Games Workshop Group (GAW)


Games Workshop: In denial

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There’s bad news about revenue and profitability in Games Workshop’s half-year report and no adequate explanation. Maybe the company’s in denial.

Games Workshop failed to report the one thing I was looking out for in the half-year to November 2015, an increase in revenue, although on a constant currency basis it did rise (by less than 1%). Operating profit was flat too, although it was rescued by royalty income from other firms, for example app and computer game producers who use Games Workshop’s fantasy worlds. Profit from the sale of miniatures and games, the company’s core business, fell 15%.

Irritatingly, Games Workshop didn’t provide an explanation, which is surprising since, in its previous full-year results, it had promised a sales drive.

Delving into the segmental results in note 2, which are admirably thorough, it’s easy to pick out a culprit from the line-up. Games Workshop’s trade channel made an operating profit of £5.8m and its mail order channel made a profit of £6.2m, but its retail channel made a loss of £2.5m, more than double the loss it made for the same period the previous year.

Sales, the company, says are roughly flat on a constant currency basis, but it opened 25 new stores and only closed 13.

The retail channel is Games Workshop’s Hobby Stores, which are being rebranded Warhammer and are present in many UK and European towns and cities. They’re of particular interest because of the strategic emphasis put on them, and because of how much they cost to run.

Games Workshop designs, manufactures and retails fantasy miniatures which must be assembled and painted, either for the fun of it, or to play its Warhammer games. The company eschews advertising and relies primarily on word of mouth and its stores to encourage new hobbyists who can model and play there as well as spend.

It’s just completed a multi-year store rationalisation program, relocating to smaller, cheaper premises, and converting stores into low-cost one-man operations. The strategy was a response to a period of expansion when higher costs almost completely stymied profit, and it successfully restored profitability at Games Workshop.

Store running costs are over half of all Games Workshop’s operating costs, reflecting, presumably, their importance not just as a sales channel, but as way of recruiting new hobbyists who might go on and buy products through mail-order (which includes the company’s Internet site) and other retailers. The trade and mail order channels are far less expensive to operate.

Kevin Rountree, the company’s chief executive, has previously said improvements in sales depend on recruiting the right store managers, and that failing to do so is the biggest risk facing Games Workshop. He has recruited a recruitment specialist to help him.

Maybe that’s all there is to it. But maybe the company can’t recruit managers of sufficient calibre because running a one-man store is too much work for one man. Maybe one man cannot show people how to model, run games, and serve paying customers at the same time. Trials of larger multi-man stores in Sydney, Munich, Paris and Copenhagen suggest, at least for locations where there are lots of customers, one man stores are not the answer.

I also worry that despite the unsubstantiated claim that Games Workshop has launched some “great new products”, the company’s new version of Warhammer, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, is not doing as well as hoped. This new simpler version is intended to revive the original Warhammer game, which for many years has trailed its more futuristic sibling Warhammer 40,000.

Perhaps by focusing too much on maximising profit through cost cutting, the company is neglecting the recruitment of new hobbyists. Or perhaps the much smaller armies of rival fantasy wargaming and modelling companies and the armies of illegal clones sold on the Internet are chipping away at Games Workshop’s franchise. In a more competitive world profitable stores in less popular locations may be oxymoronic.

The company routinely denies competitive threats and aggressively squashes business that steal its intellectual property, but the longer it fails to lift revenue profitably the more credible these alternate realities become.

My previous article on Games Workshop was also my most popular article, it accumulated a staggering number of comments. That gives us an inkling of how strong a hold the company has over modellers and gamers, which is what attracted me to it as an investment.

But when I read Games Workshop’s results, I wonder about what the company says, and what it doesn’t say, and whether I’m mad or it’s delusional.

To my mind, the business is stuck in a rut, but it needs to grow to justify the asking price. A share price of 549p values the enterprise at £226m, about 16 times adjusted profit.

You may be wondering why a so-called long-term investor is worrying about half-year sales. I’m not.

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Excellent summary. I might add that clones are not illegal, since the Warhammer worlds draw from classic Tolkienesque fantasy staples like dwarves, elves, dragons and so on which cannot be copyrighted. This is of course the reason why such competition exists, the concepts were never GWs to begin with.
The Age of Sigmar is a blatant attempt to slap copyrightable names onto all of these classic fantasy elements (Aelf, not elf) so that they can crack down on alternate fantasy miniature manufacturers who try and scoop up some Warhammer player pocket money.

