Investment Service: “GW In Denial”

 

Stock-Exchange

Professional investment writer Richard Beddard is back is some tough love for GW’s latest half year performance report.

When Mr. Beddard opens up a column like this you know there will be fireworks:

“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.”

He then goes on to pick apart what GW says and DOES NOT say about their recent half-year performance report.

Read the full article here:

games-workshop-logo

Games Workshop: In Denial

Here are some tasty excerpts from the piece:

“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%). …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.

…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.

…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.”

You may remember when we covered Mr. Beddard’s previous thoughts on Game’s Workshops performance here:

A Relentless Profit Machine

 

Mr. Beddard’s credentials:

“Richard is companies editor of Interactive Investor and a columnist at Money Observer magazine. A keen private investor through his Self Invested Personal Pension, he manages two virtual portfolios. TheShare Sleuth portfolio is a hand-picked collection of mostly small-cap value shares, while the Nifty Thrifty is a mechanical portfolio designed to pick large, successful companies at cheap prices.”

 

So the big points are that GW is breezing past major systemic problems coming from their sick retail store chain. Age of Sigmar is also called out as a possible issue as GW only describes their latest 6 months of releases as “great new products”, but ignores the slumping year per year sales for them.

~ Wade on in here folks. How on target do you think Mr. Beddard is?

  • Oh thank goodness, I had gone almost a week without a “The Sky is Falling!” article, I thought maybe the internet was broken.

    • Xodis

      Thought it was closer to 2-3 days lol

      • nurglitch

        Have you guys heard? GW is going to fail! FAIL!

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Despite everyone buying products while cussing at them, and discussing topics about them, on a fan site dedicated to them! E gads!

        • Spacefrisian

          Doom, the end is neigh

        • euansmith

          What was that? GW is going to flail? I’ve noticed they seem to like adding chains to things.

          • Muninwing

            skulls. you’re thinking skulls.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      well my sky fell today, because the one shop that I can easily get GW products from without driving for miles into town to an actual GW has stopped selling them.

      They sold all their stuff off at 50% reduction. Annoyingly all that was left when I got there was some paint and one bargain- 16 of the push fit sprues with 3 Marines on each, for 50p/sprue, so I bought all 16! 48 Marines for £8. Good for Apocalypse.

      Anyhow that one bargain doesn’t compensate for the fact that I can no longer buy GW stuff round here, since the other two local model shops stopped carrying it.

      • Sounds like it’s time for you to set up a Miniature Market account.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          I’m in the UK so postage might be a bit expensive!

          • Crevab

            UK… UK…
            I think I’ve heard good things about https://www.darksphere.co.uk/

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            yes, them and Triplehelix Games are my usual mail order places. Dark Sphere also have a very cool shop in London, about 5x the size of the flagship GW store…

        • Crevab

          MM sold off all their GW stuff awhile ago

          • Oh, so they did. Huh.

            Well, sign of the times.

      • ZeeLobby

        It’s OK, they’ll remain in denial until GW actually fails.

        • Crevab

          Then they’ll blame us for not loving them enough (with our wallets)

          • Spacefrisian

            My wallet doesnt care

        • Muninwing

          there’s the issue for me… i legitimately like what the company does, in theory, and am saddened by every foolish decision they make.

          at least someone is stating what we already knew — that GW is deep in the weeds and doesn’t seem to notice.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah :(. They just fail to realize that they need group acceptance in order to succeed, AKA gamers and not just collectors. It’s not like Windows Phone, where you can be a fanboy, own one, but still make texts and phone calls to everyone else. If you’re the only person in your group that wants to play AoS, you’re most likely not going to keep buying things. And groups are based around friendships usually, and not simply what game you play, so it’s not easy to just up and leave.

            I don’t know, it’s just crazy that during this downward slide I have yet to see them make one move which I would consider a positive one. I mean they are bringing back specialist games, which is great, but we have now idea how they’ll implement it yet, what the costs will be, etc.

    • Zingbaby

      My Wife said: “Do these nerds actually sit around analyzing the financials of this game they hate so much, why can’t they just get a girl?” …sadly I had to reply, ‘yes, they do weekly, and yes they should’.

      • ImAlpharius

        Your wife sounds like an awful person.

        • Zingbaby

          Yes exactly, there are actual problems in the world blah blah blah — but kids crying about their toy game company they hate so much that they are analyzing the financials is important; yeah “she” is an awful person.

          • ImAlpharius

            I agree. Thanks.

          • Zingbaby

            Oh hah believe me I knew you would, you’re indeed welcome. But someday, hopefully, you will move out of your mom’s basement and gain a better perspective on the world, hopefully.

          • ImAlpharius

            gr8 b8, m8. I r8 it 8/8

      • An_Enemy

        Come on man. We know you don’t have a wife. Tell the mop wearing a coat in the corner of your kill room to do what it was made to do and tell you love is forever.

        • Zingbaby

          Mop wife has a point though – the madness of kids hating a toy game company so much as to monthly analyze its financials to prove/disprove some beaten point is not even measurable by normal folks – or mop and/or broom wives.

          • euansmith

            I dream of having a Mop Wife all my own…

          • Muninwing

            you’re not one of those neckbeards who only dates feather dusters?

          • euansmith

            Well… since the feathers fell off… um… she’s more of a stick these days… but I still love her.

    • Fexxo

      2016 is the year they fall…or wait is it 2017. Need to make up my mind so I can say I predicted it and splurge it all over the comments section of BOLS on a Warhammer related article.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    GW has problems. We all know it. They aren’t perfect but hopefully 2016 will be the year they right the ship.

    I still don’t get one man stores. The concept is mindbogglingly terrible.

    • Ducky

      I totally agree and especially in Australia the stores are absolutely tiny to boot. I reckon there is more money in larger stores that run in a regular gaming club (which creates an alternative revenue stream).

      • Severius_Tolluck

        especially with likely hood of impulse purchases, which in the day of internet shopping is the only way shops can cope!

        • Ducky

          http://ht.ly/X33nu not just GW have this problem but its not like bricks and mortar can’t compete they just need to play to their strengths.

    • Locke

      “I still don’t get one man stores. The concept is mindbogglingly terrible.”

      It’s just a cost saving exercise. In the short term they probably wouldn’t have noticed a difference and everyone got a pat on the back for cutting their payroll bill in half to increase overall EBITDA but in the long term the issues raised in the above article start to present themselves.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        It is a really bad way of cutting costs since one man cannot effectively run these stores. When he goes to the bathroom, he has to push everyone out of the store, relieve himself, and then open the store back up.

        You can’t effectively market a new product to one customer while playing a teaching game with another, while ringing a third person up.

        • nurglespuss

          What I don’t get is why they haven’t gone back to employing key-timers (essentially slave labour) for minimal outlay (believe me really minimal) you would get at least another body in store talking, greeting, running intro games, giving painting lessons etc. etc. However, with the sales pressures placed on the managers of the one-man store, this isn’t viable – any time invested in the key-timer to improve performance, is a reduction in time invested in generating sales 🙁

      • Spacefrisian

        I dont get GW only stores entirely, whats so wrong about asking the local games and miniatures shop to do the selling for them. Those often do better at the advertising department anyway, would be more cost effectiv in the long run if you ask me.

        • chip6793

          If it’s anything like the local gaming store we have here, they have stopped pushing anything GW really.

          The shop owner says he stopped stocking AOS because it wasn’t selling as well as some of his other products and he wanted to make room for products that were selling.

          His shop doesn’t even really have a lot of GW players of any kind left…lots are playing Kings of War, or XWing, which are doing really well in his shop. The only night he even supports anything GW is Wednesday nights…and that’s for 40k.

          I should mention that I only play 40k, and don’t really care about those other games. I was a little dissappointed when I was there last.. It’s hard enough for me to get time for a game with work and family, so when the local place isn’t really supporting it anymore, it’s a little daunting.

          Worst still, our 40k shop downtown looks like a ghost town half the time and the managers there are turning over every few months. It’s a one man shop now, where it used t obe 4.

          I”m not sure how much longer the ONLY GW store in this area can actually remain open with the way it looks. (Only an observation, I’m not there all the time, nor do I live around there. I honestly don’t know for sure how it’s doing…just what I have heard and what I have seen when in the area)

    • Tzompantli

      No kidding – I assume they are supposed to create new gamers? Yet they are terribly located (in the US at least) and how can one person to handle sales while teaching a game and not get flumoxed by the whole process? I find them cramped and unpleasant to enter.

      Why not divert the money from these stores to advertising + incentives for non-GW FLGs where (at least the stores I visit) GW stocks seem to be dwindling in support of other game systems.

      They should go the other direction, try something like Fantasy Flight Games did with their retail store at company headquarters – sell GW games alongside competitors, offer food + drink, have lots of space to game, etc. Basically, make entering the store an attractive enterprise, something inviting that caters to broad taste. Draw folks in to play boardgames and whatnot, then hook them with the miniatures.

      • effinger2

        GREAT idea… will never happen though. Too forward thinking.

        • WellSpokenMan

          They seem to be following FFGs lead in other areas, so we can only hope.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            I think GW is slowly moving in that direction.

      • Jonathan B.

        To follow the FFG model would require a change in mindset from “we are a miniatures making company” to a “we are a game making company”. That is something that GW doesn’t seem to want to do.

        • Dave

          Well, rumors seem to hint that they may want to actually make games again. Or at least understand that games drive their products, not the models themselves. After all, they’re bringing back specialist games..which is a good start.

        • ZeeLobby

          But is secretly what all of us want from them. So sad … 🙁

          • Me

            I am thinking for a great many people, the want is not so secret – at least here on BoLS.

          • ZeeLobby

            For some reason it’s a secret to them though, which is just confusing. GW games are rarely played in any of my local FLGs anymore. People just have more fun playing other things.

        • Locke

          The sad part is they could easily be a great miniatures making company that makes great games. No other miniatures brand has as strong an IP, as much retail space or as much money to invest. They seem dead set on being overly specialised and not capitalising on their strengths.

      • WellSpokenMan

        To be fair, I’m not aware of FFG having any other gaming centers in other cities. What works in Minnesota, which seems slightly geekier than average, might not work so well in other places. I’d like to believe it would, but it’s hard to say. Still, back when I had dreams of opening an FLGS, their game center is close to what I wanted mine to be. Promoting the hobby as a whole feels like it should be a successful model, but sometimes feelings are wrong.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          I think promoting more than one hobby is just good business. Never rely on any one thing or else you are libel to crash and burn if that one thing goes belly up.

          If i were to run a store, I would focus on building communities more than anything else.

          • Valeli

            100% this. “Selling” a community is the best thing a store can do.

            I read a (research based) article about the draw of MMO’s once, and the study’s finding was that the people who over-invest in them generally do so because the games hit the “A-B-C’s” of psychological needs (A sense of achievement when you get that new shiny item, a sense of belonging to a community, and a sense of competence when you get hard stuff done and know you can give yourself the credit).

            A well run store can hit a lot of those three marks as well. Belonging is the most important, by far. You’re also providing a setting for people to win games and feel competent in their hobby. I’m not sure where achievement comes in with wargames…. but you can help people take their painting up to the next step, or just generally facilitate their reaching their goals.

            A lot of this can’t really be done outside of a store quite as successfully, despite the existence of a general internet “community” around wargames. A lot of people /want/ to support their well run stores, I think. I know lots of guys pay GW’s full prices over 20% off retailers online just to support their store. Or people at local shops (as i mentioned in other posts) will constantly support the cafe half of it to make up for their not purchasing new models. A good community can become self-sustaining, driving profits, and bringing in new players as well.

          • blackbloodshaman

            Cough AoS cough

          • V10_Rob

            A store that doesn’t restrict itself to one product line casts a wider net. A GW store sells to ‘war gamers’. A FLGS generally sells to the entire broad demographic of ‘gamers’, period. And if you get all the board gamers, card gamers, war gamers, pen-and-paper role players interacting with each other, even slightly, even with our typical social ineptness, you start to get cross-pollination (cross-contamination?). That game they’re doing over at that table looks cool, maybe I’ll just watch it for a bit…

            FLGS that provide a place for people to meet (not just buy stuff and get out) fosters and supports friendships. Cheesy as it sounds, there’s a cynical business value to this. People who fall under the general banner of ‘gamers’ meet other people of similar interests that might not have met otherwise. They become friends. Friends want to do things their friends are doing, in this case, play games. They’ll play games they are unenthusiastic about, or even games they hate, because doing it with friends makes it fun, or at least tolerable. They buy product they otherwise wouldn’t. They introduce their friends to new games, which maybe creates another enthusiast who buys lots of product. The regulars hanging out in your store will do your sales pitch for you for free, demo games for you for free, and will even run interference and surveillance for you for 2-5 minutes so you can hit the bathroom or grab lunch. They want their clubhouse (your store) to succeed. They want more people (your customers) to join the community.

        • Tzompantli

          Yeah that is there only store and is likely not sustainable as a chain.

          But it is smartly done and highlights what you basically want in a retail space to sell games and get people through the door – its not cramped, tiny, and intimidating if you don’t know the product. When I have gone the staff were not in my face.

          By contrast, I hate going into GW stores and I am a complete addict to their stuff. I try to buy online partly for price, but especially for convenience and the desire to not have to crawl over people to browse, or deal with hordes of MTG players and oppressive fluorescent lighting and cheap furniture that characterizes most FLGs.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Florescent lights are oppressive? How do you survive in this world?

            Most stores have set events that re-occur on a weekly basis. Look at the schedule and figure out when people are not going to be in the store.

          • Tzompantli

            Track lighting, which happens to be what FFG uses to illuminate their shop.

          • nurglespuss

            I LOVE fluorescent lighting! It’s decent bright light, it means I can see everything…

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            I don’t mind it, but it does give a lot of people eye strain and headaches though.

          • nurglespuss

            That sucks, seeing as it’s everywhere

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            yeah, its the flicker, especially in old fluorescents.

          • euansmith

            As Ibsen so elegantly put it in Hedda Gabbler, “It is the flickering of the florescents I find so so oppressive…”

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        In the UK, I understand why stores exist, since independent game stores are far less ubiquitous. They need game stores to push their product, or at least they needed to in the past.

        In the US, they aren’t really necessary. Most game stores are four or five times the size of the normal Games Workshop store (which are usually holes in the wall).

        • Charles Covar

          I think they help serve a purpose beyond a FLGS. A GW store only stocks it’s own products providing less competition to customers who walk in their doors. It also gives them a person who will push and sell GW products. I don’t think I’ve ever been sold to in a FLGS, even after expressing interest in purchasing something from their wargaming/miniatures section. Lets be honest too, Magic is where all the money is in a LGS.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Card games generate money because they have a constant stream of products that people buy large handfuls of at a time on a regular basis.

            Wargames and RPGs cannot compete with that.

            I agree GW stores have a role, I just view it as being diminished and less important as compared to FLGSes in the US.

          • Me

            I just wish they did not treat the FLGS’s like pariahs. I understand them having a few rules, but i know of at least four stores in my areas that no longer sell them because of the rules they put on them. They are all part of the same chain, and one is BIG, and the other three are real small. They wanted to carry the full line-up in just the big store and put what sells best in the other three. However the GW rep wanted them to put everything in every store and would not budge. There just was not room for it. It ticked the store owner off, and I doubt he would pick them back up even if they loosened the restrictions.

            I don’t understand the mindset. Fewer points of sale == fewer sales.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            like I said above all the independent model stores in my area have stopped selling GW product one by one over the last couple of years. One store owner told me GW’s attitude was ‘psychopathic’. Maybe we have a really pushy rep around here too.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            well they have their own customers do that. I have sold so many people that randomly came in as a customer myself when they ask what I am doing.

        • Valeli

          I don’t know. I’d never have picked up any miniature game were it not for GW’s stores.

          I know that’s completely anecdotal, but without having an assurance that I’d always have a place to find people to play my system with, I just wouldn’t have risked this much cash for a few toy soldiers.

          The hobbying aspect of the stores is a bit less useful post-internet, but I always appreciated how there was always at least one staffer on hand who could give me great painting advice when I was new at it.

          Lastly, as the guy below me points out, /every/ LGS in my present area is completely focused on card games. They have some gaming space, but it’s not their “thing”.

      • Valeli

        Food and drink’s not bad. It gives people with full armies a way to voluntarily support their store, without having to buy “useless” miniatures. Good snacks are fun for gaming too… as long as you keep your grubby nacho hands far, far away from my minis.

        I can’t really comment on US locations other than mine. Mine used to be in a mall back in the 90’s, and got all sorts of new players/kids venturing in on a fairly regular basis.

        At some point it shuffled off to a near-by strip mall (presumably the lease was out, and they couldn’t afford to re-up, or something). You could definitely note a decrease in the number of new players then. It’s presently in yet another nearby strip mall, which is half empty and next to some discount wine superstore.

        I haven’t been to that last one much but, honestly, it’s sort of just depressing. And they’re certainly not going to get ./any/ walk in business. Catering exclusively to existing customers who already have full (multiple) army lists isn’t a good way to go, when the only thing you can offer them is yet more models.

      • Mud_Duck

        The problem is while the FF store is pretty nice, big gaming area, smallish retail area (I personally find it on the claustrophobic side), the whole thing is run at a net loss.

    • WellSpokenMan

      Except we don’t all know it. Every criticism of GW is met with counters, and quite often insults, by the hardcore fans. It makes you wonder if GW even knows they have problems. The finance section does, because they had to take the sting out of the bad news in that report. It also appears that at least some of the people working for GW at a strategic level understand there are problems too. That’s why Specialist Games and Army Starter Bundles are showing up. 2015 seems to be the year that GW suddenly became aware that it had competition for hobby dollars. Still, if you speak too loudly about something GW is doing that you don’t like, you will be asked “why you come here” or mocked for not being able to afford their products. These “white knights” do GW a disservice by giving those gamers that have issues with the company the impression that the company does not care.
      I honestly hope GW does sort things out and makes their games better and more accessible sooner rather than later. I believe they will eventually, which is why I haven’t sold my 40k models.

      • Dave

        Agree. The same folks mocking others for complaining about cost will be left standing in a corner, wondering why there’s no one to play with.

    • If you ran a business you wouldunderstand. I agree tho, one person stores seem odd but I see why they do it.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        I get that they are saving money but it doesn’t seem to be a good strategy in the medium or long term. Even two employees is better than one.

        • The best employees are NO employees 😛 but seriously, but this just smacks of people being in charge too long and forgetting what its like to be on the front lines. Very common in business. A good portion of my friends are business owners as well so I watch it happen often. I just laugh at them when they say that kinda stuff and remind them THEY were the peons once upon a time lol

          • StingrayP226

            I feel like this is GW’s biggest issue: they have been completely disconnected from their customers/lower employees. The miniature gaming hobby is strange and they lost connection with it.

          • I dont blame them, customers always think they are more important than they actually more. For every one lost, often another is gained. If it really mattered as much as people insist it does they would have actually gone out of business instead of having articles threatening like they will

    • Valeli

      Agreed. They could probably have done with a bit less staff… but even just having a second person on board would be tremendously helpful in any location trying to deal with just 3+ people at once.

      I’ve always felt GW’s stores were the biggest part of its draw (for me). I started simply /because/ it had stores I could use for gaming, whereas other systems were scattered here and there.

      It’s a shame that they’ve not maximized the usefulness of brick and mortar. Getting people together is still a useful thing, even post-internet.

    • hokiecow

      I don’t understand why they don’t focus on 3rd party sites and stores to do the work for them. Promote and support the hobby stores and just keep GW stores in large markets that can bring enough revenue to support multiple employees.

      • Old zogwort

        What do you think this site is…

    • Erik Setzer

      You only have to pay one person. You cut costs and save money!

      Sure, it’s a stupid idea long-term, but most of their ideas these days are only geared at immediate profit at the expense of the long term. People defend it because they’re still making some profit, but it’s having to come from outside the company to keep it even.

  • frankelee

    Some of the basement-dwelling AoS fanbois on here should write this guy and explain to him why they know better, and that his evidence is all just anecdotal.

    • zeno666

      Haha, thank you 😉

    • Eric Buchanan

      He doesn’t seem to provide any evidence, anectdotal or scientific. he just says:

      “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.”

      So he’s worried, not certain. He doesn’t make any claims of having evidence that AOS doesnt sell. He just provides his opinion on the matter, but he’s responsible enough not to pretend its a cut and dry fact.

      And before anyone decides what “side” I’m on: I’ve never played fantasy or AOS, I dont have a horse in this race.

      • Erik Setzer

        He can’t say for certain because GW won’t release any specific sales numbers on product lines. But he can back it up by noting that their revenues didn’t increase at all (decreased, really, unless you try something like always saying “but with constant currency it’s all good!”), which means that if the new product lines are doing amazing, older product lines must be suffering a good bit. So hey, yeah, maybe the new stuff *is* doing well, but that’s not really something you can cheer if the other stuff is falling off at least as fast as you can come out with new stuff.

        There’s also the warning of lower profits (likely from lower revenue due to lower sales) for the year, and given that the big move was to shove out WFB and bring in AoS, it’s hard not to think that AoS’s sales have something to do with that. Again, it has to be noted that if overall sales are down and AoS is doing amazing, that means that other lines, possibly 40K itself, are falling off, and that is not a good sign either.

        Realistically, AoS is likely breaking even with WFB sales, if even that. It doesn’t solve the core issue of expense, especially as the “fewer” models you have to use are all more expensive anyway. But they adamantly refuse to see an issue with their pricing, and seem to think it helps weed out the undesirable customers so it’s just their prime niche, so hey, maybe they think lower revenue is a good thing.

        • Eric Buchanan

          @eriksetzer:disqus Yes, but he did none of those things in his article, so its comes off as straight opinion instead of being deducted from fact, as you have laid out.

          Further, When its in the same paragraph as him calling GW out for unsubstantiated claims of releasing great product this year it seems kinda shoody.

          As a writer for a Financial site/magazine/whatever his target audience is not us fanboys that know the ins and outs of gamesworkshops product line, but other investors. Instead it reads like a well proof read forum post.

          • Nameless

            are you sure we are not the target audience? the article mentions his last Games Workshop article was his most popular and one would assume that would be on his mind while he wrote this one as popularity = more clicks = more revenue

        • Nameless

          there is another option to consider, that Age of Sigmar is doing fine, but the fact that Games Workshop mishandled the release could have had a huge impact.

          Because lets face it, even a month before AoS release no one seemed to know anything about what was coming, rumors where pointing in every which way and uncertainty does not encourage spending. Added onto this, the removal of an old game in favour of a new one might have some 40k players reticent about spending not quite sure if the same might be happening soon to their own armies.

          another thing of note, for the 6 months covered the 40k releases have been armies that where only 2 years at most since their last update. Eldar, Tau, Space marines and Knights where all fairly up to date when they received their most recent codex. (I am probably not the only person who decided that my 6th ed Space Marine codex was still new enough and didn’t need replacing)

          • An_Enemy

            You’re missing out. 7th edition Codex jumped the Marines up into the top 5 armies…Top 3 imo.

          • Nameless

            the 6th ed version wasn’t exactly under powered, (I’d likely feel bad for most of the updated stuff when playing a lot of the weaker codex’s) and I only play extremely casually myself.

          • Erik Setzer

            Eldar, Tau, and Space Marines are popular armies. Eldar are complemented by the Harlequin release as well. The Knights codex was largely useless, a lot of the rules in it were contradicted by the 7th edition rulebook (sloppy of them to release it right before a new rulebook that replaces much of the rules in it), and the new codex was set to cover the new Knight kit with additional build options, so Knight players were likely to grab it.

            That said, Knights and Eldar actually came prior to June, so wouldn’t be in that six-month span. Space Marines (and Dark Angels) barely make the cut, and Tau were a late edition.

            Let’s not forget Betrayal at Calth, also known as the long-awaited plastic Horus Heresy models, which sound like they sold well if the Internet’s anything to go by. Heck, I bought two boxes, and I know of other people who aren’t even playing much (if any) GW gaming right now who bought one or more boxes.

            Now, BaC would also be included in that mix of “great new releases,” but I doubt it performed poorly because GW wasn’t even to the end of pre-order week (much less stocking it on shelves yet) before they declared it was so successful they were going to start a whole new division because of it.

            So, if BaC was that successful, that still leaves one to wonder about the other big release.

            With AoS, a lot of the people who are playing it are still using their existing armies. It would have to rely on selling frankly overpriced books (yeah, yeah, I have a couple, but I wanted to try to figure out the fluff, and one of them was the limited edition rulebook) and the new models, which weren’t just high priced but have also been rather polarizing. The books aren’t necessary, so they’re not going to sell well, because, well, gamers don’t pay $58-$74 for books they don’t need. (Generalization, not all gamers. Again, see my note on having some myself.) So it’s down to selling the models, and there’s almost certainly not enough there to outperform, say, the End Times releases from last year.

            That’s the one damning thing: AoS isn’t necessarily failing, it’s just not providing a lift over what WFB gave the company. Given that they alienated a number of customers and threw away 30 years of history with the game that got them going, seeing your sales and profits slump is a big hit. They took a huge risk to try to get a boost, and in the end, *at best* they’re breaking even (but really are actually lagging, and more so by the time of the annual report, given their forecast, which is the most concerning part of it for investors). You’ve got some customer goodwill and trust lost in the process. I’m not sure production costs were really any more than they’d already spend on a product line, and they didn’t do any serious marketing (one of the problems with the release), so at least they didn’t spend a lot of money that might cut into their profits.

            It’s not a “doom and gloom” scenario, but it’s far from being what GW tried to paint it as and would have preferred.

          • AreyouaNazi? Isthatyourelf?

            I think it’s more something like this. Some good, some bad. It’s a shame because the potential is there.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQDEB9p4YJk

    • blackbloodshaman

      And remind him that GW’s sales are up (if you don’t count inflation), despite what standard accounting procedures say

      • This is not true. *Revenue* is up. Actual sales of GW product (I think they refer to them as “core products”) are down about 15% overall. The difference has been made up from increased licensing revenue.

        • blackbloodshaman

          Revenue and sales are the same thing, stop it

        • blackbloodshaman

          http://cdn.bols.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GW-half-yearly-1-8-2016.jpg its right there at the top. The constant currency + ingnoring inflation line item is nothing but lipstick on a pig

          • Oh, totally. It’s just that their sales – as in, sales of products that they actually make – are dropping way more than that number shows.

          • blackbloodshaman

            ah i see as in units sold. yeah thats the thing they are getting dwindling revenue while raising prices, which means they are selling a lot less units

  • yorknecromancer

    I don’t pretend to understand the numbers, the sales, any of the data. That’s not my strength.

    I DO know that a company that doesn’t do market research is a company that I wouldn’t invest in.

    ‘In a niche, such things are otiose.’

    Are they bollocks mate. All old men think the world’s should be just like it was when they were young, and get the shock of their lives when they step outside their comfort zones and find that it’s not.

    #where’srey should tell you all you need to know about how the market’s changed, and how it will continue to. Of course, without market research, you’ll never know how much money you could be walking away from.

    Business requires hard data extrapolated from real-world sources if it’s going to lead to informed, educated decisions.

    • Michael Bradbury

      They do market research though, to some extent. I’ve been asked to complete on-line questionnaires and I can’t be the only one.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        yes I did one a while ago.

      • frankelee

        I have too, but IIRC it was more about their website, like how the website was as a consumer. They should be getting their hands dirty with the gaming community, getting to really know the people who might be buying their products and how their industry currently works, and I don’t think the guys at the top really do.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          it had a space in it to say any further comments, which I used…

    • Dave

      I never bought that line. They have to do some sort of research, if anything just as a reporting mechanic for stock analysis (for your investors). The problem is they seem to ignore research that doesn’t fit into whatever plan they have. They have to adapt to survive. Maybe this will be the year they start evolving. They have new ‘ish’ leadership and it’s obvious that past strategies are not growing the company (at least at an expected rate). The longer they stall the harder it will be to restructure.

  • effinger2

    Agreed that one man stores is a stupid idea. It’s one person trying to do 50 things each requiring his attention 100%. Not working well it seems.

    • WellSpokenMan

      Even if you make your stores the size of a large closet, you still need more than one person if you are going to sell the game and not just the models.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        God forbid you have to help two people…

    • frankelee

      If they knocked 25% off the price in-store they would do quite well, even if that one man had a hand tied behind his back. I just don’t understand the business model, sell stuff at full price + sales tax, while charging obscene prices to begin with. And then expect to make huge profits?

      • Eric Buchanan

        Rent aint free and that one dude in the store aint working for free. So you have to make up the difference in cost between selling it mail order and the store.

        Selling stuff at a loss doesn’t result in huge profits either. (At least legally)

        Some FLGS might be able to live with that razor thin profit margin, my local Game Kastle, doesn’t offer a discount and it doesnt seem to hurt the traffic there.

        • Charon

          The problem with that line of thinking is:

          The rent is not free and the guy does not work for free. Fair enough.
          But instead of buying at 100% from this place, I buy at 80% from another place. This means that the place that is not for free with the guy not working there for free just got 0,00 instead of 75% or 80%.
          Finding shops that sell for -15 to -25% is easy enough.

          • Eric Buchanan

            I’m not sure there is problem with my line of thinking. Its a fact you dont make money when you sell items at a loss. You can have loss leaders to help drive sales of other items (video game consoles for example to drive sales of software)

            Your assuming everyone will make the same decision as you and has the same values. Which we all know isnt true, as GW does still in fact make sales at their retail stores.

            In my area, I dont know of any brick and mortar store I can buy GW at a discount from. So the options would be full priced from GW / FLGS or discount online. (YMMV)

            Some people will opt for the convience of being able to get it today. Others will opt for the delayed gratification and savings.

            And GW still makes money on those sales at the other shops. Just they didnt have to front the expenses. Its not the all or nothing scenario that you posit above.

          • Charon

            They don’t sell at a loss. Afaik the margin for retailers (at GW prices) is 100%. A lot of them cut down to 60 – 70% margin. That is still not selling “at a loss” otherwise a lot of FLGS could not survive at all.
            Even if you buy at your local FLGS at no discount that is a margin GW does not get from you.
            Yes, they get money from selling to the FLGS but WAY less so than selling it at their own store directly to you.
            You can also argue that they do not have the expenses that the FLGS has so they still have profit.This is true but they still maintein their store not matter if you buy from them or from the FLGS.
            Rent, electricity, staff,… does not just disappear just because some of your sales come from FLGS.
            So even if the Warhammer store in Garyland only sells 10 boxes a month and the FLGS next door sells 90 they have to pay full for location and staff.
            Don’t you think they would get a lot more if it was the other way round?

          • Eric Buchanan

            When I talk about selling at a loss, I’m including the stores overhead. i can sell a product for 200% margin, but if my overhead at the store is high enough I can still lose money. Or be selling at a loss.

            My entire point being they have to make up the cost difference between mail order and retail or it isnt worth GW time.

            25% off as suggested by the gent above would under your equation equate to a 50% product margin. ($50 wholesale, sells $100 msrp, $75 discounted)

            I’m unaware of a Brick and Mortar store that sells GW stuff at that price. Specifically one that doesnt not also do significant online sales.

            I’m of the opinion GW should close most of their stores and rely primarily on their retail partners. They should leave a few larger gaming focused stores open as loss leaders in high traffic densely populated areas to bring in new gamers.

            I’m a firm believer businesses should try to do a few things very well, not everything okay. And running a chain of retail stores where interpersonal skills are so important, and designing games and models are very different skill sets.

            To answer your question briefly, I’d close the store in garyland. Thats how they probably get the most.

          • Charon

            I really doubt that these 1 man holes they call hobby stores (srsly the one next to me has 1 “table” that are around the size of my PC desk – this makes 500 points of 40k really look crowded) have a gigantic overhead.
            The prioblem is they pretned they can act like Apple but fail to recruit a sufficient amount new iZombies. At the same time you get more and more stuff on 2nd hand plattforms.

            I can agree with the rest. Their stores never made a lot of sense as most of them rather look like warehouses where they store their boxes instead of placed to promote the hobby (that is if you are not as delusional as GW management and consider buying GW models is the actual hobby).

          • Eric Buchanan

            I never claimed they had “gigantic overhead”. But even something simple like $10k in rent/utilities and $40k in wages, you now need to sell $100,000 worth of product in that store to break even versus if a flgs sold that product for you. (Assuming a 100% margin) Thats like 2,000 tactical marine kits you have to move in the store to cover the costs.

            If we drop the margin to 50% we now need to sell at least 4,000 tactical kits before we draw even with how much we made selling those kits to the FLGS.

          • Charon

            But that is the point, isn’t it? They probably would sell more if the were cheaper.
            Let us look at the B@C box. I doubt that a lot of people did buy it for the game itself but rather for the great value that box has for the given price. I would also arue that the starter sets will sell well (and would sell even better if they did not include a HQ or too much undesirable units)

          • Valeli

            Selling it at -20% stated price isn’t a loss though.

            It’s like those pizza places (Dominos, etc) That sell their pizza for $18, but have all sorts of specials where you can get it for $6. They might be selling it for $18, but that’s not what it costs them for the ingrediants and labor to produce and deliver it. It’s just a stated price.

            Same deal with car buying, or buying expensive furniture. You can always go down from the states price, and the company is still making profits.

          • Eric Buchanan

            Yes, I understand what a profit margin is. Thank you.

            In your example you aren’t accounting for the overhead of the store. Yes you can sell it at -20% and make a healthy profit on the transaction, but when you do the ledger at the end of the month and subtract your costs for the store from profit you may be in the red still.

            I’m not saying there is no way to give the discount and make money, I’m saying its more complicated than the gents saying, “GW should give 25% off at their brick and mortar stores, it will make them money” is saying.

            I 100% agree with your statement about no reason to buy direct from GW, and in fact I rarely have. But I also realize that other people can and in fact DO have a different opinion on that subject. (As GW retail sales have yet to reach $0)

          • An_Enemy

            People with calculators have figured out that GW sells at 300% profit margins. That’s how they can afford selling to LGS at 50% of retail. GW employees have confirmed this for me although they said 400%. I’m more inclined towards the 333% someone here came up with though.

  • Heinz Fiction

    Abandoning an establishd game based on the famous warhammer license and replacing it with an inferior warmachine clone might not have been the best business desision ever. In a market with more competitors than ever, producing the best miniatures of the world is just not enough (and it isn’t even true anymore).

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      For plastic models, GW is really hard to beat.

      • WellSpokenMan

        For multi-pose plastics, they are still the best. Other companies are gaining on them though, and the barriers to entry are shrinking due to CAD and 3D printing.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, this is definitely the case. They’ll remain on top model-wise for another year or two, but without a solid game behind their products, they just aren’t going to sell. My guess is rather than producing a better game, they’ll just offer discount “bundles”. When people still don’t buy those a year from now THEN maybe they’ll hire better game developers.

        • Heinz Fiction

          yeah, hard plastic is still rarely used by competitors but raging heroes for example is making multipose resin models which look as good or better than GW. And their resin is closer to hard plastic than to finecast concering the quality.

    • Tyr

      Thats doing a disservice to Warmachine though… at least Warmachine works. (from what Ive heard anyway)

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Warmachine has its own problems though.

        • ZeeLobby

          It does, but overall it’s been way more fun to game than GW games have become :/. I missed actually thinking while playing, as 40k usually just devolved into who brought the best ranged weapons (most often decided by codex).

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            PP has problems because it is losing ground to FFG. PP lured Magic players into the game by having cards, a well-ish balanced game and a cheap buy in. FFG does the exact same thing but requires zero assembly, zero painting and allows for more creativity when list building thanks to the plethora of upgrade cards.

            Beyond that, the player base has issues with buying new models that are not perceived by the internet as being “good”. This also often manifests itself with people neglecting whole armies in favor of the three or four top tier ones.

            40k obviously has its problems but it is not designed to be a competitive game. It is in full beer and pretzels mode now. The game is focused on fun and craziness, allowing the people playing the game to develop fun stories and scenarios.

          • ZeeLobby

            Oh yeah, in that case, all of that is true. I think PP can still appeal to those who enjoy modeling AND gaming who are leaving GW though. It might just become a smaller slice of the pie for them.

            And I’m sorry, but our “beer and pretzels” crowd has already abandoned AoS, and many don’t play 40K much anymore either. There’s a difference between a “competitive” game and a game with well written mechanics and rules. Whether fun gamers want to admit it or not, they have more fun drinking beer and eating pretzels while playing close games, then they do getting wiped, regardless of whether their opponent planned to or not. They also don’t enjoy spending the upfront time trying to balance the game before it even starts. They just want to sit down, play, have some close calls, and roll some dice.

            There are plenty of fun board games out there for casual players which have great rules. Sadly GW feels that they don’t have to write even average rules for casual gamers. A lot of that is due to the fact that all their good game designers left, and they don’t want to spend the money to hire new ones.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Like i have always said, games live and die on the communities that form around them. Around where I live, 40k is a living and breathing beer and pretzels game where people lavishly paint their models and throw around dice to have a good time.

  • zeno666

    GW In Denial. More news at 11!

  • Cylux

    I can’t say I’m too shocked at his analysis, I’d have guessed that it was the retail side that was letting everything down, purely on the basis that retail isn’t doing all that great in competition with online shopping in general, plus all the costs associated with actually owning and running a store. Have someone else cover the costs associated with running a store and hiring bods to staff it and just sell your stuff to them instead.

    Shame about AoS, but again not surprising, the venom towards it that can be viewed online is likely to have affected sales and potential enthusiasm, regardless of how justified or not that venom may be. Plus the clues were in the limited editions not exactly flying off the shelves (The fact they made limited editions at all for new factions that players have yet to form an attachment with was a very silly decision in and of itself tbh).

    • Dave

      It’s a travesty that they didn’t try to mitigate that venom at all. Or at least engage with the community that naturally felt betrayed. Sure, there are going to be players that can’t be satisfied, but many fans would have at least listened to a real explanation. A simple, “we’re sorry, but this product isn’t financial viable anymore”, would have gone a long way.

      • Cylux

        Well, another problem they had (of their own making) would be how they were going to do that given that they went to the trouble of cutting off direct contact with the fanbase by shutting down their social media sites leaving the poor sods running the one man stores to be their online presence while just pumping out sales pitches from their ‘white dwarf daily’ section of their web store.

        But yeah all it would have taken was a frank and open explanation rather than leaving it to conjecture and educated guesses. Maybe a bit more advanced warning as well perhaps.

        It’s a shame because I actually quite like the new setting and advancing storyline, but then I wasn’t exactly heavily invested in terms of fantasy armies as others were.

  • rtheom

    I agree, one man stores are a terrible idea, but it doesn’t do any good when a good chunk of the “customers” that hang out there play games but never buy anything because they can just get it cheaper on eBay/the internet. We gamers need to get more of the mindset that we’re paying the extra to have a place to play. I’m not saying buy everything that comes out or be happy with ridiculous price hikes (I’m looking at you Archaon), but be willing to shell out the extra $5 on that Space Marine Tactical Squad so that you can also play with them there.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      none of the GW stores round here even have full size tables any more, so they aren’t any good to play in. So there really is no reason whatsoever to buy stuff there, unless you just want to pick up a pot of paint or something its not worth mail-ordering.

  • Matty Thompson

    The stores are a waste of time/money. The one by me closed because at 1 man, the hours were weird, and it was randomly closed without explanation some days. On top of that, GW makes so many of their products web exclusive that I never wanted anything the store sold, and I wasn’t about to drive 25 minutes to place an order on their computer just to drive back in a few days to pick it up. I’ll order from home and have it shipped to my home.

    • Dave

      Agreed. I stopped by the only local store about a year ago. The barely had anything other than basic kits and paint. The thing I made the trip for – liquid green stuff – not in stock. Haven’t been back since. – also, didn’t see a table, or any room to even have a table for play.

    • Defenestratus

      Back when I lived within driving distance to a GW Store, the hours were so spotty and we were always told to “check the facebook page before you leave to make sure we’re going to be open that day”.

      What kind of business doesn’t maintain regular operating hours – I’m not talking 8 to 5 bankers hours, I’m just saying that a brick and mortar store should have set hours that don’t change based on whether or not the ONE GUY has to go pick his kid up from school or something random like that.

      One time a guy drove 2 hours from across the state to come collect his preorder and when he arrived there was a note on the door saying “Be back in an hour!”

  • David Leimbach

    Maybe tabletop wargaming is splintering, and overall dying out against competitors like mobile gaming.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      It isn’t, really. The problem is that the industry is becoming multi-polar, with many games becoming popular rather than, as in the past, just GW’s games.

      Gw is just slow to recognize that as shift is occurring and they need to adapt to it.

    • It’s not, latest industry sales overall are booming. CCGs, Boardgames and RPGs are exploding, while mini games are growing modestly.

      What’s happening is that GW is now one of a handful of powerful companies in the space. They are no longer THE single dominant player. Asmogee(FFG) was bigger than GW in sales in 2014-2015. I can only see that trend continuing into this year. I’m sure Episode VII was a nice christmas gift for FFG sales.

      GW has the size and manpower to turn it around but they have to willing to shake the tree. News of Specialist Games is good as it is a sign they are being experimental. The 20 year old GW status quo just won’t cut it any more in today’s marketplace.

  • JonnyRocket

    Seems obvious, you want more money, reach more potential customers. Stop hiding in your one man stores and distribute your product to a wider audience. Stop your stupid politics and allow local hobby stores to sell your stuff online as well.

  • Solidus

    Sales of GW products are pretty much nonexistent around here anymore. They are literally starting to get a film of dust at all 3 locations. 2,3, 4 years ago, it was a completely different story. Our group of 5 alone spent close to $1500 per month, and there were constant 20+ man tournies. I don’t even see a game going anymore.

    I loved 40k to death…still can’t bring myself to sell off my books or my 30,000 points of Chaos. it’s just the honest, brutal truth.

    • ZeeLobby

      Our groups in the same boat. Think we might spend a year running a 40K campaign with what we have, but besides that, no one is really looking to buy more.

  • blackbloodshaman

    buh buh buh sales increased when accounting for constant currency if we conveniently leave out inflation ….ha ha ha

  • SundaySilence

    It’s sad because ultimately; that’s people’s jobs at risk. Say what you want about GW but at least they give people work which is a blessing in this day and age.

    • Clearly you’ve never actually worked for GW. It’s THE most stressful, toxic work environment I’ve ever seen. Employees are under constant demand to post year-over-year and month-over-month profits, are expected to “voluntarily” work several hours of unpaid overtime every week, and are told that there are no external factors that affect their sales at all and that absolutely everything that doesn’t go exactly perfectly is their fault. Everything about the company’s manner of handling employees is built to instill constant fear of termination.

      There are only two ways a career at GW Retail ends: they either fire you, or you see it coming and quit before they fire you.

      • One Angry Dwarf

        The above might sound overly dramatic apart from the fact it’s so widely reported. GW runs its operation, frighteningly, like a cult. There’s apparently little opportunity for adaptation and feedback and criticism is read as dissent, which is reflected in their tone deaf mission statements like ‘we intend to sell models at a profit forever’. This, in an age when non-adaption to new market models is death (Netflix = great adaptation success story).

        More disturbing are the things they say about their own staff, like in Kirby’s 2014 preamble that listed GW’s greatest threat not from new manufacturing process, industry competition or parallel competition like video games (all of which he breathlessly dismissed), but as their own staff. Red flag right there.

        Also, read their job advertisements. Half of the PD is about the strength of GW’s internal corporate identity, how they recruit people who focus on doing everything they can for the company all the time (an impossible expectation) and how ‘those who play at fitting in’ will be found out. Red flag.

        The sad thing is that the inflexibility that comes with corporate cults is the root cause for the community’s dissatisfaction. It filters down into the sales strategies for store managers, resulting in a visitor experience heavily skewed to hard selling. Very uncomfortable. It results in the pricing strategy of masking falling participation rates with ultra high prices to milk die hard fans. It results in a lack of critical awareness to accept strategy change. Red flag.

        Of course the reason why people criticise the company is that they at some point delivered us an amazing, formative experience which we adore. The problem is that, for a game that revolves around community, GW engages in some genuinely troubling behaviours that raise red flags about the company’s interpersonal ethics.

        • Adrik

          What you have described is no different than Verizon Wireless that would fire its employees that didn’t have its cellphone Service. A lot of large companies are run like a cult that want their employees to conform to the company.

          What people do not want to hear is that GW despite declining profits is still posting Profits. So there is no reason to really change when you can offset decline sales by increased pricing. When they take a loss and investors get upset that is when the issue will change.

          • One Angry Dwarf

            The fact that some companies run like cults doesn’t excuse the practice or shield people from the consequences. It’s not a matter of employees conforming to reasonable company policy, it’s about the company setting policies that put in place structural bullying.

            The case of any company only changing their internal culture if they post a loss, again, is an indictment of that company itself. If they don’t see a problem with change, then that’s a problem with the company.

          • Adrik

            They are still profitable. People raising a stink are the people who have a biased wish that the business is failing. Posting losses does not mean a company is dying. AMD posted loss after loss after loss every quarter for like a two to three year period and yet they are still around.

            In this we are not even talking about a company posting losses. It has had declining profits that is trivial and if it weren’t their investors would have axed the executives. We are talking about a company that is in a niche field, in an economy that isn’t strong, and a product that people will abandon if they are in financial troubles. I don’t know about you but i bought less 40k this year because I wanted to buy a new car and the way I budget my money I don’t touch my savings to buy stuff, I save up my spending cash. Generally I spend like 2k a year on 40k and the rest (i have a 10k budget for games and fun) and all of that went to the 10k down payment of my car. Niche products experience weaker sales when buyers focus on need based goods over want based goods.

            Now, is the company changing? The fact the new CEO has made a push for specialist games means GW understands it cannot have 3 product lines but must diversify. The thing is any change doesn’t happen overnight. It may take a year just for the new policies to full make a tangible impact. The fact that we have starter kits that are actually a huge deal compared to a la carte purchases is huge.

          • One Angry Dwarf

            Mate I think you’re misunderstanding me. I don’t think GW is going under anytime soon, I don’t want them to, and I don’t take any pleasure in bagging them.

            I’m commenting on their corporate culture, HR ethics and my experience of interacting with them as a customer, which is concerning for the reasons we’ve discussed above.

          • Adrik

            No, I understand that. I am just saying company culture in all facets is rather crappy. I will give an example. last year in my state on president’s day there was a huge snow storm and the governor declared a state of emergency. All the business still demanded their employees come in and many stores did not close until 6pm when the roads were completely undriveable.

            My brother had to work at his company (he is management) and on what normally takes 30 minutes to get home took him 3 hours. On his way home he narrowly escaped a car accident. He did not want to go in but being an adult with bills and the fact the company basically let everyone know that if they didn’t come in there would be issues…

            In this day and age working for a company that respects the lives of their employees is getting rarer and rarer. Heck, go check out Amazon’s fulfillment centers.. As bad as GW sounds Amazon is worse. And none of that justifies any of it. I am just saying it is going to get worse than better.

          • SundaySilence

            That’s kind of what I’m getting at; there are some real horrible places to work that are infinitely worse than GW. As a former employee from the heyday of early 2000s/late 90s; I saw some truly bizarre and I dare say cult-like practices but that was before they became owned. I don’t imagine it got any better after that and I imagine there is more pressure to perform but a move to diversity in their products and their IP going to more video games speaks of a shift in direction which I hope hasn’t come too late.

            And before anyone jumps down my throat: I don’t hate GW or its games. I met 95% of my social circle thanks to GW and even my partner to an extent. It’s not resentment at a failing parent; it’s more a concern for the crazy old uncle who has lost his way.

        • Agreed on all counts. Well said.

          And for the record, I was speaking from personal experience in my comment above.

          • One Angry Dwarf

            Yeah, it sounded like that. Were you a store manager?

      • Spiderpope

        There’s a third reason to quit: There’s no longer any way to advance past the store manager level. I know multiple successful store managers who have kept their branches exceeding sales targets, for several years in one instance, who are now leaving the company because there is nowhere else to take their career.

      • SundaySilence

        I have worked for GW, thanks. I worked in the now deceased Luton (UK) store for over a year and half. I was one key timer among three others, a manager and a full timer. That was thirteen years ago when things were very different.

    • An_Enemy

      The year long wage freeze they’ve imposed on their employees to mask the board’s incompetence from investors is a real blessing. Especially when they’re still paying dividends and the board themselves hold the lion’s share of the stock.

  • aka_mythos

    The problem with GW and the one man store is that they think of employees as “costs” when they are investments. By cutting the “cost” they effectively cut into their stores’ earning potential.

  • Razerfree

    Here’s a summary of the comments:
    Person 1 – “GW will do better next year, just wait and see!”
    Person 2 – “GW IS DOOMED!!! REPENT NOW!!!”

    Long story short: GW hasn’t been doing well, and it’s the cold hard truth.

    • ZeeLobby

      And just like MS when it was struggling, or Apple when it was down, it’s never going to fail. It may hit rock bottom, and might require a massive overhaul, but it’ll right itself eventually. My fear is that they’re seriously in denial though. And that’s never a good place to be when running a company.

      • JJ

        I’m not a GW hater but people said the same thing about TSR back in the day!

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean it’s definitely a possibility, but TSR never even dreamed of raking in the amount of money GW did in it’s prime. One of my best friends father’s runs Battlefront miniatures, used to work for GW, and the revenue difference between those is just astounding. GW is definitely a gigantic whale shark in a pond of plankton. It’ll take a long, slow, slide before they sink. Now they could be bought out and dismantled on a whim, but I can’t really predict when that would happen.

        • Adrik

          Yeah but the sky is falling crowd has been saying this since 2006. That is 10 years….

      • Dave

        Any company can fail. TSR WAS gaming for years. They had products everywhere.
        GW is a public company as well. They dont have to hit rock bottom, if the stock declines another company could simply BUY them.

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean yeah. But that’s like saying everyone dies, or everyone is born, etc. Eventually GW will cease to exist, no doubt. Could be a thousand years from now. Could be tomorrow. The point is GW will be around for a while before they do. And they’ve already been bought several times. Being bought does not = death. Any investor buyout won’t result in a name change, as that would certainly be death. And besides maybe wizards of the coast, no other gaming company had the money to take them over.

  • Luca Battisti

    Ugh. Bias is pouring out of this so much. If this is how the guy runs an analysis and makes a living doing it I wish I’d have chose to be an economist. I’d be stinking rich.
    This doesn’t mean that he could be right… But not for the right reasons, believe me. I believe that closing with “oxymoronic” (yeah, he really wrote that) would be enough to make me doubt everything he already wrote. And that’s not the only hint in the text that he is bitter.

    • David Leimbach

      Yeah, it’s pretty unprofessional. His speculation passed off as fact “Age of Sigmar, is not doing as well as hoped” doesn’t help his credibility. He didn’t get that from the report, and although most of us probably suspect it’s true, he states it as if it’s written somewhere by GW when it’s absolutely not.

      • Eric Buchanan

        He calls GW claim of releasing good new products “unsubstantiated” then offer his opinion on AOS with no evidence. Its a bit off putting.

      • Luca Battisti

        He does express those opinions in first person, but still it sounds like an appassionate of the game. Also focusing on the policy of one person in the manager makes the whole thing a bit… Off.
        Specifically the second maybe. If he believed so he could’ve said something like “I believe that the one-man store policy could be one of the culprits, which would mean that the top management of GW is doing something wrong.” Instead he went with “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.” The repetition of the same word (maybe) expresses an animosity that seems to me out of place in an economical piece. Then again it could just be casual or extrapolated from context. Then I read “oxymoronic”.

  • vyrago

    The collective might of Disney/Star Wars and their superior tabletop games (X-wing, Armada, Imperial Assault, Rebellion) are going to crush GW for the next few years. GW refuses to help itself and modernize. 40k needs a COMPLETE reboot. It *needs* pre-painted models, perhaps a tile-based map/terrain system and needs to be at skirmish level. The old-guard still feeding the furnaces of GW won’t allow this. Soon though, they’ll outgrow the game or move on. Star Wars, Flames of War, Infinity etc will claim them eventually and GW can die in peace.

    The best thing for 40k is for GW to die. After its dead, someone or some group can launch a kickstarter to revive 40k in a new form. Competitive rules, frequent and concise FAQs, balanced codexes, affordable miniatures along with a lower model count per battle should help people getting into this game years down the road.

    • kobalt60

      Pre-painted minis and a tile based game board, and i’ll be able to finally afford an old sports car, because i’ll be done spending money on 40k

    • Adrik

      You are close but off. GW needs to make a split off game that is much like what you are describing. If they “rebooted” 40k in to what you said it would annihilate them. You have too many people who actually like the format and would leave and never buy a GW product.

      GW needs to step back and release new games that are easy to enter, do not need painting, and can attract players that want really in depth rules. They need to release Battle Fleet Gothic, do a Kill Team game, and such.

      Remember Diversification is a good thing. They also need to stop having the Sales team dictate rules to the Dev Team.

  • Adrik

    I am willing to bet pushing Tau instead of concentrating on Chaos and the more popular factions saw a decline in sales, since that quarter results were from the time period of AoS and Tau releases. There was a noticeable issue in sales when the Mont’ka special edition which was only 1500 copies being sold worldwide failed to sell out and had to be taken off the sites quietly.

    The fact that GW opted to release the space marine and IG formations from the Mont’ka and Kauyon books speaks to the failure of those two books to entice enough buyers from outside the Tau player base to purchase those two books.

    Plus, add into that the popularity of Horus Heresy and I would argue that 40k has too many factions and too many popular factions are being neglected.

    • StingrayP226

      Biggest issue IMHO is HOW they release armies/upgrades. When they released new units instead of all of them for 1 faction it was 4 units for 4 different factions. That would allow every faction to get 1 new (usually with 2 different builds) unit every few months. Codexes move to a more optional art/fluff/story with the current units in it reference and new units are released with their stats. Offer eletronic versions free updates to justify full cost (eletronic should equal less costs to make so win win for GW).

      For an Eldar player like me that could mean I get new Aspect warrior models sooner rather than in 1 to 2 years.

      • Adrik

        Well, you got to remember the big push in sales is more so about new buyers. I mean I bought an entire retaliation cadre, the burning dawn cadre, 6 boxes of tau stealth suits. a ghostkeel, two whole boxes of centurions, a firewarrior squad, and two tau commanders during that quarter,

        If you look at the best sellers in that quarter it was not Tau but Skitarii. When GW releases a new army while the new units are meant to grab the interest of current players the real hope is new buyers will pick up that newly released army. From what it seems is that didn’t happen. The other issue is that so many factions are in the game you have popular factions that players have been raging about being completely ignored because the dev team cannot release new armies in a timely manner.

    • Spiderpope

      Tau are currently better sellers than Chaos. They were pushed because of how successful their previous releases were.

      • Adrik

        I have a hard time believing that just due to the fact that when dealing with GW US the sales team bemoaned the Tau sales figures. I know for a fact that this release at least in the States was a flop.

  • StingrayP226

    OK this isn’t good news for GW but they are not failing/dying YET. They are on a SLOW downward spiral, but its completely fixable. GW has the ability to turn around, win back players, and recruit new players but to do so they need to make some changes.

    Biggest change is realize they need to put GAME back into GAMEsworkshop and fix the rules for their flagship game(s). Effort to Balance, clear up rules, and do FAQs is needed. 40k has a massive fan base so rewritting the rules completely is not needed. Just need to polish it…

    It would be nice for them also to continue the discount box trend to help make the game more affordable.

    • Adrik

      That quarter’s failing in sales would indicate the Tau release (which was the major release in that quarter) did not do so well.

      Also of note is how much did the sale of video games hurt them. I mean people forget that Fallout 4 and some other triple A titles were released. In these economic times even niche markets are fighting for sales against other markets. I didn’t buy the titan bundles because I opted to use my bonus on buying my new car and a set of Continental DWS 06 tires. So GW lost 2k in sales because I opted to put more money on a sports car.

      • StingrayP226

        Also the whole AOS didn’t pan out too well. They sacrificed A LOT of their release times to AOS. Granted the issue could also be if you don’t like Fantasy Marines or Khorne there was nothing new for you other than repacked models.

        • Adrik

          Well, the release of a brand new game is always going to be an ugly thing. GW’s issue is they have the same Dev team working on both games. That slows things to a crawl. GW should expand their Dev team and stop thinking that its 40k player base will jump to its other offerings.

          • Spiderpope

            I think its the last thing you said that’s key. They are relying on pulling 40k players to AoS. Which great, thatd boost sales of their fantasy kits.But there’s a limit to the finances of 40k players. There’s no new revenue being brought in, its the same pool of cash being accessed from a different direction.

            And again I agree they need new blood in the design studio. AoS was a radical departure from WFB sure, but in comparison to other games, its rather traditional.

          • Adrik

            Well, they need a larger dev team because their releases are way too slow. A friend of mine pointed out that he wants new tyranids but all they released this month is a bunch of naked dwarves.

            It is anecdotal but I have an AoS kit and between painting my space marines, building a giant tau army, and painting my imperial knights and collecting Mechanicum… If you pull me to AoS you are robbing 40k. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

        • Adrik

          I’ll give myself for example. I have an AoS starter kit but realistically my 40k collection is so big i do not have time to put it together and paint my 40k stuff while building my AoS kit.

          GW doesn’t release AoS and 40k at the same time because they are scared one release will cannibalize the other. This means their sales department thinks that its selling to the same pool when instead they should treat both products as selling to a completely different customer base.

    • JP

      They’ll need to have the business men calling the shots fired and bring in some gamers to call the shots for that to happen. Care to guess what the odds are of that scenario occurring? The guys in charge have become old, jaded fat cats who now mistake the means for the end. They’re so fixated on making money now, they no longer realize that if they made the game more enjoyable and financially accessible to a larger audience, the profits would follow. They need to put the geriatric stallions out to pasture and get some broader minded colts in to revitalize things. Otherwise the HMS Games Workshop is going to keep taking on water and slowly slip into oblivion.

      • Adrik

        All companies are about acquiring money. A company that isn’t about acquiring money will be a company that goes bankrupt. What they need to do is increase the budget for the Dev Team and split it so GW can actually finish an edition. I have never understood why people talk about GW’s rules when this is a company that 40 to 50% of its armies are completely out of date.

        Second, since the sales team dictate design instead of just creating sales material based on what’s produced the game has suffered. An easy change is to decree the authority of the sales team. GW is an extremely conservative company and that has been a giant issue.

        GW needs to treat its products as something for two different demographics. They operate on the assumption that if you play 40k you will play all GW products. This is why the releases are staggered. They are afraid that releasing AoS and 40k in the same month will cause their products to eat into one another’s sales.

        Finally, they need more games.

        • JP

          So, basically almost what I said in different words.
          Get better at making the game better and they’ll make more money.

          • Adrik

            Not at all. What you are saying is the company should not care about making money and focus on just making its customers happy (which is a very BROAD statement). A publicly traded company does not have any responsibility to anyone but its investors. Period. Its unfortunate but that is the only thing that matters.

            Its investors who know more than you and I have not moved to replace the executives. They know more than you and i on the sales and if they aren’t worried about it and they aren’t making moves to seize control from the current executives than that means the Investors are satisfied with what they see.

            Since its a publicly traded company GW cannot mislead its investors about its sales otherwise their leadership would be put in jail.

            Now, much of the issues nowadays is due to the market moving towards low cost easy entry games. GW doesn’t need to turn 40k or AoS into those types of games. In fact doing so may actually be more devastating to the company than you can imagine. Seeing how their Ceo is bringing back Specialist games its pretty fair to imagine that GW will probably be working on low cost games that will appeal to more budget minded gamers. This may still annoy 40k gamers but the new CEO seems to understand that a diverse portfolio is better that just premium lines.

            The new CEO seems way more progressive than Jack Kirby who basically just put his head in the sand and said nothing needs changing. Hell, the starter army kits is a huge step forward. Jack Kirby moved the company from normal sales to niche based premium pricing. That is a conservative but no so stupid idea. However, when you move to premium line you have to also offer other products that are for more frugal gamers. That is right now GW’s issue.

            Rules and gaming is an argument for retention of customers. The issue is veterans do not spend as much as they think they do as their purchases are not as big as new buyers. Veteran gamers are the ones with complete collections that only buy new models when new releases are out. When GW does a new release the bulk of their money is made by people who are new to getting into the game. Every new release needs to bring in new gamers.

      • Spiderpope

        That’s the last thing they should do. Sack those with experience in business and replace them with gamers? Really?

        GW is a publically traded company. Making money is the point. If you think their decline in profits – and lets be clear, GW is still a profitable company even with the current problems – is a descent to oblivion, just watch their share price plummet the day they announce its all about making a fun game and sales don’t matter.

        • JP

          Yeah, because their current business model and practices are working so well for them right? Oh, wait…

          • Adrik

            Umm.. they are posting a profit. If they were posting losses than you may have something but they are posting profits. Decline in profit doesn’t really mean dying company if the company is still posting profits.

          • Spiderpope

            You mean making a profit consistently, quarter after quarter? Yeah that’s a real issue.

            GW certainly has issues that need addressing. But that doesn’t mean replacing their staff with amateurs.

          • JP

            Maintaining a profit by slashing costs like a machete killer going through cheerleaders isn’t the same thing as actual positive growth. Their numbers are still going down and have been for years.

          • Adrik

            You are making assumptions on positive growth. We do not know what their sales numbers look like. We do not know what product line sells and in what quantity.

            For the last 10 years people like you have been saying the same thing. 10 years..

            Even if they make changes (and the new CEO has) those changes are not going to cause any meaningful impact for a while. I mean you show me a company that has just made a change and next day they go from red to black.

          • JP

            It’s not a company, but Microsoft saved the Xbox One almost overnight by dropping their facist DRM policies.

          • Adrik

            The Xbox One wasn’t even released at that time so that is not even a valid statement. Microsoft announced their ideas for the XboxOne the customer base said they did not like that and Microsoft said “fair enough”. All that was before launch not after launch.

            What information in the reports? The reports only give an entire sum report. Nothing more. They do not break down by product line. So thats just conjecture. From what GW said is currency values hurt them more which can be a major part of their profit. Other than that Cost cutting is always done by companies. At Verizon Wireless I worked in a task force that’s only job was to study and submit cost saving measures.

          • Adrik

            In my opinion based on what I know about GW, their best strategy would be to make a very in depth budget friendly game while they make 40k and AoS their premium campaign games. They also need to back off of the whole make rules to sell models. The reason you have the proliferation of AP3 and AP2 right now is due to the idea that anything that has “anti-meq” will sell like hot cakes. Doing stuff like that hurts GW more than helps.

  • Talos2

    Isn’t the fact they reported an increase in profits despite seeing the model part of the business fall 15% kind of impressive rather than this huge problem. It suggests the top brass saw a threat and diversified the business effectively, protecting its future.

    • Adrik

      Yes.

    • Erik Setzer

      Actually, they note that in the annual report they expect a decrease in profit (including licensed products). But given that they’re having to rely on those licenses to make up for their dropping profits in their core product sales, that isn’t really a good sign overall. It’s okay in the short term, as it keeps them profitable, but if their core product lines collapse, then the IP isn’t going to be that valuable, and companies won’t bother with creating licensed products, which will kill off that source of income. Licensed products don’t protect a company’s future that well. Stabilizing its core sales is what protects their future, and those profits were down.

      And I wouldn’t say there was really an “increase” in profits. It pretty much just broke even.

  • Secundum

    Yes! All hail the death of Age of Sigmar!

  • Rich

    Where do I find all those cheap clones out on the interwebs?

    • Thatroubleshootah

      China

  • nurglespuss

    Not very. This report won’tmean a great deal, because GW is still under new leadership. 2 years time, and we should start seeing what the new direction is doing for GW. GW has undergone restructuring, invested in virtual (website/phone app/digital products etc), along with rolling out 2 new games in quick succession, and absorbing repackaging costs. So, I’m not holding much stock in this report, or Richards interpretation as yet. Despite the ‘sky is falling’ narrative we keep seeing, at no point has the GW machine become in any real danger, they’ve maintained profit throughout.

  • doughouseman

    Games Workshop used to have a large stable of games available. They had the marketing machine of the Hobbit, and 2 main games that have great fluff, and a wide range of miniatures. They had game designers who could create games (Andy Chambers, et. al.).

    AoS, was a step in the wrong direction to clean up Warhammer, dropping all the specialist games hurt. The fact that the local GW stores are falling back on Warhammer 8, and that GW has revived the specialist games may help. 30K may help 40K or fracture the whole thing – no one knows yet. But in the short run they are selling a pile of 30K games.

    40K is a hot mess, the rules are so complex you need months to master them. Some people like complex rule sets, but most people just want to understand a game and play.

    The big wildcard are games that start on Kickstarter and have veterans of various game companies driving them. CMON, Mantic, Hawk and others are grabbing big chunks of the market and active gamers. Then there is X-wing and all the games stemming various long term movie franchises.

    GW needs to do several things:
    1) Find reasonable prices for products (the bundles are a good start)
    2) Carry thru on the specialist games
    3) Think about how to make it a game and put priority on fixing the rules (simpler would be better to gain more new players)
    4) Rethink AoS from the ground up)
    5) Move to putting the unit rules in the box (cards anyone?) so that new units can come out without waiting for a Codex
    6) Lower the prices on their digital products and make them available on any platform
    7) Close many 1 man stores and use the FLGS network they have instead. Have GW employees visit the FLGS on a regular schedule to do intro games and run store tournaments, GW providing prizes and special prices on the visit day
    8) Build a dialog with their customers and then listen to them.

    Nothing hard, but it will make a big difference in a short period of time. Otherwise Mantic, CMON, Hawk and others will own the non-movie space and Disney, et. al. will own much of the rest of the market.

    • frank

      so age of sigmar is completely off to you but 40k is too complex but, im sure your input should prove invaluable to the saving of this company right?

      • Thatroubleshootah

        One bowl of porridge is to simplistic and one bowl is too needlessly complicated. Bolt action is just right.

      • doughouseman

        Nope, not what I said. I said it was a step in the wrong direction. Anytime a mustache comes into a game played by 12 to 15 year olds, Mom and Dad have a problem shelling out money for the game. It is not to simple, it is rather missing clear tactical rules for older gamers and has elements that are off putting for parents buying the game for their children. As to 40K, yes the rules are too complex – and there are far too many areas where the rules are poorly written or left to the gamer to complete (e.g. stacking of bonuses or abilities in some cases).

        If the 40K rules were better written in terms of completeness, the complexity would go down significantly – even if every unit had special rules and the rules length doubled. The complexity in my mind is in the fact that so much of what the rules base is requires the players to agree on how the rules work, hence the long FAQ’s used at tournaments and the house rules at almost every FLGS (and several GW stores) that I frequent. No two places play 40K the same way.

        I apologize if my post left you with the simplistic idea that one was too simple and the other too complex. Both suffer from GW’s feeling that they are a miniature (model) company and not a game company. Almost any other miniature game I pick up – the rules are much clearer and better written.

        Just to make it clear we teach 40K, 30K AoS, Warhammer Fantasy, Zombicide, MERCS, Infinity DropFleet, Malifaux, Warmachine, Hordes, Halo, X-Wing and other miniature games at conventions.

        The GW games are the only ones that our learn to play sessions run 3 hours for, the balance of the games are all 2 hour sessions.

    • Thatroubleshootah

      Yup

  • frank

    does anyone consider with how many popular companies out there that have been developing in the last five years or so, longer still in some cases now take a larger portion of the market than ever in regards to games workshop’s sales. im sure the prices haven’t helped but, it seems that unlike most the competition that they have faced in the past these new companies have some staying power and it maybe because they are cheaper overall or maybe that the market for minis is changing?

  • Local Ork

    When I search for GW, Google suggest eBay.
    M,kay.

  • dakota5X5

    Over the last couple of years GW has really tried it’s hardest to give fans what they wanted.
    No really!
    Think back to all those polls a few years ago where people asked for what they wanted most: Ad-mech – done, harlequins- done, knights – done, faster release rate with less wait inbetween editions – done. the only things missing off that list are squats, genestealer cults, and arbites.

    we wanted discounts – now with the new starter sets and big army boxes you actually get a pretty decent deal (well for GW anyways).

    codex too expensive and heavy – here’s softback ones again

    when the community stopped buying fantasy (and you did), they tried to salvage the division with a new long term strategy with age of sigmar.
    you even asked for the return of long defunct games that you stopped buying almost 20 years ago, and they’re brining those back too
    .
    nothing but fan service.
    there’s still plenty of things that wind me up about gw but i can see they’re trying

    • Hadrian

      They are trying, but they have missed the most important part to a lot of their fan-base. We asked for these things in the hopes that they would be well thought out game pieces.

      Instead we have a lot of great looking models and shiny new books, but the games themselves are hardly worth the paper they are printed on. If Games Workshop wants to survive long term they need to learn to do market research and they need to learn how to negotiate with their player-base. Great models and great rules are not mutually exclusive.

  • ted1138

    I’m amazed their stores are making a loss. They should be making big profits as there are no middle men creaming off a cut. All their stock is their own IP, designed by them and manufactured by them. That alone suggests to me that there’s something very wrong with their business plan. Maybe it’s time to close some stores instead of opening more, and start supporting clubs and independent stores. Also, a web site that shows people how their games work, how to build and paint, and some background to who the models represent would be a good idea.

    In other words, it’s time to abandon the 90’s business model and embrace the internet age of the 21st century.

  • Muninwing

    “…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.”

    umm… duh.

    this was a foolish stopgap move to reduce overhead at the expense of the store. it failed to achieve stability. anyone who had ever worked as a redshirt, regularly visited a GW, knows about the hobby and the game, or has a moment to look at the one-man-model could have told you that it was unsustainable.

  • Richard Mitchell

    So begins the wall of denial.

  • jbaidacoff

    Oddly, today, out of a portfolio of 54 stocks I own or watch (GW is in the latter) it was the only one in the green today. I guess when the world is going to hell, people want to play games.

  • ted1138

    Maybe choosing to be a miniatures company instead of a games company is to blame. If people stop playing your games they also stop buying your miniatures.

    If their stores aren’t making a profit selling Warhammer, maybe it’s time they started selling something else?