3 of them quit then GW doesn't care about ANY of them anymore. Those two that are left over and play for another year until one of them drops out doesn't matter to GW one bit. The one that decides he likes playing with little army men and plays until he is 40-50ish and spends heaps of cash at GW is just icing on the cake to GW.

Their thinking is that there is always more ' little timmys' out there to fill the spots of people hitting the two year mark. As my boss used to say to me after 12 hours into a 24 hour shift " Suck it up buttercup."

So you are saying that GW could survive solely on the 2-3 year turnover of little timmys, and they don't need the sales from the eventual 'veterans'?

I find that very hard to believe. Little Timmys generally buy only a small amount of product - say a 2000pt army at most of one army. This is probably going to include the AoBR/IoB book (which I believe would be one of the lower profit items GW sells, but I have no proof on that). The Veteran, on the other hand will end up buying many armies, in much larger points values (at least in my experience... does anyone here know someone who has been content with a single, 2000pt army with no changes for 5+ years?). In my experience, the Veteran overall spends as much as 5 Timmys combined, whilst also... creating an environment where other Veterans can grow ;)

IJW
16-11-2010, 10:35
A veteran buying five times as much as a Timmy doesn't help much if there are twenty or thirty* Timmys per veteran. ;)

*Made up numbers, but then so are yours. ;) The problem with anecdotes is that they are specific to a local environment - in the last year I've bought a couple of codices, two paint pots and Planetstrike, that's all my GW purchases. As a veteran most of my armies were built up 10-15 years ago and in some cases aren't even produced by GW any more...

yabbadabba
16-11-2010, 13:47
While this is a nice discussion it will ghet you all no where because there is no datat to work from. There is also a distinct danger of a "veteran" looking at themselves and considering themselves "normal".

f2k
16-11-2010, 14:24
Ok, lets look at it another way. If you take out the LotR hump (because of so many reasons) and then you assume that GW have grown their business from around £85m in 2000 to £125m in 2010 despite one of the world's worst recessions, mounting competition against one sector of your market AND competing against falling customer numbers surely that shows some good business strategy?

I donít think so...

Theyíve grown their business by burning all the bridges behind them. There will be a time where they canít close anymore shops and they canít raise prices further. Then what?

To use an old and tires clichť: thereís still light at the end of the tunnel, but Iím getting more and more convinced that it's the headlights of a runaway freighttrain...


What GW also are sticking to is a tried and tested method of recruiting their way out of a sales slump. Now that is a true weakness as they are subject to the population fluctuations of their demographic. Remember, overall sales are up, despite unit sales being down. Solve that with the current strategy and GW will give even less of a monkeys to any veteran players asking for the old days.

Without having direct access to the numbers this is hard to verify. I believe that they are, in fact, recruiting fewer people these days.

They can mask their declining playerbase for a while by raising prices to keep the turnover up. But thereíll be a point where this wonít work anymore.


But thats you. As a retailer one man stores work, there is no denying it. Retail is built on it. As a hobbyist no of course it doesn't sound right, but so many things about the wargames market make no sense from a retail perspective including that a lot of LGSs are effectively one man stores. GW have tried 1 man stores before and they have failed - Loughborough, Beckenham etc, but the strategy was never well implemented. I don't know what the difference is (the bonus structure won't be) so thats why I am backing a buy out.

But how many tables can a one-man store support? How much customer support? I worked, albeit very briefly, in a one-man store and I never felt as if I gave the customers the service they needed. I would have loved to tell them about the products on sale, chat with them for a bit to find out what they were interested in, and hopefully steer them gently towards the right product. But there was never time to do this as there were more customers than I could realistically handle. And this wasnít a particularly busy shop...
Now, granted, Iím a Master of Computer Science by trade, so Iím sure that someone who was taught about proper customer relations could do a much better job than me, but still...