It has not been received well by existing fans of the universes and I doubt it will draw new players in.

Maybe this time GW will listen. I can only hope. Spot on analysis. The customers are angry and they continue to get ignored. They sell things customers don't want and the customers don't but them. Customers get ignored as "the noisy few" and customers stop buying. The cycle continues.

I think there are points you are right.

The inadequacy of one-man stores in big cities can be a source of overload with work for a manager because he can not be behind the cash register and with young painters at the same time. And it can have a negative impact on the turnover (and possibly on the staff rotation rate).

Moreover there is another point that older players complained a lot : the inadequacy of the price politic under Kirby's "reign". Perhaps I am an old geezer (and I am 29-years old), but WHO would rise the price of his products because the buyers flee because it is becoming too expensive ? Moreover when the most important miniatures in an army, the troops, are sold with an insanely expansive price. Which pushed the players to alternate and cheaper miniatures ranges. We can say that they unvoluntarily fed their competitors.

Another point : because they brutally destroyed the world of Warhammer and replaced it by Age of Sigmar, a lot of veterans players felt betrayed. So they did like for Epic Armaggeddon : they download fan-made rules based on the best of the former rulebooks.
Moreover that the Stormcasts just look like a mere copy-paste of the iconic Space Marines sold with a disgusting price for 5 unpainted armor-clad guys. And even with an affordable starter box, do you think a lot of teenager would be able to buy and play it.

They also forgot a big point in business : respect and listen your client, or he will make you pay.
A last point : something I learned during a training period in a Carrefour store : an angry client will not buy you something anymore and advise 10 peoples around him to.

All because the "financial" got involved with the "creation" and that brian ansell, one of the creators of the Chaos concept for Warhammer, feared of.

But I hope the change of CEO and the return of the Specialist Games will turn the table.

I think I'll ask Kevin some hard questions at the next AGM. But I wonder if retail is suffering from the same malaise of other bricks and mortar stores in the internet age- customers will come in to try and see your good, but then go order them for less online. While GW does it's best to fight discounts or only as bundles, thats not an option given the spread of Chinacast imitations.

I don't think the issue is less on line. GW has taken steps to make online more difficult and less of a smooth process. I have to call in or go through email to get an order set and that is nowhere as smooth a process other places. I do not shop at the GW store because I have two other options who discount at 15% or 20%. And mind you I spend about $200 to $300 (US) a month on this hobby

On the topic of the Sydney store. I hear conflicting reports, some tell me its making more profit than ever yet i never see it full anymore since they renovated and changed the management. Thursdays and Saturdays used to be times where the shop was so full there were no spare seats at the hobby tables or spare gaming tables. Now much of this post will be negative and if you can keep reading till the end i will finish with the positives.

All the old guard (who were in the store multiple days a week playing games, painting and buying copious amounts of minis, paint, novels etc) have left. They have migrated to the good games chain hobby store directly above Warhammer Sydney. Many have moved onto other product ranges such as X-wing and Infinity, while others have stayed with the hobby range but now buy almost all their product through 3rd party retailers where they can get a 10-30% discount on the price range.

All of them complain about the pricing, however mainly their complaints are to do with how the Warhammer:Sydney store has changed. Where previously there was 6 6"x4" gaming tables in the bunker and in the front of the shop: 2 6"x4" gaming tables, 3 4"x4" introductory tables, 2 round hobby tables which could fit around 6 people and a central hobby table which could sit up to 8 or so. This set up encouraged a social community where people could have plenty of games and there could be large groups of hobbyists working at the tables engaging in cover station.

The current set up is vastly different. The store is now half the size because the bunker part of the store has been closed off (questions on its reopening are met with mixed answers ranging from "never", "we dont need the bunker", it will re opened later due to renovations" and my personal favorite "it will be available as part of a loyalty program to those who spend a certain regular amount". The rest of the shop which is available has 3 tables about the size of a 6"x4" however each has only a gaming table the size of a 4"x4" with the 2"x4" being a hobby station for 2 people tacked on the end.

