Tuesday, 20 August 2013

GW's 'new webstore', and passion vs commerciality

There are some rumours going around on Faeit 212 among other places, that, quote (translated, I suspect, from German):
Games Workshop will launch a new Internet-Site in April 2014. The new Site will bring back Hobby content and other stuff. The Online shop will include Black Library Products and at the end of the year 2014 Forgeworld. The success of Horus Heresy moved GW to this.

It doesn't take much digging to delve past the froth in the comments to the source of this rumour, which is GW's recent public preliminary financial report, (in which, as an aside, the word 'wargame' once again doesn't appear :D) where it transpires that what they actually said was:
Our online shop is doing well. Sales are up to £14.4 million from £13.1 million. During the year we built a new one and will be testing it over the coming year. It is planned to be fully operational in April 2014. 
There is, however, a much more interesting quote a bit further up:

It seems so obvious that it shouldn’t need saying, but we deal in a product that sometimes allows passions to over-rule commerciality. 
Yes. Yes we do. At the very least, we're in a hobby where passions drive commerciality.

That's why I spent Saturday playing a ruleset that's not available any more, and is pretty much community supported.
That's why Rich Clarke is prepared to pretty much bet the farm on Chain of Command, and why I'm prepared to buy someone a copy.
That's why the likes of TAG go ahead and produce their Tudor range despite the Kickstarter not making it.

I love this hobby precisely because it's full of people who are passionate about their particular niche in it.


  1. This isn't a hobby for people who want to make big money. GW does it only by predatory marketing at kids who don't know better. This is a hobby for people who love it, and some of whom have the ability to share that love.

  2. "we deal in a product that sometimes allows passions to over-rule commerciality"

    Can anyone remember when GW last did that?

  3. I wonder if this is a move to try to redirect GW players' creativity 'wandering eye' back to their core games. Considering they are killing off specialist games, it would make sense to try to recapture customers or at least their wallets before they wander off to something else. Specialist Games used to provide plenty of other material for their customer base to scratch those itches, but with it gone, maybe they want to 'promote hobby' but in a way that sells more space marines.

    I have my doubts about how long it will last though.

    A creative site needs to allow for creativity, and (not a slam, I swear) GW doesn't allow for it unless it's completely within the cannon of GW. GW isn't likely to allow any content posted by users that show conversions with other company products or even discussions of such, so they will either spend their time policing the site/forum or simply won't allow any user contributed content that isn't first submitted and put up by their staff. They used to have a forum on their site, long ago, and it didn't last long because of this. So more likely it will be a place to find feature hobby articles that promote their products, like what White Dwarf used to have more of. Their website has (or had) some of that already.

    I guess we'll see, but I wouldn't hold out for great expectations given the self-imposed limitations of the company.

    1. canon. one n. sheesh I'm tired. although GW strives to promote the use of their cannons too. apparently it's the go-to solution for fighting monsters.

  4. IMHO GW's business model sustainability is not very clear in the medium term despite its undoubt success up today. Prices differentials vs. an increasing range of high quality models landing in the market are outrageous, competition from Kickstarter and the like crowdsourcing sites funded Startups should start denting market share and margins sooner than later and the client service, in shops (at least in a couple I know in Madrid) is appalling and its corporate image is tarnished with events like the ridiculous spat about who owns the commercial rights of the Space Marines term or what Laughing Ferret commented above about the forum.

    And yes, I totally agree this a hobby driven by passion and by emotions, which does not mean you cannot make a decent business out of it, channeling in a positive way those emotions like TFL is doing or some new gaming ventures I know in Spain (Minairons for example) are doing.


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