The problem is that by promoting the stores as pseudo-clubs Games Workshop has backed themselves into the proverbial corner. Without clubs or independent retailers, where are players going to play? Remember that the store is all about the Complete Games Workshop Experience (TM). They recruit players and they function as clubs. One-man stores canít do this. Not enough manpower. Not enough space.


Ok lets look at it form another perspective. Trade sales, while very profitable, is market driven. If another company comes along with a better offer (not even product) for the shop owner, you get marginalised. Now it is more complex than that, I know, but this is for brevity. Your own retail store gives you 100% of the control in an area. Now in an area with a good LGS a GW should not be able to compete, but they do and in some cases drives them out of business. GW will look at your town and either decide its too small (find another stockist and let it tick over) or just right and open a store especially if the local stockist isn't cutting the mustard. Where GW often fail is to take into account regional shopping preferences adopting an old fashioned McDonalds/Disney approach to their store openings which they do need to change. Apart from the US (just fire and forget), they could have a retail business in any country with an established and traditionally motivated middle class.

Itís easy to compete when you control the supply of goods. I have seen way too many ďmisplacedĒ, ďdelayedĒ, or just plain ďlostĒ packages for it to be coincidental. Games Workshop can be very aggressive indeed when it suits them...

Their retail-chain is a big stone around their neck and itís dragging them down. This is the age of the internet, and most people are smart enough to realise that their toy soldiers can be had much cheaper from an internet store.

I think that itís very telling that the amount of shelve space for Games Workshop models has been steadily decline in the local hobby shops for quite a few years now. There are much better alternatives out there...


Why? If GW don't see you as a viable market, then they will not target you just as they don't target grannies. Which might explain...
This might be why its tough to undertsand you've been "dumped".

What Iím finding so hard to understand is why Games Workshop donít realise that losing the veterans can, and often will, kill the game in a given area.
A Games Workshop Store might keep things going since itís a ďclubĒ of sorts. But in areas without such stores, once the veterans are gone the clubs shut down (or start playing something else). And without the clubs itís rather hard to recruit, and most importantly retain, new players.

Itís much cheaper to retain a veteran than it is to recruit a new player.

Whatís really crazy is that these two things are not mutually exclusive. It would not take that much to retain the veterans. A ďmatureĒ article in White Dwarf, a limited bitz-service, the simple acknowledgement that the veterans actually do exist...
It really isnít that hard. But Games Workshop still refuses to do it...


I think two things seperate us. I long stopped being bitter/narked about GW, because I am maybe fortunate enough to have a good insight into how they work over the past 20 odd years. My nostalgia lies in my choice of gaming and modelling, not in wishing GW would do something. I also look at other wargames companies and believe that they are still fairly stuck in the 70/80s but there is something quite comfortable with that.
The second is that I will present balance even at the risk of being condemned as a "fanboi". The only way people are going to be able to make a reasoned and sensible decision about their hobby and everything that goes with it is by seeing things with as much balance as possible. It then allows us to make a decision and be as emotionally over excited as we like about it :D.

The GW I know died/morphed a long time ago. I think it is just taking a while for the rest of the world to catch up and realise it.

But why not do something?

For example, Iím also a rather fanatical AFOL. Way more fanatical than I ever were about Games Workshop. Years ago The LEGO Company started moving in much the same direction as Games Workshop did, targeting a younger and younger audience. Did we AFOLs just shrug and go elsewhere? No, we didnít. We started talking with TLC. We established contacts within the company. And now we have the Ambassador Program, selected AFOLs are regularly asked to take part in seminars and to voice their opinion, and we have sets that are very much for adults.

The difference is that TLC actually listened to its customers. It took a year or two of massive loses to wake them up, but now they're listening. Thing is, TLC was going down the sink at a frightening rate at one point. So fast, and so far, that there seemed to be a real danger of the company being either closed or taken over by someone else. But they got turned around and is, once again, doing fine.
I donít want to see the same happening to Games Workshop. Thatís why Iím still clinging to the hope that they might turn it around before itís too late.

