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Brandir
13-05-2007, 13:35
I understand that GW have not exercised an option to renew their LOTR licence. Further, I understand that this is because of dwindling sales combined with the cost of the renewal.

Not sure whether it is the film, literary or both licences.

But as I understand they chose not to renew and it will run out in November 2011.

Comments?

Hlokk
13-05-2007, 13:40
Funnily enough, I was talking to a redshirt about this yesterday (so take this with a pinch of salt) but apparently its just the film lisence. Whats likely to happen in the future is that they will stop using movie pictures and just use artwork instead. As far as Im aware, thats the likely extent of it.

untimention
13-05-2007, 13:43
2011 is a very long time away... thats another 4yrs... they will have milked it all by then

Brandir
13-05-2007, 13:48
I should have made myself clear; my info does not come from either a Red or Blue shirt!

All I can say is that my source is usually extremely reliable.

revford
13-05-2007, 14:09
If it the New Line licence, then no great loss.

As long as they have the Tolkien licence still then it's no difference. I can't see why they would drop both, while they have the one that gives them more scope and as they aren't benefiting from the movie tie in anymore bye bye New Line.

The only problem I could see is they have less leverage in their negotiations over the one remaining licence if they have a single source.

Brandir
13-05-2007, 14:17
Not renewing the film LOTR licence is, in my opinion, a mistake.

Why?

Well, The Hobbit and a second planned LOTR prequal would make GW lots of money. Dropping the New Line licence now sends the wrong message. Or have GW decided that they will no longer do a film licence?

The main reason GW secured both the film and litarary licence was to stop Wizards securing it and releasing a line that would have undoubtedly had a serious impact on the GW business, particularly in the US and European markets.

So, perhaps GW have assessed the Wizards threat now as minimal - with Wizards concentrating on pre-painted CMGs.

Archaon
13-05-2007, 14:32
Or perhaps GW is in trouble right now and just can't afford the fee for a game that doesn't have a big player base and for which interest is waning.

Crube
13-05-2007, 14:38
I suppose it depends on the cost involved.

Ultimately, if GW can't see the renewed licencxe bringing in serious amounts of cash then it's obviously not worth their while.


Also, I thought that the Hobbit film was due out in the next couple of years, If thats the case, then surely GW will be in a position to exploit it until the licence expires.

IMO, once the films have gone from the cinemas, and full price dvd racks, there is little point in having a movie tie in to the game.

As long as a literary licence is in place for them to still produce the games, there will still be a game worth playing. Also goves GW a reason to re-release the games further down the line... :rolleyes:

Sniper Kelly
13-05-2007, 17:35
To be honest, if it's true, it makes a lot of sense from GWs point of view. It just depends on how many films New Line plan to make (two, the last I heard), and whether they're all released before 2011.

revford
13-05-2007, 17:39
I'd guess that the new movies would require a new licence anyway, I don't think that the current one covers all movies produced by New Line, just the three parts of Lord of The Rings.

Horus84
13-05-2007, 17:47
GW whatever they think is best for the long term interest of the company. That how they work and thats why they have survived 30 years and will get throught the current bump.

As for LOTR sells declining, thats just not true. It is the largest seller out of the three core games still with more Box's and Blister in the top ten sellers than 40k and wfb combined.

HeraldOfTheFree
13-05-2007, 19:58
As for LOTR sells declining, thats just not true. It is the largest seller out of the three core games still with more Box's and Blister in the top ten sellers than 40k and wfb combined.
Quoted and signatured if you don't mind Horus- this is something I have been saying for years.
I dont think the trilogy license really needs renewing unless without it GW will have to discontinue models. Most of the releases planned in Legions are from the books, and I think the Hobbit would need a new license.

Gondorian
13-05-2007, 20:46
As for LOTR sells declining, thats just not true. It is the largest seller out of the three core games still with more Box's and Blister in the top ten sellers than 40k and wfb combined.

Also quoted and sigged. If that's OK.

