Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is GW Walking Away From Us?

by SandWyrm


The news is starting to hit that GW is canceling it's Throne of Skulls event and tournament circuit after this year. The more disturbing question, so far unanswered, is whether they're going to cancel all prize support for tournaments. Even local ones.

This is the email that supposedly went out to all of the registered (Throne of Skulls) tournament organizers:

The North American Games Workshop Business Support team along with our management team has spent an extensive amount of time reviewing the current tournament circuit and the best way to offer support to hobbyists interested in hosting events of their own.
As you are undoubtedly aware, there is a Games Workshop tournament circuit in which tournaments must apply and those chosen are offered support. After serious consideration, we will continue with the current 2012 circuit ending in May 2012 and host the culminating Throne of Skulls tournament this October. Going forward, in order to be more supportive of events of all types, especially those in our retail and trade outlet stores, we will discontinue the GW tournament circuit.
We would like to thank all the organizer’s from the 2012 Circuit and we wish everyone the most success with their events in the future.
Regards,
Desiree Dorsey
Director of Business Support
Games Workshop

Ok, so Throne of Skulls and 'Ard Boyz were garbage. But if GW is considering dropping all prize support for local tournaments, then they need to get a clue FAST. I don't know about your area, but the independent tournament events are the only thing keeping 40K alive right now in Indy. What with the uncertainty of the new edition and the Marine fatigue that's going around. If GW were to drop the prize support they currently offer, then you'd have probably 1/10th of the events that you do now. As the shops shift to running Warmachine and Flames events instead.

I have a hard time believing that GW would be that stupid. But... well, we'll see.

Edit: Yep. They really are that stupid.

http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?aId=14700053


40 comments:

  1. GW should be investing in its community programs not abandoning them.

    Just because we don't like what they have to offer doesn't mean we want them to stop trying.

    ReplyDelete
  2. yet another reason for me to argue against adding lines of product we don't sell in hopes of tournament/prize support

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting. Can you elaborate on this?

      Delete
    2. I believe GW lays down measures of how much a shop has to order of their product before GW will grant prize support. I think they also require a certain amount of shelf space.
      so come out with new product, they demand more space.

      if a Game's not playing so well... why grant it shelf space in hopes of receiving support or benefits from the company?

      if I were a Shop Owner (like Loq), I'd not be as interested in putting effort into a community for a game that the game company itself doesn't try to support.

      Delete
    3. Yes, might be something to get "clarification" from the GW rep before buying lines that might not sell well... While I've not seen WFB played in many years now, maybe it would sell well? Dunno, I actually (surprisingly) have an army or two around somewhere and might break them out if a group started up, but it is doubtful at best locally... Confrontation is far more likely :-)

      Delete
    4. As I understand it, GW forces retailers to carry a certain amount of product to receive prize support for events.
      This includes LoTR stuff, which doesn't sell, and things like Dreadfleet....

      Delete
    5. Sorry for not being more clear. In order to get an unspecified amount of product support per QUARTER for leagues/tourneys, I have to carry at least so much Fantasy, so much 40K, and so much LotR. The amount of product's value is usually pretty close to the amount of support GW is offering as far as I understand it. So my option is to buy something that doesn't sell (LotR) hoping that the support will even out to be a "rebate" for having bought it...

      not anything I really look forward to doing. I'd rather take that X many dollars and invest it in a NEW product, or even offering prize support out of pocket. It is much more likely to get me sales than something that is a traditional dust gatherer for me.

      Delete
  3. Alternately GW has noticed that the fans have finally taken some initiative and don't need to hold their hands anymore. But hey, where's the fun in that when we can think the worst of them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't rely on fans to market your game for you. Fans are fickle, and will easily be drawn away by, ooh shinny!

      Delete
    2. The tournament scene primarily relies on store owners to provide space for, and run the events. Without prize support from GW, most of them won't do it. Especially if Privateer and others step up to offer them prize support for events that feature their games.

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  4. I dont think it is really a big deal .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If all they're doing is dropping the support that's linked to Throne of Skulls... Then yes, it's not a big deal.

      But if they drop all prize support for independent tourneys, it's going to hurt them badly.

