Games Workshop – 2015-16 Annual Financials

Stock-Exchange

The annual numbers are out.  Take a look at how GW did this past year. Fasten your seatbelts.

GW-2016-annual-financial snapshot

via GW Investor Relations

This is a very short post with only the breaking news and links.  We will dig much deeper into this report in the days ahead.

Games Workshop Annual Report 2015-16 – Press Announcement

Annual Report 2016 (Full Report)

 

Some top level numbers: (2016 vs 2015)

Revenue: -1%
Operating Profit (pre exceptional items & royalties) -27%
Operating Profit +2%
Earnings per share: +10%

 

Sales Channel Reports:

Retail: -2%
Trade Sales: +0.001%
Mail-order (web store): -2%

Excerpts from the Non-Executive Chairman:

“The board spent a day recently debating the fact that many proxy votes were cast against it. They were mostly aimed at the remuneration policy (a very fashionable topic these days), the non-executive directors who have served ‘too long’ and, me, the chairman on numerous counts.

As the voting at the AGM itself was unanimously in favour of all resolutions, we would be safe ignoring these proxies, cast as they are, largely, by institutional investors and often by their compliance teams and not the fund managers themselves. Nevertheless they raise two issues: have we explained ourselves properly, and does anyone take any notice if we do? We explain ourselves thoroughly in our corporate governance report (page 17) but some are missed by looking too closely at the detail.”

 

“The board’s role is to provide entrepreneurial leadership of the company within a framework of prudent and effective controls which enables risk to be assessed and managed1.

I prefer ‘effective’ to ‘entrepreneurial’; nevertheless the board at Games Workshop sees this as its main responsibility. We comply.”

 

“Our executive directors both have around 20 years service with the company. Their likely replacements have been here a similar length of time (well over 10 years). And, yes, they will be internal appointments. In fact, we see 10 years as the running-in period. I suspect these schemes are needed in businesses that have an eternal merry-go-round of executives who appear and disappear with monotonous regularity. They are not needed at Games Workshop, and I trust they never will be. Furthermore I believe they are fundamentally self-serving and disastrously value destroying. Nothing leaves a sourer taste in the mouth than executives lining their own pockets and claiming it is for the long term good of the business before moving on to their next golden handshake clutching their golden parachute.

At Games Workshop we employ people with integrity. People with integrity always work as hard as they can and always for the good of the business.”

 

“Over the years we have been exhorted by some to develop our revenue stream by ‘leveraging’ our IP. Using our great imagery we could do all sorts of lucrative and exciting value-enhancing (i.e. take private and re-float) deals. Actually, what they really mean is: do a movie!

We have never NOT done licensing deals, as you can see from the steady stream of royalties we earn; it’s just that we believe we must do them on our terms and not prostitute the business to any and every deal that comes along. If we do a movie (along with the concomitant abandonment of the toy rights6) it will be on terms that do not compromise our business. It isn’t likely.

Long term owners will notice a big increase in royalty income this year. Have we sold out at last? No, it’s just that working closely with the myriad app developers, and being more precise with the terms we offer, we have increased the number of ‘computer’7 games in the market.”

Yearly Review

“We made progress in what was another busy and rewarding year. We started the financial year off with a huge product launch; Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, one of the biggest changes we’ve ever made to one of our core universes. Our design to manufacture was outstanding, over-delivering in terms of original concept art to final manufactured models, producing some of the best models we’ve ever made. The simplified rules, supporting the models for those who like to play, made it much easier to get started. We learnt some valuable lessons during the year on how to deliver product system changes on this scale and as we released more of the range in the second half of the year, we finished the year with sales of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar at a higher rate than Warhammer has enjoyed for several years.

Gross margin was maintained in the period (2016: 68.3%; 2015: 68.9%). We continued with our policy of only increasing the prices of our new releases (approximately 30% of our sales) to reflect the necessary investment in our product offer and the quality we have built into these new releases. The annual impact of this increase on our UK RRP price list is an average increase of 3%.

Costs have increased in the year, mainly as a result of our store opening programme and the full year effect of the depreciation of the investment in our visitor centre which opened in April 2015.

After a disappointing December we carried out a thorough review of our operational plans and, thanks to a great team effort, we bounced back with four out of five months of profitable sales growth”

GW-stock-price-2016

Games Workshop 12 Month Stock Price

View Last Year’s Report For Comparison

~Have your say, and remember, NO CHAIRS – be nice!

  • SundaySilence

    I don’t understand any of this. I think it sounds positive but the numbers don’t mean much to me. Can anyone translate? 🙂

    • Loki Nahat

      Numbers: “We’re kinda doing so-so, our core business of selling models is down 30%, but due to royalties we’re floating. Just”

      Non-Executive Chairman: “we’re doing BRILLIANTLY, lallalalalalala, any suggestion as to otherwise means you’re a technocrat”

      Make of that, as you will

    • Sales are flat or a little bit down, and they’re making less money with what we’d consider their core business – the making and selling of models. Their licensing schemes have picked up the slack however, and as a whole the company is slightly better off in 2016 than it was in 2015.

      The rest is fluff about how they’re the best company ever, and how their executives are clearly the right people for the job. This kind of language exists in literally every annual report ever issued.

      • SundaySilence

        I guess being a bit flat is better than loss. I really hope they can pull it together. There’s been so much positive change recently that it would be sad to see it go to waste.

      • Klaatu

        They’re making quite a bit less money from their core business, unfortunately – Citadel sales are down 12% (p10). It’s mind-boggling that that happened in the year they launched AoS, Admech, etc.

      • Klaatu

        Not sure I’d agree the company is better off. Sales of Citadel products as a whole fell by 12% (p10). That’s potentially very bad, especially since it happened in the year in which they introduced AoS, Admech, etc. Also, they have around £0.7M more inventory sitting around in warehouses compared to last year (p36).

        Looking at the whole report and the five-year summary (p59), I get the impression they launched a lot of new products they’re struggling to sell, and only royalty payments prevented 2016 from being the year with lowest or second lowest profits in the last five years.

        • Ed Butlar

          so? are they going to die?

          • Klaatu

            Given enough years like this, probably. But hopefully they’ll start having better ones.

          • Ed Butlar

            Its early days, they are still recovering from changing from metal to plastic, the price hikes all those years ago and also the loss of a huge amount of profit from LOTR.

          • WellSpokenMan

            GW is the 800 pound gorilla in the miniatures world. They won’t go under for a long time. The numbers do pose a danger to the games themselves though. If management believes their jobs are endangered they will take larger risks with the IP then otherwise would be acceptable.
            There are a lot of great miniatures games out there, but nothing the size of 40k. Management might kill the game in a misguided attempt to save their jobs, but slow sales will take a very long time to kill GW.

          • Ed Butlar

            I was adding fuel to the fire tbh, I know they won’t be gone any time soon. Its just funny to see people being catastrophic about things

          • Doubtful. They may undergo some changes, but I doubt they’ll die anytime soon.

          • AdeptusAstartes

            No, they’re not going to die. Following Brexit they’re probably going to have a bumper year as they have a solid export market, and with the pound weaker against other currencies they will probably sell more via their export channels than in previous years. This coincides with their move into the ‘toy’ market in the states, that could see a serious increase in export sales, more by luck than judgement – but it all counts to the bottom line.

          • GAZNZ

            They need to go back to being a basic company with no shares 🙂

        • “Better off” for values of better off where they’ve made slightly more money, and didn’t have to cut the dividend (something GW investors would pitch a fit about). It’s not *good* by any means.

      • blackbloodshaman

        Funny how they arent mentioning anything about constant currency when the pound is declining

        • Benandorf

          Their FY ended May 29, pre-Brexit, so we wouldn’t be seeing any impacts.

        • They reported things in a constant currency, but as noted, the impacts of the pound taking it in the teeth won’t show up yet.

      • Benandorf

        It’s… Interesting. This includes the entirety of the first year of AoS, which we know from midyear and quarterly reports had a big spike of sales upon release, and then hasn’t been doing well since. That might change, after taking into account the additional players added due to the General’s Handbook and lower cost of entry. It will be interesting to see how next half-year or year looks, between lower pound (which is a good thing for GW’s financials, as they are in GBP and a majority of their sales are in USD or Euros), and possible resurgence in both 40k (due to new big box store intro boxes) and AoS. Everything the new CEO has been doing has seemed to be about gaining market share, so this year might just be turning the corner for GW.

        Or their sales could keep declining, and GW becomes a board game company with valuable IPs, who also makes 1-2 mini games.

        • Gunsheeplol

          >and then hasn’t been doing well since.

          It’s now selling better than WHFB did

          • JJ

            Where did you get this information located? I thought that they refused to release sales figures for individual lines?

          • silashand

            It’s a comment in the preamble above.

          • JJ

            Gotcha I was hoping that they would have had actual numbers, but oh well.

          • Gunsheeplol

            They said it in the preamble.

          • Inquisitorsz

            Sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s been more profitable. It cost a lot to make AOS, design, new moulds, manufacturing etc… The fact that sales and sales revenue is down or flat after such a huge release is not a great sign.
            It’s not terrible but it’s not really the revival they were looking for.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      their actual profit from selling stuff is down almost a third which is alarming, but since their margins are the same (the profit they get from selling each thing over its cost) and their turnover is the same (the amount of stuff they’ve sold) it must mean their costs have increased dramatically. The report says this is due to the redevelopment of Warhammer World.

      I suppose, given AoS, the Start Collecting boxes, Knight Renegade, Deathwatch, etc etc, it is worrying their turnover isn’t going up. I guess they thought it would which is why they invested all that cash in WW, but then it didn’t. They are paddling furiously but not going anywhere. Luckily for them licensing revenue pulled their cojones out of the fire, or things would have looked really really bleak.

      • wibbling

        The market has changed. There are vastly more competitors around these days.

        • WellSpokenMan

          But the industry itself is booming, so…

          • wibbling

            With more cash to go around to them. Workshop are the gateway drug. Others then get a share of that. Remember that Workshop’s profits are about what other companies make in revenue and that’s at the big end (Privateer, Corvus Belli) of things.

          • Thrawn

            That’s nonsense. We don’t actually get their numbers as they are privately held companies, but at this point PP head office employees close to the same number of staff as GW head office, not to mention FFG is a bigger company than GW. The idea GW is the biggest company out there and the rest just follow along eating their scraps is no longer the case.

          • WellSpokenMan

            CB is hardly at the big end. GW is not in danger of going under, but Citadel’s 12% sales loss and GW’s 2% overall loss in sales are problems for a publicly held company’s managers. Corporations are a lot harder to turn around than small privately held companies due to agency issues.