Mars
13-05-2007, 21:09
film lisences seem futile: they're now releasing the last film espisode for a second time, pretty much everything has been dealt with

book licences seem like a different story: don't know how much more the lotr universe has to offer, but I'd guess it'll be enough. didn't they cap the 40K story line and army lists as well, focussing on historic battles rather than evolving time lines?

Crazy Harborc
13-05-2007, 21:37
Question......Didn't GW spokemen state that the reason that they did not meet projected sales numbers and moneies for about a year now, was because the LoTRs bubble had burst...That was put out last year I do believe.;)

palmtree
13-05-2007, 22:17
It's also worth pointing out that the LoTR projected sales can be disappointing while still outpacing 40K and WHFB. GW is a publicly traded company and is setting sales targets with an eye to investors. Failing to meet those targets is bad even if the actual numbers show a steady profit because investors will lose confidence and GW's stock will drop.

Crazy Harborc
13-05-2007, 23:09
palmtree........good point. That is (if correct) sad for the company. Who knows maybe the soon to be released financial report will be better than the last.

Crube
14-05-2007, 07:15
Also, maybe without the restrictions of the licence GW will be able to concentrate on developing LotR as a decent game (it already is, but...)

One more point. Many of the character models are based on the lienesses in the film. Boromir and Aragon spring to mind. And Liv Tyler famously / allegedly rejecting various sculpts of her character.

How will these be dealt with once the licence lapses...?

Horus84
14-05-2007, 09:39
I can't see them not renewing it (that not to say they won't as GW will be looking at the long term - that about 10 years ahead). That would basically mean they would take LOTR out of the shops as the licence does not just cover the selling of it but also the imargy. They would have to take all the models of sale that are based on the New Lines film (which is the bulk of what available).

That said I don't think GW will take on the Hobbit if/when it is made as however good the LOTR has been for GW it has hurt is also - as current investor news release show. Though they might have a better idea of how to handel that kind of project. Whatever GW do decide to do it will be what they see as best for the business (without a business the hobby dies). It won't dissappear if it goes but will most likely get moved to a specilist game.

Morris
14-05-2007, 10:09
To be honest it is a fair move by them. LOTR died within the first 2 months of it being out. It has never been a scratch on WH or 40k, just not enough people play it. If they somehow got a player base that would be fine but yeh... The issue here is you go to their big tourneys. 8 LOTR players...about 80 in all the other games systems.

Crube
14-05-2007, 10:18
I think the issue here is not how many people play or collect LotR at the start - hey it apparantly made a shed load of money, is a decent game system, and has many players - it's just not a particulalry Toureny-tye of game

It seems that the predicted bursting of the LotR bubble not only came earlier than GW anticipated, but more drastically.

I think this rumour depends on stuff we'll never truly know - ie how much New Line are asking for the licence, and how much GW make out of the licence...

Morris
14-05-2007, 10:25
Yeh, I think GW are going to focus their guns on what they know works. When they first released LOTR their profits actually dropped by quite a bit according to a newspaper.

Note:
140 + competitors in other game systems, not 80

revford
14-05-2007, 10:39
I keep hearing different stories here, the GW made enough money to complete the 3 years returns on the game to New Line in the first six months, this allowed them go do things like Bombadil so early on.

Now profits were down at the start?

I've heard LOTR is the number one selling game.

I also hear that 40K is by a huge margin and that Space Marines make up 50% of total sales for GW and LOTR is way above WHFB in sales but not on the same class as 40K.

Are there any actual published sales by brand stats to back any of this up? Or is it all just guestimates and propaganda?

People are quoting sales figures to both support and slate LOTR, it would be nice to have some real sales/profit figures to support or dismiss these ideas.

Mars
14-05-2007, 10:45
I don't think the comparison is really fair: LotR is what, 6 years old? Fantasy is 24, 40K is 20.

My point being that neither had a huge player base (I asume) the first 6 years of their existence. A large number of the current players has been at it for a very long time, and that veterans corps is an essential social back bone for any game.

LotR is a kids game: in my college town local store I'm about the only adult player, but still LotR is the most popular and best selling game system. Same thing is my home town local store.

Fantasy players are more numberous, yet the average age is 10 years older, and that's usually the amount of time they've been playing it.

