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Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Halifax

'Shovelware' describes 90% of the board game market these days, product-wise.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/04 12:07:57


   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

 BaronIveagh wrote:
 Nurglitch wrote:
It's a conundrum isn't it? In theory Warhammer 40k "has objectively terrible rules" but vastly outsells other wargames. The rules are so terrible that people even buy non-GW models to use in their 40k games (I have done this, no, I'm not 100% clear on why), so it's not entirely about the models either. Dakka is full of people eyeing proxies.


Point of fact, GW doesn't 'vastly outsell' other companies and took a back seat to Xwing for several years.


Point of fact, this is based on icv2 which collects data from voluntarily reported data from retailers, distributors, and publishers. The retailers are US based (i.e. excludes the European market) while only a small few European distributors are included. From what I have been told (having spoken with someone who works for icv2), GW doesn't really provide them any data. In other words, its unlikely that XWing ever actually outsold 40k, as the GW based data is very incomplete (considering about half of GWs sales alone are through its own retail stores and online site).

So yes, GW does vastly outsell other companies in the industry (excluding companies like Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, Konami, and Nintendo which are more diversified in their business operations). Only Asmodee is larger, but also has a much larger and more diversified portfolio of IPs and titles than GW does. At the time that X-Wing peaked 40k on the icv2 charts, 40k was basically GWs only major product line as it came as WHFB was axed and AoS was just starting to be launched - I.E. we have a pretty good idea of how well 40k was selling. With some analysis of the half and full year financial reports from GW, we find that they brought in 175 million GBP during the 2015 calendar year, excluding December 2015 - dividing that number by 11 and adding it back in to try to account for the missing month, we get 191 million GBP for calendar 2015 - which may be undercounting it as there is presumably a revenue spike that coincides with the holidays. With some digging, Asmodee brought in 270 million EUR for the same calendar year, excluding acquisitions and mergers (Asmodee purchased FFG in 2014, so no X-Wings sales are included in that figure). Google tells me the average exchange rate for 2015 was 1GBP = 1.37 EUR, so multiply 191 x 1.37 means GW generated 263 million EUR in revenue.

So thats the basis of comparison - GW, which was mostly 40k at the time, at 263 million EUR vs Asmodee, which was X-Wing and a plethora of other games and brands, at 270 million EUR. Even if we assume only 90% of GWs revenue was attributable to 40k, thats still around 236 million EUR from 40k. I very much doubt that X-Wing generated 87.6% of Asmodees revenue in that calendar year.

In fact, we know that it probably didn't as Asmodees 2014 revenue, excluding mergers and acquisitions, was $175 million EUR - Asmodee also acquired Days of Wonder in the same year so we don't have a direct resource for what FFGs revenue on its own was, but Asmodees proforma revenue including both companies was 212 million EUR. Subtracting that from 175 million we get 37 million EUR - so in 2014 X-Wing generated 37 million EUR in revenue *at most*, assuming Days of Wonder generated 0 EUR in revenue and FFGs revenue was 100% sourced from X-Wing (which is basically impossible). Its highly unlikely that X-Wing sales multipliied 7x over the course of a year - which is basically what would need to happen for X-Wing to have outsold 40k, based on the very generous assumption that X-Wing fully accounted for that 37 million difference in revenue. Even if we assume that only half of GWs revenue was attributable to 40k (i.e. 131.5 million EUR), X-Wing would still need to have multiplied its sales 3.5x over the course of a year to match it - not impossible, but unlikely, and again based on an extremely generous assumption of what X-Wings sales actually were.

Again, point of fact, GW (and 40k specifically) *DOES* vastly outsell the competition.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Azreal13 wrote:
Please stop leaning on ICV2 so hard, it's not accounting data, it doesn't have numbers and it undermines any argument you try and make based on it.

If I missed a large player then don't be coy and make your case, but if it's WizKids it's because I don't think they're direct competition. No doubt you'll have an opinion on why they should be, but again, neither of us can make anything definitive because it's a grey area and where the lines are is a matter of opinion and therefore not really productive to debate.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
A quick Google provides nothing official, but seems to place WizKids' turnover at a little under or over £7m.