This is what upsets people the most, the loss of 6"x4" gaming spaces and the destruction of the social dynamic by the replacement of the communal hobby tables for lonely islands of hobby scattered across the store. And this is why so many have migrated to the 3rd party gaming store directly above, as it have tables that can be used for 6"x4" games or for communal hobby tables. Because why travel to the city to do hobby if not to do it with other people?

I'ld like to finish on a positive note. The betrayal of Calth set has been a resounding success. It is extremely well priced for its contents compared to the rest of Gws current mini pricing. It is extremely popular with many people buying one or more of it. It has led to a huge surge of people starting armies sent in the 30k age of darkness system. Amongst those i know there was been at almost one communal forge world order valued at over 250 pounds each (minimum price for free international shipping) per fortnight since the box-sets release. Not only that people love the 30k range for FW, the miniatures a beautiful and detailed, the lore and settling amazing thanks to the black library and forgeworld writers, and the consistent pricing system which is both consistent across the range but also doesnt not change based on the buyers location (a point mainly Australians are sore about is the mark up on GW that is beyond the currency versions, addition of GST [tax] and related costs).

The unfortunate reality of GW today, is simply the fact that they are still stuck in the mid 90s, a time when they truly were the biggest fish in the pond, so big in fact that there hardly were any other.
Today is very very different from those days, and GW has failed to change to reflect that. In fact they deem it worthy of bragging about it. Comments such as "market research is otiose in a niche" in today's climate show a basic misunderstanding of what is happening. They have more actual competition than ever, and they just don't see it.
Other than their most die-hard fans, no-one cares about Age of Sigmar. It has completely failed to capture the interest and imagination of their clientele and has in fact angered people, who previously played the old Warhammer Fantasy Battles game. That's why it's not selling. You would need truly exceptional sales people to manage to sell it to someone, who isn't already a fan, and those people aren't go to work for the money GW is offering. Why do it, when you can sell literally almost anything else in the world and make a better living. Bottom line, the product is a honestly a bit crap. And the customer base knows it. So they switch to other systems. Be it Warmachine/Hordes, Infinity, Malifaux, Kings of War, Guildball or myriad of other games. It is easier today, than ever before in the wargaming hobby, to simply find a substitute and people to play it with.

I believe you are correct in the lackluster reception their new flagship game, Age of Sigmar, has gotten. While I could report anecdotes about various local stores experiencing poor sales of the line, those are easily discounted. I suspect it is better to quote the only public information we have straight from the horse's mouth, GW's own list of most popular figures for 2015. Unfortunately, there is no web link to this list but it is available on the 2015 Advent Calendar through the Games Workhsop app for mobile devices. Despite Age of Sigmar having most of the Summer months dedicated soley to its new releases (with no Hobbit or Warhammer 40,000 releases for several months), not a single Age of Sigmar miniature made the top 28 most popular miniatures list. There were, however, several miniatures from the defunct Warhammer Fantasy line replaced by Age of Sigmar on the list and even a single (admittedly large!) Hobbit model. While we don't exactly know what metrics GW used to rank their miniatures (total revenue, unit sales, webstore views, etc), a failure of their newly released second flagship line to have even a single miniature on the list is quite telling. This is of course in addition to the retiring of the Hobbit to "direct only" status meaning that it will not be displayed on most GW or independent store shelves as well as the continued mediocre public reception to the game design mechanics of the current Warhammer 40,000 rules.

As you said, GW views itself as a model company first and foremost that just happens to produce a game to use those miniatures with. In their drive to monetize each individual customer more and more instead of actually growing their fanbase, they're voluntarily giving up market share. I personally went from a customer who would start a new army every year to customer who started a new army every edition to (now) a customer to buys at most a single new unit to paint rather than play. They have successfully converted many gamers to the "collectors" they claim to serve at the cost of much of the money that the former previously spent. There are some positive changes more recently with the release of Betrayal at Calth board game as well as the revisiting of their previously popular "Specialist Games" line in 2016 though. I suspect the style (and lack of substance) in the Age of Sigmar release was a left over artifact of the Tom Kirby and hope that the only two bright points of 2015 are more the work of the current leadership.

Games Workshop management seem to be delusional. They have been in denial for several years. The majority of sales of a miniature are made in the first few weeks after its' release. The large back catalogue of products represents only a small proportion of total sales.