I think it's quite normal for the veteran players not to jump on it at first opportunity, I hated it when it came out. Very few veterans I know play it, they don't even try.

Yet all the kids playing it right now are growing up with it, and they have loads of money to spend, and will have loads of money to spend in the future.

I'm just saying that it's too early to tell really, it needs time to grow.

Friendly Neighbour
14-05-2007, 11:27
As to what sells and how much it sells I can shed a little light on it. This is a list published in GWs NE newsletter. It lists the bestselling plasticboxes for April of this year, by volume.

1..Space Marine Devastators..............40k
2..Dark Angel Veterans......................40k
3..Dark Angel Command Squad............40k
4..Battle For Skull Pass..................WHFB
5..Dark Angel Bikesquad.....................40k
6..Dark Angel Battleforce...................40k
7..Battle For Macragge......................40k
8..Dark Angels Ravenwing...................40k
9..Rangers Of Middle Earth...............LOTR
10.Space Marine Tactical Squad..........40k
11.Mines Of Moria...........................LOTR
12.Warriors Of The Last Alliance........LOTR
13.Warriors Of Minas Tirith...............LOTR
14.Easterlings................................LOTR
15.The Fighting Uruk-Hai..................LOTR
16.Cadian Shock Troops.....................40k
17.Tau Fire Warrior Team...................40k
18.Warriors Of Chaos Regiment.........WHFB
19.Uruk-Hai Scouts.........................LOTR
20.The Lord Of The Rings Wood Elves.LOTR

All the Dark Angel stuff is of course a temporary thing because they had just been released, but it does indicate just how popular marines of all kinds are. It's also interesting to see the almost complete lack of fantasy stuff on the list.

Remember that this is just one month and only for NE, so try not to read too much into it.

Osbad
14-05-2007, 11:29
Purely from guesswork based on three "facts".

Fact One: New Line are greedy sods. Witness - they won't pay Jackson what he's owed so the Hobbit flm is in jeopardy.

Fact Two: GW are greedy sods. Witness their published aim of maintaining 70% Gross Margin on all sales.

Fact Three: Sales tied to the film franchise are now a tiny fraction of what they once were. Whether that makes them more/less popular than Space Mareenz I haven't a clue.

Putting Fact One, Fact Two and Fact Three together would lead me to the conclusion that it is entirely likely that while GW would be prepared to continue with the film licence the price New Line want to continue the deal would be more than would allow GW to maintain their margin based on ongoing sales expectations. So I can easily imagine the film licence being toast.

As for the book licence, this is a different issue. Tolkien Ents are a different kettle of fish - still greedy, but they have a track record of being more realistic as to their expected value of their licences in a gaming environment.

What will put the book licence element of the game in jeopardy are two things:

1/ the underlying sales of the game. If there are sufficienet basic sales to justify the Developers salaries, pay the literary licence and still make Gross Margin of 70% then it is obvious they will continue. On the other hand

2/ the game may well not be viable if the film-related models licence expires. For instance GW will no longer be able to sell Orcs, Balrogs, Uruk-hai etc. Is the game ongoing without them? Or will some kind of messy arrangement be in existance so that they can continue with the models but call them something else? My feeling is no, as NLE hold the rights to the imagery - so my guess is that unless GW pay the fee (which we are told they are not), then they will lose all rights to use the imagery beyond 2011, and so that will be that.

Mad Makz
14-05-2007, 11:36
Firstly - a bubble bursting doesn't mean the game did poorly, I wish people would stop making this assumption. A bursting bubble just means the game, and GW's resulting profit, where going through an unsustainably massive amount of growth.

What could possibly be wrong with that you might say? Well, it makes predictions hard, and good businesses are built on year to year predictions. If you have a year of massive sale growth and profits, then you buy a whole bunch of capital to support that amount of sale growth and profits into the future (logical if you want to keep a steady chain of supply) then that sales growth and profit don't come, then you've effectively wasted that money, and those capital assets are going to be depreciating so they end up costing you money.

From a shareholders point of view, this is tantamount to STEALING, because that money COULD have been given directly to them as dividends.

