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Rathgar
19-06-2005, 18:02
Forgive my ignorance, but it just struck me that I have very little knowledge of the structure of GW.

This is my understand of it: The games themselves are developed by the studio, which are the guys who come up with the ideas and stuff, and a department that contains all the artist and sculptors. The business side of things, is handled by the Directors right? And presumably there'll be a department concerned with marketing and production.

Just wondering if anyone can give me a better idea, and/or correct some of my misconceptions. How is the company structured?

No real reason behind this, just curiosity.

Strikerkc
19-06-2005, 19:04
In the deepest, darkest region of Siberia, there is a black citadel adorned by caution stripes and gargoyles fashioned from the souls of the damned. Atop the Citadel sits the great Hains, overlord of all which his blazing eyes can see. From the mouths of the gargoyles spew forth the mini's themselves, from there they are delivered by flying monkeys. Evil Flying monkeys.


Failing that, I've been lead to believe it works much as you suggest.

Brimstone
19-06-2005, 19:17
GW is run much like any other company, the design studio, manufacturing, finance, IT, legal, marketing etc.

Some of the departments are split into separate divisions, manufacturing for example.

You can find some information here. (http://investor.games-workshop.com/)

Rathgar
19-06-2005, 19:25
Thanks for the link!

I was also wondering how much of what products are put out is chosen by the directors. Do they say: "we want X number of releases this year…etc" and then the developers have to fit what they're doing around that. Or do the developers say: "we would like to work on THIS…" and the directors ok it?

Brimstone
19-06-2005, 19:34
I'd expect the directors not to be concerned with the actual number of releases more the bottom line forecast. Of course they would be briefed on the overall direction and give their approval to some of the more costly investments (murmakil and the new plastics design technology) but the actual design and release schedule would be handled further down the chain.

Just my estimate of course.

Commissar von Toussaint
20-06-2005, 05:39
It really depends.

When you look at a lot of GW's releases, it seems impossible that some of them weren't motivated at least in part by commercial concerns.

When they release a "new" edition of 40k, they have to know that all their existing players are going to buy a new set of books.

Books are pretty easy money-makers. Materials aren't all that hard to come by, the technology keeps making it easier and cheaper to print to spec and you don't have to worry about packaging, which seems to be a major problem at GW HQ.

Similarly, the nature of the changes always point in the direction of buying more GW product.

If anyone can point to an army that got cheaper and required less figures in successive releases, I'd like to see it.

I'm not saying that GW alters its rules simply to make more money. I'm saying that when each proposal is raised, the money impact is fully considered.

A while back on the old site there was a discussion about whether money ever came into game design discussions. Someone who claimed to be in the know insisted that they never brought it up.

I believe it. I used to work in government and there are certain things you're not supposed to discuss on government time because its political, conflict of interest, etc.

So you have these delightful meetings where everyone agrees that such and such policy is a great idea, will benefit society, is certain to pass the Legislature and needs to happen right now and no one ever utters the phrase "And it will get us all reelected" because no one needs to.

Everyone is thinking it, and that's enough.

So when GW releases "erratta" that makes slow-selling models more useful in the game rules, when it repackages the same stuff at a higher price with fewer models in it but adds an accessory sprue as cover, when it comes up for brand new, high-priced models that also happen to be the most destructive in the game - I completely believe that no one in the game design portion of the studio ever uttered the words "And this will make us more money."

Because they don't have to.

MidnightResistance
20-06-2005, 09:39
I thought the directors got a dead horse, gathered round and beat it constantly.

lorelorn
20-06-2005, 10:55
Books are pretty easy money-makers. Materials aren't all that hard to come by, the technology keeps making it easier and cheaper to print to spec and you don't have to worry about packaging, which seems to be a major problem at GW HQ.


Actually they are not. If you look around at most of the publishing industry, they are breaking even...just.

GWs Army and rule books are sold at not much more than break even. They are not quite loss leaders, but almost.

As to the releases, what the management of the company do is commnicate to the designers what resources are available for each release... eg you can have x new plastic kits this quarter, and so on.

This itself is decided on by overall corporate strategy. One example is the move towards plastic. The ranges are gradually being made more plastic, as it's more convenient to sell plastic boxes than small metal blisters.

If you look at comments made by Gav Thorpe in particular, designers do take into account what resources are available (ie what miniatures are likely to get made) when they write new lists and army books.

