Knee Jerk Reactions and Missing the Point…

Games Workshop had a few problems in the last week or so….

Not making any money is not usually high on an investors list of requirements when selecting places to throw money at so it was inevitable that poor financial results would have some negative effect. Also to be fair if you weren’t selling a games console of some description you were probably going to have a less than brilliant Christmas anyway…

…unless you were selling Turkeys, cards or trees…then you probably did okay as well and I’m sure there are a few rival miniatures companies and those from the ‘Games Workshop are the source of all evil’ camp that are quietly chuckling to themselves right now…

…however though this may be mildly amusing at a first glance it’s not good for the hobby in general…

Like many people I came into this hobby via the medium of Games Workshop both through their White Dwarf Magazine and their high street (or thereabouts) stores. This was of course back when you were actual welcome in the stores to play games, paint or just pop in for a chat without the current ‘get their money and fuck them off’ approach favoured by many stores currently*

*That is not to say that certain store managers haven’t resisted the changes and kept the same welcoming atmosphere from the past…it’s just that they’re now no longer anywhere near as commonplace as they once were…

Also like many people I have moved away from Games Workshops systems as my primary focus due to a number of factors. For me it was 6th Edition 40K, for others it was the price increases or any number of other factors but this doesn’t change the fundamental fact that Games Workshop was how the majority of us started off and the potential loss of this gateway into the hobby would be bad for every-one…admittedly not as bad as it would be for the players of Games Workshop systems but even so this would have a negative effect on us all…

…why, you ask?

If only we’d known that Games Workshop stores had been fitted with self destruct devices…

Though there are independent hobby stockists out there in the real world I’m not convinced that there are enough of them to fill the void created by the disappearance of GW from the hobby map. Many of the existing ones also (unfortunately) have fell victim to the clique trap that I’ve spoken about before or are more akin to extensions of the manager or owners own hobby shelf. Of course they do have there advantages in the areas of variety but in many ways this can be countered by the fact that many lack the professional look that a company with a corporate identity has which prevents that initial ‘look inside’ from ever occurring. I’m sure many of you reading this know of inviting, well managed, clique-free hobby stores just as I’m equally sure that as many of you know of ones that are completely the opposite…

The opposite ends of the hobby store spectrum…

Now I’m not saying that this is the ‘end-times’ for Games Workshop…

If only I’d bought those extra pots of paint…

Companies of GW’s size don’t disappear overnight (not often anyway) and I’m sure that many of their investors will stick with them. My concern is more due to the fact that the companies own reaction to the lessoning of their profit share is to start closing down the very places that brought people into the hobby initially (the stores) and though I’m cautiously happy about the plans to turn White Dwarf back into a hobby magazine from the giant advert it had become I’m equally concerned by the fact that it will be costed somewhat out of the ‘pocket money’ range.

Even I as an adult with some disposable income would hesitate to drop over £7 on a magazine and I can see many parents thinking twice before doing the same for their own children as part of their hobby especially when you combine that with the inherent expensiveness of the products in general. The fact that the advertising half will still exist is also strange as I can’t see many people wishing to spend even the small amount it’s apparently going to cost (about the price of a pot of paint apparently) on a list of products that they can find for free by simply doing a search on the internet.

For me, the things that would bring me back to Games Workshop systems would be a more realistic pricing structure combined with a balanced rules system but that would inevitably make the executives at GW all have heart attacks because by ‘realistic’ I obviously mean ‘less fucking expensive’ and by ‘balanced’ I mean ‘needs beta testing’ and both of these things are fundamental changes in policy for the company. Though maybe I should say ‘radical’ change of policy as I don’t think it’s any secret that game balance and competitive play are things that Games Workshop give no consideration whatsoever to and that’s a viewpoint confirmed by many current and former company employees of my acquaintance. As for pricing…well I can’t see that changing in a direction we as consumers are going to like, in fact given the current financial situation I can see the opposite being true.

It’s obvious that change is needed but I’m not hopeful that they’re going to make the right decisions and as I mentioned previously their initial ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to the issue doesn’t exactly inspire me with confidence…

…though hopefully I’m wrong…

I also apologise for the lack of a blatant crowbarring into this article of an attractive woman in her underwear…I’m sure SinSynn will make up for it in his own article…

…but just in case…

Games Workshops policy on ‘retiring’ excess employees was somewhat radical…

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

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