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GW takes a hit!!

5540 Views 55 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Elchimpster

If you browse through this site and understand even a bit of economics you can see how badly GW are doing compared to earlier years.:shok:

Why do you think thats so. They say they where "lazy" and didnt listen to consumers!:ireful2:

Use the side bar to go round the 07 report

Seems like a good time to invest!!

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...and clearing out a years worth of stock in the process.

I think Apocalypse, and the way they are selling things for it is brilliant.

I think that GW is overpriced. Even with the rise in Tin and Oil prices, but it still within the realm of being competitive with other miniatures companies.
by doing this, you realise that you are, indirectly, driving prices up by undercutting GW. support your store. its the only way to support GW as a whole.
Very true.
Lets get some perspective:
Urban Mammoth, creators of the Urban War and Metropolis Series of games/ minis.
Here is their catalog for current figs.
Their figs are allright. Softer metal. Much harder to convert as they don't have the variety of GW. Good example of good quality figs.
Take notice of their prices. These are current prices.

Privateer Press: Hordes, Warmachine, etc.
They don't sell figs online (except special figs and parts.)
Here is a parts page. Very similar to GW's bits in type, and price.
Prices for figures are approximately the same as GW. Maybe a bit less.
All Metal, little converting to do. Small line of figs in comparison to GW.
Fair quality of sculpts.

Rackham: Confrontation etc. AT-43.
Here's CCG Armory's sale items.
AT-43 is about the same as 40k/ WFB. Prepainted.
Flexible plastic, hard to convert. Sculpt quality varies as does the paint-job.

Mongoose Publishing -Battlefield Evolution: Modern Warfare.
Bit more expensive than GW. Prepainted plastics. Fair quality sculpts, fair quality painting.

Lets look at Historicals:
Essex: http://www.essexminiatures.co.uk/frames25anc.html
For Normans, you are averaging 1.5GBP per figure. These are 25mm figs, and the quality is ...frankly...crap in comparison to GW or PP, or Rackham. You need a LOT in order to play historicals.

The Foundry: big seller of figs.
Here's a roman collection as an example:
8 figs for $21. All the same, questionable quality sculpts. You can get a force to play with for $147. For the Warhammer Ancients Battle game system this would be a tiny force.

There are tons of sites and miniatures manufacturers. Tons of games.
What's the difference?

GW produces a full-hobby product: figures that are easily modified, customized, and kitbashed. Average to high average prices. Paints, brushes, basing materials, accessories. Cases, everything you can think of to have essentially three hobbies: Collecting, Painting/ Converting and playing a game (which is regularly updated with player input) in a well developed game universe that is so well loved. Books/ novels, comics, video games, ball caps, t-shirts, key-rings, dog tags, pendants, watches, posters. You have a full time staff who is available almost every day to answer stupid questions as well as give advice. Stores all over so people can play in-store, and get advice and congregate.

I think GW is producing more for only marginally more per fig. Producing Much MUCH more.

Inflation is one small part. Commodities play another part (oil and tin). Paying for the GW game support mechanism is a big chunk.

Yes, GW is a company, in business to STAY in business and making money in order to keep making money. I can't fault them for that. What sets it apart is that it is staffed by people who love the product and want to see it succeed by keeping it fun and growing (opposed to stagnating. ).

While I appreciate folks opinions on GW and the expense of their hobby...folks just have to realize that hobbies are expensive in general...designed for disposable income expenditures. While many people may feel GW is a behemoth running rough-shod over the gaming industry, raking in piles of cash...I feel they are a company trying to balance survival with cool products. I've had nothing but positive experiences in dealing with GW in the past, I enjoy their products, their customer service and all the little doo-dads GW produces to keep me hooked on the games.