Karhedron
20-06-2005, 13:13
I'm not saying that GW alters its rules simply to make more money. I'm saying that when each proposal is raised, the money impact is fully considered.
Exactly, the new plastic Terminators are a perfect example of this. During 3rd edition, most races got plastic Troops and support but Elite models were generally metal. Before he left, Andy Chambers used to talk about the discussions that the Studio would have with the "bean counters" (as he called them).

Basically the studio could ask what new models they wanted to make and then present a case as to why they would be financially viable. The "bean counters" don't drive what models get made but they do have approval. That is why plastic Terminators got made whereas things like plastic Grots have not (much to the lament of Ork players).

Eversor
20-06-2005, 13:53
So when GW releases "erratta" that makes slow-selling models more useful in the game rules, <snip>
:chrome: I don't believe that "slow sellers" are made more useful just to make them sell, but to actually make them viable alternatives to field in your armies. But I'm optimistic like that.

Cloudscape_online
20-06-2005, 15:36
Things that you need lots of should be made in plastic. Troops, vehicles. Things that are optional or special should be metal. Elites, HQ. Of course there is some crossover in genres, (no-one wants metal roughriders(Unless the actually look cool this time)) Terminators should be plastic if they are a troops choice and should be £18 like a 10 man marines squad. Money should not equal points value.

Plastic grots... heh, heh, heh...

MidnightResistance
20-06-2005, 15:58
you could always splice cadian and empire knight kits?

Cloudscape_online
20-06-2005, 16:11
I love you. :p that's a tangfastic idea. Thx.

MidnightResistance
20-06-2005, 16:14
damn!
I should be in marketting or something.

Karhedron
20-06-2005, 16:22
Things that you need lots of should be made in plastic.
Alas it is not quite that simple. Things which sell lots of get done in plastic which is not always quite the same thing. You probably don't need many Terminators in an army but the sheer number of Marine players make them viable to produce in plastics. Grots on the other hand are needed in largish quantities but the smaller number of Ork players mean that they are left converting Fantasy gobbos for the time being.

Economics wins out over army numerical analysis.

Opus T. Penguin
22-06-2005, 17:39
Actually they are not. If you look around at most of the publishing industry, they are breaking even...just.

GWs Army and rule books are sold at not much more than break even. They are not quite loss leaders, but almost.

As someone who buys books for other games <gasp!> I can say that GW's book prices are not out of line with other companies' offerings. I'll guarantee you they aren't loss leaders though, but they are not gouging by any means.

Commissar von Toussaint
23-06-2005, 00:05
As someone who buys books for other games <gasp!> I can say that GW's book prices are not out of line with other companies' offerings. I'll guarantee you they aren't loss leaders though, but they are not gouging by any means.

I never said they were gouging, at least as far as the rule books go.

Short of showing me the balance sheet, I can't believe GW doesn't make some small amount of money on its books, though. If that's the case, why bother? Just put the rules in a .pdf and sell it for five bucks on the Web.

The books make money, which is why they redo them all the time.

As for the terminator thing, they basically came out and said "Gosh, these aren't selling much, we'd better give them cooler rules."

They did a good job, which is why people are willing to pay $10 a model for plastic minis.

Trench_Raider
23-06-2005, 13:20
As someone who buys books for other games <gasp!> I can say that GW's book prices are not out of line with other companies' offerings. I'll guarantee you they aren't loss leaders though, but they are not gouging by any means.

Opus is right on this point. GW's rules prices are not too far from the industry standard. For example the Flames of War core book runs 40$. Even smaller rulebooks from less high profile systems tend to run higher than a similar sized "mainstream" type book. It's almost universal in the Wargame community. That's why I didn't complain to mch about the 50$ price tag for the 4th edition 40k book.

GW gouges enough in the pricing of it's miniatures to make up for any low profit margin they have on their rules.

CVT- I'm sorry, but I disagree. I can't see GW's policy of "forced obsolesence" when it comes to new editions as anythign other than a coldly cynical finantial move. GW has a long history of this sort of thing. Furthermore, the change has often handled in a very poor manner. Anyone who was around in the early '90s will tell you about the infamous change from RT to 2nd editon. Several major changes had been made to the Rt system and two new core rule books (the "Battle Manual" and the "Vehicle Manual") had been added in late '92. However these products had not been out for more than 2-3 months when the change to 2nd edition took place, making all the old books suddenly obsolete. At the time I was appalled that just a couple of months before a major change that would make all the RT material obsolete at one go, GW was releasing material for the soon to be dropped system. Recall this came right on the heels of GW's cynical exploitation of the "lead scare" and really set the tone for the company would become.

"Trench Raider"

pullsyjr
24-06-2005, 12:05
In response to the original question, I just would have said "badly".