GW relentlessly increased prices in the belief that their customers are price insensitive. Initially this was through annual price rises well in excess of inflation, but for the past few years GW policy has been not to increase prices on existing products, instead the price of new releases has risen steeply. Despite these price increases revenue has been essentially constant since 2005. These two factors indicate a marked fall in unit sales over the period.

As you say, Age of Sigmar has failed to meet expectations, and the game has generated a lot of bad feeling among "veteran" players. These "veterans" have, in the past, been one of the main ways in which GW recruited new customers either in their own stores or at independent shops or gaming clubs.

None of these factors can be deduced from the financial reports or other financial details. It is only by having been a customer or following the fan forums for several years that this becomes evident.Understanding this, however makes a profound difference to understanding the state of the company.

You're not mad, GW is delusional. As a ground level customer of GW one thing they'll never mention in the reports is the ever increasing prices of their products. It alienates current customers and makes it incredibly difficult to recruit new customers. A single box of infantry models (usually 5-10 models) costs as much as a video game title, which delivers a full fledged gaming experience. Larger models are even more expensive while still only being part of the gaming experience.
The Age of Sigmar launch was also baffling. Instead of diversifying the play systems for their expensive models they completely eradicated the Warhammer mass battle play system for an open ended skirmish style play system. This led to further alienating customers who have stuck with the company through 8 versions of the Warhammer mass battle system. Did no one at the company think that maybe they should have two or more supported play systems to attract customers? Sadly, this seems to also be a result of their cost cutting measures as the current Age of Sigmar system does not need competent game/rules makers.

Until GW realizes that they are more than just a miniatures company, they will remain for ever the sick man. Their base problem is their twin games WARHAMMER 40K and WARHAMMER FANTASY BATTLE. The constant rewrites of the game system along with inconsistent poorly designed rules is what does the company in the most. Until the company can put out a game system that is well written and compliments their miniature lines, they will always have this problem.

Another good article to digest....

Your definitely right re wondering what GW are doing as historically they say one thing, do another which leads to a completely different third outcome.

The one man store model isn't a way of returning success to the company nor as you put it giving enough time to recruit and provide demo/introduction games, help hobbyists paint models and grow there skill and investment into products and wargaming, guiding people through the process of buying the next set of models or army books to grow there collection nor having the time to run the tills and push sales.

Not being able to keep or recruit experienced store managers is also an issue - especially given the demands on them to do all the above and more along with hitting sales numbers. Personally I have spoken with a number of former GW Store managers who have used the company as an entry point to retail and store management. Once they have gained the required experience thought they move on to better paid roles within the sector) so attrition on staff and retention is a BIG issue GW need to address)

I think a vast majority of the sales figures though still come down to Games Workshops current and still overly inflated entry and price point to there products and hobby.

While GW are making strives to give new product bundles and deals providing savings on miniatures or exclusive models to entice a larger purchase or spontaneous purchase the overall cost of investment into Games Workshop's game or range of models/products is still very high compared with other manufacturers within the industry or other games out there people are playing.

I do believe though times have changed and people are looking for a different product than Games Workshop are offering right now..... whether that's the Veteran Gamer or 'Man on the Street' who comes across the store or takes their child in through word of mouth or passing on the high street.

Other games have been discussed before in your previous articles and in post/replies but take the X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight which Games Workshop simply cannot compete with or the surge in board game sales and releases to the other companies utilizing Kickstarter to push out products which have some market research behind along with customer engagement in shaping the release and what items are desired into the market and in the process successfully swallowing huge chunks of money and investment from customers.

Conan - Monolith Board Games LLC - 16,038 backers pledged $3,327,757

Cthulhu Wars - Sandy Petersen - 4,389 backers pledged $1,403,981

Robotech RPG Tactics - Palladium Books - 5,342 backers pledged $1,442,312

Ghostbusters: The Board Game - Cryptozoic Entertainment - 8,396 backers pledged $1,546,269

Shadows of Brimstone - Flying Frog Productions - 4,727 backers pledged $1,341,305

Zombicide (Seasons 1,2 and 3) - CoolMiniOrNot - 26,213 backers pledged $5,885,679

Dropfleet Commander - Hawk Wargames - 3,918 backers pledged $903,499

This list goes on really...... Huge swathes of market share, customers/gamers thoughts and focus (from the existing segment of the potential customer base already within the hobby - Veterans mainly) and their spending (mine included) all away from Games Workshop to the likes of Fantasy Flight Games, Mantic, Hawk Wargames and other start up companies.

