Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"I'm Just Not That Into You" - Today, at least!

Sometimes it is really hard to like Games Workshop as a company. I love what they have done for the hobby, mainstreaming far more than any other company. Certainly their creative and products have given me years of enjoyment as I planned, built and battled with armies of little plastic and metal men.

I’ve sunk countless thousands into the hobby in product, travel and, probably my most important resource, time and have always felt that that input was rewarded.

When I first started buying GW product (2000), the NZD was around 0.30 pounds. Now it is 0.48 pounds, a 60% increase in purchasing power. However over the intervening period GW have never recognised the strengthening Australasian currencies and prices have risen along with the rest of the world.

This culminated in the ridiculous situation whereby I could purchase GW product from a UK internet reseller at a 40-45% discount to the NZ retail price. And this included shipping! Yesterday GW started the process of shutting down this avenue – effectively forcing locals here to pay the full retail price (or whatever local discount we can get now the dragon has been slain). Northern hemisphere sellers are no longer permitted to ship GW product – on threat of losing product access.

But that was not enough for GW. On top of this they have announced a price rise effective 1st June. This really is salt in the wounds for a lot of us. Any goodwill that was left is haemorrhaging fast. Also slipped in was the move to resin (sorry, “Finecast”) from metal. After trumpeting how much more efficient and cost effective this was for the company, they signalled that the new models would be more expensive than the metal equivalents they are replacing. So now cheaper cost = retail price rise. Go figure!

Against this backdrop I can only encourage you to buy as much of your prospective needs before the end of the month. Take advantage of the pre-price rise prices. Take advantage of the disappearing access to Maelstrom and Wayland. Take advantage of Maelstrom’s voucher code (GW-ROW) to get 18% off.

The push for the closing of the UK-railway was from local independent sellers (especially in Australia) who to be fair couldn’t begin to compete with the Maelstrom/Waylands of the world. They may have done this explicitly or indirectly (by asking for AUD prices to be normalised with the rest of the world) but the outcome was certainly as a result of their protests (and from a business point of view who can blame them). I suspect they will now be able to wind back the discounts they had to provide to get any veteran gamer purchases. However, they need to be careful of what they’ve wished for. A lot of goodwill has been burnt in the past 48 hours and this GW price rise is really just the icing on the cake.

It’s going to be interesting to see how GW fares in Australasia over the next 12 months. As the owner of more painted armies and unpainted figures than I can ever hope to use I suspect this will see me spending less than I perhaps would have. Others have indicated that the new “pricing” (NZ RRP + price rise) will make the hobby too expensive. I hope not but I understand their viewpoint.

As I said at the outset, it’s increasingly hard to like Games Workshop, the company.


  1. I've been reading a lot about the Price-pocalypse of the the last while. I find it hard to blame any of the party's involved for protecting their profits. (For example, it's hardly 'illegal', like some have claimed, to include trading stipulations for re-sellers). I'm not even entirely convinced that GW will lose out much financially with these decisions.

    What saddens me the most is that I can no longer recommend this hobby to new players with a clear conscience, knowing the cost attached. Which is sad as until now I have enjoyed recommending the hobby, and my friends and I were just beginning to look at expanding our gaming group. My partner was even thinking about having ago, which would have been fantastic, but is now not going to happen.

  2. Yeah this hurts. Retail prices in Oz are rediculous. I've been fortunate enough recently to pick up some decent deals on ebay, but I can't rely on luck all the time. Closing off the import from UK option is sad indeed. It will be very difficult to support my habit and those of my kids. I'm thinking to have stuff shipped to a friend in the UK who then ships it out to me....will still be significantly cheaper.

  3. I think I would be more upset, except that by the time I have finished painting what I already have 3D printing technology will be competitive (and probably faster than light space travel will have been invented).

    At any rate, I like to think I know when my money is not wanted. So thanks to Pete I have added the "year of frugal gaming" blog to my read list.

    I think I would be more sour with GW if they were not far and away the best at producing figures, so if you want they can charge like a wounded bull if they want to... but the competition will catch up and when it does...

  4. As a Chaos Dwarf addict most of my gaming budget this year will be sucked up by Warhammer Forge anyway, which i'm assuming can still be direct ordered from the UK since they're not sold locally.

    However, next year when more armies that I play start coming out this is really gonna sting.

    The bottom line is that GW is a company and is accountable to its shareholders. They won't care about us unless their bottom line starts taking a hit, and maybe not even then if they think its worth taking the hit to protect Australasian brick and mortar stores

    It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out. On the bright side it may be a boost to some of the fringe games out there.

  5. As a poor student the only way I was able to justify spending on this hobby was through the UK internet retailers. Now this avenue has closed and to ice the cake the impending price rise in June has probably priced me out of the hobby I love and have spent the last 17 years pouring money into.

  6. Silly thing is you can buy a lot of vehicle kits cheap from Forgeworld and get free resin conversion kit. It is ludicrous.