Unfortunately, I fear that itís already too late by now. They have been taken over. Slowly and stealthily, but it happened. And the company I once loved seem long gone.

Perhaps youíre right in that this is just useless internet rage. But I can still hope, right...?


While this is a nice discussion it will ghet you all no where because there is no datat to work from. There is also a distinct danger of a "veteran" looking at themselves and considering themselves "normal".

Not entirely true. We have the official financial results. Where we get into anecdotal-territory is the effect of these numbers on the local communities. And we get into pure guess-work when we speculate as to why Games Workshop is doing what theyíre doing...

yabbadabba
16-11-2010, 14:43
@f2k - I don't think we are getting this argument any further because all I can do is point to the changes in business pratices with possible explanations. What I can't do is tell you how that changes your perspective on things. And it hasn't so I am not sure where we go with this.

Not entirely true. We have the official financial results. Where we get into anecdotal-territory is the effect of these numbers on the local communities. And we get into pure guess-work when we speculate as to why Games Workshop is doing what theyíre doing... For this discussion, those numbers really are useless in a huge number respects. They are far more useful in a discussion for GW as a corporate structure as the best you can imply from the figures is a vague understanding.

Even if GW printed how many pots of paint they sold last year, this would help us far more than the figures released.

TonyFlow
16-11-2010, 16:56
While this is a nice discussion it will ghet you all no where because there is no datat to work from. There is also a distinct danger of a "veteran" looking at themselves and considering themselves "normal".

Hehe, I just read this yesterday:
"The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession."
Sherlock Holmes - The Valey of Fear

The problem is, though, that GW apparently doesn't have anything to go by either, if I understand Blongbling's post right. They apparently do just what dear Holmes is warning us not to do.

yabbadabba
16-11-2010, 17:02
The problem is, though, that GW apparently doesn't have anything to go by either, if I understand Blongbling's post right. They apparently do just what dear Holmes is warning us not to do. Agreed, but this doesn't excuse us from similar carelessness.

TonyFlow
16-11-2010, 17:28
True. But it does allow us to point fingers! Which is much more important than actually being right! ;)
Although I do still think that it is possible to compare a company's marketing strategy with what is normally considered good marketing. In GW's case I do not see the point in actively alienating a customer segment.

IJW
16-11-2010, 22:19
The difference is that TLC actually listened to its customers. It took a year or two of massive loses to wake them up, but now they're listening.
Another major difference is that LEGO is still a family-owned business without shareholders. I'll not disagree with your analysis of LEGO, I've heard great things about their attitude to 'veterans' as a Mindstorms user.


Unfortunately, I fear that itís already too late by now. They have been taken over. Slowly and stealthily, but it happened. And the company I once loved seem long gone.
They were 'taken over' back at the start of the Nineties when Tom Kirby and others bought the company from Bryan Ansell. ;)

burad
16-11-2010, 23:10
Hmmm..
The thing about the retail stores supposedly 'dragging down' the business is, in a lot of places, without the retail stores, there won't be any 'timmys'. The only players left in the absence of the retail stores in this part of the world are vets. Without the retail stores there's no 'walk in' business, nor window/table displays to bring timmy in.....and since GW does not advertise timmy won't find out about it that way....so the only people left to go bring timmy into the hobby will be the vets who organize games. And at least in this country, that largely equals sons of vets, 'cause grown men who invite unrelated young boys over to their houses are viewed kinda askance here, people call the police on that.

cailus
16-11-2010, 23:27
There are independent clubs. In my experience most kids who go to clubs are usually accompanied by their parents who are generally gamers.

burad
17-11-2010, 03:54
Oh, certainly there are. But they are much farther away from each other in this country. Closest one in this area, for instance, is at least an hour away, and this is a major metro area.
And certainly, the kids who show up there are either local to the geographic location of the club or are with a parent.

