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nedius
06-01-2010, 23:35
To what extent do you feel new codexes and army books are an attempt to generate revenue rather than deliver a refreshed, balanced rule set?

With two renewed armies immanent (tyranids and beastmen), I've been wondering about the design process - how much is it controlled by the accountants and how much by the game developers.

When gaunts are made cheaper, is it to balance them out, or to encourage us to all go out and buy up an extra box? Is the venomthrope a genuine creature innovation, or just something to get us to spend more money?

My concern is that codex creep is driven by a desire to get a load of hot headed gamers to rush out and buy the new 'uber' unit that is borderline broken / unreasonably cheap points wise whilst oddly expensive to buy.

Whilst I will, of course, reserve judgement until I read the new 'nid dex, I'm already thinking "Carnifex squadrons? So I'll need to go get more fexes..." Somethings (plastic gargoyles), are an obvious money spinner whilst also being a great help to the player - a good unit, easy to build, robust, and not too expensive. I've pre-ordered three boxes!

Anyway, my ramble aside, what do you think? I think I'd come down a bit cynically - 70% money, 30% genuine balancing act.

bigcheese76
07-01-2010, 00:48
I would say that if GW really wanted to balance their codexes out they would write a 6th Ed rule book and bring out a codex for each army at the same time. As an alternative GW could make codexes living PDF files that are constantly updated each month or something similar.
These two options would lose GW money so they wont do them which is fair enough but sort of answers your question. Yes I do think GW are editing the codexes to make more money and by even editing the codex and bringing the new one out they are making alot of money. I dont normally pay 15 for a paper back 100 page book.

yabbadabba
07-01-2010, 00:54
The army books and codices are purely about making money. They dont make too much off the sales of the books themselves, but the follow on miniature sales are whats gold.

If it doesnt make money, why bother doing it?

As for balance, thats impossible as GW design specs change from release to release anyway.

Chaos and Evil
07-01-2010, 00:56
To what extent do you feel new codexes and army books are an attempt to generate revenue rather than deliver a refreshed, balanced rule set?

The rule set is refreshed in order to generate revenue...

...oh, and Codex Creep is more important than Balance to the GW sales model.

darkstar
07-01-2010, 01:00
I think you've created a bit of a false dichotomy, and assumed that it has to be one answer or the other. Certainly, Games Workshop PLC is a public limited company. Releasing product at cost to themselves with no intention to make any money from it is in the la-la land of most of the GW haters.

Clearly, the choice of what to release and when is quite significantly affected by its financial viability. Beastmen, much as I love them, are a very low-selling range. Any release for them is likely to be done in February, as it is traditionally GW's smallest release, to coincide with consumer trends.

That said, continuing on the theme of Beastmen, is the book not long-overdue for release as the first proper Army Book for the Beasts that can stand up with its horns held high without having to hide the shame of being the lesser half of a failed experiment in splitting an army over multiple books.

Also, I'll be damned if those are the only two contributing factors in releasing that book.

Condottiere
07-01-2010, 03:37
White Dwarf is basically a sales catalogue and army books/codices are marketing tools.

Master Jeridian
07-01-2010, 03:38
I have to say the Codex's and indeed to rulesets lean much more towards selling models than rules balance- I'd give it a 80/20 separation.
80% the Codex should encourage more purchases through making the new models badass, flip-flopping previous rubbish units to uber, and uber units to rubbish.
In the case of new edition rulebooks, apply the flip-flop to rules mechanics- such as the transport vehicle gamewinner/deathtrap/gamewinner of 3rd/4th/5th.

20% effort in making the rules enjoyable and balanced. There's no point deliberately making games unbalanced, but it isn't a major concern. Especially with a release schedule that see's some armies several editions old, and the marketing team screaming at you whilst holding the latest 'must have' model to go in the book.

Other rulesets, and indeed just doing a bit of house ruling yourself, shows how little clarity, balance and intricacy of tactics matters in the 40k ruleset.

Thud
07-01-2010, 12:51
The army books and codices are purely about making money.

Of course. Anyone who thinks anything else is obviously living in a fantasy world.

Still, I'd like to hope that the developers retain enough independence to make decently balanced books, which they have been doing so far in 40k.

As for new models, new point costs, etc; what do you think the reaction would have been if a new codex had been released with -no- new models and the sucky units were still just as sucky?

yabbadabba
07-01-2010, 13:48
Of course. Anyone who thinks anything else is obviously living in a fantasy world. You know there are going to be some, somewher :)

Master Jeridian
07-01-2010, 14:57
There is the argument that a balanced, tight ruleset will encourage sales because people will stick around to play the game longer and perhaps branch out to other armies.
They may also promote the game more to bring in more customers, rather than become the bitter moaning veteran who slags off the game at every oppurtunity and may put off new customers they know.

Other wargames do follow this method, it remains to be seen if it is more financially successful. I'd disappointedly hazard it's not, it works but not as easily or as well as GW mainstream game business model.

marv335
07-01-2010, 16:53
A balanced tight ruleset can never be improved, so never needs re-doing.
A balanced tight ruleset is a bad business decision.

Master Jeridian
07-01-2010, 17:50
Aye, that is true, but theoretically you could have the scope of armies for people to stay longer and progress further if they enjoy the game- rather than work on one army, find the game grating after a year and leave.

You also have new customers, humans keep getting born, so you'll always have fresh blood if the game is enjoyable. This ties into 'word of mouth' recruitment if people stick around, enjoy the game and encourage others to join.