The problem with LOTR was not that it did poorly, but it did too well too quickly and then stopped doing so amazingly well too soon. Anyone who understood the nature of a movie tie in would probably have understood this, however the people investing in Games Workshop clearly didn't, and management didn't do a good enough job of warning the shareholders of when this was going to happen or judging for themselves when it would so they spent money that they never got and now are paying the cost of that in having to downsize.

However, without LOTR that's money they would never have had anyway.

As for not renewing the licence - it seems totally believable.

The movies are becoming a distant memory, the game is moving towards more a battle game and less of a character orientated RPG type game. Likenesses for famous characters of the movie will become less important (Aragorn is Aragorn is Aragorn - if some look like Viggo Mortensen and some look a little different no one is going to mind that much.)

If New Line want too big a cut then drop the movie licence, halt production of all remaining movie based models now (Orcs are still Orcs, Nazgul are still Nazgul, the new Elves are still Elves and newer Dwarfs are still Dwarfs) continue to sell off the stock for the forseeable future and make an arguement that the men of Gondor and Rangers of Rohan plastic aren't based strictly off the movie but rather off the book (or simple redo and re-release them in 5 years time not based off the move imagery, as GW is generally want to do anyway, knowing they will have already easily made a large profit on them.)

I can see it happening, releasing the new Dwarfs (not that movie like) and the Khandish etc even points towards it.

Makes business sense.

t-tauri
14-05-2007, 11:37
How much is being paid to Newline for the license though? The trade terms are higher and the profits lower on LotR minis for retailers which is why you can't buy them at a big discount. Passing on renewing the New Line license would only mean resculpting of a few identifiable film based minis like Viggo Mortensen Aragorn into a generic Aragorn (and probably allow a third, fourth, fifth version of the character to be flogged to the die-hards..)

Most of the existing minis like Orcs and Dwarfs would still be covered by a Tolkien enterprises license which would save them money on paying for two licenses. In many ways it's quite a savvy move as they've milked the films and keeping the minis out as a book licence saves them paying a huge tranche of their (smaller) profits to New Line for the film licence which is less useful as the publicity benefit is dead until something like the Hobbit appears. At which point I'm sure GW'd pile in for the Hobbit film licence.

Osbad
14-05-2007, 12:43
Well, the new plastic Dwarf Warriors still have (c) NLP stamped on the sprue whereas the new Dwarf Rangers have (c) Tolkien Ents stamped on the sprue. Indicates the latter could be sold without the New Line license, but the former could not. The New Line imagery is intensely bedded in all the existing material.

Still, 2011 is 4 years away - more than enough time for GW to move away from NL imagery if that's what they want to do. As has been said, a Balrog is a Balrog.

On the other hand without New Line imagery will the game sell sufficiently well. Existing non-film stuff has done OK. But could they charge the premium they do if they lost all ties to the film? I am prepared to pay a premium for something that looks like the image I have in my head from the film, but am I prepared to pay the "GW premium" for something that looks totally different, or will I go somewhere else and pay less?

On the onther hand, this could tie in with the move to more plastics. There are many out there who are quite prepared to buy plastic models at a price that is just a little less than they could pay for metals from non-GW sources, so catering for them with retooled models might be a feasible strategy to adopt.

Mars
14-05-2007, 13:19
Still, 2011 is 4 years away - more than enough time for GW to move away from NL imagery if that's what they want to do. As has been said, a Balrog is a Balrog.


I asume you mean simply changing the stampings on the models?

Because I also thought about it, and redoing every boxed set is too difficult in 3 years (no more, because the new Knights look very much like the movie version, except for the shields. That said, those new pikemen weren't in the movies).

dean
14-05-2007, 13:49
If it the New Line licence, then no great loss.



Unless New Line can get The Hobbit finished and in theatres in =/< one year, It's license will expire and from the row over Steve Jackson pulling out, New Line will not be given the opportunity to renew. So GW not renewing New Line's License is not as big a deal as the Book licenses.

