In terms of sales, the Allies rule is a double edged sword for GW.
Hmm, that's a thought. There could be a really long term plan here. Put allies in 6th, improve sales with many players buying small forces to add onto their existing armies. 7th ed, remove allies, everyone with half an army is encouraged to buy the rest of the models required to make it a full army.
(I don't really believe it would be worth it for GW to think like this or plan 4 years ahead but it's fun to theorise.)
... and then I won.
A few articles showing different forces together, with tie in paint schemes or converstions (traitor guard) could sell ideas to those looking at some of the other models but can't justify them for their army.
It will be nice to be able to field a selection of units.
As long as people spend the money...
Also profanity from your opponents can be a good sign too.
Oh I'm sure they have a business plan 4 years in the future, I just doubt they are planning the 7th edition rules changes already.
... and then I won.
Man, I've seen this all before, and there's only one way it can end. In blood, tears, and the limp-wristed flailing of nerd-slaps.
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A thought: was the Allies matrix a sales boost attempt, a fan service attempt (here, have your daemons back - have your mixed Chaos back - have your human auxilliaries - have your Kroot mercs, etc.), or both? If it was anything other than a "pure" money-grab, I can't imagine them removing the allies until a couple of editions down the road, if at all. Maybe enough people complained to make them write it back in without having to publish new supplements.
Oddly enough, the Ally system actually gives them a good reason to streamline/decrease the Space Marine books...they won't, but it'd be a lot easier to consolidate now.
At the very least, GW would have gotten me to buy a second codex.
I think what I'm trying to say is that the number of space marine books is part of what makes the models themselves appealing. It doesn't matter to me much now; I've pretty much stopped buying GW stuff in favor of other models. But if I were in the market for GW stuff, I'd be further tempted if there was just some more diversity with the space marine rules because I'm the kind of personality that would happily codex-hop. (Within reason. GK are not space marines.) Consolidating the armies doesn't seem a good idea to me. Diversifying would serve them better.