Friday, 10 April 2015

Still Think This Is A Good Idea, Games Workshop?

A while back, Games Workshop, in answer to its sudden massive loss in profit, took a few drastic actions. Many of these were quite questionable, chief among them being downsizing all stores so that they were run by only a single staff member. Given just how active such places can be, this is not exactly the smartest move in many locations. Here's another example why.

This is the outside of my local Games Workshop. You might notice it is currently closed despite it being midday, Friday, with quite a bit of activity about the town.

Curious indeed even given their often irregular schedules and rather strange opening hours. There was a note attached onto the window with the following information.


Now, let's address one issue here first: This shows one incredibly obvious flaw which should have been evident to anyone running the company. Should the single staff member they have running the store decide to take any holiday or time away from work, that store is inactive. It is making no money at all, it is earning nothing and selling no products. For all the money they might save from not hiring another two or so people, it's making less in this time, closed for weeks at a time, just so staff can actually go on holiday.

Then there's the next problem. You might notice that this holiday is covering the entire weekend in which Codex: Skitarii is being released, preventing anyone who might actually be after a copy from buying one. This is not some obscure secondary force, some side-addition or supplement which will have little impact, this is an army fans have been begging you to produce for years. They want to give you this money, but because of your cost cutting measures they can't do so. This is a great deal of cash you are letting go down the drain, in a rather large and heavily populated area, with fans likely willing to go to any other source to get it, perhaps even piracy because you have made it impossible.

As a final note, this is the same shop which I have been personally going to for a good decade and a half now. In that time, this is the only release they have missed at all, and all thanks to the company's decision to lay off a rather large number of active workers helping them sell their stock.

Games Workshop, why exactly do you think that this is somehow still a good idea?


  1. I never figured out why they thought downgrading to one employee per store was a good idea, aside from the disadvantage here there's the problem the employee might not care about all the various armies, or even the community. When there was a store where I lived they had multiple employees who could tell you anything you wanted to hear about their specific armies, and if you wanted to know one they didn't know a lot about they'd just bring over somebody who knew everything about that army.

    Right now where I live the hobby stores buy GW products at a much lower price than they're normally sold for, and then sell those to the customer 30% off, the stores that do this also let you order models they don't have and sell models very frequently (to the point that they've sometimes had an order I've put in come in the next day with no charge for shipping). I don't think I need to go into how much money they'd make if they didn't have to sell products to stores in my area for more than 30% off, but closing the store in my city was just one of their cost-cutting measures that's currently backfiring.

    1. It's the same situation as many things. Do you ever wonder what happens to the Black Library books they cycle on and off of the shelves? They don't sell any at a discount, hold them back for later buyers or even direct purchases - no, instead they destroy them. Why? Not a clue as if anything they're losing more cash by this act than keeping them and selling them off to later buyers, who will instead just look for a second hand market. much as I might want to say otherwise, so much of this company's business directions scream of greed over logic or even sanity that it's long passed being a joke.

    2. Wait, what? That's just ridiculous, even if you just threw them out in a box it would be more beneficial as somebody might find them and become interested in the universe.

    3. And in their view it would probably mean less profit if they ever re-released the book as some special edition version or something. They've been big on that with a lot of classics lately such as Nightbringer and Angels of Darkness. It's the real problem where they keep thinking "Bigger prices = more profit" is the answer to everything.

    4. I was horrified when my local manager told me that's what happens to the older Black Library books. It broke both my heart and the manager's heart.

  2. Yeah, GWs probably figured that whatever losses they incur from this will be offset by not having to pay 2+ salaries per store... that, or they didn't see this coming, which implies a level of incompetence unheard of since the South Sea Company.

    Still, the fact that this even has to be a problem just reaffirms my commitment to boycotting GW in favor of Privateer Press and Corvus Belli.

    This, and killing off the Warhammer Fantasy franchise with End Times, which is the worst tripe I think they've published in years.

    1. It's going to backfire on them repeatedly over time. The same Games Workshop brought up there? Only a few years ago it was teeming with activity, now between this and the new schedule it seems empty most times I go in there. This is not going to end well for them in the slightest.

  3. I've mentioned this before, but last time I was in a Games Workshop, the guy in there was helping some kids to paint and showing them stuff about the hobby.