But I agree, GW's method is easier and 'safer' in the profit department. It is a fine line though, you need to make a game with the semblance of balance to entice people in, but still considerably unbalanced to allow constant rules re-writes and changes.

gwarsh41
07-01-2010, 18:01
If GW diddnt want to make tons of money they would just get everything up to 5th edition and errata/re-release codex.
The entire concept of new editions is to gather money.
New edition rules can change the game to where your army isnt so hot and youll need to make a whole new one!

marv335
07-01-2010, 19:47
The thing is, the bulk of their income comes from new players.
They reckon an 18 month cycle.
Someone starts, buys loads of stuff, plays for about 18 months and quits.
Not all do this, but it's where most of the sales come from.
Veterans and long term players tend not to spend as heavily as a rule.

sigur
07-01-2010, 20:48
A balanced tight ruleset can never be improved, so never needs re-doing.
A balanced tight ruleset is a bad business decision.

A balanced tight ruleset is impossible for either core game of GW. This is due to the number of different armies for each system as well as the origins and core ideas behind the systems.

I agree with you on the 18 months cycle. That sounds pretty true to me.

Chaos and Evil
07-01-2010, 21:02
A balanced tight ruleset is impossible for either core game of GW. This is due to the number of different armies for each system ...
Nope, some wargame systems have many, many more army lists than the GW Core Games and maintain a far superior level of balance.


...as well as the origins and core ideas behind the systems.
Bingo.

It's quite simply intentional that the games not be particularly well balanced.

zoggin-eck
08-01-2010, 10:19
They've been re-doing army lists and editions for decades, why act surprised now?

Not saying there is anything wrong with it. Look at the rumours section, people hold their breath for a new book/release so it obviously works. I've played four versions of Warhammer and four of 40k and I'll probably keep doing so as long as I enjoy it still, not because I notice some villainous accountants decides to make money out of it

Griefbringer
08-01-2010, 11:02
If you read these boards frequently, there seems to be some people who would apparently like to see their army book revamped every two years or so.

And the lenght of those wishlist threads...

Radium
08-01-2010, 11:52
If you read these boards frequently, there seems to be some people who would apparently like to see their army book revamped every two years or so.

It keeps the game fresh without having to buy a new army every time (just a couple of units at most).

Master Jeridian
08-01-2010, 12:25
Funny, because change for change sake put me off the game.

Suicide Messiah
08-01-2010, 12:57
It really doesnt matter since you can change the rules to suit your own needs once you've bought them.

If you insist on having the newest rulesets out and only playing by GW penned rules then your as much of a tool as the codexes and WD.

This post isnt aimed at anyone BTW, just an opinion.

tu33y
08-01-2010, 12:58
we are all horde armies now... the most complex tactic is line up and run at each other...

yabbadabba
08-01-2010, 13:40
A balanced tight ruleset is impossible for either core game of GW. This is due to the number of different armies for each system as well as the origins and core ideas behind the systems. I think it is more down to the sheer variety within each army - weapons, rules wargear etc. Any broad Ancients system will have far, far more army lists, but less customisation.

Funny, because change for change sake put me off the game. But for others its different, so not funny just individual choice.

What is funny (something occulto said but removed), is that if everybody concentrated on building balanced forces, they would be far less affected by codex changes. Codex and army book changes only really affect power builders and people who have collected armies/units which have been deleted. If GW know this, then why not keep changing the power builds in each codex, it will increase revenue at the cost of a minority of customer irritation.

Rick Blaine
08-01-2010, 13:40
If you read these boards frequently, there seems to be some people who would apparently like to see their army book revamped every two years or so.


And then when they get their wish, they complain about the changes.

nedius
08-01-2010, 20:00
Am suprised there's almost no "they at least sometimes try to balance things out for the benefit of the game rather than the bank balance...".

Of course, GW is a company, and needs to make money, so of course a new army book hopes to make money. I just wondered how far the motivation for generating revenue impacts on the codex.

For example, are there actuall design meetings where ideas are altered, created or perhaps dropped simply one the basis of revenue generation? If it were purely that, every new model would be over powered and under pointed so that taking them was a no brainer. Perhaps we'll have tyranid armies of nothing but trygons, gargoyles, hive guards and venomthropes. Certainly, the basic troop that you need lots of always seems to require more 'lots of' to field the same points value in every codex.

I just want to believe (somewhat nievely) that GW is a hooby first, company second. I want the design process to be the main thing, and the cost to come from it.

TMATK
08-01-2010, 22:06
The army books and codices are purely about making money. They dont make too much off the sales of the books themselves, but the follow on miniature sales are whats gold.

...

I always find this a bit hard to believe. Granted I'm sure GW makes much more selling plastic, but those books are very overpriced. They're little soft-cover, black and white booklets that cost $25. Most RPG companies sell their full color hardcovers for less.

Master Jeridian
09-01-2010, 03:04
But for others its different, so not funny just individual choice

Enjoyment of a game is individual choice, but what I find funny must be approved by you- interesting.


I always find this a bit hard to believe. Granted I'm sure GW makes much more selling plastic, but those books are very overpriced.

Aye, they are a bit steep aren't they, but:

How many SM/Tyranid/etc Codex's does a SM/Tyranid/etc player buy?
How many SM/Tyranid/etc model box sets does a SM/Tyranid/etc player buy?

I think they still make a respectable amount of money on the books to agree with you though. It's a guaranteed sale to anyone who wants to start/continue playing that army.

yabbadabba
09-01-2010, 08:33
I always find this a bit hard to believe. Granted I'm sure GW makes much more selling plastic, but those books are very overpriced. They're little soft-cover, black and white booklets that cost $25. Most RPG companies sell their full color hardcovers for less. Thats because most RPG companies dont carry anything like the associated costs that GW does. When you buy a book, you are not just paying for the book; GW's infrastructure has to be paid for somehow


Enjoyment of a game is individual choice, but what I find funny must be approved by you- interesting. That made no sense. An assumption with no grounds.