Generally to have a club, though, you have to have a place to meet. Which is usually a FLGS or GW store. It's not often a library or the like for miniatures gaming. So if you have no FLGS or GW store in your area, my comment still stands. No opportunity for 'timmy' to even see the game and want to try it, unless his parent is a vet. I've never seen a club publicly advertise for new players, so it's still no store = no visibility and no timmy, unless timmy's dad is a vet.
That's why you gotta have at least one or the other, stores actively promoting the game, or vets actively promoting the game. All still-being-played game systems have vets. If GW ever gave up their retail chain, they would be giving up the one advantage they have over the competition for visibility. They'd be just one of many product lines in the local FLGS, if there even is an FLGS.

Wakerofgods
17-11-2010, 08:57
To me it has a lot to do with what I feel like the business is doing.

If I think the model is a reasonable price I'll buy it. If I think it isn't, I might still buy it but i'll be a lot less likely to do so.

Do I think the GW models are overcosted? The profit margins too high? Yes*, I do. Because of this I will buy less models overall and where possible look for other companies.

Do I think the GW models are worth what you pay for them when you consider the enjoyment from painting/playing for years - yes. It is easily worth the cost. But this isn't how I think about it. I think the company are being bad to me and taking advantage of their position so I put my entertainment dollars elsewhere, sometimes in other models but usually in other markets entirely.

GW = company that I don't like much therefore I buy less models.

For example, I was looking at the perry minatures page and I saw a lot of minis I want and was extremely likely to get quite a few of them. However, I saw that they charge 20% more in postage for all overseas orders. I think that is far too much to charge for postage and I don't think they should get profit from that part of the price - so I am going to by far less models from them.

_______
*
IMPORTANT POINT TO ADD:
Thought I should defend myself a bit as GW do make some damn high quality models.
Here in NZ (and it's similar in AUS) GW charge a massive premium on their models. Models I order from maelstrom are often as much as 40-50% cheaper then ones I can buy locally from GWs or independany stockists. That's not 10% cheaper like it is for you guys - thats nearly HALF PRICE. From someone in this position GW is a really ******* company.

Also, I can't even order GW products from GW UK as they basically don't let me by charging massive postage to NZ (really massive!). Luckily maelstrom exists or I'd be stuck paying nearly double for most of my GW stuff!
That postage from the UK part is the really big insult to me. Not only do they have stupidly high prices here but they basically use sneaky moves like charging 8 pounds to post out a single model to make sure I can't get models from any GW anywhere without paying those ramped up prices.
It is taking advantage. It is mean, sneaky and they are jerks for doing it.

If anyone still has any doubts I'll point out that plenty of people around here use maelstrom and they still make a profit off us - so I'd have a very hard time if anyone wanted to argue that GW needed to keep prices around here that high.

FabricatorGeneralMike
18-11-2010, 05:15
So you are saying that GW could survive solely on the 2-3 year turnover of little timmys, and they don't need the sales from the eventual 'veterans'?

I find that very hard to believe. Little Timmys generally buy only a small amount of product - say a 2000pt army at most of one army. This is probably going to include the AoBR/IoB book (which I believe would be one of the lower profit items GW sells, but I have no proof on that). The Veteran, on the other hand will end up buying many armies, in much larger points values (at least in my experience... does anyone here know someone who has been content with a single, 2000pt army with no changes for 5+ years?). In my experience, the Veteran overall spends as much as 5 Timmys combined, whilst also... creating an environment where other Veterans can grow ;)

I didn't say they could survive on just Little Timmys (LT's). I don't think they can personally. But thats just a personal opinion. From the marketing they do, from the way the stores are being run, from just about everything they do that would seem to be what they think will make them money. When I worked there I was ordered by the manager to pounce on any LT's that came in the store, give them a intro game, the free figgie and show him how to paint it up. Play up to mom or dad that this is a good place to drop him off while you do your shopping or drop him off on saturday to play games with his little army men. Hell I even got written up for helping a vet pic out a new army that he spent $1500 Canadian on because three Lt's came into the store and I didn't have time to offer them a intro game, paint with them and chat mom and dad up. :wtf: So I guess three LT's are worth more then a $1500 sale on a Wed Afternoon. :eyebrows:

As to the growth of the game. GW doesn't care what happens outside its stores door. Unless it brings in some kind of monentary gain right now. Again, this is my own opinion. I have no facts to back this up other then what I experienced when I worked for them.

lanrak
18-11-2010, 11:42
HI all.
I have just found this thread.And was amazed to see my comments at the top!
I was making a generalised comment based on my experiance as a gamer.

I totaly understand GWs primary demoghraphic is far removed from me as concevably possible!

However, I am concerned that GW just focusing on percentage of thier potential market, they may have hamstrung themselves somewhat.

If GWs buisness is similar to other buisnesses,it takes far more time and effort to recriut new customers than it does to maintain an existing cusomer.

I agree we have no detailed facts of GWs buisness operations.

And running thier buisness counter to what every other 'similar' buisness does , may seem illogical and confusing.

And I can also concider that over the last 15 or so years GW has changed drasticaly .
From 'by gamers for gamers',(Providing and supporiting a wide range of games appealing to a wide demoghraphic.)

To 'selling toy soldiers to kiddies'.(Promiting a limited set of core products to a specific demoghraphic.)

And so lots of older gamers may feel 'dumped' by GW ,and may view the company as' letting them down'.

Maybe from a very simplistic finacial point of veiw,
Selling 'X' value of product to new customers = sucess NOW.

Is far more appealing to corperate directors and shareholders than.

Investing in product development and longevity of customer interest = posibility of greater growth and return in the future.


However, ignoring the nature of the 'Table top gaming hobby', and simply persuing the 'maximum return from the minimum of investment.'

May eventualy permiate through the company-customer interaction.
With out a level of commitment to 'the hobby' GW may have real trouble justifing the cost of products without the 'added benifits of the hobby.'

Anecdotal evidence!
When I popped in GW Nottingham in the early 1990s , there were 7 customer armies on display .(Painted by 'veteran' customers ,) and 3 massive games played by vet gamers and a host of painting and modeling activities with the vets helping promote the hobby and GW products.
The whole shop was a mass of creativity and inspiration to a wide selection of people.(Young children to grandparents.)


Compared to a 'one man shop' which shall remain namelss .(It was that bad!)
I walked in bought a pot of pain and left.
The poor bloke was all over the place,trying to do about 6 things at once.

The table top minature game hobby is all about inspireing creativity and social interaction.IMO.

GW appear to belive its 'Hobby' is all about selling toy soldiers.
And maybe want to inply-infer the GW hobby is the ONLY hobby?

TTFN

yabbadabba
18-11-2010, 11:57
If GWs buisness is similar to other buisnesses,it takes far more time and effort to recriut new customers than it does to maintain an existing cusomer.
And running thier buisness counter to what every other 'similar' buisness does , may seem illogical and confusing. So how does this work with age specific toys then? Like Thomas the Tank Engine?


And I can also concider that over the last 15 or so years GW has changed drasticaly .
From 'by gamers for gamers',(Providing and supporiting a wide range of games appealing to a wide demoghraphic.)
To 'selling toy soldiers to kiddies'.(Promiting a limited set of core products to a specific demoghraphic.)
And so lots of older gamers may feel 'dumped' by GW ,and may view the company as' letting them down'. Yup, I agree, this is probably like being dumped by your first girlfriend


Investing in product development and longevity of customer interest = posibility of greater growth and return in the future. Not for toys though. So its about perspective. If we all stopped playing current GW stuff now and considered it a kids toy, then half these discussions wouldn't exist. The other half would still insist that the product wasn't kids toys


When I popped in GW Nottingham in the early 1990s , there were 7 customer armies on display .(Painted by 'veteran' customers ,) and 3 massive games played by vet gamers and a host of painting and modeling activities with the vets helping promote the hobby and GW products.
The whole shop was a mass of creativity and inspiration to a wide selection of people.(Young children to grandparents.) Problem. If they are clever most stores will only have shop armies - insurance. What you haven't seen is the other side of the coin, which is a store full of "vets" is actually intimidating, a barrier and often nasally offesnsive to a mum and her 11 year old. The start of GW's core market. Vet involvement in a store can be very difficult to regulate properly and still maximise on the high street opportunity.


