Has Games Workshop revealed it’s plans for the future of their products and marketing strategies? Let’s take a look at the latest.
Appearing on Reddit more than a week ago, the rumored highlights from Games Workshop’s Annual General Meeting have been producing quite a bit of talk on forums and YouTube commentary. Opinions are mixed but share the common thread that Games Workshop is changing the way they do business and communicate with their community.
1.) They’ve recruited so that they now have separate design teams for 40k, AoS and specialist games. This is to allow them to release something for each of those lines on a regular basis, monthly at least if not faster they want there to constantly be something new for players to buy rather than them waiting for months on end keeping a constant monthly cashflow and sales improvement.
The reason they abandoned these (Specialist Games) in the past was because they had a small design team which was hard to expand, so they put the focus into the most profitable lines (40k and fantasy), that’s not an issue any more. The success of Blood Bowl caught them by surprise, which is why there was a fairly big gap between gobbos and elves. The latter are the first team designed entirely since release, they intend to continue releasing about one team per quarter.
Necromunda will have better support from the get go as they want to get more of the gangs out at release or shortly thereafter and have future plastics more planned out. They aim to make them very customizable, extra weapons and upgrades will probably be available in resin. Cawdor got a mention, might mean that they’re coming at release or might just mean that that’s one they’re working on now.
Horus Heresy has been derailed a bit by Bligh’s death and producing a new rulebook. Now that’s in the printers they’re getting back on with it, there are plenty of models in the pipeline. There are no more Horus Heresy plastics planned at the moment. Never say never, but production time is at least a year, so don’t expect anything anytime soon.
We all were hoping the specialist games were going to make a comeback and they have. Now that they have a dedicated team for each section of GW’s production lines, we will be seeing more and more content coming directly to us. GW is planning on reducing the price point to encourage new players to buy in and veterans to spend more. Another little tidbit let on is that they will be working with your FLGS to improve relations as trade from FLGS is far more profitable than their own stores.
What does this mean? It means that GW has made record profits. They are now able to invest said profits back into their company, with one of the results being the creation of dedicate teams that are focusing more on consistent content creation for 40k, AoS, and Specialist Games. Think about that the next time you or someone you know complains about GW’s prices being higher than other companies. Without profit, there is no investment. Without investment, there is no improvement…. Do I need to keep going?
Bringing Woman Gamers In
2.) They want to bring more women into the hobby, but don’t want to alienate the existing playerbase while doing so. It is something they’re aware of (but no details as yet).
Alienation? The only part of the playerbase that would feel alienated by having more women at the gaming table and female models on the tabletop are those you would not want to game with in the first place. I could also point out that hygiene standards would improve as well….. This is a necessary move from GW to make since women are increasingly becoming a market force in gaming. Female gamers have matched the number male gamers in the video gaming community alone. Sales for GW would skyrocket if the number of female tabletop players increased and found a comfortable home in Warhammer community.
Of course, how can I forget that having more female models would be great. Plastic Sisters of Battle anyone? Female Mechanicus? More female Imperial Guard regiment options? All this is possible but we will have to wait and see what GW moves forward with in that regard.
3.) They hired a marketing team about 18 months ago but have no intention of mass-marketing. The digital strategy is an attempt to get control of the narrative, they identified the fact that all the web traffic was going to blogs and forums where new (and old) players would meet a lot of negativity and grumbling. it’s working, their web traffic is high and growing (2 million unique users on Warhammer community, for example), the traffic on 3rd party sites is falling. They are measuring clickthroughs and doing more market research about customers, no granular info yet, but a big change in direction from the Kirby years.
It has not gone unnoticed by us at Spikey Bits that GW is attempting to do all they can to control the narrative and have players coming to them instead of 3rd party news sites.
While it is understood that a company would want to control news about their products, the idea that they will do in such a way that 3rd party new sites will have to shut down is quite unrealistic. Sure, some of the smaller rumor-monger sites that rely on GW rumors (real or fictitious), to survive will disappear.
Larger sites that have spread themselves out to cover a wide range of gaming and hobby topics will continue to function, if not thrive.
What I find vague is the negativity and grumbling seen by GW. Negativity towards their product or practices? Debate over why one codex/faction/army list is for more powerful than others? The narrative can be controlled but not the discussion. Controlling rumors by limiting access is fine. Just don’t expect for everyone to always be positive about your product or practices.
However actively policing your community for negative personal attacks is a must. Spikey Bits Hobbies Facebook Group is a safe place for the hobby where everyone can feel free to enjoy an adult type forum for hobby discussion and sharing their latest creations.
Ironically Spikey Bits hobbies Facebook Group was created in 2013 when Games Workshop deleted and abandoned their social media presence leaving the hobby adrift in a sea of negativity themselves.
More can be said about the marketing team and it’s strategy. That will covered in another article in the near future. For now, what are your thoughts on what this Annual General Meeting revealed? Are you excited to see what new content is coming?
Are you bracing yourself for the changes plans to make?
Do you see this affecting your hobbying negatively?