Harry
09-01-2010, 09:58
Waaaaay back when no army books existed somebody thought it would be cool if everything the hobbiest needed to know about an army ... background, bestiary, rules, painting guides, model catalogue, special characters, etc was all contained in one book.

It was a great idea then it is a great idea now. (I love the army books).

That is why they produced the army books in the first place. That is why they produce them still.

When they get the chance to re-visit an army book today the main aim of everyone involved is to see what new fun stuff they can bring to the army. What new characters, units, monsters they can come up with for the army and what great ideas for minis they can come up with. All to make the army more fun. The artists, sculptors and writers all do 'their thing' to see if they can bring those ideas to life for us to enjoy.

Anyone who thinks other than this really is living in fantasy land.

Having said that do they hope that the new army book will help sell the army and more minis? Of course they do.
Do they tweak rules to make new models more desirable? ... Probably.

zoggin-eck
09-01-2010, 22:26
As usual, Harry speaks perfect sense.

Each new army book/codex brings at least one interesting new unit, model, or both for me. Otherwise it's just fun to read some new history or short stories, and go though the artwork and maybe find a few ideas for conversions from them.

For me, the new Skaven release is a good example. I won't be buying anything for a while since I always play against Skaven, and the articles in White Dwarf telling us how to buy them were obnoxious, but it was great fun to read the book itself.

My girlfriend plays Skaven, and could not care less about GW making money, new powerful lists etc. or just generally out to get us all, but she loved the new book, preferring it visually and for the background over the previous two, along with the 3rd edition lists etc.

This was enough to get her painting her old models and getting a few more, which had absolutely nothing to do with any new rules or changes. I think there are many who go about it this way, and the way GW release new editions actually suit them.

Trouble is, it's usually the "OMG this unit is nerf'd'd while this is what we should all get now" we hear about, mainly because nobody is about to start a new thread just to say "all is well" :)

vladsimpaler
10-01-2010, 16:31
Trouble is, it's usually the "OMG this unit is nerf'd'd while this is what we should all get now" we hear about, mainly because nobody is about to start a new thread just to say "all is well" :)

To me it seems like you are more of a fan of the background and the models as opposed to the game. Quick question then-do you play Warhammer?

Because if you did, I'm sure that if your favorite unit changed from (this is all hypothetical) M10 and Str5 to M4 and Str3 and lost all of its uniqueness and its point cost increased for no good reason, wouldn't you be a little frustrated?

I'm sure that most people, even the casual players, would be a little irked.

zoggin-eck
11-01-2010, 11:09
Because if you did, I'm sure that if your favorite unit changed from (this is all hypothetical) M10 and Str5 to M4 and Str3 and lost all of its uniqueness and its point cost increased for no good reason, wouldn't you be a little frustrated?


Don't you worry, I've lost whole units (spider riders, Gigantic spiders, bound monsters and swarms etc.) in the past due to a new edition (some of them came back eventually) as well as my entire Genestealer Cult army. So not just the odd change to a single unit, which of course I've gone through.

I just honestly don't think they are out to get us with new editions of rules changes, designed purely to make money.

I get it that White Dwarf and their website are almost purely just there to sell stuff, but every now and then they really do make it a point to say go ahead and play the game how you want to. Both Jervis and Rick have been doing it the whole time.

There's a Jervis Johnson "The J Files" article I read recently telling us to see their Games as the beginning, not the end, or a complete product.

Besides, it's all opinion anyway if a unit is changed for "no good reason". I know people hate that the uniqueness for many Imp Guard regiments has been lost. For me, it meant I got out that converted jungle fighters army I had but couldn't justify the amount of armour they were wearing, and the same with my carapace armour wearing guys who had the odd flak armour wearing guy. Now they're all armour 5+ and I honestly don't mind. But of course, someone else may think the opposite :)

To make anyone feel better and prove I really don't just lap it all up regardless, I did scream at the Gods that my beginnings of a "warrior weapons" army now just count as lasguns. :)

nedius
19-01-2010, 08:16
Ok, I've read through the new Nid codex, and I'm trying to see whether I feel that it has lived up to the 'game balance' or 'more money' side of things.

Possible evidence:

1. Carnifexes - a staple of previous armies, have now been reduced in effectiveness and increased in points. They are now a less desireable unit.

2. Trygons/Mawlocs - a new codex unit, with new models. For their points, seem to be a better option than the carnifex.

3. New units, such as the tyranofex and tervigon, but no models.

4. Old staples, such as TL deathspitter warriors, no longer an option.

5. Removal of 0-1 units for Zoans, lictors etc.

6. Ability to take multiple broodlords.


There may be further examples.

So, is this an example of codex manipulation in order to encourage us to shelve fexes and buy trygons instead? An attempt to make us buy models to convert new units only to release them much later, so we buy even more? Is the removal of the 0-1 units for zoans, lictors and broodlords a reflection of the fact they just want to remove the limit so we can go buy more?

Or are the changes simply a reflection that fexes were under-costed in the previous codex, that TL deathspitter warriors were over-powered and that only being able to have 1 unit of zoans was daft?

You've seen the evidence (not just my examples!), so what do you think?

IJW
19-01-2010, 12:38
Pyrovore. :(

Chaos and Evil
19-01-2010, 14:24
1. Carnifexes - a staple of previous armies, have now been reduced in effectiveness and increased in points. They are now a less desireable unit.

2. Trygons/Mawlocs - a new codex unit, with new models. For their points, seem to be a better option than the carnifex.
One can make the argument that last time Carnifexes were the shiny new model (and so had a points cost designed to sell them), but which have now been reduced to a more balanced points cost, whilst Trygons are now the shiny new model and so are a little cheap/good.

