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View Full Version : Battlefront Policy - Fan Base Screamed, Policy Changed - GW thoughts?



WodenMHC
16-07-2012, 14:12
http://www.flamesofwar.com/Default.aspx?tabid=57&art_id=3380

(I will try to edit this later and link it appropriately, unfortunately having some technical popup issues right now)

Just wanted to post this here - For people that don't follow Battlefront Miniatures or Flames of War, they recently (within the past week) released a statement that players in their Battlefront-run Events are expected to have Battlefront-only Flames of War miniatures.

This prompted a (somewhat ridiculous) amount of incredulity on their official forums (which are incredibly lax and open) - While some of the normal vitriol was expected ("I quit!") a majority of the posts were sober questions or statements regarding why this was a bad choice -

Granted, historical wargamming is a bit different, and there are several manufacturers that are building 15mm figures and models that are compatible with Flames of War - and model the -exact- same miniature (Panther tank, for example).

The post above indicates Battlefront's new position: In light of the community response, they changed their 'all Battlefront miniatures' policy at events to 'majority Battlefront miniatures' as a compromise with their business and their consumers.

Again, noting that "GW is not BF" - and that their properties are quite different despite the fact that they both write rules and produce miniatures, this is nonetheless an interesting note in the wargamming world.

Also worth putting in is that they made this change in light of the specific fact that their rules and intelligence briefing contain references to models that are not currently produced by Battlefront, but -are- produced by their competitors.

WodenMHC
16-07-2012, 14:24
Also worth putting in is that they made this change in light of the specific fact that their rules and intelligence briefing contain references to models that are not currently produced by Battlefront, but -are- produced by their competitors.

Damien 1427
16-07-2012, 17:51
I think it's a different kettle of fish, for the most part. It'd be pretty hard to enforce, as a 15mm Tiger is a 15mm Tiger no matter who made it. Battlefront don't own the rights to these designs, nor the era, they just make one interpretation of it. Games Workshop own it's IP lock, stock and barrel.

For what it's worth, I think Battlefront are well within their rights to enforce a Battlefront-only model rule (Even if it does fly in the face of the reality they don't have a complete range) at their own events, just as Games Workshop enforce a Games Workshop-only model rule for their stores and events. Though I would argue such a thing should force them to up their game when it comes to model quality.

Thing is, as big as Flames of War is, they still have strong enough compeition for models. Companies like the Plastic Soldier Company can compete on price and quality, and whilst Battlefront certainly takes cues from Games Workshop, they don't have the advantage of sole rights to setting and IP. Games Workshop don't have to worry about someone selling a box of 30 Space Marines for for £25, but The Plastic Soldier Company sells a box of 130 Late War German Infantry for £18.50.

6mmhero
16-07-2012, 17:52
It is quite different to GW in many ways.
I thought it was short sighted to say the least as it is not exactly enforceable in an easy non time consuming way checking every army etc. Added to the fact that they had stated they would not do this.
It did show why GW does not have a forum presence or respond to criticism online as it turns ugly very quickly and just adds fuel to the rage fires and lets face it JP did say some pretty dodgy things and make statements that are a little unbecoming of someone in his position.

As to the change to the policy it is probably down to the realisation that this will be a nightmare to enforce at tournaments and for the most part not have a big impact on sales so change was the only sensible option. The damage was already done from what I have seen on a number of forums. It made for interesting reading and was quite funny to read how many people were going to rage quit.

bigshep
16-07-2012, 18:10
Having followed a rather long thread on this over on TMP, when you have someone who buys 10% of your product saying that he has had enough, then you had better sit up and notice.

Historicals is a a different world to GW. There is no "hobby" ala GW, players pick a rule set that THEY like and use miniatures/counters/beads that THEY like and play THEIR game and when a MANUFACTURER turns round and says that YOU should be ONLY using THEIR models as it can cause OFFENCE (!) to other players in THEIR tournament, and that YOU OWE THEM to ONLY use THEIR (poor) figures. Then a lot of plays are going to say goodbye and buy cheaper and better models from someone else and play in independent tournaments, of which there are many.