          • Mira Bella

            We don’t know anything about Privateer or Corvus Belli, since they are privately held.
            If you have any inside information (which you don’t) please provide a source. (which you won’t)

          • zeno666

            That is correct. And for each stupid release GW just throws out there, the more move to other more interesting games.
            So AoS, and the upcoming 40k “Happy Playmobile Edition” where everything is 4+, is great for PP, Wyrd and such 🙂

          • CatachanCommissar

            Playmobile 40k lol you’re totally right, it’s absolutely headed that way I bet. Boooo.

          • Axis Mundi

            Board game industry – and X-Wing of course. Miniatures still quite niche, and I understand not really growing – if you take X-Wing out of the picture. X-Wing is so different to the other miniature games (very low entry cost, no “hobby” aspect, 100% recognition factor) that it’s a bit of a black swan.

          • WellSpokenMan

            It’s hard to say since I don’t think any other miniatures company is public. Judging by product line expansion though, a number of miniatures companies are doing quite well. There’s also Kickstarter to factor in. Anecdotally, my local games stores are doing well and are quite full. It’s a challenge to get a table on most nights. Several FLGS have moved to larger locations or opened new stores. That’s not counting tiny shops that only do MtG and boardgames.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yup. There success will depend on their push into the next year, especially how they handle 40K.

          • Ed Butlar

            It will depend on the next ten years, not one, companies like this have long term business models, its like trying to steer an oil tanker with a delay time of 2-years. I am sure they will be around for a long time to come.

          • ZeeLobby

            The thing is they’ve been on a pretty significant 6 year slide at this point (maybe more). The other issue is that the wargamming community is also a very fickle market, especially since it’s a luxury good. People NEED cars, food, houses, etc. People don’t need GW, especially when there’s alternatives. Even one additional year of dropping sales could be significant for GW even if they are turning things around.

          • ZeeLobby

            Also, looking at their current swings in decision making, long-term is not the term I’d use.

          • Ed Butlar

            we’ll see

          • ZeeLobby

            We’ve seen, haha. Just waiting for some consistency now.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          That is certainly true.

      • Ross Allan

        Seems a crap December did a lot of damage – but from memory, it was a lame month for UK retail as a whole. This might seem comparing apples to oranges, but do bear with me.

        Latter half of last year was uncommonly clement weather wise. So the UK high street, which had geared up for stuff like ‘winter woo lies’ in their clothing range, just didn’t get the custom.

        With fewer people needing to buy a winter wardrobe of warm and wooly, you get fewer peeps out in general. This has a knock on effect to less traditional retailers such as GW, as the foot traffic and random drop ins are likewise fewer.

        I’ll be interested to see next year’s results. AoS is doing well, and is outselling Warhammer – yet the buzz has only just started to come to a proper froth. You can see this by comparing pre-General’s Handbook chatter to that which came when we knew it was coming.

        • MightyOrang

          And what will Brexit do to them?

          • Ragnar Black

            Increase number of sold items. As in foreign countries the prices will drop and that may convince more people buy.

            I once thought that the End Times miniatures were really pricey. Nowadays in comparison to the AoS stuff they are pretty cheap.

          • Nameless

            that’s not necessarily going to be how it works out. typically prices of products sold in a different country aren’t tied to the exchange rate – no one wants to constantly be repricing 1000+ items a week based on how the exchange rate varies. instead they are priced with a buffer so that the price stays the same and on average the profit margin is roughly right.

            however with Britex all of Britain’s trade polices will be void, and new ones made. it is unlikely that Britain will be able to get as favourable [] without the weight of the combined EU which will likely mean higher tax rates.

            combine this with the apparently purposeful increasing in price far above inflation and the prices will likely not be affected in any downward manner.

          • Ragnar Black

            This depends on how you are doing the pricing. Some shops are doing the pricing in regards the currency during the time they are buying the game.

            So new games may be cheaper. And the whole EU would be against themself if they will put on export from GB big taxes.

            In my country there was also time when boardgames were excluded from taxation.

          • WellSpokenMan

            It’s not quite that simple. First off, GW hasn’t dropped prices in the US yet, and probably won’t. They will however, get more profit from each sale made in Dollars. The problem is US sales seem to be down (they were last year, and GW would have surely mentioned an improvement).
            Secondly, they are also hoping to open new stores in the US. The weak Pound makes each of those stores more expensive to open and operate. US operations got 20% more expensive practically overnight. While the weak Pound presents opportunities, GW will have to work hard to capitalize on them. The negative effects on the other hand, will definitely cause problems.
            Finally, there is also the very real possibility of decreasing sales in Europe as tariffs come into play. This is years down the line, but markets dislike the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. There will certainly be a negative effect on British exports to the EU.

          • Exporters generally do well when their currency is poor.

      • GW’s physical locations are a freaking boat anchor on their profits, I guess they see it as long term investment that will pay off over time

        • ZeeLobby

          Well. Their net sales decreased too.

          • That’s true, but it was a 1% decline. Last year the cost of their retail chain losses (which include store openings etc) ate up a huge portion of their profit, too

          • blackbloodshaman

            its bigger than that as last year they were claiming their there revenue was up in constant currency, well guess what, this year the pound went down, so why arent they touting constant currency now?

          • What does that have to do with the reason for the substantial drop in operating profit?

          • blackbloodshaman

            it would be even worse if they had accounted for “constant currency” like they did last year.

          • The point is the revenue drop is not the thing that took a 40% chunk out of profit

          • blackbloodshaman

            just talking revenue

          • Mira Bella

            It was 1% this year.
            Are you aware that this Is the 6th year of losing sales in a row?

          • What does that have to do with the force driving the decrease in operating profit, though? 1% revenue drop doesn’t result in a 40% drop in profit on its own

          • ZeeLobby

            True, but continuing loss of sales in general is the real bad thing. Brick and mortar didn’t help sure, and they wrote that off as extra costs, but If they can’t increase net sales, there’s other factors that are probably bigger contributors to the overall decline. If I’m not going to buy it online, I’m definitely not going to drive all the way to a store to buy it, haha.

          • Yeah, certainly they want to get to growth and it keeps not happening, and now even with more aggressive discounting we’re still not seeing them get sales up, which is not good for the company long term.

          • ZeeLobby

            Well, this is totally personal, but when I see a game system with a start collecting box for a good price, and then a monster for the faction that costs $130, I usually veer away from it, haha. We’ll see what they do, but offering discounts on just a select few models while their overall offering is rather expensive might just not be enough.

          • silashand

            Yeah, it doesn’t matter how much the intro box is if the rest of the models remain prohibitively expensive. There’s a reason I have purchased very little GW product in the past couple years and it’s solely down to cost. I find their pricing ridiculous so until it changes I have no inclination to buy anything from them. JMO though…

      • Ed Butlar

        A lot of businesses are struggling and GW doesn’t have the greatest reputation. but things change very quickly and as a new player I have had a positive experience with the company, I think perhaps a lot of old players took things personally and almost want the company to fail so they can say “I told you so”. But after going to salute this year I didn’t see any other company that really stood out as doing anything that much better, there won’t ever be a huge amount of money to be made from the hobby in the big scheme of things and it will always be a niche market.

        • Mira Bella

          Which businesses are struggeling? Are you talking about other Tabletop Game company’s? If yes, I would like to see your sources on that claim.

          • Ed Butlar

            Did I say that? I said other companies are struggling. GW had LOTR, PP has X wing and at some point the part will be over, every company has peaks and troughs.

          • Randumbwon

            If you think PP owns X wing, you need to take a step back and reexamine the gaming industry you’re talking about.

          • Ed Butlar

            Sorry FF

          • Mira Bella

            FFG actually.

          • Ed Butlar

            ooh look at you

          • Mira Bella

            1. GW still owns the rights of LOTR and the Hobbit.
            2. PP has nothing to do with X-Wing. That would be FFG which in turn Is owned by Asmodee.
            I don’t really understand what “and at some point the part will be over, every company has peaks and troughs” Is supposed to mean. If you think Starwars Is a passing trend, then you are just delusional.

          • Ed Butlar

            Because X wing won’t always be popular, other companies with produce different games and FFG (thanks for correcting me) will have to create something else to fill the void. And just because GW own the rights doesn’t mean people will still buy the related products. Just sayin. I’ll speak to you shortly on another thread 🙂

          • Mira Bella

            “Because X-Wing won’t always be popular”
            How do you know? Can you look into the future?
            If I would have said that AoS won’t allways be popular, (which I don’t) you would have also told me that I could not know that.

            The difference between those two universes is that one is the world wide most popular scifi Universe that is going strong for 30+ years while the other is a pretty unknown fantasy universe.

            For the record. I don’t even play X-Wing.

          • Ross Allan

            Every game has a ceiling. X-Wing is good little game, but I for one am finding itincreasingly ‘meh’ in terms of releases. Plus, I got pissed off and packed it in when, in order to make A-Wings and TIE Advanceds not suck, you had to buy additional products – which is somewhat mercenary in my book.

            Then factor in stuff like Bombers. Want to run them effectively? That’ll be a K-Wing and a TIE Punisher as well….

    • zeno666

      GW continues to bleed. But the owners think they’re awsome.

      • wibbling

        A profit higher than nearest competitors revenue?

        • Gridloc

          Please show your sources on other’s revenue… They are private companies so unless you are their accountant or hacked their system to find out, i’m pretty sure your just lying to feel better about hearing bad news.

          • Xodis

            Or he added that little ? at the end to signify a possibility and not an explaination.

          • Ed Butlar

            He is right, GW still sells more than all the other systems put together.

          • Mira Bella

            Year you should check out Asmodees numbers mate.

          • Ed Butlar

            They are a different type of company.

          • Mira Bella

            Do you mind to explain what you mean with that.
            Asmodee Is not selling bananas.

          • zeno666

            They are the guys that looks at GW’s 40k revenue and calls it change right? 😉

          • blackbloodshaman

            You sure know a lot about GW for someone who just started plaing.

          • Ed Butlar

            I now run a business on the side selling Old Hammer

          • zeno666

            With your sense for economics that is quite brave.

          • Ed Butlar

            Thanks very much buddy

          • zeno666

            LoL!
            Really? Where in Lala-land do you live?

          • Ed Butlar

            Just got told so by one of the largest sellers here in the uk, but hey you know best

          • Ed Butlar

            I hope your life becomes a bit better soon, so you don’t have to keep posting on here and hoping and praying that a little miniatures company folds because ur a s s hurt. And when I see you at the drive through serving me fries you can have a mcflurry on me.

          • zeno666

            He knows this, because he us best buddies with the gedub, and they say its so 😉

        • Mira Bella

          Asmodee wibbling.
          Ever heard of them?

        • zeno666

          I bet that is what FFG says when looking at their X-Wing revenue, lol

    • Loki Nahat

      for some reason my earlier comment got moved to ‘pending’ so BoLS or Kirby doesn’t like people reading the numbers for them, it’s quite clear from the stock price that 2014 and killing of WHFB was literally the worst thing that has ever happened to them, regardless of recessions, wiping off a clear 30% of the business in one swoop

      • Ross Allan

        #peskyfacts #factcheckamoron #doyouevenreadbro #shootingparticularlysillyfishinabarrel

        • Loki Nahat

          quite clearly thats not the case : just go to google finance, one could argue that they don’t actually look at the facts

        • Gridloc

          Selling higher than fantasy and selling where it is a profitable line are two different things. I know Fantasy wasn’t selling and as such it had to go, but just because AoS is selling more does not equal better if in long run loses GW money.