As a new plastic kit, they must sell!


3. New units, such as the tyranofex and tervigon, but no models.
Sounds like something to inspire gamers to create custom kitbash conversions to me!


4. Old staples, such as TL deathspitter warriors, no longer an option.
Cutting up old miniatures every 3/4 years when your codex is released is a time honoured tradition by now. :)


5. Removal of 0-1 units for Zoans, lictors etc.

6. Ability to take multiple broodlords.
The "allow players to theme their army more" / "sell more toy soldiers" drive is hard to miss there... (and why not? Zoanthrope-themed armies are cool!)

lanrak
23-01-2010, 13:12
HI all.
The current method of codex/army book release used by GW is NOT the only option available.
Its just the simplest provable way to support the new minature releases, (to shareholders).

GW simply re-set the rules every 4 to 6 years , and re-visit the race specific rules in the codexes/armybooks alonside new minature releses.

This is good for GW, simple way to try to inforce new sales,inject variety into a limited game, but bad for the gamers IMO.No-one likes having thier units invalidated !

WHY do some people think that if GW used an alternative method they would loose sales and throw money away?

IF the rules were stable and had provable levels of balance, then every few years you could EXPAND the scope of the game , ADD MORE units armies and variety to ALL armies incrementaly.

New players ALL start with the same basic rules, then pick the expansions that appeal to them.

This way the new gamer is introduced into a exelent starter rulesets that then grows with them as they grow as a gamer.

NOTHING is invalidated , just more chioce and variety as you go on...
GW grow an enthusiastic and contented cutomer base , that are HAPPY to recomend GW games, and GW sell ever increasing amounts of models to more customers for longer...
GW WIN, GW CUSTOMERS WIN!

But this level of investment in making game development and support drive sales is something GW plc seem not to want to make.:confused:

The latest financial results seem to indicate GW plc has a shrinking customer base.(Less people spending more is NOT sustanable long term for obvious reasons:eek:).

Harry wrote,
'Waaaaay back when no army books existed somebody thought it would be cool if everything the hobbiest needed to know about an army ... background, bestiary, rules, painting guides, model catalogue, special characters, etc was all contained in one book.

It was a great idea then it is a great idea now. (I love the army books).

That is why they produced the army books in the first place. That is why they produce them still'.

I agree with this apart from one small detail.The RULES should not be bundled in with asthetic content.
As the dev team often need to make minor adjustments/ compensations to the rules as they go along, fixing them in stone until an army get a new range of minatures is unfair to all concerned.

If the new minatures were supported with inspiring artwork and narrative, (with ALL rules kept seperatley and updated every few months or so.)
Would this negativley affect sales?
(Current codex/army book content expanded BUT without rules.)
I dont think messing up game play by writing 'inspiring rules' does anything but turn gamers off.
Has any one got proof that writing 'inspiring rules' adds to minature sales?

What makes you buy citadel minatures?
The awsome sculpts ,
The inspiring background,
The breathtaking artwork,
Or the poorly worded and confusing rules ?:evilgrin:


TTFN
Lanrak.

eriochrome
23-01-2010, 14:04
Ok, I've read through the new Nid codex, and I'm trying to see whether I feel that it has lived up to the 'game balance' or 'more money' side of things.

Possible evidence:

1. Carnifexes - a staple of previous armies, have now been reduced in effectiveness and increased in points. They are now a less desireable unit.

2. Trygons/Mawlocs - a new codex unit, with new models. For their points, seem to be a better option than the carnifex.

3. New units, such as the tyranofex and tervigon, but no models.

4. Old staples, such as TL deathspitter warriors, no longer an option.

5. Removal of 0-1 units for Zoans, lictors etc.

6. Ability to take multiple broodlords.


There may be further examples.

So, is this an example of codex manipulation in order to encourage us to shelve fexes and buy trygons instead? An attempt to make us buy models to convert new units only to release them much later, so we buy even more? Is the removal of the 0-1 units for zoans, lictors and broodlords a reflection of the fact they just want to remove the limit so we can go buy more?

Or are the changes simply a reflection that fexes were under-costed in the previous codex, that TL deathspitter warriors were over-powered and that only being able to have 1 unit of zoans was daft?

You've seen the evidence (not just my examples!), so what do you think?

I think the accountants even if they do not play a direct role as in "You better make this trygon/vendatta model sell really well, mister game designer." they might have other influences "You know mister game designer, your last codex did not really have a great attachment rate for the new models so we do not know if we can afford to keep you on with our current cost cutting schemes."

Another one of the new units which people are very interested in spawns random numbers of gaunts. Sure the average number you could get out is 22 add in the 10 you need to field it as a troop and that is 2 gaunt boxes but you could also get 30-40 gaunts out of it so at least 3 to be save. Run 2 of those as some people are suggesting and that is 6 boxes of gaunts. Least they split the termis and homogaunts or else it would 12 boxes. Plus 2 new MC kits to convert up.

Tyrants also got hit with the point increase so if you used to be running 2 tryants, 5-6 fexes plus some gaunts you have a real investment to get a solid army again.

lanrak
26-01-2010, 10:07
Hi erichrome,
Are you saying that new codexes /army books HAVE to have easily identfiable marketing aids to prove to the shareholders that GW plc is doing its best to sell minatures directly?

I have NOT seen anything from GW in recent years which is JUST for game play reasons.Everything seems to be geared to cyclical sales.

Do you agree that improving game play is more effective way of driving sales long term?

Lord of Worms
26-01-2010, 11:08
There is the argument that a balanced, tight ruleset will encourage sales because people will stick around to play the game longer and perhaps branch out to other armies.
They may also promote the game more to bring in more customers, rather than become the bitter moaning veteran who slags off the game at every oppurtunity and may put off new customers they know.