    One of the things which really gets to me about what GW's done is that I know full well there are individuals in their employ and who they've trusted with associated licenses to their universes (Fantasy Flight Games is top of this list, so is Relic) who truly care. Fantasy Flight has just put out one of the most strategic and interesting card games I've ever played with 40k Conquest, to the point one of my friends who barely knows 40k really enjoys playing it with me and I've been using it as a gateway to introduce them to the setting's factions and concepts. Every store I go into has staff who clearly are interested in the franchises GW operates and who know a lot about them. You never get the impression that they're bored or uninterested by 40k/Fantasy, I've had lore discussions with them and talked to them about the novels (due to GW's ways, the novels, Conquest and video games are my only 40k purchases now), and they've always seemed like great people.

    GW's honestly doing these people a disservice, and the entire comedy of errors I've seen reported reeks of inept management only concerned with profit. It's not about a hobby any more. Matt Ward did unparalleled damage with his nonsense, but at the very least, he cared about certain aspects of the setting. The reason for 'They can never be Ultramarines' and the 'spiritual liege' stuff was clearly Ward fanboying the Ultramarines too much, but at least he cared about that bit of the setting, albeit at the cost of others.

    The people running GW right now don't seem to care at all for the rich universes their company has created and continues to create. They're strangling things. I've read enough about End Times to note that it's clearly an excuse to end Fantasy while selling big expensive models (hi, Nagash, Glottkin, Eternity King Malekith etc), and I almost feel like the reason 40k's still surviving is the popularity of spin-offs like Fantasy Flight's RPGs/Conquest and the various video game tie-ins more than GW's efforts.

    I honestly really enjoy this setting. I took part in an Only War campaign last year and had a great time. I've really liked introducing people to Conquest because I'm a massive card game fan (my username is a reference to another card game I play) and a 40k card game is interesting even before you factor in its strategic gameplay.

    I just wonder how it's going to end. I am hoping that if GW finally crumbles, someone out there recognises the rich potential of its brands and the staff who care about those brands, and does right by them.

    1. "I've read enough about End Times to note that it's clearly an excuse to end Fantasy while selling big expensive models (hi, Nagash, Glottkin, Eternity King Malekith etc)"

      Or an excuse to reboot the setting as a skirmish game, but in either case they've butchered the setting so badly it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth talking about it.

      "and I almost feel like the reason 40k's still surviving is the popularity of spin-offs like Fantasy Flight's RPGs/Conquest and the various video game tie-ins more than GW's efforts."

      I agree wholeheartedly with this one. THQ going under was tragic, but what's agruably even worse is that GW is now Selling the IP to people making iPad games and the like. "Warhammer 40k Tower Defense" doesn't really do the setting any justice at all.

    2. Well, yes and no on that last point. Apparently Space Wolf was okay, Space Hulk Ascension was actually a massive improvement over its previous ones and i've spoken with both the Eisenhorn and Deathwatch developers. While I can't comment on the overall quality of their end product, they've proven they're definitely fans of the material they're working on. The issue as I personally see it tends to be more that there's a lack of any seriously big budget behind any of these or approaching anyone with a solid track record. So while some of those working on them might be fans and can produce good games, Games Workshop itself seems to be primarily going after those who will make them potentially the most money for a smaller cost than anything THQ ever offered.

    3. To be fair about Storm of Vengeance, that was made by the developers of Ride to Hell: Retribution, which is hardly a good lineage. Though GW should be blamed for handing them the license.

      I'm hoping that Sega's going to give Relic leave to make Dawn of War III once they're done pushing out DLC for Company of Heroes 2. Dawn of War has always been a successful series and they're very interesting takes on the RTS genre (speaking as someone who has all the games installed on this very PC). Relic's been extremely successful with 40k between Dawn of War and Space Marine, so I'm hoping GW talk to Sega and sort out some more big budget titles in the vein of those two.

      I'm probably going to pick up Space Hulk Ascension because everything I've seen of it looks good, and what I've seen of Eisenhorn looks good. Though yeah, the problem lately seems to be that GW is only interested in maximising profit while minimising costs, which is never a good idea if you want to do right by your franchises rather than driving them into the ground to squeeze all the money you can out of them.