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asura
21-02-2010, 14:09
Hello everyone,

first of all this isn't a topic of complain, just to make it clear. Besides, everyone could participate by giving examples and ideas of what the business is, since I have a very few notions of the game sector and its costs.

I've recently been in 40k again and I have noticed in several codexes (Tyranids, Space Wolves,...) that units profiles were created with their background and their artwork but they lack the most important: a model! I take as an example the thunderwolve cavalery, or the many Tyranids that have an option for boneswords and lash whips, as well as the Tervigon, Swarmlord and many other units. Since I don't know all the new codexes, I believe other armies lack critical models as well.
So my question would be, why not releasing models that have a profile, artwork and background? What is the purpose of putting time, efforts and costs in creating these latter but not creating the models. I believe that some of the models could be quiet expensive to produce and could entail difficult decisions to make (Thunderwolf cavalery: plastic box vs metal box?). I suppose you will tell me it's for people to do some customs, etc...
however, this is frustrating for new players that just got into the hobby. As they are not experienced, they will have difficulties to do customs and maybe will be disapointed not to find the model of the very nice artwork they saw in the codex...

For instance, I suppose (and hope) GW is looking at the Space Wolves sales to know if it's worth it to release a second wave of models including the Thunderwolf cavalery and all the costs it encompasses (this is just an example). Orks for example got several "waves" of release for example. I believe it never harms to release new models (with an upgraded sculpt) of already existing units. Warhammer and 40k are games involving figures before everything and many (many!) players choose an army by aesthetical choice!

By the way, what do you think is the relationship between the quality of the figures, their availability (only available online, available in every GW and retailers...), the game profiles and the commercial success it represents?

Besides, some models of the codex are produced by Forgeworld, that is to say not very available for everyone.
Still, I suppose GW is very profitable since its primary goal is not to satisfy the gamers entirely but to make profits. These latter eventually leads to the success of the game and allows GW to release more and more models! However, it is important to take into consideration the suggestions and ideas of fans, which leads us to a second topic: how does GW take care about customer wants and needs? Do you think they frequently do surveys on important forums and so on?

Do you agree/disagree? Do you see other issues/improvements?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic! :)

Chaos and Evil
21-02-2010, 14:16
So my question would be, why not releasing models that have a profile, artwork and background? What is the purpose of putting time, efforts and costs in creating these latter but not creating the models.

I would venture to guess that the answer lies somewhere between the following:

A - So that players can convert for themselves.
B - To leave a space in the model range so that GW can release some new models in 2 years' time without needing to update the Codex/Armybook at the same time to provide rules for these new models (future-proofing the Codexes/Armybooks).

This would theoretically allow Codexes/Army books to stand as valid for longer, meaning the Design Studio can concentrate some resources on putting out a new army/supplement/side-game every so often, instead of being tied to an eternal rehash treadmill.

That's my impression of the decision to include rules for units with no miniatures, at any rate.


how does GW take care about customer wants and needs?
By attempting to provide their customers with a really cool and inspiring hobby.


Do you think they frequently do surveys on important forums and so on?
Not openly. Some of the Dev team are known to read some of the forums though.

TheDarkDuke
21-02-2010, 15:31
I think Chaos and Evil has it right (i would guess).

Is it annoying to have cool rules and no models - definetly, but it gives some people who love converting (not me i suck at it bad:() a decent challenge.

My personal complaint with this we give you rules but no model thing they are doing is how are we supposed to know what base size it is? or generally how big the creature is? Because really there is nothing stopping you from making a warrior sized harpy or tyrannofex which would not be as easy to get line of sight to compared to a carnifex, etc.

I think this is probably more of an issue for fantasy with the base sizes however and i dont have a huge problem with it one way or the other but i definetly would prefer them to release models because as i said i cant convert stuff like some people.

MarcoSkoll
21-02-2010, 15:55
As they are not experienced, they will have difficulties to do customs and maybe will be disappointed not to find the model of the very nice artwork they saw in the codex...
Ah, I've had that for years. There are just some pieces of artwork I've looked at and thought "I WANT THAT IN MY COLLECTION!" (And yes, I did think it in bold upper-case.)

I'm not necessarily talking about classes that GW had released art, background and profile for, yet no models - but also pieces of art that had just captured my imagination with the specific design, pose, etc of the people within them.
It's disappointing at times, but there's only ever three things you can do - hope they bring out the model (which in many cases is unlikely), learn how to make it yourself, or become good friends with someone who can!

It's taken years for me to actually get some of the models I want. For example, this Kasrkin (http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb122/RagnarokEOTW/kasrkin.jpg) was in the 2003 Imperial Guard codex - literally today, a 54mm version sits on my painting station (http://i772.photobucket.com/albums/yy3/MarcoSkoll/Inquisitor%20Models/WIP%20Models/IMG_2548small.jpg) waiting for me to pick up the brush again. I had to learn sculpting from scratch.