Other wargames do follow this method, it remains to be seen if it is more financially successful. I'd disappointedly hazard it's not, it works but not as easily or as well as GW mainstream game business model.

A policy like that of putting gamers first may have applied in `90s for GW. As it stands currently, the company is too bloated. The only way for it to properly sustain itself is to continue expanding.

Condottiere
26-01-2010, 11:12
Expansion without substance leads to bubbles, which may suddenly collapse.

yabbadabba
26-01-2010, 11:52
I have NOT seen anything from GW in recent years which is JUST for game play reasons.Everything seems to be geared to cyclical sales.
Do you agree that improving game play is more effective way of driving sales long term? No, and for a variety of reasons Lanrak.

What you propose is common sense for the established, long term, over active, detail driven and market aware gamer and for the games company that likes to take time over its development, aided by relatively small overheads and a proportionately larger turnover. There is already a market for those customers and it is served very well by a huge number of companies. GW have already proved very successful at developing a market of 12-16 year olds, and there is no evidence (other than anecdotal) about the alledged "silent majority" (which I have witnessed, but again only in local clubs).

If GW ever get enough turnover again to investigate whether appealing to that customer base then it might be worth the look, but that will mean deliberately going into competition with other games companies which will mean possibly a smaller success rate than just focussing on where they do currently. But GW knows that no matter how much you appeal to this type of hobbyist you will never get the kind of sales commitment that you will out of 12-16 year olds and adult gamers who don't care for other products and just like messing around in clubs or at home. SG are a perfect example of products that would be ideal for this market, ideal for a small company to focus on but not finincially viable for GW to fully support.

Cyclical sales drives are important for GW in so many ways, and particularly tap into their 12-16 year old focus. So in this case their business strategy on this fits in very well with their business goals.

What you are asking for is nothing more than a major change of business strategy based on a model that GW already knows doesn't work for them and puts them into direct competition with other companies. Why?

Chaos and Evil
26-01-2010, 12:07
^^I agree with yabbadabba's words^^

I actually believe that "improving the gameplay" (increasing the tactical complexity) of the Core games would likely be downright hurtful to GW as a financial entity.

Avian
26-01-2010, 15:12
If GW ever get enough turnover again to investigate whether appealing to that customer base then it might be worth the look...
So if this current strategy (which, from the latest 6 month report, isn't working) suddenly starts working really well (for some inexplicable reason) then they might modify it?

That doesn't seem like a terribly good idea to me.

If MY business was stagnating, I wouldn't cross my fingers and hope it would miraculously turn around by itself and then consider adapting, I would consider adapting in order to turn things around.

yabbadabba
26-01-2010, 19:16
So if this current strategy (which, from the latest 6 month report, isn't working) suddenly starts working really well (for some inexplicable reason) then they might modify it?
That doesn't seem like a terribly good idea to me.
If MY business was stagnating, I wouldn't cross my fingers and hope it would miraculously turn around by itself and then consider adapting, I would consider adapting in order to turn things around. You're ignoring the fact that they have already proved that the market you are talking about doesn't satisfy their business needs. It fulfill your needs.

Yes GW need to look elsewhere hence the move into licencing which is also supported by that 12-16 year old market AND disgruntled/moved on ex-GW customers who have made the transition to computer gaming, for instance. This is of course highly profitable for GW and they can best feed that market the way they are now.

If GW were a games company, or even a bona fide wargames company there are far better and profitable ways of going around their business, although maybe not on the scale they are now. What is assumed on here is because customers see them as a wargames company, that GW see themselves as a wargames company and plan that way.

The recent hints on here about retail expansion in the US is a great example of that GW are moving in a direction that doesn't fit into the description above. I have no idea what they are doing, but I am certain that they no longer see themselves as just in the wargames business and I would question how strongly wargaming is going to drive the company's direction in the next 5-20 years.

Avian
27-01-2010, 07:56
You're ignoring the fact that they have already proved ...
Prove? How do they prove anything? From what I can gather, they "prove" that they are right by closing their eyes, putting their fingers in the ears and loudly repeating to themselves what they have decided is right. :shifty:

And did I talk about a market? I can't see where I did. Must be your imagination.



What is assumed on here is because customers see them as a wargames company...
I think a large part of the problem is that GW sees themselves as something inherently very special, and not Just Another Company. And currently they are Just Another Company selling less stuff to fewer people. That is not a Good Thing in the long run, especially since they show no sign of altering course.

Condottiere
27-01-2010, 10:35
There is an inherent tendency for companies to just concentrate on the next quarterly report, so as long as accounting states that they're making a reasonable net profit, the company must be going in the right direction.

yabbadabba
27-01-2010, 10:49
Prove? How do they prove anything? From what I can gather, they "prove" that they are right by closing their eyes, putting their fingers in the ears and loudly repeating to themselves what they have decided is right. :shifty: The proof is SG's as mentioned in the post. If SG's were good sellers and a part of the corporate strategy, why are they relatively unsupported and almost totally unpromoted? Nobody has answered that on here aside from "Well I like them" anecdotal, useless data. SG's don't sell. SG's appeal to an adult, tactically appreciative market. What does that tell you about how GW should treat SG's?


And did I talk about a market? I can't see where I did. Must be your imagination. Yes you did, I just used the word.


I think a large part of the problem is that GW sees themselves as something inherently very special, and not Just Another Company. And currently they are Just Another Company selling less stuff to fewer people. That is not a Good Thing in the long run, especially since they show no sign of altering course. Of course, and it is facetious of you to even mention it. You are assuming that you are GW's target customer base, GW's target market and that as they are not serving you they must be wrong. They are losing custom and only just growing sales. The issue of what they should do can only apply IF we know what their 5-15 year plan is, something we blatantly don't. As there is more evidence to suggest that the 12-16 year old, burn and churn market is their target, and not the capricious but long serving established adult gamer, we can at least draw some conclusions and ignore others.

