As of today this topic takes on a morbid curiosity, but trust me this doesn’t really have anything to do with the death of one certain tech giant. Instead this article is about the odd similarities between GW and Apple.
The last six months or so I have followed GW’s erratic behavior and the level of Internet condemnation. In the middle of all the hateraid I tried to rack my brain, “What business model is GW actually trying to (fail at) follow” and this what I came up with…
GW is trying to live in its own fantasy world as Apple of Wargaming.
The revelation happened last week when I was going over the latest rumors about the iPhone 5 (turned out it was just the iPhone 4S) and noticed I was getting a very familiar tingling in my tummy. It was the same bowel movement I get when I read the recent silly Internet wish listing/rumors concerning GW product mood swings. People believing FineCast getting canned? As most folks know GW has added a karate chop to an otherwise weak karate kick to the wooden rumors about new releases. What does this have to do with Apple? Well Apple seems to be just as nazi the flow of internal information. True Apple rumors seem to come from either past history or a random naughty non-apple business partners drinking too much sake and letting things slip. Eerily this is the same way we get anything from GW at this point.
Other comparisons can be made between both companies. They both keep independent retailers in the dark just as much as the public. They both operate brand name stores for products. Apple is number 1 in tablets and cell phones while GW is (still) number 1 in wargames. Both have a very dedicated fans that only buy their related products.Both charge a premium for their products while competitors offer cheaper alternatives. Both show a certain degree of arrogance at the top of their particular hills and oddly enough both are fighting IP infringement cases.
When Apple announced the 4S to the world, insiders and stockholders were immediately disappointed. The rumors for the last few months had become truth for many, from the iPhone 5 delivering your child to a lower tier iPhone being released; all the major rumors turned out false and expectations crushed. Instead we got a beefed up iPhone 4 just like Apple history predicted. GW has decided to copy this behavior and as a result could lead to major disappointment for its customers. Now that we are not getting really any reliable kernels of information, it has allowed for all the bat shit crazy rumors to propagate and spread. Apple though has something that will always protected from the fluctuations of five-hour energy day traders and something that GW seems to be losing: customer loyalty.
Where Apple (true or false) has been perceived as a company that protects and cultivates its loyal fans. GW might think Apple only got to where they are now because they made technology look cool, but Apple grew and held on to its core audience. For GW’s products they can never hope to achieve mass market appeal, but they could foster and build their core audience instead of fighting it.
Apple even goes a step further (for a cut) will allow anyone to add products to their devices through the App Store. So just think for a moment if instead of suing Chapterhouse GW decided to ask for a reasonable cut of profits and actually supported Chapterhouse? Think for a moment if GW actually read the Internet for the good ideas, instead of wasting everyone time sending little nasty grams for every copyright infringement menstrual cycle they’re on at the moment.
Ever since the return of Steve Jobs to Apple in the late 90s Apple particular model has been mainly in place and accelerated as demand and popularity of Apple products increased. I think it is easy to image the heads of GW are arrogant enough to consider themselves equivalent to Apple at least when it comes to wargaming. This is where GW gets into trouble and if they try to copy Apple. There are millions of other reason Apple is head and shoulders above Games Workshop, but I thought it was curious just how much GW copies Apple, but at the same time still staying the classy D list corporation it seems destined to be.
So instead I think in honor of the passing of a true innovator Games Workshop should ask themselves, “What would Jobs really do”?