It's a fact of the way things are that GW will probably never release the exact specific model you're looking for. If you're willing to make do with a "close enough" model, you might be able to do something with minimal/no conversion. If you're not, then you'll have to resign yourself to investing the work to get what you want.
Conversion is part of the hobby - I'm not aware of many people who've been in the game for much time at all really who haven't started converting their models. I started pretty much days into the hobby - I did some basic work on my first Dreadnought (which I still have).

Given that I've got the basics of sculpting down, it's less of a problem for me than for other people - I can have theoretically any model I like. Actually, I quite relish the challenge of making whatever I happen to have taken a liking to. It's quite a liberating change going from "I wish they made that model" to "I'm going to make that model".

WinglessVT2
21-02-2010, 16:34
They actually expected that people would pick up multiples of Canis for their wolf cavalry.
That never happened, and other companies got peoples' money instead.

It's a shame, too, because if they had made a plastic kit, rather than being blinded by greed and stupidity, they'd have made bank on them.
Thunderwolves are really, really good, but no model for them - other than the overpriced Canis - just makes GW look stupid.

Wintertooth
21-02-2010, 16:42
So my question would be, why not releasing models that have a profile, artwork and background? What is the purpose of putting time, efforts and costs in creating these latter but not creating the models.

Jervis Johnson explained this in a Standard Bearer article last year (at least I think it was last year and a Standard Bearer - I don't buy White Dwarf all that often).

In the early days of the Studio, they would cram books full of any old thing which might never get a miniature. Then for a few years, they had a policy of being more disciplined and not putting anything in a Codex that they didn't have a miniature lined up for. But this made it hard for them to add anything to that army without a proper relaunch with a new book, and didn't leave much scope for scratch-builders.

So now they're trying to find a balance, including a few units they can reasonably expect to release in the intervening years until the next Codex, and some stuff that could be converted from existing models.

Writing rules and the odd bit of artwork (which might even be a small cut-out from a larger piece) is relatively cheap to do, and it gives them options to release models for an army between Codex editions. I'm sure the releases, and the potential for them to turn up anywhere not just once every 4-10 years, helps to keep players interested.


Do you think they frequently do surveys on important forums and so on?

I don't believe there's any such thing as an important forum. This forum is probably the largest on the internet, and bears little or no resemblance to the enthusiasm and excitement you'll find any weekend in a GW store.

Reinholt
21-02-2010, 19:43
What Wintertooth said above is true.

Beyond that, however, part of the problem is that GW appears to have a pathological fear of having incremental updates, connecting with their customer, and using technology.

Thus, they have to "leave space" to expand in a single hard copy book that will not be released again for another 10+ years in some cases, and leave those customers with "something to do" in the interim.

It's a facet of the intellectual bankruptcy (or, more of interest to me, the eventual financial bankruptcy!) that is their new release model and product production schedule.

Chaos and Evil
21-02-2010, 22:34
Beyond that, however, part of the problem is that GW appears to have a pathological fear of having incremental updates, connecting with their customer, and using technology.

Why would GW want to adopt an incremental update approach?

Lewis
21-02-2010, 22:53
I think it makes more sense from an advertising and sales point of view. Lets look at the IG codex and its effect on my hypothetical gamer. In the scenario where all the models come out in one rush he is inspired to buy some models then. He can't buuy all the models he wants, he can't afford them, and although he could buy more as the next few months roll by the game drops out of his conciousness a bit and there is nothing to inspire him to make a purchase. In the scenario of delayed release the buyer is exposed to advertising as his bank balance refills, and the anticipation of new models is allowed to build again, inspiring new purchases,

That would be my reading of it certainly, in fact its worth noticing in recent WFB releases that the more mundane choices, rank and file, are piggy backed on the excitement of the new army book, leaving us to anticipate the giant models in the future, even the truly large tyranids are held back because they will be easier to sell and easier to whip up a second wave of anticipation about.

Reinholt
21-02-2010, 22:54
Because it results in superior customer retention and growth of sales, bottom line.

Basically, if we consider the average hobbyist, you will find that they very rarely own every single army for a game. Thus, for any given game, you have the following updates that are relevant to that individual:

- Updates to the entire gaming system
- Updates to the army that they play

Now, the major updates to the entire gaming system are not my quibble here, as making those too frequent tends to upset people (you keep obsoleting their product), though faster answers and clean-up work would be a good strategy. As a comparable issue, if a car you were manufacturing had a faulty part and you waited three years to fix it, you'd probably have lost a lot of customers and be in a lot of trouble (Toyota did far less than that, and look at how angry people are with them right now).