        • No-one Special

          I don’t see how investing masses of time, money and resources into a new version of a game can be seen as successful if it barely scrapes in above the old version which was at it’s lowest ebb – after a long period of under investment to focus on 40k’s increasing dominance.
          I argue that if they had taken just half that same investment which went into Aos and instead put it towards revamping WFB they would have had a better financial result.
          The problem with AoS is it alienated a large part of its potential customer base, and then massively overcharged the rest. He’s practically admitting their screw ups in the sentence you quoted.
          #problemsoftheirownmaking

      • wibbling

        *Sigh*. No, no it wasn’t. Please stop reading in what you want to see.

      • SupPupPup

        Could you break down how you came to that conclusion. It seems like a bit of a jump to me.

        • Loki Nahat

          just look at what happened to the stock price at end time release

          • SupPupPup

            Which bit of the graph is that?

          • Loki Nahat
          • SupPupPup

            Cheers, Ill look into it.

            How do you see AoS doing so far. Its seems that its had a lot of money put into it (which will hurt short term profits), but seems to be doing ok.

          • Loki Nahat

            I have no love for it, myself, it’s definitely popular with the kids, it’s got a simplified appeal, but will it have staying power? who knows, the thing is, the people it appeals to are the type to buy in, and get out, quite quickly… they’re not going to be around for the long haul.

            it’s gaining traction with tabletop players, but not with collectors, so let’s see how these redeveloped tournament rules pan out

            I hope it works for them, I don’t want to see GW go under, but I don’t think it was the smartest way to rejuvenate sales, it was a clever way to initiate an IP holding drive

            thats my 2 cents, which are pretty worthless as an internet commentator 😉

          • SupPupPup

            I’d agree with most of that.

            Can you explain why you believe it is suited to people who ‘get out’?

            Certainly fantasy needed a greater investment to play, which leads to greater retention, but both seem to have enough of a range of products to keep players interested for some time.

          • Loki Nahat

            Maybe it’s just my limited view point, people get the initial box set, get “oh cool models” then go through that period when they can’t paint or model well, lose interest and give up.

            AoS doesnt have, well any lore worth speaking of, so I don’t think it can hold or retain people… keep them interested. Look how well Warhammer Total War has done, that’s now an extinct unsupported world, but the fluff keeps people “in it”, I can in no way see Aos:Total War doing remotely similar

          • Horus84cmd

            Consider: did Warhammer Total War do well because of the “Warhammer” association or the “Total War” association, both of which where already strong products in their respective fields separately?

          • Loki Nahat

            good point

          • Ragnar Black

            Hehe, this is good question. But I know people who didn’t buy just because it was Fantasy. Total War lost players by going out of historical…

          • No-one Special

            The fact that such a big name in gaming deemed WFB worthy enough to dedicate an entire version of their game to tells you there was enough interest from both sides to make it commercially viable. It may not have been for everyone, but it was for enough for it to be worth the investment.
            I don’t think Total War ‘lost’ players either, some would naturally just gave this one a miss if it didn’t appeal to them, as others have no doubt done the same to other version that didn’t relate to whatever period of history they are interested in. Not everyone buys every version.

          • Ragnar Black

            Agree on that. In computer games it is really easier to adjust and adapt. It doesn’t take years to produce all the units.

          • SupPupPup

            I think AoS’s lore, as bare as it is, has its own appeal.

            The emerging narrative can attract players, as more characters and stories are introduced. This may help with player retention.

            It will eventually falloff as all the races are introduced, but I guess we have to see.

            I think the new models are much better for retention compared to fantasy. They are bigger with lots of flat areas, and come with good painting guides (youtube).

            Though sigmarines aren’t my style, I can appreciate how enjoyable they are to assemble and paint.

            I would really enjoy a AoS total war. I feel the the game plays a lot more like AoS than fantasy.

          • ragelion

            Thing is in AOS using actually formations in real life does benefit you while playing because of the pile in. I do feel the lore is building well the recent lord of undeath book was a pretty big lore dump.

            There was a discussion about it on the grand alliance forums.

          • SupPupPup

            I’ve not read the Lord of Undeath, but I’ve been listening to the audiodramas.

            I think the lore is getting there. It needs a bit more moral grey and better grounding, but I suppose that can come with time.

          • ragelion

            Yeah the lord of undeath is pretty much the next part of the audio drama. Of course it’s a book. Nagash is planning something kinda big. It pretty much set’s up what death are doing and the situation of the mortarch’s. Mannfred’s new place is kinda cool also with a german name as well. XD

            Plus there is a small bomb shell for stormcast players sigmar is not that good of a guy er god ;). Honestly I always felt in fantasy the undead had the strongest overall fluff.

          • SupPupPup

            Cool.

            Something is briefly mentioned about the realm of death in All Gates, but I didn’t know to what it was referring to.

            I’ve been looking for a holiday book, might have to pick it up.

          • ragelion

            Yeah as a Death player I was quite annoyed that we only got one page and the rest of the factions got cool stories. It’s just that page and why it happened got turned into a BL book.

            What GW have been doing since end times is that you need to read the campaign book AND the BL to get the full picture of what is going on.

          • blackbloodshaman

            not tomention that the 7 year olds it is targeted at tend to be rather fickle

          • Ragnar Black

            The boardgames players, are specific group. They are not really just with one game. Also the AoS is boardgame by rules, but not by components. These times, there is not to many people who would invest such a long time to the minies and then play just some easy game. Boardgamers see components not minies, at least majority of them. There is a lot of hobbyist there as well, but different kind. As far as I know they are mostly investing the time to the game after they like it, not before.

            This is the catch, I think this game will have a short live-spam. If there won’t be a strong community behind.

            But I may be wrong.

          • Klaatu

            I’m not very optimistic about AoS because it cuts too much into 40k’s target market – 12- to 14-year-old boys from households with too much disposable income. I think 40k has such a strong hold on that demographic, especially with FW, Apocalypse and the trillions of available supplements, they’re just going to be competing against themselves.

            I think the much smarter play would have been to go after a demographic that wants a different tabletop miniature experience – say, the middle-class 25-45 demographic that wants a grown-up fantasy experience, more A Song of Ice and Fire than Warcraft.

            That demographic definitely buys less stuff than the rich prepubescent demographic, but they stay in the hobby for years and they’re still a very good market to expand into once you have the prepubescent boy demographic locked down. GW had a product they could have positioned extremely well for that with just a few minor tweaks (WHFB), but alas, it was not to be.

            (GW could also have gone for a more casual adult demographic with pre-painted minis and an accessible gaming system, like what X-Wing is doing, but they’ve never done anything like that so far. Still, with all the board games they’ve been doing – who knows what might happen.)

          • SupPupPup

            Is it fair to say that the first group evolves into the second? I don’t think the market its as clear cut as you describe.

            What game system do you feel fits the older target demographic best these days?

            I see many veteran gamers playing xwing, Aos, 40k andWarmachine, which are all marketed as a teenagers/early 20s game, while younger players, mainly stay away from tabletop games and play Overwatch.

          • Klaatu

            Yeah, I do think the first group evolves into the second on the whole. But they have different preferences when they’re in their early teens and when they’re 10-20 years older, and they want to buy slightly different products.

            As for it being clear-cut – well, I’m not sure how much I can persuade you or dissuade you, but I would say it pretty much is clear-cut. I work in marketing and that kind of thing is Marketing 101 – you identify a group that you can sell to based on certain characteristics they have, and you focus strongly on that group. It’s literally taught that way in Marketing classes (it’s called Segmentation – Targeting – Positioning). I realize that this all just text on the internet and it may not persuade you, but all I can say is that from my experience that’s exactly how it’s done in marketing.

            As for the game system that fits the older demographic – 9th Age, definitely. Some non-GW manufacturers are reaping the biggest rewards here with stuff made specifically for 9th Age.

          • CatachanCommissar

            “say, the middle-class 25-45 demographic that wants a grown-up fantasy experience, more A Song of Ice and Fire than Warcraft.” I like this explanation and agree.

          • Since the stock price is a lagging indicator (and not directly reflective of anything beyond market psychology), your conclusion seems fallacious

          • SupPupPup

            What would you attribute the slump to?

            I’m not too knowledgeable about the wider market environment during that time.

          • I wouldn’t make a conclusion without looking at other market factors, what you have is a hypothesis, to prove it you’d need to test other factors (currency exchange rates, overall trade volume, overall economic conditions etc) to see if there are intervening variables

          • Loki Nahat

            in a publicly traded company, bad decisions are directly reflected in stock price, thats.. kinda the point of the markets cf: yahoo et al

          • SupPupPup

            I believe he is saying that they are a somewhat delayed reflection.

          • What is and isn’t a bad decision is subjective, and markets are highly affected by other factors

          • Loki Nahat

            of course they are, I wont argue against that, they shouldn’t have tanked in 2014 in my opinion, the GBP dropped in late 2014, but that only serves to increase sales from international territories, such as the US, as their buying power goes up, they shouldnt have lost on sales alone there.

          • Horus84cmd

            and highly sensitive to overall economic conditions – I’m looking at you Brexit!

        • ZeeLobby

          It’s a massive leap. Just “googling finance” doesn’t magically make any of these numbers positive…

      • blackbloodshaman

        delicious

    • CatachanCommissar

      The part where they wrote: “this is all Matt Ward’s fault” really resonated with me. I’m glad they finally admitted it.

      • Ragnar Black

        Matt Ward’s fault where? I still believe that there was something different behind..

  • Thomas Gardiner

    That bit about internal hiring made me facepalm so hard. A big part of GW’s problem is that they seem to make important hires based on who’s been there longest or who’s bezzie mates with the boss, rather than looking outwards to find someone who might be better and more innovative.

    • Loki Nahat

      they’re just afraid, trying to retain as much control as they can,

      it’s like example 101 of management buyouts, they start setting up fiefdoms and hand out positions only to sycophants.

      what is ironic, is quite a few of the board are from outside.. http://investor.games-workshop.com/the-board-of-directors/

      • Thomas Gardiner

        Agreed. Always thought they ran their business with this weirdly paranoid, neurotic streak. Always very closed and secretive and unwilling to listen to criticism. Thought that might’ve changed with the way GW have been furtively embracing social media but perhaps that internal culture of “centralise! Control!” is still there.

        • wibbling

          If Workshop did what BoLS commenters wanted, they’d have collapsed by producing products no one wanted for games no one was playing.

          As much of a shock as it may be, the directors know more about the company than spoiled commentariat.

