Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Entry Point and Expansion

Many years ago, GW published core and secondary games and supported them with a wide range of figures.  The core games are/were WFB, 40K, and LotR.  The secondary games were Space Marine, Epic 40,000, Epic Armageddon, Necromunda, Space Hulk, Blood Bowl, Mordheim, and Battlefleet Gothic to name the big hitters.

A large number of people were drawn into the GW Hobby from these secondary games, myself being one of them.  And a lot of us speak about those games with passion and fond memories!   But those games aren't supported much at all anymore and GW isn't focused on using them or other great game ideas as entry points into the GW Hobby.

While GW has continued to produce great models and kits, there is no effort into additional entry point games.  Yes, they have licenses with Fantasy Flight Games to produce great board games, and video game companies to make video games, but are those folks who play these games actually entering the GW Hobby?  GW certainly has wider recognition than ever before, but is the hobbyist pool actually expanding?   Board gaming and video gaming are great fun, but they are instant gratification games and easily achievable results within hours.  Do those people want to or are willing to spend hours working on an army?

I find it to be an interesting discussion point. In all my years of playing and wide spread interaction with hobbyists across the world, I haven't met anyone yet who has said that GW video games or GW board games (2005-present) were the cause of them getting into the GW Hobby.

Gratuitous model shot of a Praetors of Orpheus Space Marine that I painted way back when I was still at GW. 


Will said...

I would love to take a look at GW's books and see where they are making the most money from. Maybe they are making enough money from the games that they are not counting any cross pollination.

I certainly try to tell people that 40K and WFB are not games, but a hobby. Hell, I spend maybe 1% of my time actually rolling dice. 99% of the hobby is in building, reading, and daydreaming.

deathkorps said...

That model is dead sexy! How did you do the white?

eriochrome said...

Was that model in a WD about how to use Black Templar bits. Seems really familar since I looted that article for ideas for my Belial model.


GW made the desicions that the because the return on investment was better in the primary games that the specialist games did not really matter. If a dollar spent on 40K development brought back 1.25 in income compared to 1 dollar bringing in 1.10 for specialist games it is the right decision. Ofcourse it does not always scale when you are talking about larger investments. At some point the next dollar into the primary game will not add more than that dollar into specialist games back before they just abandoned them.

I can really only talk about Blood Bowl but even when they do put a little bit of investment in like making 1 new model they often put it in the wrong direction. The last 2 new models have just been redos of star players that already have models. People do not even use star players very much and to do new versions where you even still today have the old version in print makes no sense. They would probably get more sales by just getting some of the models that disappeared from the line a few short years ago returned.

The last time they released a new team it was a human team which is not the best new team to work on since you get a human team in the starter box. People still bought the new team though but they might have done better redoing a popular tier 1 team that has sort of ugly models.

They clearly did not see them the specialist games as gateway games or they would not be so over priced. In our small blood bowl league no one has the actual boardgame other than me since they just cannot see paying the 80+ dollars they want for it now given what you get in terms way out of date rulebook and pretty lame looking plastic minis.

Could GW if they made a new space hulk style version of Blood Bowl move the game at a 100 dollar price point with 2 full 16 man teams with big guys. Probably but not at the level of space hulk since people are not likely to fall for the limited edition again and also since it has not been out of print for so long.

That was a long rant going off topic. Sorry.

Jonathan said...

I'm a former GW employee as well (Franklin Mills Battle Bunker) and still remember playing in the 2000 baltimore GT with you shouting. Ah The Holiday Inn Bar...*ahem* anyway

As I've read your blog I can't agree with these points more, especially, "how is GW recruiting new hobbyists?" The wholesale abandonment of the tournament circuit, rising prices, and the lack of peripheral support make this hobby a tough sell for a kid 10-13 (their target entry age) who (especially now) can buy a playstation 3 and get games cheaper than they can build an army. Simply saying "the hobby isn't for everyone" isn't good enough anymore.

Anonymous said...

Skabrad here...

I miss the days of the good ol Specialist games. I bought Chaos in the Old World in a second because it was something new. Man... I really do miss that feeling of opening a GW game...

P.S. I hate you for painting white so well!

Rogue Valley Minis said...

You know jason I started watching your blog namely because I was curious what kind of models a ex GW employee like yourself was knocking out. I had no idea how straight forward you were, and I dare say I love you blog more then ever now finding all of these ideas and gripes you have with them, and to the fact that you are willing to pronounce it. CHEERS!!!! I can't wait for more like these.

theHman said...

Necromunda was for me THE best game GW has ever put out, then Bloodbowl.

I already have money saved and put away to buy multiple boxes of Necromunda for when they redo it and re-release (God I can't wait for that day to come).

From a business standpoint, I can see why GW focuses on Fantasy, 40k and (to a lesser extent) LOTR - it's their bread and butter.

I think what they're missing is that those who buy specialist games tend to also play the big ones as well.

So it's not so much that people are spending less, it's that it's spread out.

But I think the real problem is the man power required to maintain and grow those lines. It's probably not economical enough to hire new people just for those lines. (But I could be wrong).

Speaking of specialist games,
I was one of the only guys at my local store who didn't buy Space Hulk even though the marine minis we amazing (didn't care much for the stealers).

The reason I didn't buy the game was because as a teenager I never enjoyed playing the game.

As the marine, I always felt that I was doomed to lose from the start. Which was no fun.

And funnily enough, there's been no games of space hulk played at the store...

Sorry for the digression.

BTW - that is an amazingly well painted mini! Any chance on a tutorial on painting white?

Blackhat said...

Thats the coolest marine color sceheme I've ever seen :)

cliff said...

My first big box GW game was 2d ed. Space Hulk. A girlfriend bought it for me. I wanted the WH40K box set, but, hey!, no complaints 'cuz Space Hulk was a damn cool game.