Today I want to talk about Games Workshop and the steadily acceleration of major releases. This topic has been covered elsewhere, but it seems everyone has an opinion on it.
|Why did you have to bring John Voight into this, GW??? WHY???!?!|
That said, it's plain to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of GW's release history over the last few years that things have changed. And continue to change...
I fell back off the GW (and tabletop gaming) wagon back in early 2012, shortly before 40k 6th Edition was released in June. We are now almost exactly 3 years from this date, and a lot has changed. Not only did we see a new edition (7th Ed.) get dropped on us out of the blue a year ago, but in this span they have updated every Codex, as well as released countless supplements, campaigns (and in the case of Tyranids, a substantial new wave models for an army that had fairly recently received a new Codex AND a substantial amount of new kits at the same time), and, as if to show they can do it all, at least one completely new army in Adeptus Mechanicus (Imperial Knights and Daemonkin don't count).
This is the "good" side of the argument. For the first time in forever, most armies were on a relatively level playing field (note: in terms of updated rules, not competitiveness. Dear heavens no...)
In their infinite wisdom, GW then decided that their 6th Ed. Codices were not compatible with the direction they were going 7th Edition, so in the last few months we got a new Eldar Codex and just recently a Space Marine Codex, both are less than 2 years old. We are also on the cusp of a Dark Angels release, which is comparatively long in the tooth at about 3 years...
I don't know. For someone like myself, who devotes a significant time into the hobby but just paints very very slowly, it is getting to be s but too much.
I know a part of this is my fault (and the sole reason I started a 'Nid army, so I could actually play while I paint my GKs) but I feel that GW is setting a dangerous precedent here. Are they able to keep going at this pace? Their initial ramp up at the start of 6th was impressive, but now they are seemingly going even faster, and I expect that eventually they will have to slow down.
And what happens then? From a hobbyist point of view, I would welcome a breather, but the investors now expect a consistent level of output.
Let's take a quick look at Age of Sigmar, and even the whole End Times arc they finished. It was a very slick campaign, punctuated by some top notch models, and well-padded campaign books. I am not a WFB player, but I constantly drooled over each release. But it's done now, relegated to history as they switch gears yet again. The models are still usable, I suppose, but those really nice looking campaign books have outlasted their usefulness. It seems a lot of effort was put into the design, and background fluff for End Times, and it really could have been an event that spanned a year or two, rather than a paltry 6 months.
I guess it was fairly well received and they sold out of the books they printed, but why limit yourself, GW??? I know we are in the ADD generation, but compared to video games, people who choose to paint and play tabletop games NEED to have some modicum of patience. Even for fast painters, it takes a while to collect, assemble and paint a new army, let alone find the time to play enough games to make it worthwhile.
I'm not a marketing or sales guru, but I feel that GW left a LOT of potential money on the table by rushing through the campaign and then putting it aside so quickly. In fact this is a whole other sub-topic on the subject - limited print releases: What the HELL are you thinking???!
Who in their right mind says, "I only want to make $500,000 on this product." I guess it's a guaranteed profit if you plan sales that way, but can you imagine if Apple did that? Would they be the most profitable company in the world if they limited their iPhone to say, 10 million units? And their fanboys are way more ravenous than GWs, but they are smart enough to know that these most loyal customers aren't their entire market, so they don't shut out the other 100 million people who eventually bought an iPhone. Why? Because it's good business.
Anyway, this is getting a bit long-winded so I will wrap it up.
Bottom line: GW seems to be chasing the quick buck at the expense of consistent sales and growth. Maybe there is a reason for this, but I don't see it.
I think there are a lot of people in my shoes, who want to expand into other game systems but need to be reassured that they can do it at a reasonable pace without being made obsolete. Even with 40k, my MAIN system, I feel I am losing touch with all the changes and releases. How is this a good thing???