          A classic comment from someone whining about Workshop customers not being collectors – on the release of Renegade ‘…I am so gonna buy 10 of these’ (sic – it isn’t, but hey ho).

          • Gridloc

            10 renegades, so embodying the ‘don’t be that guy in 40k’, huh?

      • euansmith

        Quarter of a million quid? For that kind of money they could have got his wife to redesign the webstore.

      • wibbling

        I don’t believe he is wont to run the company. That’s why he stepped down.

      • Raffazza

        FWIW – best practice for any listed business is for most of the Board to be made up of people from outside the industry. This prevents an inwards looking approach and is meant to shed common business sense onto the leadership

        • Loki Nahat

          indeed, but it seems this is what they are now dead set against, the filled it with externals, then refuse to hire externals to the board… interesting fiefdom set up

    • SYSTem050

      Indeed getting in out siders does not mean getting in the Philip Green/Dominic Chappell of the world (in fact the whole golden parachute, executives lining there own pockets etc makes me wonder if Kirby has been to a BBQ with frank field)

      By all means appoint from within if you must but that doesn’t mean the guy one cubicle over you have a raft of store managers etc. Also 10 year run in! WTF markets develop quickly new tech new concepts etc get you execs up to speed in 6-12 months or go back to your potting shed

      • Loki Nahat

        funny thing is he says things like no golden parachute, and being against lining pockets, but, thats exactly what he just did with a quarter of a million pounds

  • Garren Seifert

    They need to bring in more writers for the black library

    • Ben Martin

      +1 to that sir.

    • ZeeLobby

      Good ones!

  • Erikjust

    I do wonder how does Privateer Press and Fantasy Flight´s annual report look like are they bleeding too or are their annual reports looking a bit better then GWs?

    • WellSpokenMan

      I don’t know about PP, but FFG acquired Asmodee and is still expanding. That makes me think their sales are growing. It would be nice to see the real numbers though.

      • Ross Allan

        No. Asmodeé bought FFG.

        • WellSpokenMan

          Fixed.

  • Wtyn

    Good news for gamers, no imminent problems, and expect big boost next financial year from huge warhammer total war licensing sales plus AOS visibly picking up steam with popular new releases being sold out, and the generals handbook.

    Having said that as an investor I wouldn’t go near that management structure, completely amateur and archaic, although I love their product

    • Dongmaster

      Sums up my thoughts pretty much.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah… The only imminent problem might be anything GW decides to do to right the boat. All new paint line replacement, blow up 40K, etc. I would have much preferred to have them not losing money again…

  • Painjunky

    Operating profits dropped by a third!
    Obviously AoS hasn’t been well received.
    Only licence royalties saved them.

    • Ross Allan

      #jumpingtoaconclusionisbad

      • Painjunky

        Yes but that’s coming off a very low baseline. AoS has sold better than fantasy but it is still far from profitable.
        This also confirms other product lines have falling sales as well.

        • Gunsheeplol

          >AoS has sold better than fantasy but it is still far from profitable.

          How the hell would you know?

          • Painjunky

            Operating profits dropped 27% pre royalties.

          • Ross Allan

            Have….have you actually bothered to read the report. Or are you just intent on bludgeoning us with your baseless opinion?

          • Painjunky

            No… just the numbers and logic.

          • Ross Allan

            So yeah…..bludgeoning us it is then. Good-oh.

          • SupPupPup

            Neither of you are saying anything. Ross what data do you have to support your conclusion?

          • Painjunky

            This happens every time. The fanboys try to convince us that falling sales profits despite price hikes and new products like AoS is good business. Haha!

          • Dongmaster

            Us?

          • Ross Allan

            Well, AoS is selling better than Warhammer did latterly, yes? Therefore, sales have increased.

            Pain junky claims all losses = AoS because reasons.

            If a range is selling well, it’s not the one behind your sales drop. You do see the mutually exclusive thing there, yes?

            The trouble here, is we’re dealing with people with an axe to grind – they’re determined to look at GW in a vacuum. But you can’t do that. You have to look at wider retail trends.

            Many of the UK’s big high street names had a crap year. Marks and Spencer’s suffered. BHS just collapsed. HMV may or may not be out of the woods. That all has a knock on effect, and shows a wider trend.

            I posted elsewhere that this isn’t as ‘apples and oranges’ as you might think. Yes, we’re talking about completely different stock ranges – but when the big names on the high street suffer, so do smaller more niche businesses.

            People go to town to the big stores to get their main gumph. That foot traffic then benefits smaller stores, whether smaller chains or local businesses, as beyond your core customers, none are likely to come to town *just* to shop with you. That lowers your chance of impulse sales, and prevents word of mouth encouraging others through your door.

            Even a small drop can have major consequences. Let me give it to you from a former GW staff member’s experience. (Last worked for them in 2010. I’ve had quite the change in profession since!).

            On an average week, we’d do about…150 transactions. Knowing that, and knowing your income target, you can plan what you’re ideal Average Transaction Value needs to be hit to target.

            As the month progresses, you keep tabs on that, and adjust as you go. Now, there’s no way in hell you can get *every* sale to be ATV. So instead, you look for ways to bump them up. For me? Usually a pot of paint. They’re cheap enough that they’re an easy upsell. For most, they’re a necessary part of the hobby. For many, they’re something easily overlooked.

            Now, and individual paint pot currently goes for £2.55. Balanced out, you can easily bag one per sale. Let’s multiply that by 150 per week – £337.50. Each year? £17,550. Per store.

            They’re particularly easy to upsell on an impulse buy. Every army has its predominant colour, and hobbyists don’t want to run out, or find they’ve run out when they get home with their new toys. Even if they were good for that colour after all, it’s still gonna get used eventually, yes?

            But oh noes! High Street Woes! Our foot traffic is down 20%. Instead of 150 transactions…..we’re getting 120 transactions….stuff is still selling – of course it is. It’s a niche enough product that you’ll have a loyal core who’ll visit come hell or high water.

            But those 30 that’ve dropped? Most likely your impulse buyers, and people new to the hobby. That puts a real strain on things. The newer a customer, the more they spend – after all, they’ve got nowt, but want an army.

            Now, from memory, our weekly target back then was around £4,000. Might sound a lot, really isn’t. Most weekends you’d do £2,5k – £3k easy, leaving the rest for the far quieter week days. But that 20% drop? A drop you don’t have any control over, because it’s to do with peeps just not coming into town as much?

            But no. Let’s just look at GW in perfect isolation, because we want to blame it all on AoS – a game that’s exceeded sales of its predecessor.

            Let’s blame it on ‘poor management’, when few of us have run a business, let alone one the size of GW.

            Let’s just blame it on anything which we feel makes GW look bad.

            (Interestingly, that paint pot example? For an Indy Store, that sort of upselling, regardless of product achieving it is easily the difference between success and failure as a business)

          • Gridloc

            Honest question, do you think this is a good financial report? yes or no… Put your models down for a second and ask that question, because investors do not care about the models or their enjoyment of the game or years of work painting that creates a bias view by all BOLS readers.

          • Mira Bella

            The operating profits drop IS IN THE REPORT!

          • Axis Mundi

            Turnover/Growth is a much better guide to sales than profit. Profit can be hit from so many angles that you can’t draw the conclusions that you seem to be coming to. Indeed many companies to go to enormous lengths to “hide” profits.

            The apparent stablizing of turnover, and the turnaround/pick up in AoS sales is a good sign. AoS should continue to improve now that they have a much better product line in place. Now, if they can just sort out 40K they might actually get back on track – I suspect the problems with 40K are now their main concern.

          • ragelion

            I think you summed it up well. I agree 40k seems to be next. Bell’s even talk about the new AOS battletomes might be paving the way for 40k.

          • Axis Mundi

            Thanks! If they manage to succesfully update 40k with the stuff that works from AoS, it could be amazing.

          • ZeeLobby

            Or it could drive the nail home. We don’t really know if AoS can be marked as a success either. One year of initial sales post-launch is not a good indicator.

          • Axis Mundi

            Oh definitely. They seem to have really got on top of things over the last six months though, so I’m relatively optimistic. I also don’t think that AoS has been a success commercially at all – but I really do like the game, and the recent Battletomes and the Generals Handbook hit it out of the park (imho), so I suspect the next twelve months will be a different story. Fingers crossed!

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, At this point I’m neutral. I appreciate their effort, but they’ve tried to “turn things around” before and then quickly abandoned them. My worry is that their so stockholder driven that another year of loss in sales will see them doing more drastic crazy things to try to fix it. Like blowing up AoS, and creating Age of Archaon, lol.

  • Mike Salamandrin

    They won’t license a major motion picture because they would loose rights to produce toys, and liken the idea to prostitution; that suck out to me

  • GiftoftheMagi

    AoS might have created a bit of a spike toward their fantasy line, but they also lost the diehard customers willing to buy tons of plastic to support it, and in the end the game itself is set up to discourage large armies that would normally cost 4-600$ USD. You can jump in around 80-100$ and be done. While you end up with a wider base, you also have less revenue.

    This is kinda the same problem Wizards of the Coast faced when they made D&D 4th Ed. They cut down the rules to the bone, oversimplified…and then put out a TON of books. The idea was to attract new players that wanted simple rules and games….which it did, at the expense of their diehard fanbase. Worse, the new players were younger, had less cash and far less incentive to buy 6-20 hardcovers. The end result was 5th Ed D&D and the creation of Pathfinder, which is now the #1 Fantasy RPG on the planet….and also D&D 3rd Ed.

    There needs to be a whole new approach to this. More digital content and support. Better access to the models. Simplier rules for 40K and a FAR better marketing of AoS. And an understanding that these are harder times.

    • CatachanCommissar

      3.5 4 lyfe!!

  • WellSpokenMan

    The good: Retail sales are only down 2%. While that won’t make investors happy, it means that indications that they are in a tail spin have been (unsurprisingly) overblown.

    The bad: Investors aren’t happy. GW’s sales are flat at a time when the industry overall is booming.

    The ugly: All operations outside of the U.K. Have had a significant increase in cost overnight since the pound collapsed. To offset this, GW needs to increase sales outside the UK, but from trends we’ve seen in the last couple of reports sales are worse in North America than in the UK. GW will have to have a comparably great year to break even. That’s assuming that they acquire materials from inside the UK. Price hikes on products they have to import will make things even harder.

    • ZeeLobby

      I didn’t think retail sales were ever really that much worse though. I’ve always assumed they’ve just been in a steady decline, which in many ways is the worst kind.

  • Morollan

    In the year that they killed Warhammer and launched Age of Sigmar their profits fell 27% (pre-royalties). And the report indicates that AoS is selling more than Warhammer was for several years, which implies that sales on their other systems are falling by huge amounts, despite some (by GW standards) amazing deals in such things as Betrayal at Calth, Deathwatch, the Getting Started sets and Imperial Knights: Renegades!

