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GW succeeds in spite of itself (see full quotation in the OP, below).
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Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





I don't think warhammer can be compared to a lot of the compeition. Warhammer, and 40k in specific is more then JUST the game, it's an entire IP, and that IP can really be a driver of things. if you stopped playing 40k you might still follow the universe, and even buy the odd mini ("OMG they put out a Mini of *insert fav char here* I'm gonna buy and paint it") the only compeitor who can really scratch the itch for a comprehensive universe in that same vein is proably Battletech

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in us
Keeper of the Flame





West Lafayette, IN

Absolutely true, and has been for at least the last decade.

www.classichammer.com

For 4-6th WFB, 2-5th 40k, and similar timeframe gaming

Looking for dice from the new AOS boxed set and Dark Imperium on the cheap. Let me know if you can help.
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
Its AoS, it doesn't have to make sense.
 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




LoTR failed, despite the IP
Warhammer Fantasy failed, despite the IP
X-Wing basically disappeared, despite the IP



Etc..

Sure, good IP that people enjoy helps. But it wont keep a game afloat by itself.


Also GW bootstrapped up AoS to be an incredibly successful miniatures game, probably in the Top 3 of all miniature games atm. And they launched the IP from essentially below-zero with people hating the idea (many to this day).

If anything, GW succeeds in spite of its often somewhat clunky IP.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/10/11 07:08:51


 
   
Made in gb
Badass "Sister Sin"






I wouldn’t say LOTR failed. Sure, when the films stopped coming it died a death in terms of sales - but GW absolutely walked away from that with more customers and far more money than they had before they released the games.

I was told at the time that it’s level of success was such that the cost of the license was covered half way through Fellowship, when GW expected that by Return of the King. Sadly I can’t prove that, nor can anyone except GW’s Bean Counters, so do take salt to taste. But I can say I was working for them at the time, and it really hit its stride with Two Towers, probably because the boxed set was superior.

I mean, Fellowship? Last Alliance vs Moria Goblins….no Fellowship. At all. Except in a rather pricey boxed set of metal models.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives? Why not join us?

Pfizer vaccine administered 13:40pm 18 Feb 21. Still no second head. Second jab 13:35pm 6 May 2021. At the Masonic Hall. 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





I put True. It's made itself the game you can't leave behind if you want to always find people to play with, that alone can keep it churning forward under its own steam despite all the screw ups. Even as bad as it's gotten they still weren't in danger of going under during 7th, and with the train wreck of AoS initial roll out.

That however is the case for all things massive and lumbering. It's alive and thriving until it isn't. GW won't go out in a flash of negativity, it'll just be there, until it isn't and have a lingering death for its inevitable end. Perhaps living on as a shell for a long time on IP rights long after its given up the ghost.

No time line on that, just one clowns opinion of how it will break down.
   
Made in pl
Longtime Dakkanaut




LOTR was always a product with limited shelf life, like all movie license games, but I bet it still has more players worldwide than warmachine.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Sunny Side Up wrote:
LoTR failed, despite the IP
Warhammer Fantasy failed, despite the IP
X-Wing basically disappeared, despite the IP



Etc..

Sure, good IP that people enjoy helps. But it wont keep a game afloat by itself.


Also GW bootstrapped up AoS to be an incredibly successful miniatures game, probably in the Top 3 of all miniature games atm. And they launched the IP from essentially below-zero with people hating the idea (many to this day).

If anything, GW succeeds in spite of its often somewhat clunky IP.




LotR I don't believe failed, it also wasn't a high focus for quite some time. It does have limited fan base appeal and no real room for growth, which is an issue for a game system.

Warhammer fantasy failed because it was outrageous what they expected people to buy, build, paint, deploy out there. The cost was through the roof and it felt bad, I think many enjoyed the IP but you can't buy what you can't buy.

