I can’t recall such a polarizing product launch in recent gaming history. There seems to be no middle ground with Age of Sigmar.
Just under 3 months ago, GW unveiled Age of Sigmar, completely rebooting the freshly blown up Warhammer Fantasy world that met it’s literal End Times earlier this year.
Let’s take a little jog down memory lane of what this summer held for gamers:
Sep 26 – Skarbrand
Love it or hate it, that is a NUTS amount of new miniatures to kickout in the slow dog days of summer. And it started out with so much interest. In early July it seems like EVERYONE came out to see Age of Sigmar.
Some folks saw the dancing, longest mustaches, and immediately turned thier backs on it and began work on comped versions of 8th Edition. Most seemed to give it the benefit of the doubt and multiple Age of Sigmar comp system and points systems starting being rolled out by various interested player groups.
On and on summer rolled.
Mantic rolled out Kings of War 2.0 in August and by GENCON, the word on the convention floor was that Age of Sigmar was off to a strong launch by industry insiders. Everyone agreed the minis were top notch, and it was the rules that cleaved communities apart like an axe.
On and on summer rolled.
By September it was clear that something odd was going on. Lines were being drawn. Reports were coming in that some GW stores had thriving AoS communities and all was well. But few such reports were coming out of FLGSs and independent retailers predominantly passed on stories of ever more tapering sales.
By mid September we were seeing organized tournaments publicly moving to Mantic’s Kings of War and the overwhelming negative player anecdotes of what they were seeing in their local gaming scenes – like this shocking Warseer thread.
GW themselves is tightlipped about sales figures for AoS, but an investor noted about the board:
“The company cannot divulge sales figures, its in a closed period and Age of Sigmar is only in its third month, but in terms of other metrics, downloads and Sigmar themed magazine sales, management seems more than satisfied.”
And here we sit, after 13 weeks of non-stop Age of Sigmar releases, about to return to the Grimdark. I honestly have no idea what’s going on out there. The reports are completely contradictory. But after watching the games industry professionally for many years it’s easy to tell when you have a game get off to a phenomenal launch and strong growth. We know what that looks like, with all the positive word of mouth, gamer enthusiasm, and goodwill press feeding off itself. The most recent example was probably FFG’s X-Wing.
It’s a model of success that is easy to recognize. Age of Sigmar may be off to a strong start – and GW may just be keeping their champaign toasts and high-fives close to the vest – waiting to wow the world with their mid year annual statement. Nottingham indicates that Age of Sigmar is a longterm project and will be getting strong support for years. But, on the other side of the scale the concerned part of me can’t remember the last time I ever saw a new product release produce customer reactions like these:
What do you think is really going on out there?