The table top minature game hobby is all about inspireing creativity and social interaction.IMO. Agreed, but there is a difference between that for adults, and that for kids. If the product is for kkids, then you will discover that the environment doesn't suit you.


GW appear to belive its 'Hobby' is all about selling toy soldiers. And maybe want to inply-infer the GW hobby is the ONLY hobby? So are you saying its wrong to for GW to want to monopolise its market? Of course not. Therefore as marketing it makes perfect sense. I mean how many of us look at an advert and the telly and believe it? So whats the difference with the "GW Hobby" approach?

Max Jet
18-11-2010, 15:56
So how does this work with age specific toys then? Like Thomas the Tank Engine?

Do you think Thomas the Tank Engine would survive with the same (low) amount of investment into advertisement like GW's products?


Yup, I agree, this is probably like being dumped by your first girlfriend

Except for the fact that in most cases it is 50% your own fault.


Not for toys though. So its about perspective. If we all stopped playing current GW stuff now and considered it a kids toy, then half these discussions wouldn't exist. The other half would still insist that the product wasn't kids toys

This is the reason why I allowed myself to join the discussion as it is an interesting point! The marketing GW does is quite unique as is the product it sells. Up until now it is absolutely unclear what kind of people at what age get attracted by wargaming, especially fantasy and science fiction wargaming which makes clear (unfortunately) that the business approach cannot be blamed unless on a personal base of "I am unhappy" However the interesting point is. Do you know any other company which looses it's costumers almost periodicaly for a reason other than grow out of it? Now this is something you cannot deny as groups consisting of hundreds of people all around show that there is a high interest of adult people in GW's products. They may vanish in front of the number of young teens getting into the hobby, but you can compare the GW fan groups with say any other group of the toys you mentioned, aimed at a sepcific age like Sesame Street. (I am not talking about the muppets which is an entirely different show).
Happy costumers generate new, even if they grow out of it themselves.


Problem. If they are clever most stores will only have shop armies - insurance. What you haven't seen is the other side of the coin, which is a store full of "vets" is actually intimidating, a barrier and often nasally offesnsive to a mum and her 11 year old. The start of GW's core market. Vet involvement in a store can be very difficult to regulate properly and still maximise on the high street opportunity.

I want to agree to that, though I never got the reason why a Vet would want to hang around in a store other than the fact he has no easily accessible gaming place. Lot's of veterans used to put me away from the store years ago, but on the same way encouraged me to follow the hobby by myself with my small groub of friends at home where no one would disturb us and shout "WAAAH YOU GOT THE MOST HOLY RULE WRONG!!"
This however makes it clear why Veterans are not liked.



So are you saying its wrong to for GW to want to monopolise its market? Of course not. Therefore as marketing it makes perfect sense. I mean how many of us look at an advert and the telly and believe it? So whats the difference with the "GW Hobby" approach?

How many of us believe in an advert they see? It must be me, but not a single person?? At least no one I know! As a company you don't only sell a product but a lifestyle with it, you have to ensure your costumer is happy. An attitude of "This is the only product you get. Eat or die" Never ever ever ended well, not even in a single occassion. Not with a single product, not with a single company.

lanrak
19-11-2010, 10:28
Hi again.
As always Yabbadabba raises some good points.
I think I aught to expand on my comments to explian.

There are 2 basic buisness types GW could be classed as IMO.

'A GAMES COMPANY'.
Or
'A TOY COMPANY'.