However, the updates to the army are a good thing to make more frequent, if you are expanding instead of obsoleting. In a 40k context, if I play Space Marines, I can be relatively sure that I am going to be getting something new on a regular basis, and I'm probably decently engaged.

But what if I play Dark Eldar? Inquisition? Orks? Tyranids? It is simply not a good idea to only engage with your customers once every few years when you are building a community-based product.

Just look at the army demographics for 40k; the frequency with which an army is updated and/or receives new stuff correlates almost 100% with the number of people who play that army! I suggest that the overwhelming popularity of marines might have something to do with the fact that new marines are coming out all the time, and the fact that nobody plays DE might have a lot to do with them being consigned to the dustbin of time.

So when you have a compartmentalized customer base, and you do not provide meaningful interaction or products to some of those compartments for extend periods of time, those customers grow increasingly likely to stop purchasing your products and go find other companies to purchase products from.

For the TL;DR version: GW not providing timely and consistent updates for all armies causes the players of neglected armies to quit the game in disproportionate numbers.

Thus, they really have two options to address this:

1 - Speed up the rate at which they update things while paring down the number of armies that they support, if they are going to stick with the one-off model.

2 - Instead of updating one army at a time, provide incremental updates to all armies with much greater frequency, thus you are not failing to engage with portions of your customer base for years at a time.

This holds true across multiple kinds of businesses. GW counts on people starting new armies and transferring between games. This happens sometimes. But sometimes they transfer to other tabletop gaming companies, or other kinds of gaming and entertainment entirely, and GW permanently loses them as a customer. Their declining customer base seems to signal this phenomenon has reached some kind of critical mass where they are losing more than they gain, full stop.

I suggest their core business practices in terms of gaming support and product releases are part (though hardly all) of this problem.

Lewis
21-02-2010, 23:04
But what if I play Dark Eldar? Inquisition? Orks? Tyranids? It is simply not a good idea to only engage with your customers once every few years when you are building a community-based product.



That's the reason in a nutshell. Models being brought out for your army engages you with the hobby and keeps you spending money on both new and old models.

e2055261
21-02-2010, 23:18
At the moment, I'd rather they get the rules out for some of the armies that desperately need it. The models, though extremely important, can come later.

MarcoSkoll
21-02-2010, 23:24
At the moment, I'd rather they get the rules out for some of the armies that desperately need it.
As it is, GW is more of a miniature company that makes games than a games company that makes miniatures - rather in contrast to their name.

asura
22-02-2010, 09:09
As it is, GW is more of a miniature company that makes games than a games company that makes miniatures - rather in contrast to their name.

This use to be the case, but now I think it rather focuses on games than miniatures...
Remember in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 the great quantity of miniatures that GW produced comparing to now. Now we get some upgraded sprues, sometimes a new model if we are lucky. Most of the armies that are redone...are not really redone, only the codex (game related) and "some" miniatures.
Look at the Ork boyz sprue that reuse 95% of the same bitz, and through a new packaging, GW makes it appear as if it was "new". Of course, the new kids that just got into the hobby don't know that.
To conclude, GW is more focused on saving costs by reusing the same parts rather than resculpting an entire range of miniatures, which from a business prospective makes perfect sense!
Same with Apocalypse, I don't think they produced a lot of new units/models such as they did for Eye of Terror (wulfens, nurgle daemon prince, special characters, etc...) but they rather focused on game materials!

WinglessVT2
22-02-2010, 15:12
I'd be content if they made books that actually stand the test of time, and engage players.

ashc
22-02-2010, 16:21
Same with Apocalypse, I don't think they produced a lot of new units/models such as they did for Eye of Terror (wulfens, nurgle daemon prince, special characters, etc...) but they rather focused on game materials!

Remember though, that those products are merely a means to an end, and that end is to get you buying more miniatures.

Weemo
22-02-2010, 18:54
I agree with you OP,

Think about this, the newish Hell Pit Abomination, absolutely overpowered and broken unit, i could go on.

Now nearly every skaven player is taking at least one of these, and yet GW does not produce a model???

Ghorgon and Cygor and Jabberslythe are also really cool and yet Gw fail to capitalise on this

MarcoSkoll
22-02-2010, 21:05
To conclude, GW is more focused on saving costs by reusing the same parts rather than resculpting an entire range of miniatures, which from a business prospective makes perfect sense!
This is likely as a result of the financial problems of late.

But still, the company's driving interest is sale of miniatures, rather than the sale of games materials. The new gaming stuff is as an attempt to promote miniature sales.
As it is, they don't make miniatures to go with their games, but games to go with their miniatures.