Kevin Rountree is certainly making a lot of positive decisions within the gaming community. First and foremost is that he is bringing specialist games back e.g. Bloodbowl (successful computer game now particularly on Twitch TV), Necromunda, Gothic etc or perhaps even the classic Warhammer Quest.
They will however find that the market is now highly competitive for instance the original designer of Gothic, Andy Chambers is currently working with Hawk Wargames on a highly successful Kickstarter project soon to finish called Drop Fleet Commander.
Sadly the games will probably re-enter the market vastly over priced compared to what is currently out there.
In other news GW also returned to form by already bumping up the price of the Horus Heresy Game.
Personally I love the products but can't fathom how people still afford it. The share is enough to fulfill my collecting bug.
The created direction is far from atrocious. The reality is that Old World Warhammer was dead ending on the 8th edition with some nice specialist games thrown in over the years (many of which are computer games, two of note are Bloodbow and Mordheim). The barrier to entry was too high and whilst the setting was great the route cause laid in the rules.
Age of Sigmar (AOS) is selling but it is an uphill battle. The support hasn't been ideal since the launch with two factions and it will shortly be overshadowed by a hit in the making called Horus Heresy Betrayal of Calth. This brings the until now premium priced 30k models into reach of a much wider audience, offering plastic instead of resin and saving of what looks like £270.00.
The licensing has been hit and miss. Total War is huge, no arguments their but many of the offerings have been unsuccessful silly things. A tv show based on the Horus Heresy of which their are 30 or so novels and years of history could breath new life into the whole company a la Game of Thrones or whatever the popular fancy is.
All that being said there do remain questions about management particularly the previous CEO. The most damaging point to their credibility is the insistence that GW is a model company and not a games company.
This is obvious trash. The game leads to model sales. No game = no sales period. New good rules for an old model that hasn't shifted in years result in immediate sales for said model. This has been shown time and time again or with new models. Anyone who denies this is either crazy or lying right to your face.
So the real question is will the company with "games" in the name make a solid decision on making games or not. If not then they need to outsource rules to a company like Fantasy Flight Games.
15 years on from the release of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) miniature game, GW is finally putting Middle Earth to rest. The original LOTR brought in solid growth but the Hobbit simply didn't do it.
As such a new game system is being introduced in the next week. This will fall behind Warhammer 40k and the New Age of Sigmar. The new system is being touted as an easy to learn stand a lone board game but most importantly set in the Horus Heresy setting (the year 30k).
Now this is very interesting because 30k has a solid older fanbase and holds the most iconic IP of the whole company. Models ad rules have been produced by the sister company to GW called Forgeworld (FW). Their customers are used to spending an even higher premium for their kit with customers in the States, OZ and NZ being shafted for delivery until now.
The dividend's great but the management is poor; it looks and feels very much like a company being profitably run down (note: I'm still into these guys for around 15k at today's prices, lucky me). The creative direction lately has been atrocious, with a weak new product called 'Age of Sigmar' replacing a known and popular brand ('Warhammer Fantasy'); anecdotal reports from overseas stores in France, Sweden and Canada at least have been that the new product is not selling and competitors are very aggressive in the high-value US market. A report from their recent AGM also made troubling reading (http://www.iii.co.uk/news-opinion/richard-beddard/games-workshop-agm%3A-relentless-profit-machine) - the title is sadly not borne out by the content. One glimmer of light is a much better attitude to licensing for computer; they have gone from having virtually nothing in the market to a very large number of licensed games, one of which (Total War: Warhammer) was shrewdly made with a games company that has a very large existing customer base with a large and successful franchise. And yet I've never seen their reported licensing income as all that exciting; are they cutting bad deals or are IP licenses just really cheap? Also troubling is that the business line they retired is the same one as is used in their high profile licensed game; unless they have a plan for this, they just cut themselves off from merchandising, which doesn't seem ideal.
I agree with your views and like you moved away from the overpriced world of warhammer, especially once the local (40 min commute) shop closed its gaming room upstairs. Prices of LOTR blisters doubled from £4 for 3 metal miniatures and the plastic range also was hiked every couple of months. It was fantastic while it lasted but now they cater for an elite gamer. If they continue down this path it won't be a gaming company but rather a model supplier for painters and enthusiasts to add to other, more affordable ranges.
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