    The (ridiculously) massive investment in their new webstore last year has paid off in spades though with a 2% drop in sales!

    • ZeeLobby

      40K is all but dead around here. It’s become a trash heap of a mess quite honestly.

      • Dongmaster

        So are you cancelling our date between Dark Eldar and Orks?

        I know one Warboss who will be sad to hear that…

      • Morollan

        I’ve not played 40K this year. Been playing Infinity instead.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, they definitely need to do something… and I’m not sure blowing it up or AoSing it will make all that much of a difference…

    • silashand

      Deathwatch was massively overpriced as have been most of their board games. I know some folks purchased it for the models, but frankly the game itself is just boring. I know GW think a lot of their models, and maybe they are only making these things to sell them, but $165 for a board game is way too expensive unless it’s just plain exceptional from both model *and* gameplay standpoints in DW’s case gameplay falls way short IYAM. The only new games they have put out that I think were decent were Betrayal at Calth and/or Warhammer Quest. The latter at least shares a lot with its predecessor so didn’t require a ton of work to turn it into a good game. While I like some GW board games, except for the remakes of their old good ones I think most of their recent attempts are poor at best. Anyway, JMO.

  • Horus84cmd

    1…2…3 armchair business executive comments and GOOOO!

    • WellSpokenMan

      Contrary to popular belief, not all gamers live in their parents basement. Some of us actually do this kind of thing for a living.

      • Horus84cmd

        In that I have no doubt. However, as per the rules of the internet, the: informed, rational and balanced reading/analysis of GW annual report will be far out-weighed by: ill-informed, inane and un-balanced opinion.

        GW half year and full year financial always spark great comments that make me laugh.

        Oh and by the way. No need for the snarky backhanded comment of “not all gamers live in their parents basement”. Just like, I don’t know you from adam, you don’t know me (or others) either.

        • WellSpokenMan

          That’s the stereotype, you know, basement, Mointain Dew addiction, Cheeto stained hoodie. There was nothing backhanded there, snarky yes, backhanded no.

          • Horus84cmd

            yet, ever so un-needed in the context of my comment. Which for, all intensive purposes, was a joke…

          • WellSpokenMan

            Fair enough, let’s have a beer.

          • Gridloc

            purpose was joke? or was your post to discredit those discussing GW’s report in the comments section by labeling them.

          • Horus84cmd

            oh sigh….for sure definitely the latter; I was aiming to directly “discredit” posters making comment…I was not, at all, drawing a droll parallel with other similar satirical adages i.e. the “armchair general” or “back seat driver”. A phenomenon that is rife across a wide variety “anonymous user” based forums and the internet in general….

          • John Grammaticus

            That’s uncalled for, I can stop drinking mountain dew any time I want =p

      • Stealthbadger

        Is it me or is the Chairmans preamble massively unprofessional? The tone reads like an angry commenter on here rather than a rational manager of a publicly listed company.

        Am I just being precious or do you agree this reads like a bit of a childish rant telling others to stop telling him what to do?

        • WellSpokenMan

          It’s hard to say. It certainly sounds snarky, but that may be normal in the UK. Also, when I learned how to read this stuff (which was years ago) it was strictly numbers. I don’t ever remember reading the CEO’s statement before. It is true that I can’t imagine a US corporations taking that tone though.

          • Stealthbadger

            From my limited experience this is not the norm for UK. The British way is to smile and be courteous but hate somebody’s guts behind the smile. This just seems off.

            I compared it to Rountree’s statement which is much more what I would expect. He (Kirby) does sound a little unhinged, like there’s some conspiracy by fund managers compliance departments deliberately obfuscating their AGM votes.

            Normally a CEO statement is a bland recital of the numbers. Just facts. This is to avoid any legal wrangling over misleading shareholders. Basic due diligence of things like this should root out any subjectivity if it were corporate M&A. There’s nothing here that could be misleading so I see how it will gave got through but, as I said, seems bizarre.

        • Crevab

          It’s pretty normal for a Kirby preamble. They’ve all been odd

    • frankelee

      The fanbois don’t listen to people who understand game design and the miniatures business, why would they listen to people with financial expertise and experience either?

      • Horus84cmd

        So true. Blinkered sheep mentallity

        • Dongmaster

          Like the “oh a GW article on BoLS, let me repeat myself with traditional ranting” sheep?

          • Horus84cmd

            Yeah and the “GW are making a loss and therefore the end is neigh” sheep; or the “its all LOTR/Hobbit license fault” sheep and the new breed “AOS sucks and thats why GW are making a loss” sheep.

          • Dongmaster

            You got me all hungry for mutton.

  • Shinnentai

    I was listening to a podcast last week running through the latest ICv2 hobby games market report (US & Canada). Non-collectible miniature games sales were up 40% in 2015 (I believe that’s calendar year, so not far off GW’s 2015/16 financial year).

    So while GW are patting themselves on the backs publicly for being able to tread water, you can be sure they’re casting envious looks over X-Wing’s way (X-Wing & Armada being responsible for most of that 40% increase).

    • Horus84cmd

      I think that the X-Wing comparisons are always a little difficult. One massive sell point for X-Wing is it connection to literally one of the largest and most profitable franchise in the world; and the millions of devoted fans that come with that – a lot of which will buy anything associated with it.

      Now, the game is decent, I’ll not deny that. However, would the same game rules but say set in WW2 be just as lucrative? I don’t know; perhaps or perhaps not. Just food for thought.

      • Shinnentai

        Yeah the license (which of course will cost FFG in royalties) plus the fact it’s pre-painted must bring in more customers.

        IIRC X-Wing uses a very similar movement system to a WW1 / WW2 game called ‘Wings of War’ which didn’t make anywhere near the same splash, so the license clearly makes a big difference!

      • Axis Mundi

        This! The X-Wing sales are a total outlier, and really skew any argument about growth in this part of the industry. The game is great, and is certainly a tabletop wargame – but it’s Star Wars for goodness sake, with no hobby aspect and a very low buy in cost.

        In terms of audience and sales, it should really be considered a board game. It’s sold through the same channels, and sits right alongside Carcasonne etc in shops across the planet.

        • Ed Butlar

          X-wing looks like a cool game but I would be interested to see how long it survives for. I can see a lot of positives this year for GW, am looking forward to the new year and the new possibilities it will bring.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            I agree, long term pop culture ebbs and flows. look at LotR and all it’s products and game!

          • EndreFodstad

            As long as they keep making SW movies and people like those, X-Wing/Armada will sell, I think. Star Wars was a valuable property even in the 15 years between ROTJ and PM, so unless Disney completely oversaturates the market and people lose interest, Star Wars games will have an appeal.

          • Ed Butlar

            For sure, Star wars games will always be popular, but I’m not sure X-wing will. But who knows, this whole thread is speculative anyways.

          • Ed Butlar

            No idea, its ok to have lots of gaming systems on the market. The video games market also has lil babies that argue about which system or game is better, but tbh I really don’t give a s hit, I’m just happy to be able to paint n play and enjoy. most of the regulars here are sad lil excuses for gamers, people who not many people would want at their table. GW will be fine, much to their butt hurt annoyance

      • Severius_Tolluck

        Well it did already. You are proven correct that it is more the IP! The game started as ww1 and then went to ww2, and now has been skinned and refined with Star Wars. Not many people have heard of wings of glory, or wings of war!
        OOps, didnt notice hte post below hit my comment!

      • silashand

        Not sure how lucrative yet, but Gale Force 9 just put out their TANKS game which is borrows a lot of ideas from X-Wing and seems to be a lot of fun. It seems to have completely sold out of its initial print run and players are having trouble getting hold of the expansions and starter set all over from what I gather. There is a very active FB group for the new game and so far its gotten almost nothing but positive reviews as far as I can tell. Have to see how it pans out I guess, but so far it seems really well done IMO.

    • Raffazza

      Not surprising, surely? Selling Star Wars related games to a bunch of geeks is hardly snow to eskimos 😉

  • SupPupPup

    Still ticking along I guess.

    Must be hard to run a large toy business with the popularity of computer games.

    • Shinnentai

      It’s okay, video games are just a fad – Tom Kirby said so.

    • ZeeLobby

      Kind of. Other companies seem to be having less heartburn

  • the_wheel_turns

    Age of Sigmar is a lame duck and a big mistake. They’ve also opted for short term revenue at the expense of their reputation by selling licences to almost anyone which is producing some truly terrible video games.

    I expect to see sales fall even further and the damage that both Age of Sigmar and poor licensing will cost them within the next two years.

    Ironically the best video game Total War: Warhammer represents a world that GW no longer sell. *golf claps for the management*

    • Gunsheeplol

      AoS is a lame duck and a big mistake even though it’s selling better than WHFB. Right.

      • the_wheel_turns

        We will see if those numbers hold up next year. Once people have tried it and realise how bad it is they won’t be back ever. Even more damaging than low sales are no sales.

        Short term seems to be the GW policy.

        • ragelion

          Still this came from the second half of the year when AOS had to stand on it’s own two feet. Considering the response to the general handbook and new battle tomes. I think AOS is in a good place.

          What GW has to do now is get their IP to good people. It’s the only way a niche company can stay afloat.

        • Gunsheeplol

          “AoS may be selling well now but we’ll see next year”

          Wow you haters are getting really shrill and desperate now huh

        • SupPupPup

          Which games have you switched to?

          • Dongmaster

            40K…

          • the_wheel_turns

            I haven’t switched. I just haven’t purchased a single thing from GW since AOS. However everyone I know has since moved on, either onto board games or other systems like Kings of War. I don’t know anyone from the 100 hundred or so people who used to play fantasy who have bought into AOS. Not a single sausage.

          • SupPupPup

            Sorry, I assumed you play GW games (you are on a mainly gw based forum after all).

            Do you play KoW or 9th age?

            To account for your anecdote. Is it possible that your obvious dislike of the system (AoS) has dissuaded converts from inviting you to play with them?

          • the_wheel_turns

            I’ve been playing GW games since 1987, was a customer of the first ever GW store in Hammersmith and have seen it all. AOS is one of their biggest mistakes if not biggest. I still play 8th edition but now have no reason to purchase anything from GW again.

            The only people I’ve met who are positive about AOS are the GW fanboys and those who entered the hobby post 2000.

            I will most likely buy Blood Bowl new edition as it appears from the comments and model sculpts that GW can still produce good games when they want.

            Although compared to what I used to spend GW have lost thousands of £s of future purchases and then I times this by 100 or so with friends and other people I know who have dropped out.

          • SupPupPup

            I too have been playing since the late 80s. I quite enjoy AoS. It feels more like Old hammer, with its flavourful rules and emphasis on storytelling.

            Are you still playing in the UK? The AoS scene seems to be livening up, its certainly bigger than fantasy was down south.

            It appears to have overtaken 40k in popularity in some areas (which is surprising).