X wing put a hurt on itself by tossing out the baby with the bath water in it's switch to 2nd edition. I can only speak for myself but was no way I was going to re buy my whole force again to get new things or buy hundreds of dollars worth of upgrade kits. So if they had a big fall off it would be because people don't like that mentality and felt burned.

None of those were because the IP wasn't strong and all about piss poor decision making from the companies in question.

I'd point out that they even released AoS as a total dud and had to back pedal and actually release a game system to make it gain any headway. They were surviving on GW name alone at that point. So you could argue it isn't just the IPs keeping it moving it's also the GW name that in many places just is table top mini gaming and the only game in town. That does wonders to keep it surging forward, momentum is an important thing in many aspects of life and this is no different for game companies.
   
Made in us
Warp-Screaming Noise Marine




I disagree. GW owns the 40K and fantasy equivalent universes. These are where most lay persons minds go immediately when they think tabletop war games, and that is simply something no other war game will have like GW has for decades. We saw GW survive nearly a decade of Rountree’s management, and 6th and 7th edition.

Furthermore, to say that GW is making bad decisions isn’t wrong, but it is disingenuous to the fact that they really learned how to use social media and market with something more engaging to the customer base, both old and new. This is tactical brilliance in the business world.

GW can probably survive another decade of Rountree right now if they had to, and they’ll survive at least another decade unless a competitor is both brilliant and super lucky, and GW falls back on 7th edition and end times levels of terrible mismanagement of their IP. I don’t think this trifecta is probable to occur.

I hate the current state of the game, and I may really dislike how GW chose to handle the game but to say they don’t know what they are doing with marketing and management is naive.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Besides if GW messes up that bad Disney would probably just buy the IP up XD

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/11 09:56:31


Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. -Kurt Vonnegut 
   
Made in pl
Longtime Dakkanaut




Why would disney ever buy the IP? It completely doesn't fit their profile and it may be recognizable, but it's so small in comparison.
   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM




United Kingdom

Cronch wrote:
Why would disney ever buy the IP? It completely doesn't fit their profile and it may be recognizable, but it's so small in comparison.
Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro would be a better fit.
   
Made in ie
Ship's Officer





macluvin wrote:

Furthermore, to say that GW is making bad decisions isn’t wrong, but it is disingenuous to the fact that they really learned how to use social media and market with something more engaging to the customer base, both old and new. This is tactical brilliance in the business world.


The bare minimum is still a huge improvement over nothing at all. I will admit the Regimental Standard was great, as was the occasional webcomics they put out (do they still do those?) but beyond that all they really did was turn White Dwarf ad-articles into Warhammer "Community" articles.


 
   
Made in us
Daemonic Dreadnought





Eye of Terror

Hard False.

Would have answered differently during the Kirby era.

Companies don't grow to the size of GW without knowing their customer base, what they value, how they want to be sold to, and what they can sell their product for. Those things are different from what players think of as customers, what they want and what they'd like to pay.

Sure, most of what we see today is derivative of the work of visionaries reacting to the pro-corporate politics of the 80s and adapting the best works of science fiction to their own galactic setting. But the lore and corporate governance are completely separate.

I keep thinking of this time in a GW store when a mother came in with her teenage son. She had a lot of questions for the manager, and he brought her to a table to play a game of Assault on Black Reach. While her son was the one who wanted miniatures, it was the act of rolling dice that got her to part with her money.

There's a certain kind of genius in that. The son was the end user, but the Mom had to be sold on the product before parting with her cash. Her questions about price and appropriateness of the material were conquered by gambling (and letting her win.)

That doesn't happen by accident.

   
Made in gb
Badass "Sister Sin"






There’s definitely skill in running an intro game. You need to be enthusiastic and cinematic, without going OTT.

It’s also something other wargame companies can’t really do. Sure, many FLGS see the sales potential in running them, and do so well. But when it’s not your own store, you’re relying on others to show your game off and in a good light. You can have great models, tight rules and a lighter than GW price, but if nobody is actively demoing your game? Your reach is shortened somewhat.

