Several years ago when GW started it's annual price hikes, I could see it being justified because the price of oil (plastic) and tin (metal) was shooting through the roof around 2008ish. I think like 2 or 3 years ago there was actually a price drop on several things and I was very happy. I thought that the company understood it's customers got a little hosed by constant price increases.
But over the last few years there have been small things I've noticed with what I think is the changing of the corporate guard at GW. But I was blissfully ignorant.
The first time I noticed anything was amiss, was when the new Tyranid codex came out and they nerfed the ******* hell out of the Carnifex, and brought out the Trygon kit. Now anyone familiar with the Carnifex kit knows it was at the time it was one of the most diverse model kits they had. Now most of the options didn't exist anymore. GW knew everyone had lots of Carnifex kits (I had 6) and didn't need to buy anymore so they screwed them over and made the Trygon/Mawloc required. I was miffed but I carried on.
The next was changes in the store, we used to have 5 guys work at our store. 1 Manager, two Full timers, two Part Timers. They all got laid off and only one guy was hired to run the store by himself as a cost saving measure. The hours of the store got reduced to 37.5 and it would close for 30 minute lunch which is unheard of in retail. Normally you have multiple staff on so they stagger their breaks and keep the business open. A friend of mine worked there 9 years and just got the boot. Man he was pissed.
Then recently they started taking away things from the hobbyist's in the store. The removed one of the tables about 2 years ago and made it a "demo only" table. It sucked losing a table when you could play a game at night and what 10 year old is going to walk into the store at 8pm for a demo. It rarely happened so the table sat there as a display. What a waste. You figured having people play the game and enjoying themselves would be demo enough for potential customers who walk in and see the action.
Then the small hobby things started to go, like measuring sticks, communal dice, and templates. GW stores want you to buy your own so they don't have to supply you with this stuff.
Then when the new paints came out they took away the painting table. Guys would come in and paint there stuff at the table it was a good way to socialize. GW didn't like the cost it was spending on free paints (6 pots a year/colour according to the Mgr) for people so they took it away. I had my own paints at home, but man it helped some of the younger guys get some painting in.
And yesterday the straw that broke my back, was they took the customer copy of all the rule books away. I mean I own over 30 codex's and rule books from these guys but I mean come on, you should be able to just quickly snag a book off the shelf to compare or check a rule quickly. I have done that numerous times. Have you seen the size of the new 6th ed rule book. I have to lug that down to the store now instead of just quickly using the store customer copy.
Don't get me started on the 40 page advertisement which is White Dwarf. I remember the days of WD actually being a hobby magazine, now it's just all flash.
I think the changes can be pretty much summed up by the manager of my store. " We're not a hang out or a gaming company, we're a model company. We sell models"
I've been in this hobby for 16 years and spent easily over 10-20k on this hobby. I love the back ground so much I think it is far superior to any other Cult Sci-Fi stuff out there in the last 30 years. Maybe 40k is too dark for the public though, but that's why I love it. GW is just another faceless corporation now it seem's who just happens to own some awesome IP.