Matt_Windu
14-05-2007, 13:50
from the row over Steve Jackson pulling out

What's the Hobbit movie got to do with Fighting Fantasy? ;):D

dean
14-05-2007, 14:12
What's the Hobbit movie got to do with Fighting Fantasy? ;):DGrrr.. D'oh! Peter Jackson... Sigh... :eyebrows:

"Munchkins" is a cool game tho... and "Unatural Axe" is the best expansion for any game I have ever seen....

Brandir
14-05-2007, 16:50
I wonder how much this rumour will affect LOTR sales? We gamers can be very fickle and the sign of a game dying can hasten the demise.

Killshot
14-05-2007, 18:57
I love the LotR rules and have adopted them to many historical scenarios, so this doesn't really bother me too much. Besides, everyone has been saying LotR has been dying for the last two years. Yet, GW continuously releases great looking models for a game they do not plan on expanding?

Dropping the film licence only will allow them to resculpt everything and to release new versions. Heh, just like they do with 40K and Fantasy.

Templar Ben
14-05-2007, 21:25
How does the law work when the license does expire in 2011? If GW has a large stock of New Line based minis are they required to destroy them or since it is cast are they allowed to sell those? The mill in Memphis only runs one shift currently so they could build up a lot of stock if it were the latter.

Adept
14-05-2007, 22:03
To be honest it is a fair move by them. LOTR died within the first 2 months of it being out. It has never been a scratch on WH or 40k, just not enough people play it.

And yet...


It is the largest seller out of the three core games still with more Box's and Blister in the top ten sellers than 40k and wfb combined.

If it was a 'fair move', then it would have been a fair move to ditch 40K or WHFB five years ago.

Shadowheart
15-05-2007, 02:26
Besides, everyone has been saying LotR has been dying for the last two years.

People have been saying that for as long as the game has been out, really. I'm not taking anyone's word for how well or how poorly LotR has sold, is selling or will sell. All I know is that since it came out, I've bought way more LotR in stores than 40K. Another four years ought to be enough to complete my collection of movie-based miniatures.

Once the license runs out, can GW still produce and/or sell the license-based products they've already got? I'd assume not, but losing the movie material as a hook to draw in new players would be a severe blow. Even though the movie hype's gone, everyone still knows them, and that means it's probably the only thing in a GW store that non-geeks don't find bewildering. Of course GW'd still have the name "The Lord of the Rings", but people are going to be disappointed if they find no movie-based stuff.

NakedFisherman
15-05-2007, 04:37
It isn't the biggest seller. Whether it has more boxes and blisters in the top ten sellers or not is irrelevant -- 40K and WHFB have more boxes in blisters available.

I don't think it even has the most boxes and blisters in the top ten sellers list, anyway. The best sellers are likely Battle for Macragge, Battle for Skull Pass, Space Marine Tactical Squad, Space Marine Command Squad, Space Marine Rhino, etc.

Matt_Windu
15-05-2007, 10:33
As to what sells and how much it sells I can shed a little light on it. This is a list published in GWs NE newsletter. It lists the bestselling plasticboxes for April of this year, by volume.

1..Space Marine Devastators..............40k
2..Dark Angel Veterans......................40k
3..Dark Angel Command Squad............40k
4..Battle For Skull Pass..................WHFB
5..Dark Angel Bikesquad.....................40k
6..Dark Angel Battleforce...................40k
7..Battle For Macragge......................40k
8..Dark Angels Ravenwing...................40k
9..Rangers Of Middle Earth...............LOTR
10.Space Marine Tactical Squad..........40k
11.Mines Of Moria...........................LOTR
12.Warriors Of The Last Alliance........LOTR
13.Warriors Of Minas Tirith...............LOTR
14.Easterlings................................LOTR
15.The Fighting Uruk-Hai..................LOTR
16.Cadian Shock Troops.....................40k
17.Tau Fire Warrior Team...................40k
18.Warriors Of Chaos Regiment.........WHFB
19.Uruk-Hai Scouts.........................LOTR
20.The Lord Of The Rings Wood Elves.LOTR

All the Dark Angel stuff is of course a temporary thing because they had just been released, but it does indicate just how popular marines of all kinds are. It's also interesting to see the almost complete lack of fantasy stuff on the list.