CaliforniaGamer
16-07-2012, 18:19
This is a very good point. I think we have now seen a real and tangible difference to how some companies build a true trusted relationship with their fanbase vs. companies such as GW where the relationship is a completely one sided "love it or leave it."

BF will be around 20 years from, GW may not be.

shelfunit.
16-07-2012, 18:31
One of the big differences between Battlefront and GW is that BF are coming from a position of total "unprotectability". They produce nothing that the average WW2 gamer cannot get an identical alternate version of at a fraction of the cost. They also have a very limited way in which they can "enforce" their policy. Given that the majority of GW customers are children and play only in GW shops (and have limited if any knowledge of other games/manufacturers) it is very easy for GW to enforce their "GW only" policies. BF have only their own funded tournements in which to overlord these laws. As has also been pointed out, the majority of WW2 gamers are (generally) mature adults, who have a working knowledge of a large range of miniature manufacturers, the vast majority of whom are far, far cheaper than BF.
TLDR - BF were attempting to become GW in all but name (claiming IP on their product when it is a historical game is at best laughable), but have neither the capacity (their own shops) or easily persuaded fanbase with which to do so - fortunately (for now) they have realised this.

blackcherry
16-07-2012, 19:12
Yeah. As others have said, the circumstances are completely different. Due to the ruling still being a bit uncertain over the ChapterHouse thing(it hasn't been decided upon yet but it could go any way) if GW took this approach it could open them up to losing copyright on any future models if they haven't produced them in time for a codexs release.

shelfunit.
16-07-2012, 19:56
Yeah. As others have said, the circumstances are completely different. Due to the ruling still being a bit uncertain over the ChapterHouse thing(it hasn't been decided upon yet but it could go any way) if GW took this approach it could open them up to losing copyright on any future models if they haven't produced them in time for a codexs release.

This has nothing what-so-ever in common with the CHS issue. BF cannot in any way have trademarks on any of the miniatures they produce as they are all historical, and therefore anyone who wants to can manufacture and sell them.

ForgottenLore
16-07-2012, 21:33
And who is selling what has nothing at all to do with the rule of what models are allowed in a particular event. The OP has ABSOLUTLY NOTHING to do with the law or Intellectual Property.

blackcherry
16-07-2012, 22:41
I stand corrected :).

6mmhero
16-07-2012, 22:47
This is a very good point. I think we have now seen a real and tangible difference to how some companies build a true trusted relationship with their fanbase vs. companies such as GW where the relationship is a completely one sided "love it or leave it."

BF will be around 20 years from, GW may not be.

A true and trusted relationship that involves saying one thing and then going back on it a year later and the statements from JP sound very much like buy our stuff or dont play our games.

I am not that fussed about why companies make decisions etc or if they go back on things providing I like their products and get fun out of them. The problem Battlefront seems to have with their new approach is that there are companies that make the exact same product but better and cheaper. If I played FOW then I am pretty sure most of my stuff qwould come from PSC and I have no interest in tournaments so no hassle to me if it was 100% BF or no entry.
The thing I found odd though was that JP used the cost of running the tournaments as one of the reasons for the new policy but from what I hear FOW official tournaments are paid entry and also not cheap either.

x-esiv-4c
17-07-2012, 11:38
BF also publisheds new briefings online and allows you to turn in your old edition rulebook for credit towards your new one.

Satan
17-07-2012, 11:48
It is not different from GW in any way. A 28mm Dwarf is a 28mm Dwarf is a 28mm Dwarf no matter who made it, same as a 15mm Tiger tank.

They produce the game and can regulate their officially sponsored tournaments as they see fit. Having backed on that policy is their decision to make, and if they think it's the better call to make in this situation then I'm not going to gainsay them. They are the producers of the game in question, after all.