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I'd rather support free enterprise and small business than funnel money directly into the pockets of a corporation that is price gouging. GW is a wholesaler as well as a direct marketer. They've already made a substantial profit wholeselling to the online store or neighborhood mom and pop shop that I buy from. Think about it, that discount store or neighborhood shop has to buy their product from GW to sell it to you. And GW sells direct to merchants at a substantial profit to begin with.<snip>
Things are different overseas than here in the states. We (in the states) have a billion small businesses that are game stores. The FLGS for a lot of the UK *IS* the GW store.

There are relatively few GW stores in the US in comparison to the UK (GW stores per metropolitan area). GW stores aren't exactly running the FLGS out of business by any stretch.

That's cool that they let the kids play Magic or D&D in-store. I know some stores allow it, some don't.

The heart of GW is in the UK, and that is what their prices are based on, the GBP. When the dollar drops, it shows, same with CAN and AU dollars. I wish it was a direct exchange rate, but that's not very realistic. The price in the US and abroad is ballparked based on the strength of the currency and to be honest, what the market will bear.
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I imagine it is pretty tough for the younger folks to get started in the game without parental backing or utilizing sites like The Warstore etc. I figure a LOT of the younger players and those with more limited resources are stuck using ebay and bartertown, as well as discount stores and the like.
Well...if you look inside your books, they are printed in china.
Sorry man.

Expense is all relative. You have to judge the expense of the hobby by like products, not by the dollar/ GBP amount. You have to look at the miniatures hobbies at a whole in order to judge. This is regardless of what things cost a year ago to 20 years ago because it makes no difference.

Compare GW products to any other miniature/ toy soldier company out there. GW is in the Toy Soldier business. Period. They are in business to manufacture and sell toy soldiers. Everything else is made to support and expand upon that business; from novels to video games.

So ...toy soldiers.

In comparison to every other lead, pewter and plastic toy soldier manufacturer...GW creates a top notch product, with top notch support, with the "stuff" to help people get in and stay in the hobby (hobbies).

Do your research.
What other company does as much for the hobby? Seriously. What other company puts out anywhere NEAR as much stuff to keep people interested in the hobby...from video games, to dedicated stores, to paints, to brushes, to trinkets, to novels...ad infinitum.

What other company puts out the same quality product? When I talk about quality, I mean from end to end quality: from having cool sculpts, to having lots of variety of figures, and figures with extra bits, to customer service.

Now compare the products to the other companies and compare the price differences.
Thing is the price differences are small. In many cases negligible. The GW prices are high, so are everyone elses. The prices are competitive with the market. But also consider what all you have available for that very same price (or maybe a little more).

In comparison, you are getting WAY more for your money with GW products.

Now, GW stores in the US. There ARE some areas that have stores, most do not.

Take a look at the list. I live in Wisconsin now (formerly I lived on Capitol Hill in Seattle and worked in Bellevue, a couple blocks from the Seattle Bunker). There is ONE GW store for the entire state. MANY states have no GW stores at all. 17 states have GW stores. Only 17, and most of those only have one store for the entire state (however some MAJOR Metropolitan areas in Washington (Seattle Area), California (LA Area), Illinois (Chicago area) have greater concentrations (of people and game stores...as well as GW stores). Is this unreasonable? (I imagine it is if your folks had a game store and lost it. I understand that. The gaming industry is taking a dive across the nation, all game stores are hit hard as there has been less disposable income...but this is across the board.)

My point in this (as I'm starting to ramble on and on...) is that (in the case of looking at GW's pricing) compare with the other companies doing the same thing, the products they produce (all of the products), the service they give, and what you get for that Dollar/ GBP.

In the case of GW Stores versus the FLGS (friendly local game store) or Mom and Pop store that sells games (stockists)...you have to look at the gaming industry at a whole: roleplaying, miniatures, card games, board games...and the major dive the industry has taken in the past 10 years. Stores are going out of business right and left...in areas where there IS NO COMPETITION (much less areas where competition is fierce).