Remember that this is just one month and only for NE, so try not to read too much into it.

Look Snorri, Stats!

2nd biggest seller on that list. Thats for april, when LOTR didn't have any new releases I believe.
It's clearly trouncing WHFB anyway.

Crube
15-05-2007, 10:38
Hmmm

Is the lack of WFB stuff on the list due to the different types of units you need to buy to get an army compared to LotR?

I'm no expert on LotR, so this is a genuine question.

For example, to complete my Empire WFB army, I'll have bought

1 Batallion
1 Free Company box
3 box of State Troops
1 box of State Missile troops
1 Cannon
1 War altar
1 Wizard
1 Warrior priest
7 blisters of greatswords

Whereas for an LotR force, I'd be looking at fewer overall, but say 2/3 boxes of normal warriors, plus characters.

With there being less to buy per force (to 700 points), I'd be inclined to have more forces, whereas with 2000 points of WFB, I only buy the 1..

(Hell I know what I mean)

Osbad
15-05-2007, 11:55
I would say that LotR is more flexible. With LotR I have collected loads of different factions. With other GW games (Epic and BFG) I have just stuck with one faction at a time.

That mainly is though because I love the figures a lot more for LotR than for the other games, so painting up an army or a particular set is worth doing for its own sake for me.

As for the playing side - its still probably worth collecting up to 750, or 1,000 points of any individual army for playability's sake. But LotR contains more scenario-related players. In the early days at least it was more common for people to enquire about what models were needed to play all the scenarios in a particular supplement, rather than be concerned about building up a 500 point army per se. That has changed somewhat with an increase in "Army List" mentality being evident all over the place - in WD and most obviously with the release of LoME and subsequent supplements.

Were I to take up WFB or 40k I'd do so "One army at a time" until I got fed up. With LotR it is much more of a scatter gun approach. Most people I know who play have much more than 1 army, even if they are only a couple of hundred points each. Given the game works pretty much equally as well at a couple hundred points anywhere up to around 1000 or so (and even higher if you have enough time available) then there is no reason at all not to have several 250 point forces knocking around.

On the other hand with WFB, I can't imagine a game of <500 points being much fun unless you took time to get into WH Skirmish or something, but that isn't really ever promoted these days.

I think as much as the pull of the film imagery, the "instant access" aspect of LotR - being able to get a decenet game with only a couple of dozen models - was a major factor in its success.

Brandir
24-05-2007, 18:09
Looks like GW are not the only company dropping LOTR:

http://decipher.fanhq.com/Articles/Article.aspx?ID=1263

Decipher, who have the TCG and RPG licences have announced that their TCG line will end this year.

I wondr who will pick them up, if anyone?

revford
24-05-2007, 18:50
I imagine the TCG will just vanish, while the RPG licence will go to a bigger player, GW via Black Industries or to Wizards.

Brandir
24-05-2007, 18:55
Can we use Warseer to gamble? At the risk of being arrested by the US authorities for breaching their laws on gambling using telephony items I bet you 0.01 that Mongoose Publishing will emerge as the next LOTR film licence holder for RPGs and miniature wargaming .....

revford
24-05-2007, 20:18
Mongoose seem to own all the 2nd tier IP, it would be a really big scoop for them to bag a really top class name like Tolkien.

Lord Xcalibur
29-05-2007, 23:06
I think the issue here is not how many people play or collect LotR at the start - hey it apparantly made a shed load of money, is a decent game system, and has many players - it's just not a particulalry Tourney-style of game

I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head with this one. It's amazing how many people believe that tournament participation == monetary&sales success. That's pretty much crap IMHO, and it's akin to saying that your video game fails unless it's played professionally online.

Just because LoTR isn't represented in tournaments doesn't mean that nobody is playing the game. It just means that the majority of people buying the miniatures play with friends. My gaming group has dropped a boatload of money into LoTR and we never set foot in a tournament nor do we ever play in stores.

At any rate, my2c about this. I always get a chuckle out of people who claim the company is doomed based on reorganizations or dropping profits and online opinion.