Rick Blaine
17-07-2012, 16:59
This is a very good point. I think we have now seen a real and tangible difference to how some companies build a true trusted relationship with their fanbase vs. companies such as GW where the relationship is a completely one sided "love it or leave it."

BF will be around 20 years from, GW may not be.

The only difference is that BF is too small to afford pissing off that many people. I've seen PP go over the threshold, every company will turn into GW once the fanbase is large enough to swallow this kind of abuse.

lanrak
17-07-2012, 21:29
I belive every company runs the risk of turning in to a 'GW clone' when it gets a large enough fan base.
But simply down sizing your fan base by picking the easiest to please, is not a sustanable buisness practice.

And lets hope those companies that focus on gamer needs to recruit and retain gamers long term, suceed over those that 'just sell over priced toysoldiers'.

Ulthwe's Tears
18-07-2012, 12:03
To be fair this is hardly a bad policy of GW's - there are very few GW-run tournaments and it seems perfectly reasonable to not allow non-GW models in a GW store. Not to mention I've regularly seen non-GW models and conversions in the display cabinets of Warhammer World and in tournaments there.

tiger g
18-07-2012, 14:29
Well I have been away from FOW. But have many figures and models, painted, half painted, primed and raw. I have no way of telling personally which manufacturer made what. So if I showed up at a tournament I could not tell them what percentage was theirs. And with the way I paint it might be difficult to prove it.

Balerion
18-07-2012, 14:53
Regarding the thread title (and not the specific issue of manufacturer-only minis) Games Workshop actually did do this once.

When a batch of new FAQs came out, and included an update that destroyed the Tyranid army's synapse-based immunity to instant death, the playerbase screamed bloody murder and within a week or two the FAQ was completely revised.

IMO too many people forget (or never knew) about this interesting little blip in GW history, and it represents a very singular moment during which the internet-community exerted a substantive and immediate influence on GW's rules.

Charax
18-07-2012, 15:16
Regarding the thread title (and not the specific issue of manufacturer-only minis) Games Workshop actually did do this once.

When a batch of new FAQs came out, and included an update that destroyed the Tyranid army's synapse-based immunity to instant death, the playerbase screamed bloody murder and within a week or two the FAQ was completely revised.

IMO too many people forget (or never knew) about this interesting little blip in GW history, and it represents a very singular moment during which the internet-community exerted a substantive and immediate influence on GW's rules.

Yes, people do forget that interesting blip in GW history - including you, apparently.

It didn't "Destroy their synapse-based immunity to ID", it "Maintained the RAW of their synapse-based immunity to ID" - the codex said they had immunity from weapons whose strength was double their T, not Double their T or greater" - the FAQ confirmed this wording and Tyranid players whined and whined and whined that the rule wasn't written in the way they had assumed it was, so GW changed it.

There was also another FAQ where Paul Sawyer wrote that Librarian familiars had to be on their own base (this was back when GW had their own forums) - everyone pointed out how utterly stupid this was, especially given that GW's own models didn't follow this ruling, so it was reversed quickly

So not only is your "singular" moment not singular, you misremembered it too. It was, however, arguably an example of GW caving to the fans on a rules matter. Not necessarily the correct decision though.

Balerion
18-07-2012, 16:18
That incident also demonstrates how much the RaW are worth when nobody on the planet thinks they're deliberate.

I suppose you made your Tyranid opponents choose a single biomorph to use per combat after the 5th edition book came out, too?

Inquisitor Kallus
18-07-2012, 16:42
Owned.... . Anyways, I think its partly the fault of the community (certain sections of it) and partly GW that there probably wont be as much feedback taken on board anymore. I think it works very well for smaller companies but in the case of GW I imagine theyve had their fill of the vocal part of the community slagging them off. Looking at their FB page, there always seems to be a few comments making digs at them.