          • Adrien Fowl

            I have been playing WHFB and W40k for the last 16 years and I didn’t buy a single WHFB model for the last three years.

            After the release of AoS I have started buying stuff from GW again and I have even started collecting a Seraphon army.

            The General’s Handbook also seems to be selling pretty well, which is good news.

            AoS needs some time to settle down, how many people played WHFB in its first year? How many people play AoS?

            I am super excited about AoS and I think this is a great time to be an AoS player!

          • SupPupPup

            That’s an interesting anecdote. Why did you stop buying fantasy figs, and keep buying 40k?

          • CatachanCommissar

            Their biggest mistake was nuking the old world, you can’t beat that setting… ever.

          • Shiwan8

            Generic fantasy with stereotypical characters. The only thing in it that is hard to beat is it’s lengthy history. The setting itself is nothing special.

          • CatachanCommissar

            Yes I realize it’s the typical fantasy setting, but I liked every part of it, Skaven creation, vampire bloodlines, mercenaries, border princes etc. It was large enough it left you plenty of room to create any kind of backstory you wanted. It felt cohesive, it appealed to my senses as it was just dark enough. It was easy to relate to. It was dark fantasy.

            AOS is high fantasy, I do not like high fantasy at all. I like dirty peasants protecting their land and homes from bloodsuckers, from necromancers. I like that the forest down the road could have a beastman cult hiding in it. I do not like different realms with magical armored suits flying around hitting things with hammers. It’s not for me, and I really wish they’d kept the old world alive, where each of my carefully created armies lives and thrives.

            They didn’t though… so I’ll stick to playing 6th edition. I personally find the change a mistake, but it’s a personal opinion and I don’t run the company, so too bad right?

          • Shiwan8

            I understand and can both sympathize and empathize. The setting did not need revision, only the rules did. Sadly “hey, here are new rules for the game” would have fallen to deaf ears and to make the system better the setting had to go. It’s not fun, but to achieve what they wanted to achieve it had to be done.

            Also this high fantasy thing is just BS. Just as it’s BS in 40k. 30k is a better game and a better setting just for all the grittiness in it. 40k is….polished….

          • CatachanCommissar

            Yeppers! More grimdark please.

          • Marc Buckingham

            I wonder if it would have been possible to keep BOTH settings? I guess the setting is still there, you can play AoS rules in the WHFB setting…but could they have had classic WHFB and AoS?

          • CatachanCommissar

            I was hoping AOS would have simply been a standalone game. I feel they could have had both.

      • SupPupPup

        I think we can all agree the launch was not handled in the best way.

        • Horus84cmd

          Which is acknowledged in the report. It is commented that:

          “We learnt some valuable
          lessons during the year on how to deliver product system changes on this scale”

          I’d draw from this that they will be aiming to deliver future change in a better way when it comes to a certain other beloved game system.

          • SupPupPup

            Yes, hopefully they can learn from AoS and consolidate the system of 40k to a competitive, streamlined addictive ruleset.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            They probably already did with Verdos!

          • Horus84cmd

            Possibly. However, that particular produce is talked about in the report and is linked to creating “New business opportunities” i.e. getting GW product into more outlets; rather than the wholesale system change, like they have done with AOS. I’d hazard the new “Storm of Sigmar” lines, that went on sale this week, are perhaps along the vein as Vedros.

            pg4.
            “To broaden our reach without distracting our core channels, we are piloting a small range of products in new markets. We launched a
            dispenser of eight products called Battle for Vedros in toy shops in North America in June 2016 and will launch a small range called
            Build and Paint globally in modelling and toy shops later in 2016/17.”

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Yeah which I think is what they meant by going forward they will launch things differently and probably wiser. Possibly also with more stop gaps to bridge the way.

          • Horus84cmd

            For sure neither pushing into more outlets and game re-designs and release won’t be wholly mutually exclusive.

        • ragelion

          I think everyone know’s that they even admitted at warhammer fest the launch was bad. The fact that they turned it around in half a year is quite impressive IMO.

      • Painjunky

        With the massive investment of money, time, resources and promotions being pumped into AoS it has only just managed to improve on the sales of its predecessor at its lowest point.
        That is not a success.
        If AoS is profitable then 40k and everything else must be tanking badly.

        • Gunsheeplol

          AoS is selling more than WHFB did.
          That is not a failure, as much as all you little haters want it to be so it fits your narrative.

      • EndreFodstad

        That depends on at what point of WHFB’s life they’re comparing it with. WHFB seems to have had some rather abysmal sales numbers for some time, which was likely what prompted AOS. In the US, WHFB seems to have taken a real nosedive in sales in 2013, for example, falling off the top five chart and never returning (getting outsold from the independents by things like D&D Attack Wing). AOS stilll hasn’t climbed back up that ladder for GW, so in the US, at least, it doesn’t seem to be a runaway success.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Well that game (Total War)as it probably goes was years in development, where AoS may have been a more.. short term change.

  • Klaatu

    Haven’t seen anybody mention this yet, but this should be a headline sentence: “Sales of our Forge World range grew by 28% offset by a 12% decline in our Citadel range”. (p10)

    So, the whole Citadel range, sold 12% less, in the year they introduced AoS, Admech and a ton of other stuff. That is … really, really bad.
    (Note that the 28% FW increase isn’t much more than a band aid since the total value of FW sales is probably nowhere near the total value of Citadel sales)

    As for this sentence: “we finished the year with sales of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar at a higher rate than Warhammer has enjoyed for several years.” – bear in mind that “rate” can mean a lot of things, for example they might mean turnover, i.e. how quickly a product is sold. The purpose of the annual report is to convince current and future shareholders to give GW money, so GW actions will be presented in the best possible light, no matter what the facts are.

    Of course, it *might* mean that the total value of AoS sales this year is higher than the value of WHFB sales in any of the last several years, but I doubt that since Citadel sales are down 12% across the board. With a lot of 40k releases including a new army, I don’t see what else would account for the lower Citadel sales.

    All in all, a fairly bad annual report. Their five-year summary (p59) shows a pretty bad picture – profit is down about 20% since 2013 and has stayed basically the same between 2015 and 2016. Plus, in 2016, the year they were supposed to turn things around with the AoS launch, their core revenue stream (Citadel sales) fell by 12%, and only royalty income prevented profit from falling even further.

    • SupPupPup

      Wouldn’t you expect to see a hit from introducing a new system like AoS.

      I think the next two years will be a better indication of GWs health. (factoring Total War and Brexit)

      • Klaatu

        Not sure if you mean a hit as in loss or increase. in any case, you’d expect to see extra manufacturing expenses (which you do see), but you would also expect to see higher sales of your product because of the new system. Instead, Citadel sales as a whole are down 12%.

        • SupPupPup

          I would expect to see a drop. The transition of the system appeared to be quite ropey, and came off the back of a system that had required a very high investment from players.

          As you said AoS is selling better than fantasy (if you believe the jargon), which is to be expected.

          The drop may be loss of 40k sales. Its hard to tell. We would need more data.

          • ragelion

            Yeah I suspect it might be 40k they did not even talk about it in the report. I believe AOS is also a small testing ground for some of the things that are going to be in the edition of 40k.

          • Klaatu

            Yeah, we need more data (which, of course we’ll never get 🙂 ). Still, given that 40k launched a bunch of new stuff and there’s no obvious reason why it would fall so much in popularity, I think low AoS sales are a much likelier reason for the overall Citadel sales drop.

            Btw, I don’t think AoS is selling better than fantasy. I wanted to draw attention to how ambiguous that sentence is so people don’t instantly interpret it as saying that AoS is outselling fantasy.

          • SupPupPup

            Yes, the wording is quite suspicious.

            Its also hard to know how they divided the lines up. Do Bretonnian models count towards Fantasy or AoS? Is it only the new lines and reboxed stock, or do they count everything?

      • Nameless

        but total war was included on this report, its initial release will be by far and away the most influential both in terms of sales and igniting people’s interest. while the DLC’s will no doubt provide more Royalties it won’t be as great as the initial release.

        • SupPupPup

          Yes that is true, I however feel we will get a better picture of health over the next coming years.

          Whether the DLC can provide enough, and the new DoW coming out.

    • Michael Davey

      If overall sales were down 2%, then the FW increase must be more than a band aid. I think when they say rate of sales in this context they must mean $ value over the year. It wouldn’t surprise me if AoS sold more in it’s first year than WFB did in it’s last few.

      • Klaatu

        FW doesn’t necessarily have to have big total sales because GW also sells a ton of books and digital products – novels, artbooks, codexes, supplements, etc. In general, those books are fairly expensive to begin with, and some of them have insanely overpriced special editions. Given GW probably has about 200+ books in print at any one time (judging from a quick look at their website) and that special editions have such a huge markup over normal editions, their book sales are probably a big chunk of their revenue.

        As for rate of sales – like I said in the post, it could be but I don’t think that’s likely. (Also, I’m sure AoS didn’t sell more in one year than WFB in its last few total – they only said that rate was higher than WFB’s rate in any one of the last few years.)

        • Michael Davey

          In the report they differentiate between FW/Citadel and “Non-Core”. I have to assume BL is in “Non-Core”. Non-Core sales appear to be a fraction of the figure sales, and also seemed to be pretty flat this year (p43).

          Also, on the overall report. I agree this isn’t good news for GW (another flat year), but to include the 5 year picture is a little misleading. They had a huge drop 2013-14, and have slowly crept up (revenue wise) since then. But the prospects for their acutal manufactured goods are pretty week.

          • Klaatu

            Yeah, they are apparently about 7% of the non-figure sales, judging by the figures on p43. Not quite as much as I thought.

            As for the 5-year-overview – given the 2013-2014 revenue drop, I think that’s why you would expect 2016 to be another year where they made gains to get out of the hole (they definitely tried that with AoS, Admech and whatnot). It makes the stagnation between 2015 and 2016 especially disappointing.

        • Michael Davey

          Also, I didn’t mean the AoS likely sold more this year than WFB past years in total, but as you said, compared to a single year of WFB. This also indicates that they are probably talking about total sales volume over a year. Speaking of some other metric in a yearly report would be bizarre, and perhaps fraudulent.

          • Klaatu

            We’re on the same page about WFB and AoS, then.
            Not so sure about bizarre or fraudulent – there’s plenty of information in annual reports that varies from company to company, depending on which sector they’re in etc. There’s certain information that has to be present in the report, but after that, it depends on what the company wants to disclose, for any reasons of its own.

    • Axis Mundi

      Isn’t the 12% drop on Web sales? Since all of Forge World’s sales are via the web, they are correspondingly high. Sales are down, but just a few percent across all the channels.

      • Klaatu

        True, you’re right. I’ll edit that.

  • ZeeLobby

    The big issue is that GW will never accept a year of heavy losses to right the boat. They’d rather slow bleed than promote expansion. I’m not going to lie, I have many friends who would buy models from GW again if they CUT prices for once…

    • But at what level?

      the people I know that won’t buy GW because of prices want a drastic cut in prices. As in $1 per model or 1998 prices with a box of 20 guys costing $20.