On a personal level and as customer who is in his early 30's with a good amount of disposable income and long time wargamer/board gamer i find my main restriction at this phase of my life is time. Ive brought into Games Workshop in the past and always followed their products/games and releases but now I find myself investing into other games by other manufacturers.

This change has been influenced again by time but also how the industry has shaped and what other gamer's within my gaming group and circle are playing or interests us

The focus over the last decade for myself and other gamer's/hobbyists I know has been a move away from the multi army/collection mass battle games to the smaller skirmish games to now self contained board games.

This is reflected too in the miniatures we are buying from the big multi-part plastic kits and paiting/modelling to now investing in pre-painted/pre-built and ready to go out of the box.

As an example i have recently picked up 'Star Wars Imperial Assault' by Fantasy Flights. The initial appeal was the IP for this game but as a complete in the box purchase with scenarios, miniatures and role playing element. I have become hooked on the game for its depth, the fun, ease of play and possible ways to expand or evolve it too. Recent purchases have been in the self contained expansions to include into the main game and several of the allies and mercenary packs.

It all boils down though to the time and with this type or product I can literally with very little effort turn up to a venue, open the box, build the map from the card tiles, use the pre-built miniatures and rules, play the game then pack up when im done in a short space of time....all for £70 as complete experience.

Yes painting and hobbying is an option on these models (And its great that the game taps into this want and desire in people who play and collect the likes of X-Wing, Imperial Assault etc - I'm sure FFG/Asmodee will look to explore this more down the line). These games and pre-paints have created a hive of activity within wargamers and modellers to have a go themselves and in turn spawned an entire repaints area of the game and thriving ebay industry and commission service.

Its this overall model of a self contained game which can be expanded with additional packs or bundles which is bringing major success to Fantasy Flight which. It can be played at local brick and mortar gaming stores to the likes of the pub with friends that doesn't require anything from a retail chain nor having for spend several hundred pounds and hours prepping before I'm able to use and play with the product.

Certainly in my opinion games like the above mentioned Kickstarter examples through to retail releases by companies are a good reason why i feel Games Workshop is struggling at the moment - for me personally too they just aren't producing what i want to buy nor have the time for.

Games Workshop seem to have seen the way the wind is blowing though to a certain extent and their response was the recently announcement of the return of 'Specialist Games', These are to be produced by Forge World (Im sure the quality will be good as always).

I view the whole thing as an attempt to bring back veteran gamer's and spark interest with the market to return to Games Workshop, certainly to open up a new revenue stream and pursue the spending that's not going to them at the moment which is smart business sense but given the market has alternatives already in place, production and in retail im skeptical to what ultimate effect this will have on the fortunes of GW:

Bloodbowl = Mantic Entertainment - Dreadball.
Battlefleet Gothic = Spartan Games - Halo, Firestorm Armada. Fantasy Flights Star Wars Armada. Capsicum Games - Fleet Commander. Hawk Wargames, Dropfleet Commander.
Epic 40,000 = Spartan Games - Firestorm Planet Fall. Hawk Wargames - Dropzone Commander.
Mordheim = Osprey Publishing - Frostgrave.
Necromunda = Mantic Games - Deadzone.

Add the above with the Age of Sigmar not going down as well as was hoped and players migrating to Mantic Entertainments Kings Of War (further alienation of Veterans from GW). Asmodee on a land grab for companies and different IP's coming to the table top (The Walking Dead, Aliens Vs Predator, Terminator, Doctor Who) will only add further competition to Games Workshop

All in all the above list (Not exhaustive) gives some examples of the products already out in the market along with giving an indication of the challenge before Games Workshop and brings the whole piece back to your article title........Games Workshop: In denial!

As you have pointed out, Games Workshop eschew advertising in favour of word of mouth. In light of that, it was foolish in the extreme to alienate their Warhammer Fantasy fan base with the Age of Sigmar debacle. There are 5 good game stores in my area, walk into any of them, on any given day, and where you used to see pick-up games of Warhammer Fantasy, you will now see Kings of War. Malifaux. X-Wing. 40K. Warmachine. Infinity.
What you will not see is Age of Sigmar. Shop owners will tell you that no-one is playing the game, no pick up games are occurring.