      Delete
    2. The email seems to state that they are discontinuing their larger tournament efforts so they can continue to support their smaller tournaments. I'm not surprised by that as the general internet opinion seems to be that GW events are crap. A tournament circuit doesn't actually generate sales, it might bring attention or enthusiasm to a hobby, but the majority of people playing in it would be playing in a different event for the same game if it didn't exist.

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    3. Dosent generate sales????? NOVA did a poll in 2011 during the tourny. Players spent over 100K getting ready for the NOVA. Thats one Tourny. Yes its a big one so those numbers are not the same for your small locals tournys. On the other hand How many times have you seen a local player dish out the cash to get the lastest greatest army even if its only 1500 points? I would say All tourney generate at least some sales, even if its just glues and paints and flock. Every sale adds up over the course of a year.

      Delete
  5. How much water does it take before the rats realize the ship is sinking?

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    Replies
    1. Like I said it's not really a big deal. Probably within a year two they may even re-introduce their own GT circuit again.

      Delete
  6. To be fair, very few tournaments in the UK are hosted by game stores. Most are hosted by gaming clubs, by individuals who rent hotel conferance rooms, or else by Warhammer World down in Nottingham. I don't know if this will have quite the effect on the tournament scene in the US as you might think. All it requires is for the current organisers of tournament events to hire different facilities, charge a slightly higher entrance fee, and use the resultant income to buy prizes for the winner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1 for being true. I would pay an extra $10 for my entry fee. Times 64 and you get $640, GW share covered!

      Delete
    2. While I think this is true, I also think that US gaming is much, much more tied to the retail environment. I don't know if clubs renting spaces to play games without a retail presence is anything like as big a thing in the US as it is here.

      Delete
    3. It can be pretty hard in the US to find locations to run events. Most meetings spaces tend to be very overpriced. They are geared towards weddings and corporate events, which are egregiously wasteful things here in the US. You're probably looking at spending at least $600 dollars just to get enough space for 32 people for 8 hours.

      We also tend to be pretty spaced out here in American cities with pretty poor options for public transportation(at least in the Midwest). You might be able to find a venue, but without good parking or location you still might have issues getting people to show up.

      Retail locations end up being some of the only really accessible and convenient locations to meet up. There's also no shortage of strip malls in this country, so even a game store can afford the rent on a location that can support 5-6 gaming tables. This is why independent retailers tend to be the place where a lot of American gamers play.

      Delete
    4. With the economy being what it is, it's often possible for a retailer to rent an empty store in the same strip mall for $100 or so per day to provide additional table space. Whereas the price would be much higher for the rest of us. We had looked at doing this for the Indy Open, but ran into insurance problems on the retailer's end because it was us, instead of him, running the event.

      Delete
    5. I had no idea about the difficulties you guys faced across the pond with regards to this soprt of thing. But have you considered trying to hire a church hall? There should be plenty of parking and most UK churches are very happy for the extra incomes hiring out a hall in the evenings would bring? I admit, I know very little about the situation with regards to church halls in the USA, but would this work?

      Delete
  7. Directly on the games workshop website in the tournament circuit they confirm that at the end of may 2012 they drop everything. Only the throne of skulls stays but open to all, not an invite only

    Here is the link

    http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?aId=14700053

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cool. Then that means we don't have to worry about the bs rule about maintaining a certain percentage of GW product on each model. Glad that I can start easily using Mantic models and save a TONNE of money and not worry about it. So I can't play with them in a GW store, ooooooh, the horrors.
    Also, what's this about supporting tournaments in the retail stores. Since when did they reverse the official policy against doing anything like prize pools or doing anything at all monetarily or product support wise?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ???

      It's common practice (at least in the US) for GW to provide a certain amount of prize support (usually $150 or so of product) for events held in qualified stores. By 'qualified' meaning they buy enough GW product to get that support.

      Delete
  9. ^^ Another shot in the foot for GW. I can't believe they don't look at the consequences of their actions. Raise Prices = Push customers to cheaper products. Stop hosting tournaments = push customers to cheaper products. Produce sub par products = push customers to other systems (That they already own the minis for because they are proxying the expensive GW models). GW you give me the sad face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They seem to be perfectly happy sacrificing the long-term health of the company for short-term boosts to the bottom line. Their investors (mostly retirement funds) want to see increased margins/dividends. So GW cuts development staff and event support to get them. The result is an even slower dev cycle (2 40K books per year now) and no community involvement.