Satan
18-07-2012, 17:10
Looking at their FB page, there always seems to be a few comments making digs at them.

That's because people don't like them.

I'm in the 40k/WHFB hobby, not the GW Hobby. The name Games Workshop is not one loaded with positive vibes (IMO).

Damien 1427
18-07-2012, 19:11
I think it works very well for smaller companies but in the case of GW I imagine theyve had their fill of the vocal part of the community slagging them off.

That's one of the reasons why the old GW forums shut. To be fair, it can be hard for the poor sods whose job it is to tidy the crap up, as they have about as much influence on company policy as any of us do.

tiger g
18-07-2012, 19:38
That's because people don't like them.

I'm in the 40k/WHFB hobby, not the GW Hobby. The name Games Workshop is not one loaded with positive vibes (IMO).

There is a difference between the two?

shelfunit.
18-07-2012, 19:43
There is a difference between the two?

Indeed. Being in the "GW Hobby TM" implies using only GW minis/paints/etc to play only GW games. Being in the "40k/WH fantasy hobby" looks like it means play the game, use whatever minis/paints/etc you like to do so. I'm not saying that's what Satan meant. just how it comes across to me.

Inquisitor Kallus
18-07-2012, 20:37
That's one of the reasons why the old GW forums shut. To be fair, it can be hard for the poor sods whose job it is to tidy the crap up, as they have about as much influence on company policy as any of us do.

Exactly. I thought it was pretty lame.

Inquisitor Kallus
18-07-2012, 20:55
That's one of the reasons why the old GW forums shut. To be fair, it can be hard for the poor sods whose job it is to tidy the crap up, as they have about as much influence on company policy as any of us do.

Exactly. I thought it was pretty lame.

Satan
18-07-2012, 20:55
Indeed. Being in the "GW Hobby TM" implies using only GW minis/paints/etc to play only GW games. Being in the "40k/WH fantasy hobby" looks like it means play the game, use whatever minis/paints/etc you like to do so. I'm not saying that's what Satan meant. just how it comes across to me.

That's one aspect of it, certainly.

What I'm saying that we love the 40k and/or WHFB universe and brands. That does not equate to the Games Workshop brand at all. It's also very evident when you look at their company structure - I'm willing to bet you'll get more positive connotations from the FW or BL brands than GW... But, whether you want to call this forum "Whineseer" or not (and this place is still probably more GW-friendly than Dakka for example) they put themselves in the current situation and at the end of the day they've got a long way to go if it's the GW brand they want to work with.

They could for example start by putting their money where the mouth's at...

Scribe of Khorne
18-07-2012, 21:50
The only difference is that BF is too small to afford pissing off that many people. I've seen PP go over the threshold, every company will turn into GW once the fanbase is large enough to swallow this kind of abuse.

Exactly right. No company remains 'good' forever, especially once traded publicly.

xxRavenxx
19-07-2012, 09:27
This is a very good point. I think we have now seen a real and tangible difference to how some companies build a true trusted relationship with their fanbase vs. companies such as GW where the relationship is a completely one sided "love it or leave it."

BF will be around 20 years from, GW may not be.
I think you have rose tinted glasses on. The way BF treat a lot of their retailers is terrible, and by proxy this drops onto a lot of their customers too. Much as people may complain about GW, they do a lot of work to keep their retailers happy, and encourage games tables, painting tutorials, competitions etc. For an example: Games workshop recently paid out £200 of prizes for my tournament. BF recently told me that I didn't make them enough money, so were not going to provide me with any of the new books for their redemption scheme for my customers.

Interesting other anecdote: I was recently at a gameshow. Four retailers there had the leftovers of their FoW products, at hugely slashed prices. I got chatting, and all said the same thing: BF didn't treat them well, and there isn't much demand for the BF models, due to PSC and FiB (hope I got the second one right...).




That's because people don't like them.