      They only buy second hand. I don’t see that as a good price range either.

      • Dongmaster

        Wow! Don’t tell them to start Warmachine.

        They will choke on the price tag.

        • ZeeLobby

          I never said PP was all that cheaper (though it definitely still is based on scale alone). PPs advantage is that they have a good game behind their models. Cause let’s be honest their models aren’t all that great in many cases, but they continue to grow and and are still in the top 5 modeling companies in sales.

          • Dongmaster

            Of course you didn’t write that, nor was I replying to anything you did write.

            I am fairly certain PP created MK3 because of need in sales. New people spend money because you know, it is new. Grognards and the anti-GW crowd kept MK2 booming in the beginning but they only buy so much (be it a good unit, a specific army, and so o ). I suspect the new ready to play Battleboxes and streamlining the rules is a part of keeping the game afloat and doing well. But for a new breed of players.

            Getting “balance” is just a bonus for the vets (something GW lack”ed”).

            So when do we play AoS together?

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. Soon. Trust me, I still have the money required for entry, but I think lowering the bar could only help at this point. The problem is those older people, who grumbled and left GW. Those were the people who had the money to pay these prices. Of course X-Wing wins by price in comparison. Especially for young gamers. And while the GW entry products are a good start. Any parent worth their salt will look at the next step in purchasing and mark it as holiday present only.

          • Dongmaster

            X-wing entice lazy young players who do not have the patience to hobbying with models taking longer than a can of coke to open.

            Brilliant move to put such a game in the guise of the greatest space saga of all time.

            This dude will not jump on it in spite several fellow gamers advice. No dull cutting, nagging cleaning, horrible gluing, tedious base coating, and insane amount of techniques to get a model proper – is a big no no from me.

            Hobby must be a pain to be enjoyed…

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. True. Game is also fun though. And the rules are solid. They definitely help. Some people also repaint the minis, which I’m a fan of. I think they’ll always be a market for unbuilt and Unpainted models. But models with the strongest game, or reasonable prices, will always be top dog. GW has a long way to slide until they lose that position and probably never will, I just miss the growth, and local stores are feeling it too. My main store has cut GW stocking in half.

          • Ed Butlar

            Well we will see, I’m not massively bothered either way, I love the painting side of things. I just like to take the more positive view point against all the negativity and doom and gloom, just a hobby after all.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, I think most of the negative sprouts from other threads, where posters desire to see changes made by GW, and point to their falling sales as a clear indicator that what they’re doing is not favorable, and then the fanboys that show up saying that there’s no numbers, or that next years numbers will be up, etc. That battle, haha.

            If I didn’t already have thousands invested in GW products, I’d probably care less, but when I’ve seen something I’ve loved to participate and play in get dragged down repeatedly through pour decisions, it’s hard to keep an overly optimistic view of things.

          • Ed Butlar

            I think fanboys want to be positive, you regulars do seem to pour the hate on.

          • ZeeLobby

            It’s just reality. No hate needed.

        • They buy warmachine because to them a game that has a world championship behind it is worth it. If AOS had a world championship behind it, I bet some (not all) would return.

          • Dongmaster

            Miniature games – where athletes truly test their skills!

          • ZeeLobby

            This is definitely true. A lot of people like to play competitive war games. I mean they are WAR games after all, not board games, and not RPGs. I definitely think a world championship would attract people back, but at this point they’d have to prove that it won’t look like the 40K playing field of Eldar Eldar Eldar SM Eldar Necrons Daemonkin, lol.

        • SupPupPup

          Is it really that different?

          • Dongmaster

            Yes and no.

            I was stunned when I started with Warmahordes because I have always believed the models were cheap. They are not and to be honest, the quality is often sub par compared to other games (especially GW plastics). But there are good models as well, and game sort of fools you that you do not need many models to play. That is partly true but without diversity in models/units you will suffer and thus you need more to stay in the game. So a low entry fee and no real need of many models in the start, makes for a cheaper game but in the end it just becomes similar to all big battle games.

            It does not help when you are a collector either (like the idiot typing this).

            And to clarify further… Getting our two new Warmahordes tables to an awesome standard with top terrain cost way more than if I had bought a fully completed AoS table (my favorite terrain pieces to date). Not that I am complaing, the end result will be stunning and totally worth it.

          • SupPupPup

            Thats interesting. I looking into picking up one of the new mark 3 starter sets, are they enough to have an enjoyable game – or would it be worth going straight to buying a net list?

            I really like the AoS terrain, breaking one set up and spreading out the details across many terrain pieces is a great way to add a bit of style and theming.

          • Dongmaster

            Do not buy a net list army! The game is easy to get into but hard to master, and it takes a lot of remembering/coordination to get right. You really need to start small. I started with 25 pts in MK2 minions (bought all Blindwater models, and their allies though) and played several games before moving to 35 pts, which I played lots of.

            Starter boxes are excellent but always keep in my mind what type of player you are. For me Minions was sort of hit and miss in the beginning. I am a very agressive player that depends on big hard hitters. There was too much shenanigans for me to remember so I suffered initially. MK3 has made Minions more akin to my play style so I am happy (I used to play Ogres in fantasy, and am doing Orks in 40K).

            Google play styled for what seems to suit your army style best or just go the honorable way and buy a box where the models entice you the most.

            I did the latter.

      • ZeeLobby

        The problem is that the entry bar is still set so high. Sure the start collecting models are a good value, but adding that one additional monster is $130. They may have just shot themselves in the foot by making their key models SO big and SO detailed. Reduce size, reduce complexity, and sell monsters at $80 and it’d be a much more affordable game to enter.

        And sure there’s people who want rock bottom 1998 prices, but there’s people who also started playing in the mid 2000s who would be happy with prices returning to those levels (when GW had its largest bump in growth).

        My point was more to the fact that they won’t take the risks that may actually promote growth again. I’d even lump hiring new or well received talent into the lump.

        • Dongmaster

          You really shouldn’t talk priced when GW spiked. LotR OTOH…

          • ZeeLobby

            Can you explain, I don’t know what you’re trying to say?

          • Dongmaster

            Lord of the Rings made GW spike/grow.

            Sold tons and paved way for a lot of techniques they use now.

            8th ed. OTOH, while a great rule set (for me at least), expecting people to buy jacked up priced minis en masse was a failure. They should have used the AoS approach instead with cheap intro boxes and solid cheap books.

          • Shinnentai

            Yes that was one of the big reasons for WFB’s decline I think – rules trending towards larger unit sizes (5-man ranks not 4-man, hordes etc) at the same time as price per model costs were increasing due to expensive dual-use plastic boxed sets.

            I’m okay with it because I have enough disposable income, but it wasn’t a recipe for gaining newer/younger players, especially when you consider the barrier in terms of time-commitment to painting.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, I was thinking GW’s health as a whole, not necessarily fantasy. Fantasy has been mismanaged for a long time, because 40K was simply booming at that time as well. Regardless pricing for all game formats was at least stomachable.

            I still have an issue with the AoS approach though. Any parent/player can clearly see that to expand any cheap intro box or book will quickly involve large cash investments… It’s like they’re trying to bait players in, but don’t understand that the discounted products, and the expensive after-products are on the same shelf, and right next to 5 other cheaper gaming systems.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            It did come off as a bait and switch to me. I thought hte whole point was AoS was a cheaper intro game. However like you said each of the units of like 3 models is like 60, and monsters are 130! I used to balk at like A mumakil being 50 for a single figure. When 8th and 40k had kits that used to cost 25 and now cost 50+ in less than a decade is pretty hard pill to swallow. But it is a luxury hobby so they say, and it’s a niche within a niche 🙁

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, I don’t get why people defend their pricing. It is quite ridiculous.

      • Thatroubleshootah

        They need to price themselves at or around warlord games which is their closest competition. Thirty bucks for one inch tall dudes is not going to work in today’s marketplace.

        • To do that though they are going to need to go private again and get rid of stockholders and being a publicly traded company. Cutting prices to that level will result in expected profit and revenue drops which won’t fly in a public trading format.

          • Thatroubleshootah

            I think that cutting prices would lead to revenue increases. I think that making their big deal boxes limited supply and jacking up their prices with each new release loses them total revenue, not the other way you round

          • I don’t think so at all. Especially with the glut of 2nd hand models available for such a steep discount. Cutting prices by 25% may bring some people in, but would need 25% more products bought to just break even to where they are now.

            Thats a huge risk. And huge risk is not something that aids stock prices.

          • Thatroubleshootah

            They wouldn’t need to sell 25 percent more models. They would only need to increase their profits by twenty five percent. Since their profit margins are so great this would be easy to do. If a model costs two bucks inccluding all that goes into it. Reducing the cost of new models would make buying used less atractive. The more they reduced their customer base the fewer opportunities they have to make money.

          • Sorry. I meant they need to sell 25% more. What you are proposing is a gamble.

            I really really don’t see customers stopping buying used models unless the cost of the models dropped to equate to the cost of used models… which is a huge drop in price.

            Thats just me speaking from the experience of the people i’ve known over the past 20 odd years but most of the people that buy used do so because they don’t want to spend more than $1 for an infantry model. Dropping the price to anything that is greater than roughly $1-$2 an infantry model would not discourage them from continuing to hit used models and ebay up.

  • amaximus167

    “Nothing leaves a sourer taste in the mouth than executives lining their own pockets and claiming it is for the long term good of the business before moving on to their next golden handshake clutching their golden parachute.”

    I worked for a company that went down due to these kinds of executives, it was not pretty. I got out before it completely folded. It is really sad to see all these people work so hard for something the love to just have it fall apart due to the greed of some part time execs.

  • ChubToad

    It’s that time again, where we all turn into Business Gurus and start giving financial numbers a meaning!

    • nurglitch

      Financial analysis is one of those things you don’t get for free.

  • blackbloodshaman

    Is AoS killing it or what?

    • Gridloc

      It is (figure)atively saving the company!

      • No-one Special

        It really isn’t. The return on the massive investment of launching AoS cannot be seen to be adequate when it’s barely scraping in above the old version at it’s lowest ebb.

        • Shinnentai

          I think a lot will depend on whether AoS can build momentum in the 2016/17 year, starting with the Generals Handbook, going into the summer campaign, and on to future release waves.

          Because of the direction they’ve taken, GW haven’t been able to rely on their existing playerbase to springboard AoS, so it’ll take some time to grow (or not).

          • No-one Special

            Typically you expect to see sales spike after a massive investment, which then gradually declines to a baseline level until the next release/investment boosts them again – with that baseline hopefully increasing over time as you build more of a following. The fact that the initial sales spike either wasn’t that big or didn’t last very long at all is a bad sign – and is most likely what has prompted them to release points values in a pretty big U-turn conceptually.
            I’m going to keep banging the drum that with half the investment AoS had, WFB could have been transformed. The ‘multiple ways to play’ AoS is now advertising is just as valid for WFB, and a smaller scale skirmish type game that AoS is would have been ideal as a gateway into the more complex WFB – at a fraction of the cost with logically better sales.