You need to wind your nerd rage in and look at this from a business perspective and not an emotionally charged customer perspective. I don't know anymore about what GW is up to than you, but it appears that I can appreciate the decisions they could be having to make, better than you.

lanrak
27-01-2010, 10:54
Hi Yabbadabba,
I dont see how improving customer interest and retension by improving game play is competeing with other compaines product?Its just preventing negative comparisons to other companies product!

And for the record GW plc did NOT 'sucsessfuly develop' a market of 12 to 16 year olds.
But reduced thier demoghraphic significantly, to mainly 12 to 16 year olds, by NOT improving gamepaly to hold the interest of anyone else!

GW plc are exelent at re phrasing a problem and making it sound like a desired solution...:rolleyes:

The original buisness strategy of by 'gamers for gamers' of the late 1980s to the early 1990s gave the largest period of growth in GWs history.

Since 2002 when GW plc was just '...selling toy soldiers to kiddies...' growth has stagnated.

If GW is a minatures company it is hediuosly inefficient at selling its product ,(due to MASSIVE overheads of supporting insular marketing.)

If GW is a games company , the overiding marketing drive is hindering the development of its core product.

I understand that changing the buisness strategy to be in a position to actualy grow the customer base , is a scary proposition to Mr Kirby and co.

So they keep on doing what they have been for the last 10 years...

GW plc is currently persueing a buisness plan without long term sustainability.
Although licensing will help out a bit, it will not compensate for the shrinking customer base.
(I outlined an option for growing the customer base in a previous post.)

TTFN
Lanrak.

yabbadabba
27-01-2010, 11:10
Hi Yabbadabba,
Hey mate


I dont see how improving customer interest and retension by improving game play is competeing with other compaines product?Its just preventing negative comparisons to other companies product! It doesn't, but improving game play in order to retain a section of the market that is already engaged in other wargames does bring it into competition with that market and what we don't know is what GW's figures have told them about that market. We don't know if sales of products aimed or preferred by the market of players who are actively involved with other wargames actually provides the sort of turnover or cost/profit ratio GW are looking for. You can only go on the evidence you see, and what we see is GW turning away from an over subscribed traditional wargames market. If they make that transition successfully and what effect that may have on them and wargames as a whole is another thread :)


And for the record GW plc did NOT 'sucsessfuly develop' a market of 12 to 16 year olds.
But reduced thier demoghraphic significantly, to mainly 12 to 16 year olds, by NOT improving gamepaly to hold the interest of anyone else! Disagree mate. I have gone from being an unwantyed stain in a GW store aged 12-14, to being surrounded by 12-16 year olds, enjoying themselves in a GW store on a Saturday, Sunday or even Games Night. And as a whole the shops are far more busy than they were 20 odd years ago. Doesn't matter, how they have done it, they have successfully grown that market, and I think that is their aim.

Occulto
27-01-2010, 12:03
Hi Yabbadabba,
I dont see how improving customer interest and retension by improving game play is competeing with other compaines product?Its just preventing negative comparisons to other companies product!

They're improving customer interest and retention by offering more and more plastic crack and making it easily available to the average joe. Not catering to a vocal minority of people who (given the power) would probably produce a ruleset that'd simply p*** off everyone else.

They're currently marketing to the people who don't make comparisons because they're simply not aware of the alternatives. Walking into a GW store isn't the same as walking into a LGS. In a LGS, you can compare games. In a GW store, they're not going to say: "well 40K is good, but Warmachine is better."

Hell, with the occasional exception for some modelling supply - GW don't acknowledge that there's this big world of wargaming out there.

GW are the Microsoft of the gaming world. Big, monolithic and convinced of their own superiority. If you're in the know, you'll be aware Linux is a better operating system, but ultimately it suffers from a lack of brand presence. So people don't opt for it on their home computers.

A better/cheaper product doesn't always = better sales.


And for the record GW plc did NOT 'sucsessfuly develop' a market of 12 to 16 year olds.
But reduced thier demoghraphic significantly, to mainly 12 to 16 year olds, by NOT improving gamepaly to hold the interest of anyone else!

Erm... they seem to be doing something right to have their product a household name.

Do a test, ask a few (non-gaming) people whether they've heard of Warhammer. Then ask whether they've heard of Flames of War. I wager that more people will know about Warhammer or even know of someone who plays it.

Why? If for no reason other than the fact they've walked past a GW store in a shopping mall or main street - not a dingy gaming store that's tucked away in a low-cost rent backwater.


The original buisness strategy of by 'gamers for gamers' of the late 1980s to the early 1990s gave the largest period of growth in GWs history.

That's a rather vague assertion there. Late 80s to early 90s could be as little as a two to three years. :p Be more specific. What sort of levels of growth are we talking about and for how long?

Anecdotally, in the early 90s, there certainly wasn't a GW store in my city. Now there are three.


Since 2002 when GW plc was just '...selling toy soldiers to kiddies...' growth has stagnated.

And what are the reasons for that? Growth in Tamagotchi has stagnated, but that's necessarily not due to people being dissatisfied with the quality of their electronic pets.

Trends change - particularly amongst the young - and if kids suddenly change from thinking your product is "cool" to thinking it's "uncool" then that's going to cause a hit to your bottom line, no matter how clever your marketing strategy.

Ozorik
27-01-2010, 12:10
GW's abandonment of SGs is a tragedy, they are the only decent GW games left.


