Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Times they are a changin'

So in my continuing efforts to catch up with several months worth of hobby developments, i've been reading back dated news from the various hobby sites like Bell of Lost Souls and Beasts of War.

The main thing that has caught my eye isn't the launch of Citadel Finecast but rather their new policy on international sales via third party internet retailers.

Now as i live in the UK and fairly close to a GW store, this doesnt really affect me in any way. But i am concerned about the effect it will have on the hobby as a whole and its expansion into new areas.

From what i understand of it the move has been made because GW believes online retailers are having a negative impact on the growth of their retail stores abroad as well as their own internet sales.

Now i can see where this arguement is coming from after talking to several GW store managers here in the UK, who have found big releases undermined in store by web companies offering large discounts and so losing sales. The Stompa for example was an absolute flop in sales at the Grimsby branch thanks to online offers.

But, and this is a fairly big but, i cannot fathom how this action will benefit GW in the long term.

Hampering online stores may force customers to use GW's own service, but the market that is savvy enough to rely on online companies is also savvy enough to be able to go elsewhere for their wargaming needs.

All this change is doing is driving those who use these companies into the arms of the competition and causing a backwash of resentment amongst the online community, even amongst players who won't be affected at all. No doubt Mantic, Privateer Press and others are rubbing their hands in glee at the potential foreign sales that are likely to result.

All in all it feels like GW cutting off their nose to spite their face.

This is just one of several changes in policy i've seen emerge at GW over the last few years that has caused me concern. Having worked for a company that was driven into the ground by rash decisions by executives i really don't want to see the same happen to Games Workshop, a company whose products have provided me with a huge amount of enjoyment over the last 16 years.

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