Monday, October 8, 2012

Leak in the Warpstorm [Digital Codex:Chaos Space Marines]

On Sunday morning I visited the Games Workshop website and noted that the electronic version of the new Chaos Codex had been released. As regular readers know this is not a product offered to New Zealand customers (or those in Finland). Due to copyright laws iTunes NZ is not allowed to sell GW Digital Products.

Access to the UK iTunes store allows you to purchase the digital codex and download it directly to your iPad. This is quick and painless process. Interesting is the cost of the product. The physical codex is NZD 98.00 while in the UK it is GBP30.00 [This illustrates that GW operates in a parallel financial universe where a Kiwi Dollar is worth 31 pence rather than reality world where it is currently 51 pence]. The digital version costs GBP29.99 - for all intents and purposes the same cost as the physical.

Much has been made offshore as to the lack of price advantage of the digital, given that there are no printing, transport and retail space costs. What the digital copy is purported to offer is electronic updates as FAQs etc are released. So a certain amount of the cost is for the seamless future-proofing of the product you download. This is yet to be really tested, though the current Space Marine Codex has been updated for 6th. GW has a history of poor post-sale support for products e.g. Expamsions, Army List software etc.

What I will say is that this is clearly the way of the future. Colour me impressed by the standard of the product delivered. Especially given Apple's superior Retina display, the images are high definition. There are 360 degree views of all the recent models.

However the best feature is the referencing. Click on Noise Marines and it tells me it has the Special Rule Champion of Chaos. I can then click on that and I get all the rules associated with the special rule. It also has two buttons - one takes me to the Army List entry while the other to the Bestiary. Other links tell me what Ranged or Melee Weapons my Noise Champion can take. It really is an interactive document.

Certainly I see it as the equal of the physical book especially for travellers. When you combine that with a 40% price advantage over the local product, I am sold.

Edit: A nice little Easter Egg. There are embedded videos within the digital codex that I wasn't aware of but stumbled across last evening.


  1. Only addition I could make is to correct Pete in that the retina display has been found to be inferior, not superior, though the difference these days is hardly noticeable.

  2. You haven't been drinking the Kool-Aid

  3. Thanks for the info and a good post. I'd love to have GW publish on Android too...
    I am pretty interested in the digital products, but have an Android Tablet (Asus TF300 - a good, cheapish midrange option if you don't need 3G and mainly use a tablet at home, and/ or need an optional keyboard).

    Price is (as usual) a hot topic! I work for a publishing company that has both digital and physical products, so thought the perspective below might be useful/ interesting (just my opinion!).

    I often feel torn between the customer's desire (and my own, as a consumer myself) to have reduced prices for digital product and the very real cost of getting any decent content to the final stage where it is digitally published *and* of a high quality that matches the customer's brand expectations. (Different expectations apply if the user is buying something "Homebrew")

    As an example, you may be incurring costs for 3 years or more (authors, editorial, research, art, digital creation etc.) before you even get the material to a state that is "Fit for purpose" and on sale! For that reason, I think that while prices can be reduced, it is difficult to reduce them as much as people outside the industry might suppose, because when printing in large volumes, print costs become actually a *fairly* small part of the overall costs of bringing a book to market. Finally, most companies have a duty to maximize their profits, either to satisfy shareholder demands, and/or so they can reinvest for growth etc.

    The other thing to factor in is that making content available digitally brings new costs that were not particularly relevent when it came to a printed book. E.g. New/ original video content, voice artists/ actors for spoken content, accompanying websites or functionality, software costs for underlying platforms, support facilities etc. Customers expect this kind of functionality with "digital", but they cost money too! (Yes, all these things can be done cheaply using shareware/ freeware and volunteer effort, but most companies shy away from using those kinds of tech/ human resource solutions )
    Sadly, my own experience recently is that if you are work for a publisher, people assume that you intend to keep the world in an age of darkness, and *also* plunder, and steal...(although in 40K terms I am putting together a CSM army that will do just that, I tend to think of myself more as working for "For the Greater Good"!)
    Nothing I have said above is new, and there will be exceptions in every case depending on the industry and other factors, but I hope it contributes to the discussion.

  4. Excellent post Squeek. Appreciate the insight