          • GiftoftheMagi

            And here we go. While AoS DID get a decent boost of new players, they also lost many of the hardcore players that had been hanging on for years. And while that community was small, they were also more willing to pay quite a bit for models…while the newer fans were not, just cherry-picking a few figures because they look nice. The lack of organized rules turned off many regular wargamers so they usually didn’t sign up, and it lead to all sorts of bizarre fits and styles

            Finally the goofy rules and “if you don’t like the look of their army, don’t play them” met a lot of games never happened (because when you are new and your opponents pulls out 10 Dragons with a warscroll basically saying “you’re dead”, neither of you are getting a game in today). The intention was to create fellowship, but the reality was that players could not really make the armies they wanted so why bother trying?

            So now we FINALLY have organized play, rules and systems to regulate the game…in a giant volume that you have to pay for. So much for free rules, eh?

  • Gridloc

    So in general another bad year. That’s a bunch in a row unfortunately. I know we can find the ‘good’ in the report but if this was said to you about your money you probably would be concerned. GW has made changes, I expect that we may not see these come to light for another few years. GW has had these bad reports for a while and still around I’m not too worried that they will be gone anytime soon.

    • ChubToad

      Wait for it…

  • Xodis

    I think a major hit is everyone knowing a future 40K rulebook is coming down the line. Nobody wants to buy anything knowing that the entire game is going through another change and what was great usually sucks and what sucks…doesn’t always become great lol.

  • Hugh James Lamont

    Sails of Glory!!!

    A sensible point, cleverly made I think.

  • Richard Mitchell

    Numbers man. Wow, they say things.

  • Ed Butlar

    I don’t see a huge issue with these figures. The glass can be half empty or half full depending on your feelings towards the company. Seems like they are doing a good job in a tough market, they should really be under by now so its good to see they are managing to reach a plateau where (I hope) they can build from again.
    Whether they produce the best miniatures or the best game is debatable, its just good to see a British business that still pays full taxes in the UK and pays for people all over the world to have families and fun without moving their whole operation to a 3rd world country or set up in an off shore tax haven.

    • Gridloc

      They recently outsourced some work to China you know, right?

      • Ed Butlar

        Yep I know, but only scenery, they have done that for years.

  • Larry Gervella

    There is nothing wrong here that will destroy them, it’s good to see someone stand up to the dickish stockholders. A company should NEVER serve a stockholder. That is what sinks businesses and caused the era of take the money and run executives.

    • Dongmaster

      As a stockholder I find your lack of vision disturbing.

      • Larry Gervella

        So you like being part of the PROBELM.

        • Dongmaster

          I am the PROBLEM

    • WellSpokenMan

      A company should never serve just stockholders. Customers and employees should also be considered. However, stockholders own the company. When you own something you get a very large say in how it operates. Take the money and run executives came about because managers were running companies into the ground.

      • Larry Gervella

        They do not actually own anything. What that have is that they hold a bond, which enables them a vote on some things. Companies that listen to their stockholders tend to screw over everyone and go out of business.

  • Drew_Da_Destroya

    “it’s just that we believe we must do them on our terms and not prostitute the business to any and every deal that comes along”

    So, wait, how many random little computer/iPhone games are floating around out there this year now by no-name developers?

    • Thatroubleshootah

      I think the main concern is they don’t want to give up the royalties on the toy sales from the movie.

  • Thatroubleshootah

    The problem is that gw has trained it’s customers to buy from ebay, to buy used, to convert models, to buy from China and to look for and invest in other games. Now that a ton of people are used to not buying new from gw those customers are lost forever.

  • ragelion

    Just looked at GW’s stock it went up.

  • silashand

    The one thing I have not seen is how much of the “AoS sales increase” is due to people buying models for other systems like 9th Age and KoW and how much is actually due to AoS itself? Since this happened before the recent General’s book came out it cannot have had any impact. I know of zero actual AoS players and/or gaming communities in the area I am at, but I know some people who moved to other fantasy systems have begun purchasing GW models to use there. Though I have no proof, I suspect the sell-off of Bretonnians and Tomb Kings probably generated a bit of profit there. I know pretty much everything flew off the site as soon as it was announced they were being cancelled (I even picked up some remaining Bretonnians I had been postponing for years). Frankly, I seriously doubt AoS itself is the big driver of the improved fantasy sales. It would seem to me anyway that GW is benefiting from their competitors’ success rather than their own efforts. JMO though and I guess time will tell one way or the other.

    • ragelion

      They note it’s from their second half. Which means it was after the panic buys. So it did it on it’s own two feet. GW don’t care what system you are using the models for as long as you are buying models.

      So if you are buying models for other systems you will keep doing so.

      • silashand

        Actually the Bretonnians/Tomb Kings sell-off was in February 2016 so the ‘panic buys’ you refer to are part of their second half year. Plus there was sufficient interest in the Bretonnians at least that they ran a second production run of some of their plastics after everything sold out the first time. I know because I got in on that second run when they notified me the line was back in stock temporarily.

        And I recognize GW don’t care who buys their models. It was merely a comment about where their supposed increase for AoS came from along with a supposition that I don’t think it was AoS itself that generated the change. The main point here is *if* it was due to these other systems and players have indeed moved on then eventually if new models are released by their competitors that are good enough then this supposed resurgence is ephemeral and will eventually dissipate. Hence my comment about ‘time will tell one way or the other.’

        • ragelion

          Hmm I see I don’t think it was that but the sylvaneth and ironjaw’s. Espically the sylvaneth release. According to rumor mongers take it with a grain of salt that last chance to buy stuff they actually did not have a lot of it in stock. When it went.

          Well that has not really happened yet I doubt smaller companies have the money or resources to make the model quality of the new ironjaw’s and sylvaneth. Well anyway we have to wait and see.

          Anyway as the financial report said their AOS models have sold more than their old fantasy line. People kept saying that this report will be more telling if AOS is doing good or not.

          Honestly next year is going to mainly be about 40k considering rumors of a edition update.

  • Tothe

    I don’t think I have purchased any GW products over the past year. their business practices have annoyed me. I wonder how many consumers are in the same boat as me? If GW shows it’s less lawsuit-happy and more in tune with what the gamers want like with the new AoS rulebooks, they have a chance of winning back customers.

    • Ed Butlar

      Lawsuit happy? omg

      • Horus84cmd

        Did you not know? GW have a law-suit for every season of the year, just for kicks. The can’t but love’em.

        • Ed Butlar

          Well people rip off their IP, you wouldn’t see disney letting companies ripping off marvel or star wars.

          • Horus84cmd

            Exactly and I agree. Never fully understood the rampant cynicism directed at GW when defend theirs.

          • Tothe

            IP is an absurd concept in the first place. in the second place, even if we grant the assumption of IP legitimacy, they have sued people for stuff mot at all related to their IP, and for making stuff they don’t make at GW anyway, and for offering hobbyists new ways to customize their GW stuff.

          • Horus84cmd

            “IP is an absurd concept in the first place” – seriously don’t know if you having a joke or not.

            Beyond the few above and these words, but any others are literally failing me at the rest of that comment. I don’t know where to begin…oh..sigh…

          • Loki Nahat

            There is no such thing as IP, it’s a relic of the past, just like religion and trade guilds

          • Ed Butlar

            Well that’s a stupid thing to say. But hey as long as it helps your argument.

          • Horus84cmd

            sigh *facepalm*
            a) see above
            b) Religion as a concept will will always exist whether that concept is based around deities or sport or computer games or toy soldiers etc.. it will exist.
            c) Trade guilds, whilst not directly by name still exist, they are simple called Unions as language has evolved

          • Loki Nahat

            a.) see what , that somehow you think hat IP is a good thing? Wrong century, it’s on it’s way out
            b.) religion will exist, it doesn’t mean it’s not outdated
            c) trade guilds are not unions, unions attempt protect workers rights in place that dont have them (US etc), guilds create and enforce monopolies

          • Thatroubleshootah

            Suing someone for using the name space marine, when you did not invent that term or the concept in science fiction Is absurd. It is much like the patent trolling we are having to deal with these days.

          • Horus84cmd

            Yet they do own the trademark to that term. So why should they not defend it, if they believe it has been violated when that is both their right and the law?
            However, that is not to say companies should do more checking before blindly protecting it. There is also a lawful distinct difference between a trademarked word, phrase, concept etc… and the more general everyday use of a word, phrase, concept etc… Sadly this can be a grey line, yet companies must vehemently protect these gray lines or risk opening the legal door on a loophole that could undermine that trademark. It is more a problem of laws being vague and companies having to get judges to decide where the that line is drawn to ensure they are protected.

          • Thatroubleshootah

            There is a company running around suing people who podcast claiming they own the patent for it. They don’t. This does not stop them from suing people. Copyright is a mess. It was initially authors lifetime. Now copyright is authors life plus seventy-five years. That means seventy five years after worms are done eating the author’s eyeballs. That’s when you can use Mackey mouse in your cartoon. Does that length of time help foster Creativity? No, it stifles it. Games workshop is not saving themselves lost profits by stopping people using the name space marine. I could make space marine models. No one would buy them.

            Sriracha hot sauce did not trademark their name. This was a brilliant move as anyone else who makes a sauce and calls it Sri rach a is doing free advertising for them. Also no one else can make a Sri rach a sauce and Sue the original company for stealing the name they themselives made famous.

          • Ed Butlar

            I also simply cannot understand why people seem to have justified buying china casts too, as if evil GW is forcing them too or its their way to give the finger to a big corporation. I think it says more about the people than GW itself and the company is better off without them.

  • Dennis Finan Jr

    Blah blah, let’s see other companies.

  • GiftoftheMagi

    This may have been the longest civil conversation in this site’s history.

    • Dongmaster

      I never knew I had it in me…

  • GiftoftheMagi

    I think this year will be more telling than the last. The introduction of organized play and rules for Aos (with rules you have to pay for now), the expansion and use of the Start Collecting! boxes, the Easy To Build kits going to toy store chains, the growing popularity of the video games (Mordheim, Armada, Total War, etc). I think we will see if AoS really has legs and can get back the serious wargamer crowd without losing the new blood, if GW can finally work on the under 18 set in the US, what effect the recent FAQs will have and of course the rumors of a new edition (and what form that will take).

    I did not expect GW to do all that well, considering the huge amount of money spent on promoting and producing AoS. Retooling a line is never cheap and they want to completely retool theirs. And as GW tries to remake itself, how will other companies react? WIll they jump on GW’s supposive moment of weakness? Will they pull customers away with a better promoted product? Will they innovate faster and get ahead of the curve with media?