If no-one is playing the game, how does word of mouth function?
Couple that with ridiculous increases in pricing, and a downward spiral seems unavoidable. When a single unit of 3 cavalry models costs as much as a full army, or a 2 player starter box PLUS extras for other systems, you have a hard time convincing even collectors to buy in.

I consider myself a big fish hobbyist. I have the disposable income to spend generally a few hundred US dollars a month on the hobby. I do spend that currently on GW products almost exclusively. The retail stores absolutely confuse me. In my area there are two other independent retailers. Both discount one at 15% the other at 20%. The GW store does not. Why would I ever buy there? I only went there to pick up internet orders that gave me free shipping when I had them sent to the store. Opened 3 years ago it is now closed. When these stores pop up in larger urban centers they have competition. Even if there weren't stores I prefer to set up an email exchange with an online independent retailer because they discount at 20% as well.

I don't see what they are trying to accomplish with these stores, they just aren't competitive. On a positive note I have seen them recently start to bundle models and have those be an actual deal. In the bast these boxed sets cost exactly as much as all the components separately which once again made no sense. In fact the start collecting bundles are so attractive I have purchased a few even though I am well beyond a starter.

Very interesting read. I think the ultimate issue that GW has is that it simply doesn't know what it's customers want anymore. As a former customer I can't remember that last time they actually released something that excited me.

The one man stores are another issue, they aren't open 7 days a week and have very limited trading hours. You have a lot of potential customers who don't work monday - friday, you combine this with the stores being closed for lunch, customers have a limited window to shop.

They also don't really have anything that you'd buy as an impulse buy due to the pricing, young kids generally don't wonder in with £20 as an impulse buy, £5 - £10 maybe. I believe the only things in that range are glue, paints and brushes. I'm sure many people go out and buy pots of superglue because they have a spare £5!

They also might want to rethink the public image of the company, as it relies on word of mouth, you'd think it would try to keep the punters a little more happy?

I'm an accountant working in the City and a lifelong gamer (not Hobbyist, a gamer). I spend the vast majority of my hobby time collecting, gluing and painting masses of these little plastic armies - and however little time I have to game these days, all of my purchases are made with gaming in mind. This is something GW have fundamentally lost sight of now. The games were originally introduced as a way for people to get more value from their miniatures (and therefore sell more miniatures). The current attitude of thinking of their customers as collectors instead of gamers is incredibly short sighted.

GW management are in a truly terrible position now - their relationship with their customers is utterly toxic and I think they are bereft of ideas on how to turn this around. They seem afraid to deal with mob of baying nerds at their gates, and because they are not controlling the messaging around their products the negative word of mouth is literally out of control. Fan forums are on fire with vitriol against the company - yes, they have always been a hotbed of whinging, however the way management bungled the introduction of Age of Sigmar was like flicking a match into gasoline.

It will end up as a lesson in a textbook on how not to destroy relationships with customers. I am watching the results with morbid fascination and more than a little personal sadness at the state of a company I once loved and worked for briefly.

I have never seen a company actively enrage their long standing customers like the AoS debacle. The shame is that model quality is looking better than ever, and Total War is going to be huge, and would have lured in many new players. But enough said about that.
Customer service at GW is horrid. I can get better customer service from the feedback system on a soup can label. I'm not joking.
However, turning to GW's profitability, I see a cliff coming. Stores have to buy inventory. With soooo many new releases that meant the books showed a lot of trade sales. But when stores don't sell that inventory, the sales stop abruptly. For example, retailers are selling AoS starter sets for a loss on eBay. And they aren't ordering new ones. The test for inventory turn over would have been Christmas, and GW is warning it wasn't that merry.

google karl oyston and blackpool fc.

i remember when GW was all about the customer. i remmeber playing 1.50 for a blister of snotlings. i could afford that with my pocket money.

I reckon from talking to people that a least half warmachine player are ex 40K or fantasy players.

GW should focus on rules and minis, not a retail show-space run by a single overworked individual. That's beyond expensive and ineffective. Other local game stores will sell your product cheaper, and represent it better.

Word of mouth is dead. Work of internet and YouTube are the rule.

Focus on online and breathing life into AoS. Bring your costs down, for models to compete with a landscape that has gotten much more competitive for you (PrivateerPress/Mantic).