I always hated that ideology. I hate football. I don't sit on the Liverpool FC forums bitching at them. I get on with my life.

f2k
19-07-2012, 10:06
I always hated that ideology. I hate football. I don't sit on the Liverpool FC forums bitching at them. I get on with my life.

I don’t think that’s an entirely fair comparison with regards to Games Workshop.

For me, it’s more a matter of having had season tickets for several decades, yet seen the stadium slowly fall apart, the team play worse and worse, and the ticket prices skyrocket. I still love football. I still, deep down inside, love the team. I just hate the way the club is currently being managed and want to make the management aware that the fans are now growing more and more disgruntled...

Satan
19-07-2012, 10:08
I always hated that ideology. I hate football. I don't sit on the Liverpool FC forums bitching at them. I get on with my life.

I think a more apt example would be if you loved football but hated the coach and took an opportunity now and then to complain about him.

I can't say much about BF's brand, but in regards to GW I think they've used up most of the trust the consumer ever had for their brand some time ago...

xxRavenxx
19-07-2012, 10:54
I can't say much about BF's brand, but in regards to GW I think they've used up most of the trust the consumer ever had for their brand some time ago...

I couldn't disagree more. I think veteran players tend to feel that way, but any customer I have who has played for less than say... 15 years? isn't disenfranchised at all. The veterans, while a little sour, still play. So it can't be all bad, eh? :)

shelfunit.
19-07-2012, 11:13
I couldn't disagree more. I think veteran players tend to feel that way, but any customer I have who has played for less than say... 15 years? isn't disenfranchised at all. The veterans, while a little sour, still play. So it can't be all bad, eh? :)

Again, it's a case of love the game, not the company. This distinction seems to be lost on many people here.

f2k
19-07-2012, 11:33
I couldn't disagree more. I think veteran players tend to feel that way, but any customer I have who has played for less than say... 15 years? isn't disenfranchised at all. The veterans, while a little sour, still play. So it can't be all bad, eh? :)

I think it depends very much on the area.

Where I live, 40K certainly seems to have taken a nosedive over the last decade or so. And I barely even hear about Fantasy anymore. Many veterans have either left the hobby entirely or started playing other games.

In any case, disenfranchising the veterans is just about the worst thing Games Workshop can do. Once the veterans are gone, who’s going to teach the newbs how to play, lend them armies to try out the game, run tournaments and other events...

Say whatever you want, the numbers speak for themselves. Despite cutting themselves to the bone, all but gutting their retail chain in the process, their turnover has remained somewhat stabile. With the galloping price hikes, the only conclusion I can come to is that less people are buying less boxes.

Games Workshop is in deep trouble. No sense in denying it...

Am I a GW-hater. No, not at all. I still love the 40K universe and I still like converting and painting their models. But I’m deeply troubled by what’s happened to the game I used to love. And I desperately want Games Workshop to wake up and realise just how many bridges they’ve burned.

Believe me, I used to be a raging fan-boy. I spent an awful lot of money on their games – yes, all of them (though I sadly missed out on Man’o’War). It took literally decades of abuse and indifference from Games Workshop to turn me sour.

I3uLLioN
19-07-2012, 11:54
Games Workshop is in deep trouble. No sense in denying it...
.


No they are not...

I know people who have been playing for years, continue to play, but dont spend much money month to month. Why? because they already have huge collections. In the worst financial situation seen in decades GW has been able to grow profits. Grow them. They have a secure license for an upcoming smash block-buster and their income streams from computer games and other related products is growing. How is this a company in deep trouble? I just dont get it. :wtf:

shelfunit.
19-07-2012, 12:08
No they are not...

I know people who have been playing for years, continue to play, but dont spend much money month to month. Why? because they already have huge collections. In the worst financial situation seen in decades GW has been able to grow profits. Grow them. They have a secure license for an upcoming smash block-buster and their income streams from computer games and other related products is growing. How is this a company in deep trouble? I just dont get it. :wtf:

A decreasing sales volume year on year for the last 5+ years says otherwise, but that has been covered many times in other threads.

f2k
19-07-2012, 12:16
No they are not...