      Delete
  10. I happily pay to attend events with cash prizes, or even without prizes worth anything at all, so this makes no odds to me at all. However, the fact that they feel that this is a good idea is a little sickening.

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  11. Wait... prize support? you guys in the U.S.A get gw prize support?
    In the uk they give nothing just trophies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm probably going to get flamed for this but.....

      I've noticed over the years (and many US players would agreee with me) that American Gamers are, for the most part, more concerned with winning the game that UK players are. It's a cultural difference. In the UK, we're brought up with the notion that it's the taking part that counts. We also have a much less competitive school environment, especially with regards to sport's teams and other competitive activites. So the end result is that we're less inclined to be competitive.

      US gamers seem to be brought up in a much more competitive environment and receive monetary (or other) financial rewards for consistantly winning in a competitive environment far more than we UK gamers do. Just look at Sport's (and Chess, and high GPA and even Bowling) scholarships for example, although that's probably not the best analogy. I imagine the Games Workshop USA simply recognised that USA gamers have a higher expectation of being rewarded for successful play than we Brits do and took steps accordingly.

      Head office has probably noticed that GW USA gives away prizes while the UK Tournaments don't. Trying to save a little extra cash for the share-holders, they've pulled the plug without really understanding the cultural differences involved - and possibly without realising just how badly it will offend US gamers.

      I still don't think the scene will suffer as much as some of the other gamers on this forum believe, but I can't deny that GW have shot themselve in the foot (PR wise) with this one.

      Delete
    2. PS: To save any confusion about that last paragraph, I'm the same guy who uses the tag Dangerous Brian. I posted earlier in the thread.. This is my bussiness google account. Sorry about the confusion.

      Delete
    3. I would actually rather have a trophy than a voucher for 100 bucks.

      Delete
    4. It would me a mistake to assume that every US gamer is highly competitive. At least in the winning-of-games sense. But as a whole, yeah. We do like our competitions. Be they painting, conversions, or whatever. Culturally we like to try and be the best at something.

      Forgetting that is just bad business.

      Delete
  12. Did you seriously call Throne of Skulls garbage? That was one of the best times at a tournament I've ever had, and that's the opionion of most of the folks lucky enough to have attended (the 40k side, at least).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you had fun, but from a competitive standpoint, it was pure garbage.

      Delete
    2. No it wasn't. It sounds like you think there's only one way for an event to be competitive. The nature of the competition was DIFFERENT, but that doesn't mean it wasn't competitive. You were competing to see who in your codex could do the best. I agree that the method of determining an "overall winner" was kind of lame, but almost (some of the tables were a little sparse on terrain) everything else about the tournament was awesome.

      In one regard, this event was actually superior to almost every other top-flight, well-regarded competitive event out there. And that's time limits. We got 2.5hrs for 1500pt games. This meant almost no games were called due to time, and instead ran to their proper conclusions.

      The other areas in which the event blew people away were in the food and hospitality. Which were fantastic, and made us really feel appreciated by GW, which was a nice change of pace. ;)

      Delete
    3. As a fellow "Throne of Skulls: Vegas" attendee I will say the following.

      It was a great time. There were also a lot of competitive players in attendance.

      As Mannahnin mentioned, the time between rounds was more than enough to go to the margarita bar by the pool. (Before the tableside bars opened)

      The catered breakfast/lunches/and dinner was exceptional, and graciously acepted to the pricey nature of Vegas food.

      It was also a great chance to meet players from across the country (I live on the East Coast).

      -Mike

      Delete
  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO1dpPKdAfI

    Your blog inspired my video. Since this is a predominately English crowd, maybe my delight in seeing a capitalist industry implode will not be met with such contempt.

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  14. I get that tournaments are exciting, and the central focus for some. That said, perhaps their marketing focus is shifting back towards longer running things like league play? There seem to be two new leagues that've started up in town, of late (one at Gamerz, starting Thursday, and another at Saltire, which started last month).

    As to indie Indy tournament organizers, perhaps shifting your focus to establishing some kind of outside of retail minis gaming club is in order (perhaps piggybacking on the Mavens, Who's Your Con, etc). A club could provide a built-in player base for a future tournament, and might defer some of the need to attract out of towners with GW furnished prize support.

    ReplyDelete

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