And for the record GW plc did NOT 'sucsessfuly develop' a market of 12 to 16 year olds.
But reduced thier demoghraphic significantly, to mainly 12 to 16 year olds, by NOT improving gamepaly to hold the interest of anyone else!

Anecdotally there is some truth in this. GW has been becoming more simplified, both in terms of their games and the changes that they have made to their rules to essentially enforce horde armies which has definately turned some people away. I wonder if this has some correlation with their declining customer base? The timing looks suggestive. Do the 12-16 year olds truely have the financial strength to sustain the company and are they truely GW's largest customer demographic?



Trends change - particularly amongst the young

Thats easily remedied, dont market to children.


You need to wind your nerd rage in and look at this from a business perspective and not an emotionally charged customer perspective. I don't know anymore about what GW is up to than you, but it appears that I can appreciate the decisions they could be having to make, better than you.

GW has had a dwindling custom base for years, surely their 5 year plan should have kicked in by now? Nothing that they have done recently is any different from GW's business as usual strategy which is simply not good enough to keep the company alive in the long term. They got lucky with Relic which has opened some more doors for them but thats a market that can be easily saturated and GW will need more than royalites to offset their declining sales.

I don't think that toy soldiers have ever been 'cool' :)

OT/
If GW is going to keep the single army book format with a 5-6 year turnaround time they need to be updated regulary, not just 1 or 2 FAQs for minor rules inconsistencies but points cost, stat and special rule changes, basically anything that is broken. This would would keep the game much more balanced while still allowing GW to introduce new units, special rules etc to maintain their focused sales when the next edition of the book is released.

yabbadabba
27-01-2010, 13:27
If GW is going to keep the single army book format with a 5-6 year turnaround time they need to be updated regulary, not just 1 or 2 FAQs for minor rules inconsistencies but points cost, stat and special rule changes, basically anything that is broken. This would would keep the game much more balanced while still allowing GW to introduce new units, special rules etc to maintain their focused sales when the next edition of the book is released.
I disagree with this slightly.
a) 1 book of rules with army lists for every army currently available. This is the beginners and tournament bible. These two markets have much in common.
b) Codices contain full army lists, new units, unbalanced stuff, incredible background, off the wall rules - strictly off limits to tournaments.
Formats for both of these to be explored.

This way you can satisfy all markets and creative interests. The rulebook revision will include units from previous codices that have only been extensively play tested, same with the rules.
You can even include Marines in the movies or a breakdown of standard points for people to truly custom build their own armies - you just keep it well away from the main rulebook.

Ozorik
27-01-2010, 13:55
That would be an ideal solution but GW is highly unlikely to adopt it as it is too different from thier current model and it does away with the 'new codex' sales increase (although I'm not convinced that these extra sales are anything above what would be spent over the long term anyway).

I think that Battlefront has a good system for army lists. One large book containing rules and various list types for each faction fighting in a large area over a period of time, North africa or the eastern front 1942-1943 for example. In addition they also produce small campaign and battle books which introduce rules and lists for specific formations or unusual unit types for multiple factions which fought in the specific battle or campaign. These can be fielded in the same manner as those in the core book.

Financially speaking this method is probably more expensive (depending on how many armies you want to field, the big book is just over twice as expensive than the smaller books) but it does keep everyone on an even footing and the game is well balanced, although it is an easier game to balance due to how it is designed.

A similar system could easily be implemented by GW.

Tzar Boris
27-01-2010, 20:59
Well, an old question crops up again. Exactly why I stopped buying 'dexes and rulebooks. Couldn't keep up - and why should I? Not a big tourney player, and the 'dexes don't add anything worthwhile much these days - a couple of units doing things different to what I had previously expected them to (Scouts), the simplification of choices (Chapter Traits was one of the best bits of 4th ed 'dexes IMHO), and the abundance of "must-have" models - such as named characters for specific army tactical advantages. Overall - Herohammer 40K. With added crunchy cannon fodder. Why bother making it mandatory to have two troops choices these days? Why, you need something to chew through on your way to the commander...

Anyways, precisely why we started ...herebedragons (http://herebedragons.darkbb.com), to try and pull out a set of rules for miniatures that is free to use, copy, give away, and repurpose, with no hidden sales agenda. It's still early stages, but we've actually turned some interesting corners.

Occulto
27-01-2010, 22:06
Thats easily remedied, dont market to children.

Then who do they market to? (This isn't a snarky question, I'm genuinely interested who you think they should concentrate on)

I contend that they've created a monster that they can no longer control easily that pretty much forces them into snaring the "fresh meat" of the gaming world. They need people to buy armies because their infrastructure was built up during a period where people regularly bought entire armies of the latest thing.

People most likely to buy an entire army? New players.

People with the money to buy an entire army, and the time to paint it? New young players.

A lot of the suggestions thrown around about better rules seem to boil down to: "I want a gaming system that allows me to play with less figures, and doesn't require buying new stuff to keep my forces interesting."

Nothing wrong with that - except I don't see it paying the bills. Not without GW radically changing the way they operate. By radically, I mean things like getting out of the business of running their own stores.


I think that Battlefront has a good system for army lists. One large book containing rules and various list types for each faction fighting in a large area over a period of time, North africa or the eastern front 1942-1943 for example. In addition they also produce small campaign and battle books which introduce rules and lists for specific formations or unusual unit types for multiple factions which fought in the specific battle or campaign. These can be fielded in the same manner as those in the core book.

I have friends who are mad keen FoW players, and hearing them say: "oh we're going to be doing Eastern Front next" made me cringe. The thought that my army could be rendered unusable because everyone else was moving onto the next theatre of war seemed... well worse than the occasional edition change.

It would be akin to GW releasing: "Codex: Age of Apostasy" and watching your Tyranid army be sidelined because: "well the Tyranids still hadn't arrived yet in the 40K timeline."

