Thursday, May 13, 2010

GW ... a price too high?

I've been a dyed in the wool GW fanboy for a very long time ... 12 years or so. I know there are those out there who were fans back in the 80s. I didn't know GW back then ... I was mostly a board game, video game, D&D player as far as gaming went. I then took a long hiatus from gaming and returned to it in the late 90s via miniature gaming. I've frequently defended GW and their corporate actions. I've also been vocal in my local gaming groups and local gaming communities at times against GW when I feel they are in the wrong. I'm just an average Joe ... but in my own little world ... in my own little, tiny, insignificant corner of the universe I discuss gaming related topics with friends, etc. and we come to our own conclusions.

On the recent GW price increases ... I have to say ... in years past the price increases have been across the board or minor. Usually it was related to the increasing cost of metal or the rising price of oil (impacting shipping/transport costs). Well oil isn't on the increase dramatically and if you look at most of the price increases ... it was just a largely across the board (yes there are many products that shall remain the same price) ... to me it just seems like GW is raising prices because it can. That is fine ... capitalism and all ... corporations are entitled to and expected to do whatever will make the most cash ... customers will either put up with it or not. Thats fine. I have studied Mr. Smith's theories at the university level and I know that actual theoretical economics do not work in the real world. Politics is one of the main reasons that the "invisible hand" can't actually do its work ... globalization fails ... and consumers get hosed by corporations that are far too powerful and able to virtually make law on their own. In GWs case that isn't the case ... GW is a small company compaired to the titans of industry ... "a nat on a flea's arse" as it where.  In the tiny segment of the gaming industry which is the mini gaming industry ... GW is a big deal though. GW is a mover and a shaker ... companies follow GW and GW impacts that whole segment of the gaming industry ... sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

I've been trying to ponder whether this recent price increase is a good thing or a bad thing ... for the industry as a whole. The past few days having read about the increases and listening to people online and conversation with friends ... I feel its actually a good thing.

GW used to really have the competitive side of miniature gaming on lock-down ... with the exception of collectible mini games ... they were pretty much the only tourney structured mini game operating in a big way on the market. Then ... they started doing a bad job ... dropped their guard ... got greedy ... made some bad moves ... bada bing ... enter Privateer Press. Well I'm seeing the same thing happening I think right now. Mantic Games, Wargames Factory Plastics, two just mention two ... and it seems like a day doesn't go by that I don't see another company producing affordable amazing minis in plastic. GW knows its customer base, it has the numbers very well understood, it knows many of its loyal customers are so invested in time and money into their product line they are reluctant to leave and even better ... eager to bring in new people not the hobby of miniature gaming ... but to GW games. I can't deny that I haven't encouraged my gaming group to stay true to GW ... but what I find in my own attitude is ... I once was very against proxies of any kind. I still am a staunch enforcer of WYSIWYG in terms of using another companies minis ... but I could care less now if people use GWs stuff or company X stuff. I no longer passionately preach spending our gaming money on mostly GW stuff ... that was me five years ago. Today ... I go where I can get the best price ... and/or I make my own stuff. I use sculpy, I resin cast (my own scratch built stuff), I buy scratch built stuff on ebay, I use other companies minis if they are WYSIWYG and either cooler or cheaper (or both in many cases now) than GWs stuff.

I think that GW raising prices and focusing on the highest end of the market ... is going to drive more and more of their "loyal" base to do what I'm doing. I think for the miniatures industry as a whole that is a good thing. I think spreading the wealth is good and I think this might be the harkening of a miniature game renaissance perhaps ... thanks to GWs continued in many cases ... unjustified ... price hikes. On to Wargame Factory Plastics ... on to Mantic Games ... maybe even on to Privateer Press (though their line is as or more expensive than GWs .. going to be awhile before they are a cheaper alternative).

Anyway I still love GW games and still will faithfully purchase their rulesets, etc. I just find myself spending less and less money on their products and more and more on other companies products... granted ... to play the GW games. I hope they stay in business at least for the rest of my life ... however long that is ... so I'm not a GW hater by any stretch. I'm just tossing out my very insignificant two cents on the issue ... feel free to comment and/or disagree if you like ... I like to hear other perspectives


Tom O'Bedlam said...

Once upon a time, long ago, I spent an obscene amount of money to build a Warhammer Fantasy army of undead. It was a fine army. I liked it a lot.

Then they changed the rules on me, and ruled that my army was no longer tourney legal -- that it would now be split into two types. That is, if I wanted to play tournament. Enough changes happened to my other armies that I said the heck with it and left Warhammer behind.

That was a long time ago.

Recently, they re-released Space Hulk. I snapped up a copy; I'd missed my chance, way back when, and the price wasn't TOO bad for what you got. And, after all, it was going to be a limited edition re-release... apparently, they felt that the market simply wouldn't support the game if they kept making it.

...and ever since then, I've noticed that they seem to keep finding more and more copies stashed away in warehouses, closets, under beds...

They know a sucker when they see one. And I know a sales mentality when I see one. GW does not love you, and they know you'll tire of whatever game you're playing now, and move on to something else. Therefore, they must frantically separate you from whatever cash you have NOW.

Or at least, that seems to be the corporate policy.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

The can and will charge what the market will bear. I find their prices too high, and am now very choosy about what I buy from them.

They will only get the message on prices when people stop buying their overpriced merch.

Im doing my part to send a message.


Will said...

I have not bought any gw stuff for what feels like forever (at least a year). I have enough projects in the works that It no longer makes sense to buy any more models. I'm sure at some point a flashy and cool army will suck me in, but anymore it seems like the product has lost whatever unique charm it had. I blame a lot of things. No more bits catalog-stupid. Rules in codex vanilla'd out. Unless u are ultra competative (I am not) I am starting to wonder what appeal the game has for converters and those who love to create. I have finally divorced myself entirly from their badly designed paint line. I am using Vallejo and am very happy thus far.