I know people who have been playing for years, continue to play, but dont spend much money month to month. Why? because they already have huge collections. In the worst financial situation seen in decades GW has been able to grow profits. Grow them. They have a secure license for an upcoming smash block-buster and their income streams from computer games and other related products is growing. How is this a company in deep trouble? I just dont get it. :wtf:

I think that question will be better debated in the Price Feedback thread, but briefly...

Much of the surplus in recent years has come from favourable exchange rates, loans, and cost cutting. They can’t do much more cost cutting and the exchange rates cannot be counted upon forever.

Royalties are a fickle thing and Games Workshop has yet to show that they can be turned into a sizeable franchise outside tabletop wargaming. Yes, Dawn of War and Space Marine were somewhat successful but Warhammer Online and its, now scraped, 40K counterpart failed badly.

Unit-sales have been steadily falling through the last decade or so, meaning that fewer people are buying less. Veterans are leaving and fewer newbs are being recruited – let alone retained. Given that this is a social hobby, the fact that fewer people are playing should be a clear warning sign.

Yes, Games Workshop is indeed in trouble...

Satan
19-07-2012, 12:17
Again, it's a case of love the game, not the company. This distinction seems to be lost on many people here.

Yeah, that was my point. People like 40k/WHFB, not the Games Workshop brand. Take something as simple as the rules - when a situation arises where there's consensus that you don't like "Rule X" it is attributed to Games Workshop as being their failing rather than that of 40k/WHFB. You disassociate stuff you don't like and are more prone to attributing it to an entity called "Games Workshop" rather than one called "Warhammer".

I'm not going to go on about their business practices, but I think the GW brand has serious issues - a basic example is that they keep "marketing" their products as being premium, when we know they're not (apart from the miniatures, arguably)...

JWhex
20-07-2012, 15:53
Royalties are a fickle thing and Games Workshop has yet to show that they can be turned into a sizeable franchise outside tabletop wargaming. Yes, Dawn of War and Space Marine were somewhat successful but Warhammer Online and its, now scraped, 40K counterpart failed badly..

You really cant deduce much if anything about IP viability from the 40k mmorpg debacle since it never launched. The mmorpg market is saturated with failed projects anyway.

f2k
20-07-2012, 16:27
You really cant deduce much if anything about IP viability from the 40k mmorpg debacle since it never launched. The mmorpg market is saturated with failed projects anyway.

On the contrary, the very fact that it was scraped tells you a whole lot about the viability of it...

I stand by my opinion that Games Workshop still haven’t shown that they have the ability to turn their IP into a viable franchise outside of tabletop wargames.

blongbling
23-07-2012, 09:00
In the worst financial situation seen in decades GW has been able to grow profits.

Not really, what they have done is to slash their operating costs, in terms of creating efficiencies within their business but also by reducing the staff overhead. THis has meant they are making more GP per unit sold and making profits, but they have still seen declining sales numbers for over five years...thought his may be the year that sees some of that turning around

xxRavenxx
23-07-2012, 09:55
On the contrary, the very fact that it was scraped tells you a whole lot about the viability of it...

I think it says a lot more about the company making it than it says anything about GWs IP...

Damien 1427
23-07-2012, 13:44
I think it says a lot more about the company making it than it says anything about GWs IP...

Namely that THQ were bleeding money and the costs of an MMO (which would flop as surely as any other that isn't WoW) would be a death sentence. The project wasn't totally scrapped, just refocused to be a single-player experience rather than an MMO.

Nkari
25-07-2012, 16:24
I would have been very upset that BF would have enforced a "BF only" policy, since before that they explicitly allowed other company producsts in their official tournaments.
I myself tho do 100% BF, but I would still be pretty upset about such a 180 switch in policy.