Probably very poor definitions but please bear with me...

Original experiances of GW was a ' game company'.They developed a wide range of games , and sold an associated products.
The quality of the game play in the games drove interest in the buisness , which if done well provides lots of cheap POSITIVE word of mouth marketing.
(This is how other games companies usualy l operate,GOOD GAMEPLAY= FREE marketing and good customer retension.)

Slowly over time GW corperate decided GW should be a toy company.(Probably because 'selling toy soldiers' is easier to explain than 'inspiring creativity and positive emotional states to enhance retail potential.')

The whole focus shifted to 'selling toy soldier to kiddies'.
With the prime concern of selling 'toys' to an age specific demoghraphic.

Most TOY COMPANIES use high impact TV -Radio campain.Or have TV shows/films lincences to promote interest in thier product.
GWs closest effort was the LoTR film tie in and the magazine deal.

And also during this time of transition the 'passing fad' internet came into its own allowing world wide access to masses of products and information.

And to my mind GW appear to have moved focus but not business strategy.

They appear to have adversley effected gameplay , to ensure a quick turn around .To promote a churn and burn of new customers.

But have NOT found an efficient , or cost effective replacement for the free marketing the game support used to provide.

And as more customers are exposed to hard sell followed by disinterest after they have bough 'X amount ' of GW product.How long is it before this impacts on the perception of the 'GW hobby'.

When the parents of GW primary demogrpahic ONLY hear ;-
Its just an expencive fad, buy them a Wii, X box, Playstation instead.

OR
If they like wargaming/toy soldiers , look at these on the net.They are a fraction of the price GW charge ...

IF the ONLY people telling parents how good the 'GW hobby' is are the hard pressed bloke in the one man GW shop,Why should they belive the salesman?

As a GAMES COMPANY good gameplay, and game support generates 'hidden' cost effective advertising and retension policies.

GW plc appear to have damaged this in the chase for more profit, and found nothing to effectivley replace it.


If they are in the buisness of selling toy soldiers, fair enough.
Call them selves Citadel Minatures, and sell direct through the internet and compete in the open market.

But just paying lip service to 'game developoment' and relying on isolated marketing in its own shops , to replace the interest generated by good gameplay and/ or percived value for money is NOT as susatanable option long term.

TTFN

Col. Frost
19-11-2010, 12:30
The big problem with a 'Churn and Burn' mentality is that one day the genre will take a hit in one form or another and its recruitment numbers will start to dwindle. All that is left, barring a small number or new starters, will be its veterans.

Remember pen and paper roleplaying (and solo gamebooks like Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf, Choose your own adventure etc)? Back in the 70's and early 80's the was relatively big, then home computers came along and RPG's could be played solo, whenever a person wanted and without spending hours preparing. Look back to the mid 80's onwards and you will see that many big companies went under or barely survived. MMORPG's like WoW, Ultima, WAR etc then drew many more players away leaving a very small, but committed, playerbase.

Ignore your veterans and, if the proverbial hits the fan, you can lose your business. Will this happen with Warhammer? Who knows.

logan054
19-11-2010, 19:11
The big problem with a 'Churn and Burn' mentality is that one day the genre will take a hit in one form or another and its recruitment numbers will start to dwindle. All that is left, barring a small number or new starters, will be its veterans.

Its interesting that people seem to assume that GW intentional has this mentality because when I had a interview for GW (within the last year) they actually asked me what I would do to improve customer retention in a store they placed me in.

yabbadabba
19-11-2010, 19:25
Its interesting that people seem to assume that GW intentional has this mentality because when I had a interview for GW (within the last year) they actually asked me what I would do to improve customer retention in a store they placed me in. The problem is one of perspective again. If you are a 30 year vet, then "churn and burn" applies well to a sales strategy that focusses on the 11-18 year old bracket (12-16 being the focus).