[As an aside, I'm not a GW employee and have no ties to GW other than as a collector of GW figures. I just like a good debate once in a while and tend towards the "moderate" and "objective" sides of arguments. I'm glad nobody has gone off the deep end on this...I think this thread is a good one and a fine example of adult discussion over a complicated subject without resorting to flames. Cheers fellas!]
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*preamble: We've done pretty good so far, so lets not start assuming any "tone" here. My tone for this should be assumed as friendly and conversational. Just an FYI before you read further...just to avoid any misreadings.

Torealis, by 'supporting the hobby' I mean the *entire* gaming hobby, not just GW.

GW stores are choking off and killing local private game stores.
Stores that cell and allow people to play *any* game.
Untrue. The gaming industry is in a slump and has been for going on ten years. GW stores are promoting GW products and trying to get it to a broad spectrum of players...which is an attempt to build UP the industry.

I support GW to the extent that I buy their products.

But I will not support them in their attempts to monopolize the gaming industry by destroying small business.
Untrue, you are asserting that GW is focusing on becoming a monopoly. You are making assumptions about intent. That is your perspective, but another (equally valid) perspective is that GW is attempting to keep the gaming industry alive and viable for the future by getting more people in to the games.

I see no reason why I should reward GW for destroying people's livelihoods and making it hard for me to play other games I enjoy, by paying inflated prices for products they're selling to themselves.
I believe this is a personal bias (opposite of Torealis' bias actually). That's my take. GW isn't destroying anyone's lives. Actually GW is doing more than any game company to keep the gaming industry alive.

GW doesn't sell products to itself. It manufactures the product, ships it, pays wages and benefits to employees across the world...and sells the product.

I like playing other games, and I support small business.
So I will continue to support the gaming hobby by giving my business to stores owned by real people who need my cash, rather than an overseas corporation that goes out of its way to destroy competition, even when said competition is selling their own product.

I'm supporting the hobby that GW is trying to strangle to death.
Again, I believe this to be your perspective on the matter and biased due to your own personal history with GW. GW supports stockists. My FLGS just shipped back all the GW stock that wasn't moving and was refunded for it. How many game companies do that? All that LotR stock that sat for ages and didn't move, GW took it all back and issued a refund. I don't know about you, but that sounds like pretty good support from a manufacturer to me. It certainly doesn't sound like a company trying to strangle the hobby.

And as to "They can't afford to lower their prices" line of bullshit...
Why should they? They are at a competitive price point in comparison to the other manufacturers.

If other stores and online shops can afford to sell GW merch at a discount *after* they've already purchased it from GW at wholesale costs, then GW themselves can damned well afford to lower their prices
CCG Armory and The Warstore take a risk by selling at huge discounts. They depend on selling in massive bulk to make up their costs. Your FLGS usually sells at retail or possibly with Game Day discounts because that's whay THEY can afford...because they don't have the bulk sales. If you want to know what is killing the brick and mortar stores...it's online sales. Not just GW, but discount shops like The Warstore and CCG Armory.

Standard wholesale discount in the gaming world is 40% This means every gamestore not owned by GW pays $60 for a $100 set. It hurts, but they can sell that set at $80 and still make $20 in profit. Considering the game is in high demand and people are actively seeking discounts for it (because of the aforementioned price) they can usually make up the loss in volume.
Yeah, this sounds about standard.

GW stores and Direct Order services get their merch for free. It's sent direct from the factory at no cost to the store. Yes, it costs to manufacture the item, but the cost is literally pennies per sprue. Let's be over-generous and assume it costs them 10% of retail to manufacture the item.
This is where you are going WAY wrong. Remember, that GW is one entity, the sprues cost money, (pennies), shipping costs money (pennies), the people to ship it costs money (dollars), the advertising, the packaging, the benefits/ insurance, the legal fees, the customs and taxes, the rent on the location, the lights, water, sewage, paints, books, videogames, computers, internet connection, pizza on Fridays...all costs pennies to dollars a piece...but you have to realize what all goes in to an individual sprue...a LOT of support and money.