Now it’s no secret GW shop staff aren’t exactly well paid (can’t speak for today, nor for managers). But that investment is worth it, because when a sale is made off the back of an intro? That’s a new hobbyist. Someone you invite back for Beginner sessions. Someone you continue to support and promote the wider hobby to. Whether folk online agree or not, that adds value from a parental perspective.

And it’s some GW has done for if not from the get go, certainly all the time I’ve been involved in the hobby. Which is 32 years now. It’s a form of self promotion their contemporaries just don’t really have ready access to.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives? Why not join us?

Pfizer vaccine administered 13:40pm 18 Feb 21. Still no second head. Second jab 13:35pm 6 May 2021. At the Masonic Hall. 
   
Made in de
Contagious Dreadnought of Nurgle




Lotr didn't fail. At some point it was just finished and GW dropped support for several years which killed a big part of the fanbase. Warhammer and 40K are IPs build specifically to have an ongoing wargame where every faction can fight any other faction and the universe is a big sandbox. Lotr, despite being the stronger IP and having better story and rules than both, has its limits as a wargame. I mean they're doing great work with it again and I'd say ruleswize it's at its best spot right now and good thing the base rules didn't really change since 20years, but you see from the expansions there's not really a lot you can do, you can rerelase some old expansion, you can do the odd book about some very minor conflict in the background, but the big story has been told numerous times.
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Silmarillion expansion when?
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




 techsoldaten wrote:
Hard False.

Would have answered differently during the Kirby era.


Sure? If there's a hypothesis that GW is coasting on its IP, many (earlier) Kirby decisions, such as establishing Black Library, surely factor into it. He also took GW out of the red numbers post-LoTR-bubble-collapse.

Did he loose his marbles in his final couple of years? Seems like it. But early-Kirby was responsible for a lot of what the "everything-was-better-in-the-good-old-days"-crowd is pining for.
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut



Bamberg / Erlangen

For reference, what editions was Kirby responsible for?

Imperial Guard Space Marines
 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Kirby was General Manager/CEO(?) from 1986 to 2017.
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut



Bamberg / Erlangen

What? Really? I always had the impression that he took over somewhere in the middle of 5th and then gave us 6th and 7th.

But if he was with the company that early, he was indeed responsible for some of the best editions? 3rd-5th?

Imperial Guard Space Marines
 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






1991 saw Kirby and Bryan Ansell buyout management of the company and then in 1994, it was floated on the LSE.
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




Yeah. In his very early days, was instrumental in the 1986 GW buy-out from Livingstone and Jackson for a couple of millions.

GW wasn't a publicly listed company in those days though, so his role obviously changed over the years and especially once the company went public.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/11 11:29:21


 
   
Made in gb
Badass "Sister Sin"






Kirby turned GW into what it is today.

Boxed games to get you started? Kirby. Ever more plastic kits? Kirby.

As others said he went somewhat off the boil latterly, but he still turned it from Nerds In An Office to a dominant force in its industry.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives? Why not join us?

Pfizer vaccine administered 13:40pm 18 Feb 21. Still no second head. Second jab 13:35pm 6 May 2021. At the Masonic Hall. 
   
Made in us
Daemonic Dreadnought





Eye of Terror

Sunny Side Up wrote:
 techsoldaten wrote:
Hard False.

Would have answered differently during the Kirby era.


Sure? If there's a hypothesis that GW is coasting on its IP, many (earlier) Kirby decisions, such as establishing Black Library, surely factor into it. He also took GW out of the red numbers post-LoTR-bubble-collapse.

Did he loose his marbles in his final couple of years? Seems like it. But early-Kirby was responsible for a lot of what the "everything-was-better-in-the-good-old-days"-crowd is pining for.


The question is about whether GW succeeds in spite of itself.

