Games Workshop Group (GAW)


Games Workshop and the risk from within

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I hope there will always be a place for Games Workshop in the Share Sleuth portfolio. The company epitomises niche businesses run for the long-term.

It manufactures and retails model soldiers and accessories for Warhammer, a fantasy tabletop wargame, and two derivatives, Warhammer 40,000, set in the future, and The Hobbit, a sideline which borrows characters and scenarios from the famous book and films.

The attraction is, Games Workshop (GAW) is the market. Although gamers substitute miniatures from other games, there are no competing manufacturers of Warhammer figures because Games Workshop invented Warhammer and defends its intellectual property. The figures are so detailed, it’s not easy to manufacture them, which means, the company claims, nobody else could do it better, or more cheaply, at scale.

More puzzling, perhaps, is the lack of competition for Warhammer itself. Over the last thirty years Games Workshop has grown into a highly profitable business befitting its monopoly status, turning over £135m in the year to June 2, 3% more than the year before. Profits were up 8%.

Normally success on this scale would invite competition but to play a tabletop wargame and enter competitions, you need other people to play it with. Warhammer is an alternate universe, and it helps if lots of other people inhabit it. Once a player and collector has invested the time and money in the models, the lore, and the rules, he is captivated. Games Workshop is exploiting the network effect, whereby the bigger the network the better it is, and the more hopeless the task of a competitor attempting to establish a rival. Competitors, like Warmachine and Kings of War, are small, and likely to remain so.

Games Workshop’s annual reports are introverted. They barely mention competition, because there isn’t much, or the economy, because customers collect their way through recessions. The main risks come from within.

In the middle of the last decade the company expanded recklessly after impressive sales of the Lord of the Rings game marketed heavily at the same time as the blockbuster films. But fans of the film did not necessarily become fans of the game they had bought. Although Games Workshop has games based on The Hobbit and we're midway through a series of film releases, this time there are no mass-media advertising campaigns. Gamers who walk through its hobby store doors are offered three worlds to play in, and one of them is an adaptation of Tolkein's.

The company accepts Warhammer and its derivatives are not a mass-market product, so it seeks out new hobbyists more gradually, opening retail hobby stores incrementally, training new hobbyists in gameplay and modelling, and carefully maintaining profitability at a level that satisfies shareholders without outraging many of its customers.

Shareholders are another internal risk. The popularity of the shares has grown as the company has re-established its reputation, and paid a series of generous dividends. But Games Workshop’s policy is only to pay out “truly surplus cash”. Idiosyncratic chairman and acting chief executive Tom Kirby has a warning for some of his newer institutional shareholders in the annual report; the long-term interest of the company and its owners comes before the short term interests of income seekers:

We have also had a shift in the balance of our owners. For three entirely different reasons each of our largest holders has done some selling. This has allowed those who have wanted to own us for a while the opportunity to buy. The fact that we have been paying a lot of surplus cash out as dividends hasn’t put them off! We’ll see what happens when we have a bad year and stop.

The price of a basic Warhammer kit, comprising a rule book and a couple of dozen figurines is about £60. Paint, pliers, glue, and other modelling equipment costs about £40. It’s not cheap, until you start comparing it to other hobbies.

As both the father of a customer, my son just bought Warhammer with his birthday money, and as an investor, I am more concerned about the price of the shares. They trade on an earnings yield of about 6%, which, given the qualities of the company, is not outrageously expensive. It’s not obviously cheap though, so I’m not adding or reducing the Share Sleuth portfolio's holding established nearly four years ago.

Just watching...



Writing 6 months after your assessment, I tend to disagree with both your analysis and decision to hold.

GW is clearly struggling to maintain its customer pool: price increases and poor management of the resellers have harmed it. Their "Hobbit" products are hardly selling at all according to all merchants with whom I talked whereas the license cost must have been significant to GW. The GW's White Dwarf magazine is now undergoing radical changes, for which the only reason I can think of is a sales problem.

Given how deeply the stock price has dropped these past 52 weeks, the issue is not just commercial any more, but financial. After discontenting their customers with outrageous price increases, their resellers with poor backoffice services and absurd billing of all advertising materials, the investors are leaving the boat now that their pockets won't fill as much as before because of the consequences of the current company policy.

The only chance for GW to survive may well be to be bought by long-term investors, willing to win back their customers and resellers, through product price decreases and improved advertisement methods. GW still enjoys a comfortable monopolistic situation and a unique pool of artists, but these assets will be increasingly challenged as time goes by without significant policy change.

Hi Alberic, thanks for your comments. Unsettling times for Games Workshop shareholders. The 'risk from within' you describe isn't one that I identified, but if management are as you say killing the goose that lays the golden egg (the hobby) it's very serious.

I've been following and discussing the recent profit warning in the articles and comments here:

I'm intrigued by your comments about the mistreatment of independent hobby stores: poor service, and (presumably excessive) billing for advertising materials. Do you have particular insight into this?

Hello Richard,

My insight is limited: simply talking to the independent store managers in the different towns where I travel in France. The forthcoming ones were disappointed with GW, expecting more professionalism from such an experienced company. It seems that other companies such as Prince August do a much better work with resellers. Few of them (actually none that I know) sell White Dwarf (or its new version since February), although GW is ready to refund the unsold copies: this says a lot about both their motivation to help GW develop its market and GW's persuasion power.
I also read on the net that GW decided to forbid the sale of its products by online galleries. If true, it is one more step against resellers. The reason behind it may be to favour the purely GW's shops, but I doubt that it helps broaden the customer base.
Speaking of which, and that was my main point as you very well summarized, I have a strong feeling GW is slowly killing the goose. Their price increases is discouraging teenagers from their products and their customer base is going to shrink to fairly well-to-do individuals.
A major future challenge will also weaken GW's position: home 3D printing will soon allow everybody to duplicate their products. Controlling these violations will be very difficult. GW says they strongly defend their intellectual property and copyrights, but at least one website (Forgeworld Discount) has been offering pirated versions of their products for at least a year. The site is so well made I was sure it was a legal subsidiary when I first discovered it. It is based in Ukraine and employs (or is run by) British people. It advertises very efficiently on the web and also offers products GW stopped selling. I ordered once from them before realizing the true nature of their activity and their quality was below GW but still acceptable.
To conclude, I like GW and wish them the best for the future. I am simply bothered by the way they handle their business and afraid they will end up like the cartoon character Tintin did in Belgian and France: it went down from a n°1 position in cartoon sales and a huge customer base to a small niche activity of of high-priced licensed items sales. You never see a kid with a Tintin T-shirt, few even read the cartoon, and the only person I know who collects the high-priced miniatures is an old law university professor probably nostalgic of his youth. The recent Hollywood movie did not revert the trend as far as I can judge. Tintin brings a lot of money to its private owners, but it will be history soon because its customer base is disappearing. The same could very well happen to GW's tabletop business unless they accept to focus less on short term financial results (am I talking heresy here? : ) ) and more on long term commercial efforts to win back everybody: customers, resellers and investors.

Thanks Alberic, for the useful information. I'm shocked Forgeworld Discount is operating, but it appears to be, with UK contact details listed on the home page. Hitherto I've been fairly relaxed about copying, believing because of the volumes it produces Games Workshop should be able to produce higher quality models at lower cost than copycats. I'm also a bit sceptical 3D printers will become commonplace household devices like ink-jet printers.

It's the golden goose argument that really worries me. You're saying GW is not investing in the product, the hobby, and some of the cost cutting measures give that impression. But that goes against management rhetoric about nurturing the hobby ever since the LOR era. Surely management are alive to the dangers of milking customers and can strike the right balance between profit now and the enduring popularity of Games Workshop. Tom Kirby's been growing this business since the '80's.

3D printing is less of a threat than to GW's business than traditional resin casting as "Forgeworld Discount" and the slightly more famous "China-cast" have shown. Reproducing GW's models with a high degree of fidelity is simple for anyone willing and able to buy any of the commercial molding kits out there. In some case, such as China-cast, the resin is higher quality than what GW produces. Its "Finecast" product in particular is a by-word for shoddy casting.

Youtube has info regarding the trend of GW trade terms which result in difficulties for 3rd parties attempting to sell GW products. As well as the online limitations placed upon them that ensure no direct purchases are made online apart from the website.

Details from last years trade terms update

Details of last years trade terms which resulted in the decision to no longer pursue GW sales

A critique of the last several years of GWs trade term changes and attempts to control online sales.

Its also worth mentioning that the online sale control was to prevent 'deep discounting' and ensure hobby stores and or GW stores would allow a means to 'spread the hobby' and that the new "One Man Store" model for GW stores (Quoted as a contributing factor for their lower sales volume in the last 6 mo in the shareholder release) are many times unable to offer the environment to socialize/play/learn the game and spread the hobby.

I hope you're right that GW management is able identify and respond to the dangers of their current path.
I honestly would love to see them become a bit more progressive and internet friendly as I would like to be able to purchase their products again.

For some background:
Since GW doesn't advertise I became a fan of the 40k universe from the Dawn of War PC games about 2-3 years ago. I later discovered the hobby via and I started collecting and painting GW figures/models shortly afterwards. However, in those 2-3 years I was also routinely frustrated with the fact that the company's policies required I place my internet orders on the telephone. ( see ) I also became VERY frustrated when "Bitz" sales were eliminated which meant I could no longer purchase individual pieces to produce customized figures for my collection. ( ) These practices lead me to be less and less willing to accept the yearly price increases and eventually resulted in me becoming sour to the brand in and of itself.

Discount Forgeworld is one source, but there are many others.
The Discount Forgeworld I received was shipped from eastern europe. Acceptable quality for resin, certainly comparable to the resin models GW sells. (Lots of flash on the pieces, heat warping, bubbles.)

China also has a couple recasters.

Certainly a bit cheaper than

And Ebay offers a steady stream of players reselling their models. Something I now use, especially since the 'bits' that GW attempted to control only meant that the major online retailers (warstore, bitsbarn, spikeybits etc.) no longer sell bits.

Thanks Ex-Customer, that's all fascinating.

It's the contradictions I'm having trouble understanding. Particularly the emphasis on cultivating the hobby in stores, whilst simultaneously reducing personnel and opening hours.

I can understand your confusion. It's one we who love the games, stories and models that Games Workshop share. Many of their attempts to control who and how their products are sold and thus maintain profits at current and or reduced sales volumes each year seem counter productive.

I do not doubt that Games Workshop is stressing the need for each one man store operator to do community outreach. For example even though Games Workshop closed their corporate Facebook after they took alot of negative feedback from the "Spots the Space Marine" incident. Each of the stores has their own Facebook page to allow for an online community outreach. While I don't shop there the local store in Dallas (There are 2 in all of DFW) has an active facebook page:

I think the issues we fans hear about stem from individual stores that are struggling to meet their sales goals and feel they have to choose between doing outreach/game coaching/promotions and pushing new sales as much as they can.

I am looking forward to reviewing the next annual report to see how things develop.

The next annual report is taking on particular signficance with me too!

As the largest re-seller of Games Workshop's products in my country, there is no question that GW is on a suicide path. Everything they could possibly do wrong to their customers and re-sellers, they do. I have never seen a company so completely devoid of reality and detested by their own customers. Their sales volume has absolutely plummeted over the past couple of years. They just keep raising the prices to compensate. Richard, your view on the lack of competition is extremely naive. There are many new systems that are attracting new players in droves while GW no longer attracts ANY new players, at all. (Out of thousands of new customers I have had over the past few years, l would estimate less than 10 have started a new GW army. Yes, it is THAT bad.) Games Workshop's competitors are completely destroying them in terms of new players. In my store, Warmachine (and it's sister game Hordes) outsells Warhammer 40K models at a rate of about 30-1. Warhammer Fantasy is all but dead, currently being outsold by Warmachine, Hordes and Fantasy Flights "new" X-Wing game, (which in just over a year has now become the best selling miniatures game in the world.) GW's constant sales limitations on independent retailers just compounds the problems when they ship less than 10% of what you order of new releases, if you get anything at all. It has become so bad, I just automatically delete my GW sales rep's emails because they are a waste of time to read or bother with. GW has dug their own grave for the past 5-10 years and I can see no way they will be able to turn it around.. When all the feedback you receive from all your paying customers is negative, when you mistreat your retailers and gouge your consumers, how could you possibly expect anything but disaster.
Truly sad as once they were market leaders.

I am afraid the entire investment world has been truly led astray by GW Managment. I have been a part of this hobby for 35 years and GW is far from the only game in town. They are the only publicly traded game in town.

GW has serious competition from several quickly growing companies that are privately owned and are responding very directly to customer desires.

In my 35 years in this hobby I have never seen a game company lose customers and anger its fan base a quickly or as badly as GW has in the last 2 years. I know a lot of what is wrong with GW's business is inside baseball unless you are part of this hobby but GW's products are languishing on store shelves and their competition in the form of several large multi-million dollar operations with quality exceeding GW's and prices far better are snatching up GW's disgruntled customers at an ever increasing rate.

GW has priced themselves out of the market. instead of recognizing how rapidly the market as a whole for this type of game is growing they have instead retrenched, become less responsive and increased prices when they should have been making their products more competitive in price, updating the rules by which their games are played etc GW has instead repeatedly abandoned social media, reduced its product line, released products at a rate exceeding their customers ability to buy and have even directly attacked their customers by suing sites and fan based efforts to promote the hobby.

GW's competition has been improving the quality of rules and products. Expanding into social media and making their products available in digital formats at more affordable pricing models. GW has done the exact opposite. Shutting down its Facebook presence, shutting down company hobby forums, eliminating company sponsored tournaments and now releasing yet another version of the rules using the same old mechanics at an even higher cost.

As an example. The reality is that the cost to fully build a GW based table top army to the level needed to play with the existing community at the size games that are played is now in excess of $1,000 once all elements needed are purchased. That number can be higher.

Their new rulebook, a starter box and what they call an army codex will cost you $260.00. Their main competition is a game called Warmachine and Hordes made by a company called Privateer Press in the USA. You can buy their rules, army book and a starter box for $110.00. The company has tremendous App support, online support, tournament and gaming support with a large corp of volunteer hobbiest who promote the game.

There are several other companies just like this. Kickstarter has resulted in the launching of many new companies that are going directly after GW's customer base.

Essentially what I am trying to convey to you is that GW is currently experiencing the largest collapse of a game system I have ever seen in my 35 years in this hobby. GW is currently flooding the market with products at a rate that is very literally 5 times their normal release rate. I can only imagine this is an attempt to prop up gross sells but it is not working. 3 years ago GW released 3 codex and army updates in one year. This year it will be 14. They very literally will not have products to release to their customers in a matter of months and they will not be able to convince customers to by new army books and expansions on a yearly basis that cost hundreds of dollars.

GW is a company in trouble. Heads Up. The gaming community is fully expecting them to go out of business or be sold.

I agree with both previous comments. I have 4,000 points of warhammer 40,000 models and am now thinking every day "when I sell these on ebay which games system do I then get into?"
It's looking like Dropzone commander at the moment, the minis are awesome, good scenarios and does not require a constant huge outlay of money.
For the approx. £500 I get from my army (lowest estimate), £155 will go on Dropzone, £100 on another game (warmachine most likely) £100 on Man o war on ebay because I love the older games still and I will have lots left.
Now that's bad news for GW. One less club member (of a club of 7) one less customer, one less person talking and promoting GW (I used to promote them as an outrider).
Just writing this I cannot wait to sell them and be rid of this stupid nonsense that 7th edition has compounded and made so much worse.

I have been a player of this system for the last 14 years, I enjoy the background of the 40k novels (the hours heresy mainly) and have owned 5 different factions armys totalling a cost of around £3000+

I stopped playing in 2012 as my only friend who played with me decided that the prices were too steep to continue to purchase miniatures. This saddened me to the point of shelving and eventually selling my armys.

Recently (January 2014) found some old models and paints and decided to try play again, I live in Suffolk in England and have found it extremely difficult to find other players of warhammer. A local games club does support the system, but only 3 of 8 members play, and since 7th edition was released they have decided to stick with 6th edition rules in the club.

I have purchased only from ebay, finding significant discount on new and unboxed models.

For example I recently won a brand new unopened hive tyrant for £22, £11 cheaper than direct from GW.

I am not particularly wealthy with a salary of around 12/1300 a year, and cannot justify buying models (such as the stormraven which I would love to own, or an imperial knight titan priced at £85) this saddens me greatly, as a lover of the company I would prefer to buy from them, supporting them and keeping the hobby active, but I just can't do it. (my girlfriend got very annoyed when I was tempted to spend £56 on 2 squads of grey knight terminators)

I really genuinely hope that GW will open their eyes to how many more people would buy from them with a £5/10 reduction on many larger models.

Land raiders used to be 30 pounds and are now 45, to my knowledge no extra plastic has been added to the kit and no new options.

Wow, it's crazy to see so many people having the same experiences. I play Mordheim (no longer supported by GW) with friends using online tools now, but my actual model armies sit around collecting dust. I stopped buying models in 2008 I think, which seems to be about the same time many commenters here noted the shift in GW strategy to unnecessary refreshing of rules/army books and increasing prices of the new models that were overpowered in each successive update.

While this was a good strategy to drive sales, it was also extremely imbalancing to the game systems. Once your core mechanics no longer function, the games stop being fun. When the games stop being fun, customers can not longer justify the cost in both time and money. At the end of the day, you ended up basically playing yatzee in most games. Would one side's magic/shooting/artillery be successful or would it not. The games being decided by turn 2 based on purely dice rolling and noting to do with the actual strategy element of "tabletop strategy" gaming.

The local stores in my area of Chicago, IL have only a few "league" which don't even run that regularly because those interested in the hobby are older and have kids/jobs/lives. IMO, GW failed to capitalize on cultivating life-time customers in the younger crowds by making an overly complicated game that was focused too much special, expensive models. They also failed to capitalize on the success of videogames in the universe in cross-promotional efforts.

I to agree, when I'm in local gaming stores, GW is not the focal point it once was years ago. Competition has increased drastically both miniatures gaming and digital gaming.

Nonetheless, I expect when this years financials are released they will show a profit - and investors (and I mean no offence here Richard) who are not involved in the Hobby will presume that it is recovering and all is well.

The reality (and something GW's investor relations team wont mention), is that they have massively increased their release schedule and prices since the last figures were released (with a corresponding loss of quality as they don't take the time to playtest their rules anymore), and rushed out a brand new edition of their main product (40K) after only 2 years (the normal gap between editions is 4 to 6 years).

All these moves have been to generate more sales, but they are also killing the hobby at the same time - the objective now seems to be to sell more, at higher prices, to a shrinking pool of customers. The result make (briefly) look good on paper (enough to fool investors in the short term), but its not sustainable and is actively creating bad will from their existing (and as a result constantly shrinking) fanbase.

Personally I would wait for the price to rise after the next financials show a profit, then get the hell out of dodge - because it wont be sustainable.

That said, if they don't show an increased profit run for the damn hills, because they have release more in the last year than the last 5 years. - so if its still crashing its worse than any of us could have imagined.

(yes I am an ex GW customer, and I sold my army on ebay [as part of the thriving second hand trade in GW;s product, which according to their investor relations page does not exist).

Well, the report should post soon, till then the preamble uploaded yesterday doesn't look too good.

I am from New Zealand and started playing Warhammer around 10-12 years ago. At one point we had a group of about 15 friends playing it along with a half dozen clubs we knew of we could go to. In the last 5 years however the number of players has steeply dropped. Well known players and endordsers of the game have stopped and have even boycotted games workshop because of the steep pricing over here. Keen among these pricing issues is that fact that our local pricing is sometimes 2-3 times the prices in the UK and that is AFTER taking into account the currency exchange rate. Add to this that the prices would rapidly increase if our dollar to pound value went down but never decreases if it goes up.

Some players, not wanting to quit the hobby they loved so much; resorted to ordering the items from the UK webstore and having them shipped over as this was still cheaper after shipping. Once GW caught on to this they altered their policy to suit.... not to make the prices in line with expected costs,... they steeply ramped up the shipping costs. The current cost of shipping from the Uk is now at a 1:1 ration with the cost of the item. So if you buy a box of 5 vampire bloodknights with a unreasonably high UK cost of £61.50 a (or a rediculous cost of approx. £100 or $195NZD over here) we then have to pay another £61.50 just to ship it giving us a total cost of £123 or $246NZD for 1 box of knights. Basically forcing us to buy locally.

I still love the hobby but cannot justify buying anything from games workshop anymore with their complete lack of fair trade morals and customer appreciation and now will only ever buy their products second hand just so I can know that none of my money will go to such a greedy and disrespectful company. Of all the players that I know who once played and loved the hobby (probably around 50 people) all but a few have boycotted the company.

We would love to come back but will not do so until GW takes its players seriously and stops exploiting us. Sadly I don't see that happening

I have played Warhammer 40K since the Rogue Trader days.

Love the aesthetic, but the company and 40K franchise has completely lost their way. Being a GW customer has always involved being shaken down to a certain degree. In the past I bore this happily because I loved the game and continued to believe that, "This time they are sure to get it right." But the new degree of the shakedown, combined with a poorly-engineered wargame system that has collapsed under its own weight, has made 40k a completely un-fun experience.

Barring any major course corrections at GW, I do not anticipate purchasing any more 40k merchandise. There are far superior products on the market now.

And I am not alone in this.

GW has proven able to get rid of lifetime customers who have plenty of money to spend. No small feat.

I came across this thread by accident, I find it interesting that the business world, looking at GW as the only listed figures games company thinks it has a future but those who actually know the gaming/hobby scene see it as a veritable 'Dead Man Walking' (Figure available from specialst webstore for $500 + p&p).

As others have said GW is under huge sompetition from many companies, non of which individually come close to GW but together repressent a considerable threat to the business. However the main threat to GW is coming from GW management itself, many of the terrible business decisions they've made over the past few years have been highlighted here but there are others.

Foremost among them is the withdrawl from almost any form of electronic media, they don't even have a user forum on their website, something every other gaming company actively supports.

Secondly they are cutting back on their prodcut range and not developing anything new, not so long ago they developed and sold dozens of games, both figure and board types including a number of 'specialist games' and historical developments; all are now gone and their range is down to Warhammer, Warhammer 40K and The Hobbit. It is the nature of gamers that they want new things, new games, new experiences, other companies are expanding to fill the market while GW has retrenched to such an extent that they have nothing new left to sell and the prices fr what they do manufacture are well above the gaming norm.

Thirdly many of the original designers and staff have left GW over the past 3-5 years, taking not only a wealth of experience with them but many ideas for product development. They've joined other companies or set up on their own and are producing games in direct competition to GW, a trend that will probably grow as we these ex-employees no doubt come to the end of any IP development limitations in their severance contracts.

Fourthly GW seem to have 'lost the plot' when it comes to what their business is, traditionally they produced games rules and systems and sold huge numbers of figures to support these games, volume sales with average or slightly above average margins. Now they state they are in the 'collectors' market but don't seem to realise that collectors only need one example of a figure while a gamer may need dozens or hundreds of examples. Selling 1 figure to a collector with a profit of $30 is a lot of markup for a single unit which costs coppers to produce but is nothing compared to selling 100 figures to a dozen kids each with a profit of $3.

Overall GW have, over a number of years, managed to completely alienate huge swathes of their customer base and their eventual decline seems inevitable. This is a huge shame as it was an original company selling original ideas but unless they undergo a rapid and radical about face I can't see them surviving for more than another two or three years.

And in other news this:
(In part) Led to this:

Lets hope the new CEO is interested in growing and promoting their sales via the gaming side of the hobby / volume of units sold and not by becoming an direct sales only boutique of 'collectibles toy soliders' with one hell of a Profit Margin but less and less volume of sales over time.

Ive played fantasy and 40k since i was 14 and Im 28 now. I remember when i was a kid i received a sales magazine from games-workshop meant for my neighbor, I used to go by the stores with my parents and look at the models and when I was old enough to get a job I started collecting. I formed a group and we all played until i joined the Corps. I introduced 6 friends into the hobby while i was on active duty and have played for 14yrs.

Now with the prices more than double what we used to pay for models and about triple what they were for the books and paints, the entire group of 14 people i played with over the course of a decade and a half, including myself have stopped. I cant justify the cost, none of us can and we love the game, we love the fluff....well the old stuff. We loved playing the old campaigns and reading white dwarf when it was a fun magazine about the hobby with new rules and battle reports and not just a freakin' catalog. We collected multiple armies and printed out maps over the summer for our own campaigns. We loaned armies out to get new people in. It was a good time.

I used to spend somewhere between$60-$100 a paycheck on the hobby I'd buy a few boxes of guys and paint. I collected most of the armies. Then it was twice as much for half the models, and i spent maybe $60 a year. Now I get my models elsewhere if i get them at all. I just cant justify the cost. We're not the only ones but anyway they lost our money.

The thing is they had a loyal fanbase that would have stuck with them through the coming of the 3d printer and all they did was alienate them

I got into the GW hobby 20 years ago, and had fond hopes that by the time my daughter was old enough to play, the hobby would be more welcoming to girls than it was "back in the day". If anything, my perception is that it's got more hostile, with Orc/kish behaviour being seen as the ONLY way to be a gamer. And I say this as a true devotee of Gorkamorka! I pretty much gave up when the Sisters of Battle were released.

I mean, for crying out loud... we have fantastic space creatures fighting demons from the warp. Is it really too much of a stretch to imagine a few female models in a squad?

Having just read through this whole page there is only one thing I feel should be added, other then that all the information you need to make a likely prediction of games workshop has been delivered. It's simply that the wargaming hobby works a little diffrently from many other past times and hobbies. Basicly there's a three pillars system which goes as follows: The game, the hobby and the fluff. All hobbyist do all three to variyng degrees but I've yet to meet one that does not heavily favour one over the other.
The game is what has been so heavily pointed at as degenerativ. Basicly the ruleset and what should have been Gws focus. Gw fails spectacularily in this regard.
The hobby is the craftmanship part. Here is where you paint and prepare your models. Many people find the most pleassure in assembling models or even sculpting their own. Others spend hours upon hours painting. In this regard GW actually performes exceptionally well with models of a quality that its competitors have a very hard time to compete with.
Lastly there's the fluff. A term used by hobbyist which losely translates to "abstract information". Here too gw performes well, with many talanted writers having worked for some 30 years now to build up a fictional universe that is quite simply unmatched in how extensive it is. Gw performes well here too, with many customers reading their novels but not touching the game.
Now why is this important to know from a financial perspecitve? Well it's because one of the important reasons that games workshop is still alive despite years of decline is because while one of theese pillars is on the verge of collapse and has been for years the other two are still strong and has up untill now kept many people intrested in the hobby. The truth is that many people lost intrest in the game sometime ago but the hobby has been going on largely thanks to the depth of the lore and the high quality of miniatures.
Now I most certainly agree with most others here hat Games workshop is a dead man walking and that if you could you should get out before it collapse completly. I just hope this helps shed some light on why and how this hobby has seemingly functioned so well for so long despite it's deeply flawed game system.

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