So like most folks, I didn't really 'get' why GW would release a $40.00 copy/paste Sisters Of Battle Codex. One that you could only view on an iPad. Then it hit me. They don't actually expect us to buy it.
Step One: Update The Sisters Of Battle Codex
This is the easy part. Take the SoB codex (including unused photos/art) from the White Dwarf release, dig out some extra fluff, add Warlord traits, and then tinker with the Faith system for a day.
Once that's done, hand it to a graphic designer to format the codex for an iBook.
If it takes 2 weeks to complete the book's layout, at $15.00 an hour, then that's $1200 out of pocket for GW. With the day of design time, the new cover art, and the ISBN fee, we'll make it an even $2000 total.
Step Two: Sell Just Enough Books To Pay For The Layout Costs
If GW's update costs are $2000, and they sell each iBook for $40, then they only need to sell 50 copies to break even. Probably they'll sell a few hundred world-wide. So they'll make a $6000-ish profit on the update at least.
Big deal, you say? Just wait...
Step 3: Profit!
This is where things get sneaky. Notice these new prices yet? That 'one-click collection' used to be a $40 box set.
Who in their right mind would pay those inflated prices for these old, out-of-print metal models? Well, someone will. Maybe even a dozen someones. But actually selling these models isn't really the point of all this.
The point is the effect on the value of GW's unsold SoB inventory.
What can they do with that increase in value? Well they can offset liabilities on their balance sheet, making the numbers look nicer for the next financial report. Liabilities are costs, such as:
- Dividends (Payments to Shareholders)
- Store Overhead
- Costs Incurred In The Development Of Stuff That Actually Sells
Or at least that's my opinion. Maybe I'm wrong, but GW's real talents lie in manipulating their bottom line and making their expected numbers, not game or model design. Given their majority ownership by several investment funds, they'd be kind of silly to focus on anything else.