Yeah, thats wrong. Wizkids revenue last year was considerably more than that (I'm not going to tell you how I know nor exactly how much, other than the fact that its some multiple of that number), but GWs revenues are still several times greater than that.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/04 12:55:14


This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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Voss wrote:

Got to admit I'm baffled by this thread as well.

Its been common knowledge that games industry pays for squat since... the early 1980s? I've known lots of gamers that wanted to work for GW, TSR, Privateer, Wizards, Paizo, whomever. Then they go to a few conventions, have a few conversations and the talk stops. For the truly devoted, maybe it shifts to pie-in-the-sky talk about maybe running their own company some day. A lot of that has shifted to kickstarter or self-publishing these days, but largely people get discouraged about working for beans in a tiny industry that generally requires friends on the inside to get in.

I'm seriously shocked by the surprise.

Edit: I'm not saying its right or moral or whatever. I'm just literally shocked that people did not know this.
It was legitimately career advice that I got in late high school/college that it was a fething terrible life decision.

And well known in the _pre-internet_ gaming community. Devs would talk about sharing a bed in hotel rooms at cons, living day to day off bread and ramen and other horror stories like that, still living basically the 'friend's couch' college 'lifestyle.' The ones who didn't had real jobs and freelanced projects from games/settings/rules they worked on in their spare time.

Back in the late '90s, there was an ad in White Dwarf for trainee games dev positions. I don't remember the actual numbers, but they offered a trainee-level salary and a room in a share house. As a teenager at the time, it sounded like a pretty sweet deal...

 
   
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 insaniak wrote:

Back in the late '90s, there was an ad in White Dwarf for trainee games dev positions. I don't remember the actual numbers, but they offered a trainee-level salary and a room in a share house. As a teenager at the time, it sounded like a pretty sweet deal...


The equivilant position at other companies can make in the high five to low six figure range now, depending on the company and game. But it's also not an entry level position. GW offered an effectively unpaid internship.

Also, just, FYI, at the time you're referring to, Video Game leads made 50k a year and that was considered a stupendous amount of money. Artists and animators could make just above minimum wage. Now it's... significantly higher than that at most reputable studios.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/08/04 23:18:06



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Ellicott City, MD

 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
 Mr Morden wrote:
Do GW still offer large scale staff discounts on product?


I understand they fire folks who resell stuff on ebay, if that's your question.



I can confirm, at least as of a few years ago, GW employees could get in significant trouble with their management if they were caught re-selling items that they bought with their discount. I received a rather nice honorarium from a former (and at the time current) GW employee for serving as a middleman when he wanted to sell an army he’d bought using his discount without GW management finding out.

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Voss wrote:
 Phobos wrote:
LMAO this thread.

Of COURSE they get paid crap. The dude even outright said why in the tweets - because the quality of the output is by and large irrelevant. As long is it mostly kinda sorta works, that's enough. Like it or not, GW can get a bunch of literal single digit age children to write the rules for Warhammer 40K 10th edition and it wouldn't impact sales one iota.

Couple that with the fact that there is an endless horde of neckbeards who would gleefully shank their own parents for a chance to work designing games for GW; and it becomes fiscally irresponsible to pay anything more than trash tier wages for that job.

And unions, oh boy... you guys crack me up. It's like listening to my kid who never worked a day in his life tell me why employers won't care about tattoos on someones face.


Got to admit I'm baffled by this thread as well.

Its been common knowledge that games industry pays for squat since... the early 1980s? I've known lots of gamers that wanted to work for GW, TSR, Privateer, Wizards, Paizo, whomever. Then they go to a few conventions, have a few conversations and the talk stops. For the truly devoted, maybe it shifts to pie-in-the-sky talk about maybe running their own company some day. A lot of that has shifted to kickstarter or self-publishing these days, but largely people get discouraged about working for beans in a tiny industry that generally requires friends on the inside to get in.

I'm seriously shocked by the surprise.

