Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Happenings in the Games Workshop hobby

From WikiMedia Commons user Ardfern, licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike  3.0 Unported license.
According to reasonably substantiated rumour (assuming you're prepared to believe multiple people on different fora's accounts of communication with Forgeworld):
GW are cutting all metal production as they switch over to fine cast, and have let it be known that once stocks of Epic, BFG, Necromunda, Warmaster, Mordheim, Inquisitor run out, then they are gone for good.
(quote from Epic Addiction via Porky's Expanse, backed up with forum postings on various sites.)

I guess this is the next step after Warhammer Historical: again, the listed ranges are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things compared to 40K/Fantasy, and almost certainly don't reflect well in the effort vs. profit scheme of things. They're also, of course, very much in the 40K/Fantasy universe and chock full of GW IP, so thus are even less likely to be sold off to a third party than Historical. (Who am I kidding? GW won't sell Historical either.)

Confusion also reigns as a couple of GW fansites appear to have vanished. It's pretty clear that Faeit 212 has probably pushed their luck with leaks of GW-copyright material once too often, and paid the price by being shut down by Google/Blogger on receipt of a DMCA takedown notice. According to the site admin, though, the Blogger-hosted Bell Of Lost Souls blog is down for technical reasons (although its fora are still up).

A search of chillingeffects.org's DMCA notice archive reveals that GW seem to have been averaging between one and six or so a month, with Apocalypse 40K and Faeit being popular targets.

In a reaction to this, Tabletop Fix just announced they won't be covering any more GW news as, quote "a precaution".

Difficult to know what to make of this one: by all accounts this is not the first DMCA notice Faeit have received, although previous ones have simply forced Google to set the post back to draft mode until Faeit remove the violation. News leaks - in the connected world we live in, this is pretty inevitable, and once it's out, you can't put the genie back in the bottle any more than you can, say, un-see certain popular Internet images. However, it does appear that Faeit have been a bit of a persistent offender, despite being a very pro-GW fansite who probably generate them lots of advance sales. You could (and people have, very loudly) make the argument that GW may have been better served liaising with one of their better advertisers and using them to their advantage, but that doesn't seem to be the GW way.

I'm not going to label the takedown notices per se as 'GW shoot themselves in the foot again', as, to be honest, they're a foreseeable consequence of the way GW have chosen to do business. and there's a reasonable argument that after multiple prior notices Faeit ought to have got the message, whether or not they liked it. Poke a sleeping dragon with a stick enough times and sooner or later it will do more than just open one eye, growl at you and point out you're crunchy and taste good with ketchup and would-you-not-do-that-please-because-it's-getting-annoying. However much you enjoy poking it with a stick, and particularly when you know quite how jealously the dragon protects its treasure.

I am not a lawyer, so I'm not going to comment on a UK company using US law to take down a site - many other people who aren't lawyers are generating quite enough heat on that score already. But, as a final analogy: us wargamers have got used to the fact that most of the companies that support our hobby are like that dying breed, the family butcher: small, friendly, helpful, in it because they love the business. Some companies are heading towards being the Cooperative, bigger, but still caring about what they do (I'm thinking of the likes of Mantic or Warlord or maybe Battlefront here...).

GW are Macdonalds. It's all about the bottom line. Deal with them, sure, but remember that the company line is about shifting the things they want you to buy to turn a profit.

And don't be surprised if you get a nasty stomach upset afterwards.

8 comments:

  1. Brilliant article mate. Just be careful not to upset that sleeping dragon with your pointed stick shaped rhetoric!

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  2. Ah, it's all so familiar. Back in the day, GW was a role-playing company. Then all of a sudden it wasn't; it only dealt with "The Games Workshop Hobby". Now it's well past time to stop thinking of it as a wargaming company too.

    Does the Games Workshop management care whether wargames sites cover their new releases? No it does not. It is focused firmly on the primary market, ten-year-old kids with too much disposable cash who don't know any better.

    Games Workshop is what you get when the small friendly company is run by people who care first about making money. If it isn't, what you mostly get is a company that goes bust. The few companies that both survive and are worth dealing with - I'm thinking of Ground Zero Games because I know Jon, but certainly there are others - are the rare ones that manage to steer the middle course.

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  3. Nothing GW are doing is making me rethink my decision to play something different this year...

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  4. I've said as much to my friends. I have recently decided after something like 17 years of being a loyal customer to boycott GW. After reading recent articles such as this and the poor author being sued for using the term "space marine" (probably get sued now aswell) that I can't stomach any more.

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  5. I told Gw to bite a big one a couple of years ago.After 20 years of gaming with their product.I made the Switch to Flames of war/15mm ww2 gaming.I am a happy gamer now.Atleast one thing i can say is that that GW being dicks is that they made me a mint selling off my GW colletion.

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  6. Have to admit I'm another step closer to simply off-loading all my 40K / Warhammer stuff and playing something else instead.

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  7. I do wish someone stopped me back in 2010 when I went for WFB, or last year with 40K. Things weren't this bad even a year ago. After the CSM release and the addition of The Hobbit they went from borderline intolerable to apeshit insane. They started deleting their Facebook pages and other things few, if any, companies have ever done. It may look like business as usual when you already stepped back but when you're still in, believe me, they accelarated. Alas the final straw for me came at the most inopportune of times in at least 3 aspects. Clenching my teeth for another year at least. I will serve as a warning.

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  8. I don't understand why these sites don't just move their blogs over to something they have more control over and off of the Google/Blogger universe? Am I missing something or can't they host Wordpress on a domain that they own themselves?

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