Miniac & the Dangers of using GW for Clicks
I had heard of this drama around the time it happened, but didn’t want to say anything about until the main perpetrator had his say first. As everyone should know by now Games Workshop invited a ton of content creators over to Warhammer World in Nottingham to promote the release of newest edition of Horus Heresy. Many of the content creators come from YouTube, but all of them were part of the GW Content Creator Program; where basically you sign a bunch of NDAs to get free Games Workshop stuff and early access.
This program has been for the most part very successful and unlike heavy handed methods used on animators, Games Workshop has been generally well behaved in reaching out to the biggest names in the Warhammer Social Media space. One such content creator is the YouTube channel Miniac. Miniac is helmed by Scott Walter, who has been creating miniature hobby content for over six years now.
He has one of the biggest YouTube hobby channel and along with Squidmar and Midwinter Minis dominates with slick high production and dare I say clickbaity hobby space. If you watch any Miniac video you will see all the standard tricks to produce a high-quality YouTube video. Miniac uses a similar style to creators like Peter Mckinnon and other photography focused Youtubers, but instead the techniques are used on miniatures. If you scroll through the videos you will interestingly enough find most of them having nothing to do with Games Workshop. Sure, Miniac has your standard “how to paint say Ultramarines”, but for the most part the content is self promotion masquerading as hobbying or paint tutorials using basic to pretty advance techniques.
Now on to the controversy, which is pretty straightforward. Scott went to England at Games Workshop’s request, getting invited to a behind the scenes of Horus Heresy, took pictures, and posted them to his Instagram. Unfortunately, what he posted to Instagram hadn’t been shown yet by GW and broke the release embargo Miniac was part of. It wasn’t until a few days ago though that Scott at Miniac decided to tell the world what exactly happened in the following video…
Scott admits his mistake taking responsibility; the result was Scott being removed from Warhammer World by staff and Miniac’s creator partnership cancelled by GW. It could have been a lot worse, and as Scott points out GW could have sent legal after him, but so far hasn’t.
What this whole episode brings up some very interesting things. First, at one point in the video Scott casually mentions he isn’t into Space Marines, nor is he into Horus Heresy and in a super weird flex admits that he isn’t sorry for taking the invite from say another channel who might have better represented the event and GW. This is the point where I lost most of my sympathy for the video pity party, because you know why Scott made this mistake, he wasn’t really following anything GW had been previewing to the public because he didn’t care. For extra context, the Miniac channel has about 230 videos, with only 30 being direct Games Workshop content; you can easily see the channel priorities, liking selling miniatures on Kickstarter.
If you also watch the beginning of the video, you will notice that Scott didn’t really take the project seriously, leaving painting the Primarch to the last minute, oh and having the rest of the miniatures commission painted for himself. I imagine if it wasn’t for connecting with his other content creators on the trip Scott would have found the invitation not worth the time.
Still, asking someone in love with the sound of his voice, you can’t really expect Scott to turn down such a layup of an opportunity, but you can also see how his lack of care got him to this place. This also begs the other question, why did Games Workshop invite Miniac in the first place? Well, Miniac channel is just large, and the fact it doesn’t worship GW with video after video of Warhammer miniatures means we have has a chance bringing in a different hobbyists to GW products.
Scott points out, the lopsided deal Games Workshop has for creators who bring millions of YouTube views to their products. Take for instance the Warhammer Community articles about Horus Heresy, you will only find one or two small font blurbs about the creators who painted their models. If you go to the Warhammer YouTube channel you will see three videos featuring the content creators (sadly we don’t get Scott’s hollow excitement on display) who went to the event. Videos have no more than 21k views at the time of this article, compared that to your average Miniac video which gets that many views in a few days. Making things worse, neither in the YouTube video’s or Warhammer Community articles are their links to the creators various social media channels.
The funniest part of the video though is Scott realizing that the content creator program isn’t a collaboration with GW, but a marketing ploy by GW. Part of me doesn’t really believe the naivety on Scott’s part, because how thought out his channel and persona is; he knew what he was and wasn’t getting with this relationship. He shouldn’t be surprised that Games Workshop threw him out of Warhammer World for breaking the rules. When Scott says he feels discarded by GW, it might be more about what this means for his manicured online reputation and battered ego. Judging from the views and comments in to the video he played what could have been a bad hand perfectly, made easier by an audience that doesn’t put Games Workshop on any sort of pedestal.
Overall, it should be clear that getting in bed Games Workshop poses a lot of risks even if you make an honest mistake. The real question, is does early access and free miniatures worth your hands being tied to GW’s whims? In fact, you will be surprised to know one of Scott’s good YouTube buddies saw exactly what a Games Workshop legally binding relationship really is and made fantastic short video about why he washed his hands of them…
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