However if you are focussing on a 12-16 year old active sales bracket, with potential for 11-18 and accepting whatver 18+ comes your way, then it doesn't seem like churn and burn.

This is why I think GW have changed their focus, have moved away from the 18yr old+ dedicated sales channels and are, possibly, looking for a buyer. I wouldn't be surprised to see GW adverts if the Ultramarines movie is a success.

lanrak
20-11-2010, 09:41
Hi Yabbadabba.
If GW are focusing on a active 11 to 16 year old sales bracket.And acepting customer that fall outside this limited market as a bonus.

Then they have to compete directly with other products that focus on THE SAME target sales bracket.

My point was 'selling lots of toy soldiers' WAS a by product of developing great games that apealed to a wide audience.
And the 'gamers ' provided free avertising and promoted longevity of the related retail products.

GW appear to have detrementaly effected the effectivnes of the game plays positive FREE marketing.

And are now trying to compete in a TOY COMPANIES market , with a GAMES COMPANIES approach to marketing.

But have NOT got the game play to support this approach.
And they have NOT got the marketing budget of HASBRO,NINTENDO,MICROSIOFT,SONY etc to promote thier 'toys' effectivey.

They appear to have simply picked the easiest option from both camps to arrive at an expensive and in effective buisness plan.

Thier is nothing wrong with being a games company OR a toy company.
But to be effective GW has to be decisively one or the other.

TTFN

yabbadabba
20-11-2010, 12:36
If I stick to my buy out hypothesis then I would think that at this moment in time the last thinkg they would want to do is sink money into an expensive advertising campaign which may backfire and lower the value of the company. The goods thing about pushing your IP through things like computer games and movies is that you can give the impression that the product has mass market appeal without leaving your core business high and dry. Now you take the computer games, LotR, The Ultramarines Movie and the Hobbit and the increase in sales this should create, you cut loose anyone who is vaguely creative and tied into the previous ethos of the past (Stallard, Chamber, Calvatore, Priestly, Johnson?), you keep cutting back on costs enough to show there is potential to reduce them, but not enough to totally wreck morale so you can keep the sales ticking over and bang - a company ripe for take over, gutting and redirecting as a proper, toy market directed company.
But it is just a theory. What I am sure of is that however they think is the right way of doing it, GW are targetting a market that does not include us.

TonyFlow
20-11-2010, 15:15
Interesting hypothesis. It does make a lot of sense!

lanrak
20-11-2010, 20:38
Hi Yabbadabba.
I missed your , 'they are just holding out for a profitable buy out' theory.
(Sorry.)
That fits thier current practices quite well.

My point was for a GW to be a long term proposition, they must decide to be a 'games company' or a 'toy soldier company' , and adopt an appropriate buisness plan.

What they are doing is akin to 'burning the furniture', it will keep them warm and give of a rosy glow for only a short period of time.
Instigating a long term strategy will be necissary for who ever is runnig GW in 5 to 10 years.

TTFN

ashc
21-11-2010, 19:22
Well, this thread was a surprise, less like threadomancy, and more like Frankenthread's monster, patched from the comments of other posters and given a new lease of life (thank's to Templar Ben's kind use of his nearest lightning rod ;) ).

I'm still standing by my thoughts in regards to 'buying in' to the game; its steep these days.

yabbadabba
21-11-2010, 21:05
What they are doing is akin to 'burning the furniture', it will keep them warm and give of a rosy glow for only a short period of time. Mate I would not be in the slightest bit surprised if I heard that the GW Exec are surprised the company is still going and that Hasbro didn't buy them out the last time their shares went to £1-ish.

Templar Ben
25-11-2010, 02:38
Well, this thread was a surprise, less like threadomancy, and more like Frankenthread's monster, patched from the comments of other posters and given a new lease of life (thank's to Templar Ben's kind use of his nearest lightning rod ;) ).

I'm still standing by my thoughts in regards to 'buying in' to the game; its steep these days.

Always my pleasure to further science in such a way. :angel: