Finance: Games Workshop Annual Update

Stock market data with uptrend vector. 3d render.

GW’s 2015/2016 fiscal year is behind them and here is a quick update from the company on how they fared:

via GW Investor Relations:

TRADING UPDATE ON CLOSE OF FINANCIAL YEAR ENDED 29 MAY 2016

“Following the close of its 2015/16 financial year Games Workshop provides the following trading highlights:

We expect the Group’s profit for the year to 29 May 2016 to be slightly above market expectations due to earning more licensing income than we were expecting.

Over the year, sales have been largely the same as the prior year across all channels.

We will provide the detailed information on the results for the 2015/6 financial year at the time of our announcement on 26 July 2016.”

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If you recall, they issued the following half year results 6 months back:

GW Half-Yearly Financial Out

Revenue £56.5m (2014) £60.5m (2013)

Pre-tax profit £6.3m (2014) £7.7m (2013)

 

We will have to wait till July 26th to get the full annual details. In the first 6 months of this year, profits were down 19% year per year. But it would appear that after the year of Age of Sigmar’s rollout, GW has licensing to thank for “pulling it out of the fire”.  Remember that there have been over 2 dozen licensed GW video games out there, so even with few to no “mega-hits”, in aggregate, they’ve all added up to some noticeable amount of licensing revenue.

~ What do you expect to see in the full report 12 months after Age of Sigmar was released?

  • Discoqing

    This report is 8 days old, lol

  • DJ860

    I’d be interested to know if Total War: Warhammer was included in these numbers as it saw outrageously high sales figures in the first days of launch.

    • Frank Krifka

      I don’t think they get royalties off the sale of each individual game, its probably more just licensing fee for use of their IP.

      • Thrawn

        that’s not necessarily true. it depends on what they negotiated, sometimes license fees can take the form of a one time fee, other times it’s dependent on sales, other times profitability, but unless either party is willing to disclose it’s contract (which i doubt they will) we won’t know.

        • Frank Krifka

          usually royalties are denoted on an separate section of the financial report.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    well I hope they are doing OK, I’d hate for them to go bust.

    However if licensing revenue is all that’s keeping them afloat that doesn’t seem very positive. They are supposed to be a tabletop game company and if the game slides in popularity surely the wider IP will also lose value eventually?

    You’d think with all the work they’ve done and the success of Imperial Knights, Ad-Mech etc that they’d be doing really well, especially if as we’ve heard WHFB was just a drain on their resources. Perhaps 40K’s sales are in worse health than it appears.

    • ZeeLobby

      It’s all just anecdotal til the numbers come out, but our local FLGS is regularly reducing stock of GW products. It’s just rarely played. I still have hope that an 8th edition will revitalize games. Just too many Ork, DE, BA, AM, etc. players putting armies on the shelves to play other games.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I see the same thing here. I live between my place and my in-laws who need some help now they are old. Used to be 4 independent GW stockists along my 40 mile route I could stop at to pick up paint or a kit or whatever. Two were model stores, one a toy shop and one a game store. Only the toy shop and one model store are still trading and neither now stock GW stuff.

        I suspect the Internet is hurting everyone’s margins, high prices are off-putting, the game is locally less healthy and apparently GW’s local rep was just terrible (the model store owner said GW’s sales team’s behaviour was psychopathic). I’ve seen a lot of gamers in local clubs move to other systems. The few new players are mostly adults who used to play as teens returning to the hobby, but even they are mostly buying from Ebay because of GW’s prices.

        Anecdotal, but none of this can be doing GW any good.

        • Me

          Well, with the changes we have been seeing (like tournie support and FAQs), I am hoping that GW is about to start doing a turn around on how it treats FLGSs, starting with the stocking requirements. It would be nice to see them supported instead of GW trying to stab them in the neck with salt encrusted thumb tacks (they won’t kill you, but they might make you wish they had).

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            they are definitely making positive changes. I guess these consistently bad results have made them think about what they are doing.

        • Muninwing

          you’re not accounting for the loss of free advertising that GW has had up until now.

          their products, to the right person, are just so cool… so interesting… that it makes that right person want to be a part of it. watching a game in a gaming store means that a gamer or parent/friend/relative of a gamer is seeing something that might interest them or someone they know. that sells models.

          the fewer places that see play, that have games or events, the less advertising they have.

          one-man stores cannot do what the older 3-5 man stores in malls could. when i was a redshirt, i could play intro games with kids while my coworker gave hobby tutorials and my other coworker played a game with a longtime regular. each had a different role, each could offer something to the passer-by who would look in.

          i don’t think the prices are necessarily the biggest issue. the prices, adjusted for inflation, are more or less consistent over the last 15+ years — sometimes better, when you account for the addition of bitz. i think the reordering of the economy that happened after the 08 world banking crisis has had some effect on how we view money, but not an overall change in how much.

          what i think is a bigger deal is GW pulling out of an active role with their own product. no online forums, no website hobby tutorials (i miss the Black Gobbo articles), no GTs, no prize support, no club crowdsourcing… just nothing.

          if you had, in your LGS, a club of at least 10 active members, and they had quarterly tournaments with prize support, and they ran events each summer, and they offered startup deals to new players, and they were called upon to playtest new rules, and they had access to campaign-running materials (such as metrics for designing asymmetrical missions, progress trackers, ranking systems, predesigned missions, etc)… how much more would you see people playing? and how much more would interested passers-by be in buying?

          and then, what about the effect of actually calibrating the game — people would be more willing to invest in top shelf quality products if they are more assured of the legitimacy of the product. if you want to have a boost in sales, then GW could use tournament data and rules questions in order to recalibrate points-costs using a functional algorithm that gave more balance to the system as a whole. if you want to sell more Dark Eldar, for instance, you don’t change their aesthetic or make them the new overpowered army — you give them fair points and adequate options and a niche to sit in that isn’t done better by anyone else.

          short-term sales boosts from new books with massive codex creep was a boost to 5th that crashed soon after. the damage is still being done, and will be until the balance issues are fixed. how many players shelf their projects because they get frustrated with the playability?

      • WellSpokenMan

        There is a local tournament scheduled for November. There are 28 people signed up for 40k and 24 signed up for Infinity. Last year at this time, there wasn’t anybody playing Infinity locally, and it’s the first year the tournament has included Infinity. That’s just one metro area, but it’s not good for GW.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah man, Infinity is HUGE around here too.

          • euansmith

            Infinity is tiny around our neck of the woods; heck, I can see the beginning and the end of the universe from my bay window.

          • ZeeLobby

            LoL. You make my day.

        • Stealthbadger

          I’d say surely this just shows infinity has grown. If there were 50 40k players last year then it would infer infinity has stolen market share. But it may also simply show 40k players have begun to dabble in other games.

          An optimist might even conclude that the expansion of ANY miniatures game is great as it brings more people into the hobby, which then might lead them into other systems and ultimately grow the entire table top community.

          Frankly why do there have to divisions between infinity, warmachine 40k x wing etc. It’s as dumb as people getting tribal about Xbox v PlayStation. Anything that grows the hobby generally cab only be good for players right?

          • WellSpokenMan

            I didn’t bring it up to illustrate a rift, but to show how competition is eating into GWs sales. 20 plus people bought into that game in the last year and are satisfied enough to sign up for a tournament and pay a fee almost 6 months out. A few years ago GW would have gotten a lot of the money that was spent on Infinity. I own both games, but I haven’t bought a GW product in over a year. I hope GW does right the ship, and I hope to play and enjoy 40k again. They have their work cut out for them though, because they messed around long enough for people to realize there were alternatives.

          • Stealthbadger

            Sorry, I wasn’t implying you did, just making an observation that The us vs them attitude on systems is odd for a niche nerdy hobby.

            On your main point I agree. They’ve got to heal a lot of wounds. What I see continually on these boards is PASSION. People get riled up because they really care about their system or the hobby. This is great and it’s such a shame to see how under Kirby GW pissed the goodwill up the wall. I assure you retailers would kill for the kind of devotion demonstrated here. Apple nailed it years ago which is why they are so successful despite releasing overpriced under specced products.

          • Muninwing

            remember that business and upper management think differently than the average hobbyist.

            that old B. F. Skinner quote: “tell me what you do and i’ll tell you who you are”

            they see each dollar/pound spent on another company’s product as a dollar out of the pocket of a potential customer who has chosen not to spend it on GW product.

            to some extent, i get where they are coming from. but i have lots of interests and a family and friends. lots of my money goes elsewhere. and what i have budgeted for fun spending covers a wide range.

            still… if they want to use this logic, then why aren’t they licensing bitz makers to do what they choose not to, if it will lead to more sales of their kits to add parts on to? chapterhouse does some neat crisis suit heads — a product GW does not make, but one that can add some real personality to the army. if they had “bitz maker” licenses they sold to companies like that, and gave them some support (free advertising in a functional WD, etc) to make it worth it, everyone (including the consumer) would benefit.

            and also, we do vote with our wallets. i have refused to buy anything for AoS until they fix it, including Silver Tower (which i very much want). and i stopped buying from GW during the second half of 5th, because it was no longer fun. i bought other games then — but then again, i bought into WM then and made no further purchases because i didn’t like the game.

            i’m completely convinced that no other change would help their bottom line more than balancing the game. sure, certain armies (in 5th and early 6th it was GK/Necrons, now it’s superfriends and Eldar D-spam) sell better because they are “more bang for the buck” — but the player fatigue, the discouragement this adds to the people who have not invested in those armies (monetarily, aesthetically, or mentally), and the general dissatisfaction with a product of perceived lower quality than it promises all add up to lost sales.

      • zeno666

        Good for them! 🙂

      • Muninwing

        really? not bothering to pay attention to your fanbase has negative results?

        i wonder if anyone told them that.

        • Muninwing

          sorry… that wasn’t supposed to sound like i was mocking you.

          GW had so much loyalty in their fans, and has squandered it like crazy. then we had the Kirby/Ward 5th/7th era, where cheezing out certain lines to increase short-term sales was seen as a selling strategy, despite weakening the respective games and creating balance issues that then alienated players.

          then there was the mess they caused with the botched rollout of AoS.

          it’s just so laughably bad, that these upper management buffoons making these huge unprofessional mistakes are still paid ridiculously more than they would have been a decade or two ago, and obscenely more than the average person. and if any of us were to screw up as badly as they have, our careers would be over.

          • ZeeLobby

            Totally agree. And don’t worry, haha. I didn’t take it that way.

        • ZeeLobby

          yeah, i mean it’s obvious to us. I’m just shocked they haven’t tried righting things sooner. I guess it was that long stint of completely ignoring the community.

          • Muninwing

            that’s corporate culture. they have theories, they have practices that are seen as beneficial, they implement changes… but it’s really about short term gains that make short-term execs look good so they can move on to a higher-paying gig at another company.

            it’s unsustainable.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Actually, lots of companies survive off their IP rather than their core products.

      D&D has to earn a hundred million dollars a year to stay as a brand in the eyes of Hasbro. At their peak in the early 2000’s, D&D was only a 35 million dollar franchise. They get to the hundred million dollar mark through licensing.

    • Stealthbadger

      This sadly is possible but it’s worth waiting for the figures first. The theme at the moment is they are ‘largely the same as the prior year’.

      The main challenge for GW is any failure is likely to come at an exponential rate as the community does out. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    • euansmith

      If licensing fees are keeping them afloat, then, maybe we will see more more licensing deals; hopefully they can’t all be terrible.

  • ZeeLobby

    No shock with the licensing. Won’t be shocked when sales have dropped yet again either.

    • benn grimm

      Indeed. Throw enough crap at a wall and some of it’s bound to stick… irritate enough loyal customers and watch them become loyal no more…

    • Aezeal

      True but I have a feeling things are picking up slightly and th e generals handbook migh t help. Will they give numbers per ip?

      • ZeeLobby

        nah. They just lump it all under licensing usually. I’m sure Total War was a big one though, and BFG: Armada. I mean those are two at least AA titles, so I’m sure they saw income with those. It’d be hilarious if Total War sales were the majority of it. Oh the old world :(.

        That said, if done right, the handbook could be solid.

        • Aezeal

          I actually meant their own ip sales… meaning aos, 40k and the other stuff. I know aos isn’t doing well but wondering a out 40k. But I see why my post was misinterpreted.

          • ZeeLobby

            Ah. Yeah. They just lump those as well. Usually during their stock-holder address they’ll say things like “AoS is doing as strong as we expected” and other vague jargon. The docs will simply have one line item detailing “sales”. At least that’s how they’ve done it in the past.

    • Shiwan8

      It is what it is when prices go up alienating collectors and balance gets worse alienating gamers.

  • SilentPony

    I’m still just legit surprised for a company so infamously poorly run and with such utter contempt for its fans they still somehow turn a profit.

    • Stealthbadger

      Out of interest why would you say it is poorly run?

      • SilentPony

        Simply because my local store manager is always complaining about getting new regional bosses, or how terrible their promotional plans are, or how they limit the number of game tables he can have while requiring him to have one set up for demos of the Age of Sigmar/Dark Vengeance boxes.
        Oh and apparently the conferences they run are complete shambles with half finished power point presentations and GW refusing to comp people for hotel fees on mandatory conferences.

        • benn grimm

          Classy…

          • SilentPony

            Oh and my GW manager has said on numerous occasions if he could charge either an entry fee or for table use, he would. $50 minimum, per player, per match.
            And he’s love to ban any OOP models or anything that isn’t currently on the shelves, because it would force people to rebuy models for armies. And his region manager would be totally cool with it.

            GW truly has nothing but contempt for their fans and treat the tabletop game itself as an inconvenience.

          • Stealthbadger

            Your manager sounds kind of jerky. How on earth would anything he said be a good idea?

          • No Body

            Sounds like an excellent way of getting himself fired and the store shut.

          • Calum Wallace

            The guy who was (note ‘was’) running my local GW just got sacked about a month and a half ago for very similar behaviour – the bloke we’ve got in now is lovely.

            I’d advise getting onto their customer complaints department (yes, they have one) and making as huge a fuss as you possibly can – then being unsurprised and satisfied when you find a temp guy in his place and hiring notices up.

        • Jason C

          That guy just sounds like a complainer. And what boring things to talk about with people I assume are there to relax and have fun! Like a bartender telling you about alcoholism and DWIs.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        they seem poorly run to me for one big reason: they don’t listen to customers.

        Customers have been crying out for certain models or for lines to be refreshed (Plague Marines/Tsons for example, or Sisters) but instead they release models no-one asked for.

        Likewise we cry out for broken aspects of the game to be fixed, or for codexes to be updated which are dreadfully out of date, and instead they do other things.

        No-one asked for AoS. WHFB was in trouble because GW had broken it, but I didn’t hear anyone asking for a round base- four page ruleset as a fix.

        Also everyone has complained about pricing irregularities and price rises for years but GW never have a sale and continue to raise prices. They must surely know that this simply drives people onto Ebay. Its a rarity to see a new model at my club, everyone just buys stuff second hand. Even a 20% reduction in prices would probably change this and increase sales massively.

        • Stealthbadger

          Ok, I understand but here’s the counter points:-

          Models take several years to get to market plus they need time to fit it into the release schedule. In the last 18 months they’ve release ad mech/skitarri, genestealer cult, and they’re working on deathwatch. All seem to be fan favourites. In addition they are making major releases for Sigmar which they NEED to engage interest in by investing resources. At the end of the day they are a relatively small company with limited resources, maybe they’re getting to those armies but right now I wouldn’t call not releasing them imminently to be incompetent.

          As to not fixing their game, we’re getting FAQs which is a step in the right direction, also there are rumours of a new edition later in the year which may help. I accept it also may not but in the meantime I’m at least open minded enough to wait and see.

          No one asked for AoS. If companies relied solely on what consumers asked for they wouldn’t last long. Every so often they have to gamble. As to whether this gamble paid off… Time will tell. Henry Ford once said if ‘I’d asked people what they want they have asked for faster horses.’

          As for reducing prices this just isn’t a good idea, if you cut prices by 20% you have to sel 20% more product JUST TO BREAK EVEN. This requires 20% market growth which is really ambitious I a niche hobby like this. Also too expensive is simply relative, I accept the models are not cheap but they are not too expensive for me. Does that make them reasonably priced then? the issue of eBay is not limited to GW, this is killing many companies just like the Internet retail phenomenon is for many high street companies. Also what about the start collecting boxes? No dispute that those are discounts.

          As to staff turnover, welcome to sales 30% turnover in high pressure sales environments is not great from a company perspective. However, I’ve heard the new guy is genuinely looking to fix this but it will take time.

          As for the failing to comp staff for hotels, that depends on how far people have come. A tight leash on expenses though is not bad business practice. Poor conference presentations are down to the presenter. Some people are just not public speakers nor are they good at presenting. Often I see this even at high levels because a lot of directors are accountants or general business folk with no experience of public speaking and organising these things. It’s harder than it looks to do well.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            those are all good points.

            Regarding time lags, this is true but some models have been needed for years, even decades. I had plastic Plague Marines in 2nd Edition, why am I still waiting for them now? Wouldn’t Putrid Blight Kings release slot have been better filled with these? There are so many really odd kits they have released with limited appeal (Mutalith anyone?) when so many really important models have ancient or poor models. They need to prioritise better.

            I applaud many of the new releases, but in the meantime they are losing players.

            FAQs coming is indeed awesome, and I love the recent community engagement. These are indeed good signs and maybe indicate some real change.

            They NEED to reduce prices. Start Collecting boxes are excellent, but only if you want what is inside. The CSM one is awful for instance. I buy a couple of new kits a year. I’d buy probably ten or 15 if their prices were better (thats what I buy off Ebay). I suspect a lot of people are similar judging by gamers I know. Perhaps that 20% increase wouldn’t be so hard. For instance the new crates; when I heard they were £20 I planned to buy three boxes, but at £30 I won’t buy any because I don’t like feeling ripped off. Small changes in pricing make a huge difference in sales and goodwill.

        • Aaron Ridgley

          This ^^.

          It has been confirmed that GW does not do market research.

          • Stealthbadger

            Market research would effectively yield them the comments section of this website. I’d can my market research if the common theme was cut prices and retract licensing of IP.

        • Admiral Raptor

          My groups moved exclusively to recasters. Best Warhammer related decision we ever made.

          I used go mostly through e-bay but even that has become far more expensive than it should. No one should ever have to pay more than $15 for a squad of Space Marines.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            No company in the business lets you buy 10 highly detailed plastic models for 15 bucks.

          • UrFrndJenn

            Just go get a bag of army men from target. Instant Astra militarum!

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Warlord Games? Mantic? Perry? There are more.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Warlord’s best models are metal. Their plastics are detailed and good but they aren’t GW good.

            Mantic…? Seriously? Seriously? Most of their range vacillates from ok to god awful looking. People play Mantic games for the game, not the models.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Mantic’s Zombies and a few other lines are excellent, but yes they are patchy, but getting beter. the new Deadzone models are really good. Warlord’s models are good and although perhaps not as good as the best Gw (though they have amazing variety of options) they come 40 in a box for the price of 5 GW models. They are also so incredibly cheap in comparison, you can get a whole BA army for under £80.

          • Stealthbadger

            But crucially what are their profit margins. Also do they have the infrastructure to support that GW does?

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            well we are discussing the value for money, so how much profit they make doesn’t seem important. You can buy from Warlord at a 20% discount if you are a GCN member or there are a few discounters that stock their stuff. They and Mantic and Perry have all been going for years. Mantic and Warlord are expanding fast so I guess they are both doing very well. Perry is a smaller operation but still constantly putting out new plastic box sets so I’m sure they are doing well too.

            Also think on this, these companies don’t have anything like the economies of scale or in-house production facilities or distribution networks GW have, yet still they produce a comparable product at a fraction of the cost and make a profit. GW must be tremendously inefficient in comparison, with all the benefits they have, to have to charge so much yet make a shrinking profit.

          • Stealthbadger

            To be honest you may be right. I think GW suffer from having to carry the B&m stores. I get the logic behind them but I’m not sure I’d keep them if it were my company. Instead I’d rely on FLGS and regional gaming centres. However this is another massive gamble, if it failed I’d probably tank the company. Not surprised they’ve not plumped for it.

            I presume your US as in UK we can easily buy GW for similar discounts. It’s actually FFG who are pricey to me. As for comparable products, well I don’t know e Pugh here on model quality so I can’t dispute this.

            But if GW fail, do you think this will be good for tabletop gaming in general or bad?

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            GW stores are important, especially in Europe.

          • Stealthbadger

            On the one hand they may entice people into the hobby. On the other they cost a metric **** ton of capital.

          • rickyard

            But local stores CAN ALSO entice people and you don’t have to waste money on them, all you had to do is ALLOW them to earn money with your product (the most normal thing to do when you are the manufacturer). Intead of taking care of their possible sale channels, they wanted to make more money and BE the channel themselves. it costed money but the reward was to avoid sharing the profit with the local store. BUT they have not managed to make it, because local stores have way more options, more games, more tables and of course they are polite enough, they care about the costumer and got resources (more than one person is a lot of resources considering the one person GW store).

          • rickyard

            They have to stop to be important: they were doing exactly the same as any other LFGS, but focused just in GW product. So they have been shortsighted and they have not been able to understand that people CAN go to another store and see the rest of the competition.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            no I’m in the UK, my comment about getting Warlord at discount was to make the point that their margins must be reasonable or they would be direct sales only like some model companies.

            I suspect you are right about the physical stores, thouh without detailed accounts its hard to say. they also have a very impresssive (and expensive) HQ and since the company seems to be run for the benefit of a small cabal of management it may be their costs are very high unnecessarily. Look at the weird (and seemingly dodgy) high cost of their website which went to Kirby’s wife’s company!

            FFG are pricier in the UK, DUST was also horrendous over here.

            GW seem to have bad relationships with their stockists, which can’t help matters, and makes the chances of FLGS replacing GW stores even more of a risk. Mind you, I’m not sure high street stores are the recruitment tool they once were. They certainly aren’t places to play any more, all my local ones have barely a single table useable for customers.

            I suspect if GW went then things would carry on much the same. A few years ago I wouldn’t have said that, but there is a lot of diversity now. As others have said I doubt 40K would disappear as its IP would be bought by someone else, or possibly as we have seen with 9th Age enthusiasts would simply take over management of rules.

          • Stealthbadger

            Ah ok.

            I agree with pretty much all of that. I suppose GW going bust is like Brexit. Nobody has a clue what would happen.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            good analogy! I must say though, big game companies have gone bust surprisingly fast before and big games have vanished without trace.

          • rickyard

            Thay want to have stores because they want to make the money only for themselves. The profit that could go to a third party is only for them. By the way, this has become a very bad idea: the normal channels that sell minis are upset with them, so you won’t see many people trying to convince you to buy a GW product in a LFGS.

          • Stealthbadger

            Not sure I understand on the profit point. GW will profit from FLGS when they sell them stock. There’s no way they supply FLGS at cost price. You’re right if your point is that their own stores make MORE profit due to a higher sale price but then the issue is GW competes against itself by allowing FLGS to undercut then on price.

            The problem for FLGS is that they work in a niche market, if you as an owner restrict the product range you sell that’s bad business as you need a diverse client base to maximise income from your chosen market.

            A lot of the FLGS problems I hear about stem from the owner being a bad businessman thinking just because she or he loves gaming they can run a gaming business. This includes things like hating AoS, only allowing certain games to be played, failing to make the store a good environment to play certain games. When you run a business you have to divorce yourself from emotion over the hobby and focus on how you market your store and keeping a diverse range of systems regardless of whether jyou personally like the system or not. Some managers sound like spoilt children. GW are also not always immune from this when they get a bad manager but at least there is some direction from above. Maybe GW should come to some agreement about stocking other games, for a potential cut of revenue of course.

          • rickyard

            Support? are you kidding?

            If they need more infrastructure than warlord is THEIR problem, more infrastructure should mean MORE customers and MORE profit… it seems it is not the case. They must be doing something bad.
            Warlord games tried to sell a “how to paint” pdf article, it was just about 3 or 4 pounds. Two hours after the offer they were giving excuses to all their customers because people was really upset because they were trying to earn money with a “similar to GW” way of making money XDD

          • rickyard

            Warlord plastic models are great, for example, bolt action models represent real armies, so the content in the box is soldiers with guns, equipment, bags, pistols, grenades, machineguns… what else do you think they should have? they are really nice, well done, detailed, fun to build (LOTS of options), and of course WAY cheaper than GW. And the games are really FUN to play. In fact, got three bolt action armies (german, US and english) and no figure is metal.

          • Stealthbadger

            How is depriving the company who creates the games and models of income ‘the best warhammer decision’

            It’s a good decision for you to save money, sort of, but terrible for the company, the employees who work for it, and the retailers who stock it.

          • WellSpokenMan

            If he wouldn’t buy the models at the price offered and he obtains them through other means, then there is no loss to the company. They would not have made the sale anyway. Copyright losses rarely take into account that the person could abstain entirely if a cheaper option was not available.

          • Stealthbadger

            Hi, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to disagree here. This is the same argument trotted out by Internet pirates. If you don’t want to pay the price you should not get to enjoy the fruits of others labours. There’s no justifying it saying I wouldn’t have bought it anyway because that’s bollocks. You want the product, you’ve proved this by demonstrating that you’re willing to buy or steal it. You just don’t want to pay for it.

            I’m not going to moralise here, it’s not my place to judge. I would say try working or even just talking to those in the creative industry who’ve seen third hard work stolen by people. Then see what their view is of those trying to justify this theft by saying they would never have bought it’s anyway, despite enjoying the benefit of it,

            Im sorry but this is just simply people wanting something but not wanting to pay for it.

          • No Body

            Agree ebay has become terrible. Was bidding on 3 used SM bikes at $30. Was quickly out bid and then a bidding war began and they ended up being sold for close to $50 + shipping! For some used crappy bikers that needed a lot of work to get back into decent shape before you could repaint them.

          • DJ860

            So what exactly do you expect to happen in the long run? If everyone had your approach and GW tanked, exactly what would there be to recast? That’s the equivalent of justifying buying rip off DVD’s in the pub because you don’t like paying £12 for a DVD.

    • Badgerboy1977

      Neither of those is actually true though to be fair…

      • SilentPony

        Oh trust me. GW HATES you. And me. And Steve, and Karin, and Bob, Bill and Barker. Hates every last one of us.

        • Badgerboy1977

          Really? It’s just I’ve been to GW HQ a few times and met plenty of the main guys there as well as quite a bit of email discourse and customer service experience and they’ve always been very friendly and personable in my experience but yeh I guess they’re just hiding it well and secretly despise all their customers after all….

          They don’t always get the business decisions right, which could be what you mean, I’ll admit but quite frankly what company does?

          • Shiwan8

            It does not show in their games though.

          • minowaman

            Yeah it’s best not to give them a cent I think. They are terrible at making games and they’re prices are laughable. In Australia it’s 70$ for a dice shaker! Nobody should be encouraging this.

          • Shiwan8

            Agreed.

    • nurglitch

      It’s almost as if they aren’t poorly run.

    • Admiral Raptor

      It should easy to make money when you have a legion of suckers who’ll pay you $50+ for 5 plastic one inch tall models. That they have to rely on licensing as a crutch speaks volumes about the health of their games.

      • Stealthbadger

        To me it says that they’ve developed a powerful brand that other companies pay significant royalties to share. What poor business practice, making all that money off your IP.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        And that differs from other miniature companies… How?

        • WellSpokenMan

          You’re right, what makes GW different is the massive amount they charge for rules. Not that they don’t charge a premium for their models, but at least you can argue they are worth the price.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            AoS has free rules.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            which is great, but unfortunately they are worth every penny.

          • WellSpokenMan

            Which is another sign GW might turn things around.

  • trn

    It seems to me that GW are making some improvements (FAQs, more specialist games, points for Aos etc). Are they far from perfect? Absolutely. Are they better than they were? Absolutely. When was the last time we could say that?

    The new CEO was always going to have to spend the first couple of years settling in and coping with ‘Kirbygeddon’. I hope the recent licencing orgy has been about sustaining profits in the short term while longer-term changes take shape behind the scenes. 2016-17 will be the real test.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      I very much feel the new CEO is righting the ship. It will take time to repair relationships and boost non-licensing profits. You just can’t do it overnight.

      • WellSpokenMan

        There’s been a lot of positive signs, but there are still a lot of issues to address. It’s not like GW’s competition is going to stand still while they sort themselves out either.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          One of the reasons this entire shift is happening is because the competition exists now.

  • Admiral Raptor

    Still treading water, year after year, report after report. At this point maybe they should consider tossing the whole miniatures thing and focus on just licensing the IP.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Dude, they just got a new CEO. You can’t fix years of mismanagement overnight.

    • Stealthbadger

      Treading water is not great but look at Hornby and modelzone in the uk. Treading water is probably a ‘success’ given economic conditions.

    • dave long island

      Heresy! Burn the unbeliever!

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    The new CEO needs to spend a few years righting the ship here. You can’t cure all the problems that ail GW in a year.

    If you look at what GW is doing in the mobile department, they are flinging their IP around like candy to lots and lots of developers. It is an easy way to quickly generate income.

    • ZeeLobby

      Very true. He’ll need to prove that it’ll continue though. We were given FAQs once before, and that lasted a very short amount of time… With how expensive GW games are I will need at least a year of improvements like that if i’m going to reinvest.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Slowly but surly, things will get back to normal.

  • Randy Randalman

    First of all, this article is misleading as it tells us nothing other than “things are slightly ahead.” Second, by posting the previous (re: old) information, there are going to be the impatient ADD among us who read only that and assume they are updated numbers. Finally, most of the people on these boards never know what they are reading.

    The Alliance books, the Orruks (FINALLY another subfaction), the announcement of the points system as well as a campaign will help sales increase incrementally.

    40k will do what 40k does, but it will be slightly stale until the FAQ’s become official or spurn a rules errata/edition update.

    The licensing has been beneficial. App games like Freeblade are fantastic, and Warhammer Total War is a critical and financial blockbuster thus far. With announcements of more big games like Eternal Crusade, Dawn of War 3, and Space Hulk: Deathwing, things are looking up on the digital front.

    The new policy of open communication and social media will do wonders long-term.

    It took cracking some eggs at first, but things are turning in the right direction. The finances will reflect that.

    Privateer – once GW’s largest competitor (but now behind FF) – is kind of shatting the bed with this new edition. They already have to errata feats, points costs, and rules that have been printed and are waiting to ship in a few weeks. They pulled the same boneheaded move people used to give GW fits about where they made dramatic swings in the rules to favor models that weren’t selling, and encouraging larger games.

    • Stealthbadger

      I don’t know where the privateer information comes from but I suspect that after the initial growth spurt from any successful new system they’ve hit an inevitable plateau. GW have the clout to constantly produce new products but I’m not sure if privateer can keep up.

      The reason FFG seem to do well is constantly repeating the new growth spurt phase with different products. This does however leave people upset when they abandon lines or let them stagnate. Hello Armada.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Oh Armada, how I wanted to love you.

        • Stealthbadger

          It’s a good game dammit just not one with staying power. Welcome to the the new world of table top gaming at 20 second attention spans. Genuinely gutted this seems to have died for me locally.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Armada is an ok game with faults. Those faults turn a lot of people off.

    • Benandorf

      Speaking of FF, I wouldn’t hate it if FFG ended up buying out GW. They write fantastic rules, and combine that with the model making infrastructure that exists at GW…. baby, you got a stew goin’!

      • Admiral Raptor

        I could get behind this!

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        No. No. No. FFG is good, Asmodee is not.

    • WellSpokenMan

      “Over the year, sales have been largely the same as the prior year across all channels.”
      Sales last year dropped 9% and were particularly weak in North America. Considering that companies usually spin things as positively as they can, this is not a good sign.

    • JJ

      “Citation Needed” for the PP reference.

  • ChubToad

    Doom!!! Will this be the year in which all predictions hit the target and GW is really dying? Tune in next time to find out the truth!

  • euansmith

    I wish them all the best; even if I only buy their minis to convert and to use with other rules. I like the old background, and hope that they manage to rediscover the old, satirical tone of the early fluff.

  • Chris Cook

    Without whining, releasing rules for existing 40k armies would help boost sales. I can’t understand why they produce rules and minis for new armies when existing ones haven’t been updated. CSM, SOB and Nids are all great armies and just need new rules. Supporting existing armies keeps existing players with collections happy and attracts new players too. Let’s face it wargaming is an investment. People who are new to the game are not so keen on armies with older rule sets and haven’t really been supported by the manufacturer. Making the range more diversified only compounds the issue because it leads even more to support.

  • LiveWaaaagh

    The most important line there is the “Over the year, sales have been largely the same as the prior year across all channels.”

    This is huge. So, after dumping Fantasy, doing a huge roll out of AOS, with brand new kits, new books, new campaign, and spending tons of money promoting it at the expense probably of 40k, etc
    IN ADDITION to the sell out of old Fantasy kits, which sold out in minutes..
    IN ADDITION to the huge Horus Heresy release…

    They are “same as last year”, which was a down year.

    Either AOS tanked horribly, cannibalized 40k horribly, or a mix of both, but it’s not good.

    Perhaps a 9th edition Specialist release is not that far away…

  • memitchell

    After literally (literaturally?) destroying the Warhammer World there should be a UK law that GW cannot count ANY WFB license profits in it’s annual report. Here in the USA, one cannot profit from a crime. Just say’n.

    • Stealthbadger

      We sort of have something similar. It’s called non ex turpi causa (Latin Coz we lawyers used to love it).

      The issue is that amending your product line is not, nor ever will be, a crime. That would be going ‘Really bloody stupid’ to use the legal terminology.

  • Painjunky

    Sales are tanking, profits are being propped up by selling the IP to anyone and everyone who wants it.

    Not a good situation to be in.
    Sounds right to me tho.
    Confirms what i see locally.

  • maximus4646

    I think it is highly instructive to look at the industry as a whole. Which companies are contracting? Which companies are expanding? And why? An interesting case study is Corvus Belli (CB). The more I’ve learned about them, the more their practices stand in stark contrast to the current GW trajectory. My interest in them aside, this Spanish company is growing very fast – fast enough, in fact, to commit capital to an entirely new office space and grow their staffing. It appears they have found a way to monetize their miniatures (that is, sell models) to support the ancillary business practices that are actually growing their respective hobby community – which is to say, they are capturing marketshare. If companies don’t create a bigger market (e.g., grow their base) then they have to capture customers from their competitors. Despite what you may think of Corvus Belli’s miniature line, metal casting, or rules, the financials paint the story of a vibrant company doing many right things. Can GW learn from this? In contrast to what GW is currently doing, consider some of the ways the CB business model is changing the industry: 1) a balanced, interesting, and tactically feasible ruleset that is entirely FREE. Only the fluff costs money. I believe this helps create interest in other gamers who want to explore new offerings, and can do so with no barrier to entry. 2) Corvus Belli involves the community in FREE campaign events and in the creation of new fluff using the digital tools of the modern age: consider the Flamia Island Campaign launched in conjunction with beasts of war that solicited players from around the globe to play games, submit battle reports, and earn points for their chosen factions. The outcome of the campaign is now being incorporated into future fluff, and specific players are being honored for their contributions to the campaign with awards. (Community participation is why reality television exploded in the late 1990’s and why shows that allow views to call in their votes have historically done well.) 3) Limited barriers to entry, (also see #1) which is part of the game design: new players can play advanced games for less than $150 worth of miniatures. 4) Online tools, such as army builder, that are free and useful on mobile apps – which facilitates army creation, player communication, and excitement among the player community. These online tools are, most importantly, regularly updated to preserve balance. 5) ITS tournament season with compiled statistics. Even if you’re not a competitive player, these compiled statistics help Corvus Belli examine and maintain game balance. And with instantaneous updates, there is no “waiting for another year” in a future print edition to fix the latest deathstars. Note that I have refrained from commenting on the relative quality of the miniature ranges or ruleset. I am simply commenting on the primary distinctions that are helping CB expand. There are similar distinctions with GW that are diminishing player involvement that have less (maybe nothing) to do with the miniature quality, and more to do with the way GW business model was first established. Keep in mind, GW started before the internet age; many of their business practices and their bloated infrastructure are increasingly last century. Barriers to entry for 40k players remain high, so unless GW is creating new player base AND retaining existing players, model sales can help but hit a threshold. Unless the fundamental business model of GW changes, in other word, I don’t see how they can do anything but contract as other competitors chip away with more modern games and more current business practices. It’s a fundamental result of competition. Innovate or die. It’s not too late for GW, but the competitive landscape says they should move quick if they want to preserve (or grow) marketshare. And recent attempts to do so will, I am sure, indicate such practices will not be successful.

    • DJ860

      Do you have shares in CB?

      • maximus4646

        No – as far as I can tell, CB is still a private company (also a good move for firms in this space.) But I do run companies so have an interest in seeing what makes one company expand while another contracts. Moreover, hopefully you DON’T have shares in GW!

  • dave long island

    Ok so looks like the orange is down and the blue is up. The consumers have spoken: They prefer the blue arrows.