Ozorik
27-01-2010, 22:44
Then who do they market to?

As wide a market as possible. Its not as if its impossible, or even difficult, to create and support both simple and complex games at the same time.


People with the money to buy an entire army, and the time to paint it? New young players.

I have my doubts about this. Just how much income does a 'new young player' have?


The thought that my army could be rendered unusable because everyone else was moving onto the next theatre of war seemed... well worse than the occasional edition change.

Thats not how FoW works. A mid war army can play any other mid war army on a level playing field. Its entirely possible for an 8th army list to play against a Finnish Jalkavakia kompania (who never went within about 3 thousand miles of each other in reality) for example.
You can even field a late war army verses an early war army if your sensible.

It would be even simpler from a GW perspective as they would only have to cover 1 period.

Occulto
28-01-2010, 00:24
As wide a market as possible. Its not as if its impossible, or even difficult, to create and support both simple and complex games at the same time.

I'd argue they already are.

Wargames, skirmish games, board games, card games, computer games plus a voluminous book publishing division. Then there's the additional complexity of rules and models via Forgeworld.

Specialist Games do get the short end of the stick via constant up to date support, but I can still mail order the models and download the rules which is pretty the case for most smaller game systems.


I have my doubts about this. Just how much income does a 'new young player' have?

If we're talking 12 - 16, then a surprising amount. Either through parental spending or simply kids with jobs who have few expenses to deal with except their entertainment budget. You get two friends to ask their parents for either the WHFB or 40K boxed sets, they swap what they don't need and they're well on their way.

But the real money's probably in the age group between 17 and 25. Young males (mostly) who don't yet have the financial burden of a family, mortgage etc.

Anecdotally, when I go out on a Saturday night, I see people in this age group easily drink a couple of boxed sets worth of booze away. That's before getting into the other trappings - cabs, clothes and so on. :p


Thats not how FoW works. A mid war army can play any other mid war army on a level playing field. Its entirely possible for an 8th army list to play against a Finnish Jalkavakia kompania (who never went within about 3 thousand miles of each other in reality) for example.
You can even field a late war army verses an early war army if your sensible.

Then I stand corrected.

The way these guys were talking, every one of them had an entirely new army planned. Maybe they were more sticklers for accuracy - ie no mid-war Italians vs late-war Russians.

General Veers
28-01-2010, 01:21
To go off topic a bit more...FoW gamers (I'm one of them) at least around me, all collect multiple "armies." I only know of one out of 20 that has a single force. Lucky for him it's a German company. :)

I have 6 companies in 4 nationalities painted and I haven't even really been trying. Along with tournaments there is a lot of scenario play and that does lead to specific nationalities and forces to be fielded. Usually someone has an army available for anyone who wants to play but doesn't have an appropriate force available. Tournaments are typically "Mid War" or "Late War" sometimes with themes but mostly not or the theme is only suggested and not requirement.

Ozorik
28-01-2010, 12:20
I'd argue they already are.

I would argue that they don't. A handful of lisenced products simply isn't good enough. This is especially so as a lot of these products are aimed at the same market as the core games i.e. teenagers.

Forgeworld is an exception but only on the modelling front, they produce 1 specalist game which I have never even seen. Much more could, and should, be done.


Either through parental spending or simply kids with jobs who have few expenses to deal with except their entertainment budget.

I would argue that their average spending could never compete with that of an adult. Christmas and birth day money combined with a paper round falls far short of a full time wage even when you factor in expenses. I certainly have the capacity to send far more now than I ever did when I was in school.

Occulto
28-01-2010, 23:30
I would argue that they don't. A handful of lisenced products simply isn't good enough. This is especially so as a lot of these products are aimed at the same market as the core games i.e. teenagers.

My point was more that GW has expanded itself to target sections of the market outside of pure table top gaming. For instance, Dawn of War sold a lot of copies to people who'd never pick up a tape measure or paintbrush. For them it's not a choice between DoW and 40K, it's a choice between DoW and a different computer game.

But even then, Warhammer Historical (http://www.warhammer-historical.com/) produce a range of games that are certainly not targeted at the teenage market.

GW have their fingers in a lot of pies.


Forgeworld is an exception but only on the modelling front, they produce 1 specalist game which I have never even seen. Much more could, and should, be done.

Their Imperial Armour books focus a lot on narrative/campaign play - which is something that tends to appeal more to mature gamers. A lot of it reads like the stuff I used to read in the Citadel Journal.

It's certainly more involved than: "here's a set of plastic hex tiles for you to use."


I would argue that their average spending could never compete with that of an adult. Christmas and birth day money combined with a paper round falls far short of a full time wage even when you factor in expenses. I certainly have the capacity to send far more now than I ever did when I was in school.

I certainly don't. Do our anecdotes cancel each other out? :p

It's not just paper rounds. Kids working at McDonalds (or other fast food restaurants) pull in a reasonable amount of cash.

Even if there is more disposable income, that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to go on wargaming. For instance, most of my peers are either saving for or paying off a mortgage.

Ozorik
29-01-2010, 00:34
DoW targets essentially the same demographic though, licensing isn't really what I mean anyway.

WHH is a start but not really what I mean given that they only produce rules (which is realistically all they can do given the historical market). GW esque games aimed at established gamers would be what I would like to see. Basically the resurrection of a properly supported SG line.


Their Imperial Armour books focus a lot on narrative/campaign play

True but that doesn't alter the core game mechanics.


For instance, most of my peers are either saving for or paying off a mortgage.

And how much of those Mcwages are being spent on alcohol/games/other pastimes?

Condottiere
29-01-2010, 04:52
I rather like the Imperial Armour books, and thought it's a pity they haven't something similar in Fantasy.