The new AoS "Start Collecting" packs are amazing value ... for GW. I hope you have more of those coming? What's the "Expansion" army box set? That's the way to make it happen.

GW: I like your models, your rulesets are ok, and I won't pay the premium for your paints/supplies. All the best in 2016.

What GW have been doing year on year is compensating for falling sales by raising prices. This is obviously a fairly short term fix as whilst it does preserve broadly the same level of income, the number of sales and customers falls.
This seems to have coincided with the move away from management by 'gamers' to management by 'moneymen'. It's pretty clear that they don't understand the current market situation, even after the finecast debacle and the hint that advertising worked when sales of the LoTR miniatures dropped dramatically once the films stopped being produced.
The company is in a downward spiral and without some pretty severe and effective changes in management will reach a sudden tipping point and disappear into history.

As Stockholder, my main concern is the quarterly dividend and that has been sorely lacking. For this, I completely blame the AGE OF SIGMAR (AOS) roll out and complete revamp of the WARHAMMER FANTASY BATTLE game. AOS completely voided eight previous editions of rules and miniatures which drives players away.

On top of this, the quick roll out of a new edition of WARHAMMER 40K which is poorly written and has a severe lack of specifics for normal situations on the "gamer battlefield."

Until GW realizes that not only does it need to put out quality miniatures, but QUALITY GAMES as well, it will continue to struggle as a game company. As for my stock, I buy it because of the hobby.

As a former warhammer player myself. I could not afford to play the game getting in to it now. It was over priced when I got into years ago. Now its just ridiculous. While the quality of the minis has greatly improved, the game play fell. GW at no point ever bothered to make the game balanced. If you want to play at a competitive level you generally had to buy the latest army release. IT was clear that each new rules edition was meant to boost sales for the new releases.
GW could have done better by using the new rules to correct the broken rules from previous editions and release the new army codices for all the armies sold for the game at the same time. GW produces army books that tend to have rules for minis that are never used for games cause they clearly suck compared to anything else the army can deploy. Gamers like me will not buy those minis. But the reason that killed my interest in the game was both the rising costs to play the game and the constant rules changes to sell more books that did not in any way fix any balance issues with the game system. It got so bad, they came out with a TIER system to make older armies playable against the new releases. Like others said here, the game simply is not available for younger players to pick up it costs way too much. The cost to play any mini game system not made by GW is a fraction of the cost of playing GWs games.

I think that GW are now doomed to further market loss.

For many years they were the only hobby company that could afford to make affordable plastic sets of soldiers.

The best sculptors they ever had are now selling boxes of plastic as Perry Miniatures at a much cheaper price than GW.

The ex-editor of their magazine, White Dwarf, now runs Warlord Games selling lots of figures and plastic sets much cheaper than GW.

The ex-GW staff at Mantic produce proxies for most GW armies at much cheaper prices.

Ex-GW boss, Bryan Ansell's Foundry make figs for "Oldhammer".

Wargames Factory are churning cheap kits out of China.

Kickstarters are taking £millions that would otherwise have been spent on GW toys.

And that's just off the top of my head. I'm sure I've missed some.

There is no way that GW can pull all of this back again. They will only lose more and more market share now that almost anyone can make their own sprues of wargame figs. And not everyone sees the need to push up prices every year; I can buy boxes of 40 soldiers for the price that GW want for one, or three figures.

If i remember correctly, WFB was 20-25% of the total miniatures sellings -it's not hard to figure out what is going on.

Gamesworkshop seem to run their company like Karl Oyston runs Blackpool Football Club. The customer is always wrong.

Games Workshop takes pride in the fact they do not do any market research. That alone should send any investor with common sense running away the other direction. Whatever small profits they rake now come from their own body consuming the fat and the muscle in its advanced stages of starvation. In the long run its going to make things much worse for them.

Things are beginning to change.
GW may becoming back on the field with community management.
They have registered some fresh FB pages, with requests for FAQ (I've never understood how they could deal without any social network support...) for the main games WH40K, and Age of Sigmar.

The fans have also spotted a new community page dedicated to specific codex (= specific range of miniatures) such as :

+ starter sets for beginner, recruiting new players, etc...

Maybe the new management has taken into account the player base needs... and it shall help the company with better results.

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