This means at straight retail, GW makes $90 selling a $100 box and your friendly local merchant makes $40.
...and out of that $90 how much goes to lawyers, manufacturing, shipping, benefits, ISP, rent, electricity, ad infinitum?

You're not seeing that it's not as simple as materials to make a sprue and retail cost.

There is an entire machine that gets the materials, transforms materials to product, markets that product, ships it, sells it. That machine costs a LOT of money. Without that machine you wouldn't have product, your product would be very few items, the quality would suck or if not, it couldn't get to market.

If your independent seller can afford to cut his profit in *half* to sell at $80, then you bet your ass GW can afford to shave off another 10%

If GW only sold wholesale, then I would believe that they couldn't afford to lower their prices. But they're expanding more and more into direct selling and crushing privately owned stores and websites in the process. They could sell for less if they wanted to.
Thing is here, why should they? They are competitive with the market. Look at Rackham, Privateer Press, Mongoose, WotC, White Wolf, Chaosium, Fanpro (now Catalyst Labs) and all the other manufacturers. They all make products and sell direct as well as through retailers.

The goal is to make a little profit, and put the rest back in to the machine so they can produce a quality product and superior service in order to insure viability for the future. That means the gaming industry must survive else they work themselves out of business. It is in GW's (and every manufacturer's) best interests to do whatever they can to stimulate sales by whatever means necessary, to get people in to the hobby, to spread the hobby as much as possible...and I firmly believe that with the brains and retainer fees, bean counters and lawyers involved in GW's machine, that they might just be aware of this and may just be moving in that very direction.

Make sense?

I very seriously doubt GW is the evil empire with a goal of becoming a monopoly (why would they when they know as well as anyone that they have a better chance of sales in a free market with competitors) or trying to single out and crush the little stores (the vast majority of stores that sell GW product are independant stockists).

My own perspective is that GW wants to stay alive by keeping the industry alive, and is doing what they can to insure their own survival by insuring the survival of the gaming industry. Their methods are to spread as far as possible, get the product to as many as possible and maintain the single highest standard in product and support.

I don't think that is evil...it's a strong sense of self-preservation, which is good business sense in my book.
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There's a difference between a reasonable initial buy-in and minimum orders and the standards GW had set last time I checked. it.

Many (but not all) wholesalers require minimum orders, but GW requires you to spend literally thousands on your initial purchase and then has large minimum orders after that, and they force low-selling items on you because they want to clear space in the warehouse.

I'm not saying they haven;t got the right to run their business the way they want.

I'm just saying I don;t like the way they run their business.
The initial setup is in the thousands, true, then again, so is the buy in for Rackham and Privateer Press. Minimum orders? You have restock of what you have initially (which is BTW the top selling items they have from all the lines) and any special orders you may have.

GW has NEVER forced low-selling items on a store...they have a package of the TOP-SELLING items actually. Saying they want to push low-selling items because they want to clear warehouse space is patently and absolutely false. You are assuming here and it's way untrue.

At Gamesday they have Vendor Seminars which explain how things are marketed and how stores are set up: in-house and stockists...including the levels of stockists, the buy in, the product levels...the whole shebang.
Are you talking in american dollars (USD)?
Because if thats the amount you have to pay then we Canadians are getting nerfed! It would be way cheaper just to come down to the united states and head back up with alot of miniatures because our dollar is worth more than yours and even if it was a bit less it's still a great bargain! Our GK terminators cost $75CDN our space marine boxes are $45CDN, our Kasrkins are $55CDN and $45CDN for a box of grey knights:mad:

Yeah...lets not even get started on GW prices in Canada. Man...THAT is a can of worms I don't even want to touch.
This conversation has been an interesting one, and a variety of opinions have come up and been discussed. I think we've covered about as much as we can on it and at this point we're starting to simply rehash the same thing repeatedly.

Thank you all for your input on this, and I appreciate everyone's input on the subject.
I think we can safely put this subject to bed.
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