Edit: I'm not saying its right or moral or whatever. I'm just literally shocked that people did not know this.
It was legitimately career advice that I got in late high school/college that it was a fething terrible life decision.

And well known in the _pre-internet_ gaming community. Devs would talk about sharing a bed in hotel rooms at cons, living day to day off bread and ramen and other horror stories like that, still living basically the 'friend's couch' college 'lifestyle.' The ones who didn't had real jobs and freelanced projects from games/settings/rules they worked on in their spare time.


People struggle to understand the factors that determine wages and they get angry at value free judgements.
   
Made in us
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 BaronIveagh wrote:
 insaniak wrote:

Back in the late '90s, there was an ad in White Dwarf for trainee games dev positions. I don't remember the actual numbers, but they offered a trainee-level salary and a room in a share house. As a teenager at the time, it sounded like a pretty sweet deal...


The equivilant position at other companies can make in the high five to low six figure range now, depending on the company and game.


What world are you living in? First claiming that GW doesn't outsell its competitors, and now this?

I know what Wizkids, FFG, and a number of other publishers and design studios pay their designers - none of them come close to 6 figures unless they also happen to own the business as a whole EDIT - or you happen to be like Eric Lang or another well known designer with name recognition.

Ain't nobody paying the typical line developer anywhere near 6 figures though, especially not a trainee.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/08/05 01:29:52


This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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SoCal

A designer with name recognition…like James Hewitt?

   
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Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






For what it’s worth, I was a GW Store Management trainee for about 6 months back in 2010.

For me it was a pretty sweet deal, as I’d previously been homeless and working just one day a week.

I got on the training course thanks to being right place, right time and getting a lucky break running the Epsom Store (which had become staff less) for a few weeks and doing really well.

For the six months, my bed and board was paid. Well, bed and breakfast. As was my travel to the various stores (Stockport, Blackpool and Northampton, all quite far from my home town).

Now, none of the hotels were exactly glamourous. Indeed the one in Stockport happened to be Britain’s second worst hotel by rating. But they did what they needed to do - bed, brekkie, roof over my head.

Could they have spent more on nicer accommodation? Sure. But it was still a significant expenditure on their part (6 months of hotel stays adds up). And with ultimately no return on that money, as I promptly failed the course and ended up on my surprise path to success and comfort.

Now, when the training group were in Nottingham together, we did share rooms. But never beds.

Of course, given my unique situation at the time, I was over the moon just to have somewhere defined to stay each night. And I was given a dinner allowance to be claimed back via expenses. I think it was something like £5 snacks allowance, and perhaps £10 (might’ve been £15?) for my dinner per working day.

Nothing extravagant, but not exactly penny pinching either.

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 BaronIveagh wrote:
 insaniak wrote:

Back in the late '90s, there was an ad in White Dwarf for trainee games dev positions. I don't remember the actual numbers, but they offered a trainee-level salary and a room in a share house. As a teenager at the time, it sounded like a pretty sweet deal...


The equivilant position at other companies can make in the high five to low six figure range now, depending on the company and game. But it's also not an entry level position. GW offered an effectively unpaid internship.


How is trainee-level salary (for a trainee level job) and a room in a shared house an unpaid internship?
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran



South East London

I worked for GW on and off for quite some time. Starting in the late 1980's, right up to the early 2000's.

The pay was pretty average for retail at the time to be honest. What wasn't average was the expectation to work outside of my contracted hours.

I have a couple of bad stories to tell about my time with GW which were the reason I left, but having worked in various other industries since I have just as many comparable stories.

So, my time at GW was very hit and miss. As a young, single person starting out they were a great company to work for as long as you were willing to dedicate most of your time to them.

If you were a little older, and therefore had other responsibilities outside work, or were not single, I would say the experience would be very different.

I experienced both during my time with them.

However, where GW excels (in my opinion) is in its training. I received some of the best, on the job, training of my long working life and most of it I still use today.

I worked in almost every department at one stage of my time with GW and ended up with a lot of transferable skills, and for the most part had a whale of a time working for them. I just couldn't afford to stay with them if I wanted to do anything with my life, like buy a house, have kids etc.

Obviously my experience is anecdotal, but I still keep in touch with many of my former GW colleagues and look back both fondly and not so fondly on my time there.

I can't say that about any other job I have had.

"Dig in and wait for Winter" 
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
A designer with name recognition…like James Hewitt?


James has only really picked up name recognition after Adeptus Titanicus released, at which point he was no longer working for GW. Even still, James is still relatively unknown outside of our small corner of the hobby. Hes no Eric Lang, Reiner Knizia, Jamey Stegmaier, Uwe Rosenberg, Richard Garfield, Vladimir Chvatil, etc. who will sell a half million copies of a board game (which if you know anything about the industry - is a lot) just by virtue of their name being on the box. If you step outside of the GW bubble most people wouldn't know who James is, even within the world of wargaming. Hell - most people *IN* the GW bubble don't know who James is either, I could say his name out loud to anyone playing Titanicus or Necromunda locally and 99 times out of 100 the person I'm speaking to wouldn't even know that they are playing a game he designed.

In terms of wargaming, seeing Rick Priestly, Alessio Cavatore, or Andy Chambers name on a ruleset has a similar effect. Ash Barker, Mike Hutchinson, and Joseph McCullough are other good examples of wargame designers who have picked up a lot of name recognition and will sell games by virtue of their pedigree (Mike courtesy of Gaslands, Joe for Frostgrave/Rangers of Shadow Deep/Stargrave/Oathmark, and Ash probably more because of GMG than the games hes designed, though Gamma Wolves has given him a big leg up).

Not to say James doesn't deserve the recognition - hes a fantastic designer, but his authorship hasn't necessarily been well advertised (partly a side effect of working for GW in the post-Mat Ward era, no doubt) and so he hasn't quite managed to get the same level of outreach as indy game designers who are in a position to put their own names on the cover of their games, or even former GW game designers who got top billing in the inside covers of the rulebooks, etc. until people started sending them death threats. Likewise I think most of his work through Needy Cat or general freelancing has been contract work for other firms, who aren't necessarily going to advertise his name for him either as they are more concerned with selling a product than they are advertising the designers - Hellboy for example is a game that sold itself on the basis of its IP and Mike Mignolas name/artwork, rather than on the basis of who designed it (and in the case of a licensed game like that they probably wouldn't want James name on the cover anyway - again, selling a product/brand, not the designer).

Probably also doesn't help that if you google "James Hewitt" you're more likely to find results pertaining to a certain English military officer who had an affair with a certain princess than you are to find anything about board games (hence why James goes by James M. Hewitt).

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/05 11:35:09


This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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MN

I think you forgot someone on your list of people who can move a game......


<--------


Oh, I guess maybe you didn't forget. Awkward!



On a more serious tone, I think Dan Mersey (and Rampant in the title) can move rulebooks better than Ash Barker.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/05 18:55:53


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Halifax

On the other hand, maybe if the gentleman had had billing on the products he designed/developed maybe his name would move boxes. By repute all his games for GW are very good.

   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 Easy E wrote:
I think you forgot someone on your list of people who can move a game......

<--------

Oh, I guess maybe you didn't forget. Awkward!

On a more serious tone, I think Dan Mersey (and Rampant in the title) can move rulebooks better than Ash Barker.


I'll be honest and say I haven't played any of your games, though I do check Blood and Spectacles to read your thoughts and design philosophy on occasion (it helped me bide the time while Delta Vector was on hiatus for most of the past 12-18 months).

Hurry up and get Castles in the Sky out and that might change

As for Dan Mersey/Rampant - I think "Rampant" is more the selling point than Mersey is. I'll be honest again and say I didn't even know his name until you posted it, I'm sure its on the rulebook somewhere but I never really paid much attention to it and he doesn't seem to be as vocal/well publicized as Barker/Hutchinson/McCullough.

 Nurglitch wrote:
On the other hand, maybe if the gentleman had had billing on the products he designed/developed maybe his name would move boxes. By repute all his games for GW are very good.


Absolutely - I know reading my posts is a slog, but I did kind of address the point in the 2nd to last paragraph.

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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MN

All that being said, I use to live in the town FFG was from when it was starting to build and develop games. I was in a pretty decent low-level management job and grinding up the ladder at the time so I took a peak at what they were offering.

It was not enough to lure me away from my low-level management track role. I seem to recall it being in the high 20 to mid 30K range USD. However, that is a really shaky memory and that was a long time ago.

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The real issue here, IMHO, is not that James was paid so low but that he was unable to advance. We all make our own choices when we take a job, regardless of salary, but we normally do so thinking "But if I nail it that'll improve over time"

That's driven by how the business works; efficiency and sales. You are either a cost to the business, therefore you should be ever more efficient and, or you are a salesman for the product and therefore you need to sell more.

This has the knock on effect that getting good at your job either way is literally the purpose of you being there. It doesn't matter how good you get, you are simply meeting the demands of the role, and will not be recognised for it.

You only have to read the Glassdoor reviews to see this in full effect; their trade sales function apparently doesn't offer commission according to reports on there.

I understand from a friend GW also recently published a pay policy for the first time. That policy doesn't talk about how you progress, but links performance to pay. However, it only does so in a negative sense - if you are underperforming or have been through a disciplinary, you will lose out on general staff rewards (bonus/annual pay rise).

They told me it offers no way for them to be rewarded for over-performing (i.e. promotion). With staff budgets already set for the year ahead, it doesn't matter what a member of staff does or how they perform; their reward is already pre-determined unless they apply for a new role and negotiate an increase as part of that. We've heard how that worked out for James.

James' experience in 2016/17 is absolutely indicative of current GW practices, by all accounts.
   
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It's becoming more normal

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Ateanos wrote:
The real issue here, IMHO, is not that James was paid so low but that he was unable to advance. We all make our own choices when we take a job, regardless of salary, but we normally do so thinking "But if I nail it that'll improve over time"

Actually, the fact that he was paid what appears to be dogsh... by UK standards is a problem. Pay fair wages or die.
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

Well, the awful thing about it is that there really isn't much justification for the low wages at GW. Its profit margins are absurd - 42% IIRC, thats siginficantly higher than in most other industry sectors that pay out average salaries that are a multiple of what James and co. are being paid.

Reading and interpreting their most recent financial report (they don't outright state the cost of wages/payroll anywhere that I could find for the company as a whole, but they do detail payroll costs for the design studio (10 million GBP), manufacturing team (also 10 million GBP), and some others), it really does sound like they could raise wages for their non-executive corporate employees (i.e. no retail staff) several times over and still maintain a 25% profit margin.

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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MN

But Chaos..... think of the dividend pay out! <faints>


This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/12 19:32:55


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As an investor, the dividend payout is pretty great

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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chaos0xomega wrote:
As an investor, the dividend payout is pretty great


I sold mine anyway. I try to keep my investments in causes I can support.


Fate is in heaven, armor is on the chest, accomplishment is in the feet. - Nagao Kagetora
 
   
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Halifax

Didn't they institute an ownership buy-in with matching corporate funds? Like some percentage of the employee's pay could go to stock or somesuch?

   
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 Nurglitch wrote:
Didn't they institute an ownership buy-in with matching corporate funds? Like some percentage of the employee's pay could go to stock or somesuch?


I believe they have a shareshave scheme yes… the thing is these are fantastic when your earnings are such that you have a little bit extra each month that you can invest or save, but not really viable when you are already struggling to make ends meet. If you’re going to put £500 away each month in savings it’s a no brainer to put it in the sharesave scheme, less so when that £500 going missing means you can’t buy food. Normally dividends are reinvested as more stock with these schemes, with the idea that it builds until you cash out at retirement, rather than a monthly income.

Perks are great once they are on top of a good basic salary… otherwise it’s a smoke screen to hide the awful pay.
   
 
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