A Few Bumps in the Road

by | Nov 12, 2018

Over the last few years Games Workshop has been on amazing run, they have become a old/new darlings of both the gaming and UK financial community. Since the installation of their current CEO Kevin Rountree, Games Workshop has had a complete transformation, mostly by discovering something called Online Marketing. Games Workshop recent behavior has lead to fans everywhere to re-embrace the hobby, along with a ton of favor and goodwill. Games Workshop has given almost everything the community has asked for, by listening and delivering on most of those promises. Everything we thought wasn’t possible has become possible and the community is thankful.

The main reason hobbyists have fallen back in love with Games Workshop, is by a lot nostalgia mining, at trend many companies have relied on over the last decade. Seen in almost every entertainment medium and it shouldn’t be surprising we find it in Warhammer 40k. The question though we have to pose now, is what is there left to mine and how can Games Workshop keep an almost flawless past few years going?

Now of course, there are still tons of dark lore corners to feed people with, but for the average hobbyists we have hit all the major high points. With Genestealer Cult and Sisters of Battle slated for 2019, Games Workshop won’t have much left in the arsenal to really move the needle. To make things more “interesting” Games Workshop has warned everyone that the company sees headwinds ahead.

Following on from the Group’s update in September, trading to 7 October 2018 has continued well. Compared to the same period in the prior year, sales are ahead and profits are at a similar level to the prior year.

However, the Board remains aware that there are some uncertainties in the trading periods ahead for the rest of the 2018/19 financial year. A further update will be given as appropriate.

What this means has been speculated, but my guess is Age of Sigmar 2.0 didn’t do as well as expected and Games Workshop has been hurt by products leaks, poor release scheduling over the last few months. Now product leaks you say, I haven’t seen any product leaks? As it turns out Games Workshop has done a fantastic job stomping on leaks the second they come out, mostly by taking complete ownership of them. A badly timed leak can leave Games Workshop scrabbling, changing release dates and/or stalling and teasing customers unnecessarily. Either way, a leak can cause hobbyists to hold on to their money until the new products come out.

Leaks are become more prevalent over the last six months too. Here is a list to give you an idea.

  • Speed Freaks
  • Ork Rules
  • Slaanesh models
  • Genestealer Cult rules and models
  • Holiday Box Sets

Most likely their is a distribution mole or design/playtester who is responsible for many leaks.

It shouldn’t be lost too, Games Workshop has had some missteps. Remember the whole all codexes will be released within a year? Warhammer Adventures. Orktober not coming close to living up to the hype. The official Warhammer Facebook pages are getting more and more inundated with concerned trolls posting snarky and/or non-post related demands. Now, no one is perfect, but with most players now conditioned to getting what they want, it was only a matter of time before demands to get out of hand. This doesn’t even touch some of the problems 8th edition rules team keeps playing wack a mole with.

So this gets us back to what can Games Workshop do to keep the gravy train running?

It should be something bold and new and maybe the Blackstone Fortress gives us hint. The lore bomb of a playable Man of Iron was shocking and amazing, but it kinda fits the fringey spectrum of gamer interest. Games Workshop could release more Primarchs, but this only sells one model. The Man of Iron could be a distraction, from of  a new faction entering the fray, because we still don’t know who made the Blackstone fortresses beyond the default theory of it being the Old Ones. If Games Workshop didn’t want introduce an entire new faction, they could go with a companion army for the new Sisters of Battle instead. This points again back to the Blackstone Fortress, with new Chaos Space Marine models, along with cultists. 

While we may be six months late on having every codex out, Games Workshop should take a similar approach to the model line. Fill in the gaps, plastic Aspect Warriors for instance, but Games Workshop feels content to just throw a few models here and there, but nothing as deep and far reaching as the Death Guard and Primaris releases.

In the end, Games Workshop 2019 is looking more and more like a critical year, as they won’t have new editions of games to fall back on. Their is high risk because if Sisters of Battle misses like Orktober then much of what Games Workshop has built over the last five years could be in jeopardy. 

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