Kirby was the right person for the job from when GW started to just after it went public. My take is that investor relations wasn't his strong suit, a lot of the weirdness we saw during his final years had to do with appeasing retirement funds looking for dividends. But he was invested in the lore, fluent in the creative process, and someone you might actually want to play a game with. He could keep the creative drive going during periods of uncertain financial performance and certainly captured the imaginations of people worldwide.

Roundtree is the person you want if you are trying to scale a business. He transformed GW into a printing press for cash and makes sure it's operating 24x7. I see a game with him going like this: he rolls up in a Porsche, the only models he has are from the Swedish Bikini Team, and he tells you he's leaving in 3 minutes for a party in Amsterdam. You're standing there with a pile of plastic army men, which he doesn't recognize as GW product. Before you can utter a word, he tells you to pause while he takes a call from the CEO of Nasdaq about a US listing and wanders off to engage in corporate banter. The models ask if you if you have any coke, and your response is they don't allow drinks at the tables. They leave, you win by forfeit and go home to watch Red Dwarf reruns from the 80s.

GW can reinvest in IP creation at any time, the world is full of talented and imaginative writers and they will line up to produce works set in the world of AoS / 40k. But understand, GW has no incentive to create new material, it would just dilute the value of fluff that's already working. That's not in the stars ATM and won't be for a long time, dividends are the order of the day.

Kirby is the guy to build up an IP practice and make it vital to customers. Roundtree is the guy to reign in operations and maximize profitability. The former could fall off any day, people's tastes are particular and can be subverted by other franchises. The latter is driven by investors who have a huge interest in their success and will push it in all sorts of ways. No one ever loses their taste for money.

So I don't believe there's an accident to GW's success.

   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran






What's "success" mean and who are we measuring it for?

The discussion here is interesting, but the OPs poll question really isn't specific enough.

From a business perspective, I'll posit this question: What other "geekdom" IP has it's one international deployment of retail stores to their sell their wares? Maybe one could argue that Star Wars does, but only through Disney stores and Disney's acquisition of the IP. But GW is literally in a league of their own as far as the hobby gaming market goes and they have been for 30 years.

The company has had its ups and downs financial, like all companies do, but they are still here and they are still a dominant force in the hobby sector. I think they are probably a quintessential success story from a hobby business perspective.

The OP's question, and specifically the "in spite of themselves" is perhaps asking if they could've been even 'more' successful. Who here can answer that from a company financial perspective without know even a fraction of details and constraints they were operating under.

Certainly mistakes have been made as a company - as all companies do. I'd like to think that if GW knew that a given decision was a mistake ahead of time they would've gone a different way, and in that regard we all success/fail in spite of ourselves when we look backwards. But that isn't how it goes when you're in the moment of making a decision.

Want a better 40K?
Check out ProHammer: Classic - An Awesomely Unified Ruleset for 3rd - 7th Edition 40K... for retro 40k feels!
 
   
Made in us
Daemonic Dreadnought





Eye of Terror

 Mezmorki wrote:
What's "success" mean and who are we measuring it for?

Stock price.

And I say that with the understanding: as a public company, they would not exist if they did not optimize for investors. I don't think GW would be around today were it not for the decision to go public.

I have nothing but fondness for the days of pewter miniatures, social commentary and endless imagination. But we live in a world where good things don't happen to franchises without finance.

   
Made in us
Monster-Slaying Daemonhunter




 Gert wrote:
Silmarillion expansion when?


The TV show is due in March of 2022, and might as well be called the "Game of Simarills" what with all the sex and violence the director said he is including.
   
Made in ie
Ship's Officer





 Gert wrote:
Silmarillion expansion when?


Never because no one will be able to remember who's who.


 
   
Made in us
Exalted Beastlord




beast_gts wrote:
Cronch wrote:
Why would disney ever buy the IP? It completely doesn't fit their profile and it may be recognizable, but it's so small in comparison.
Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro would be a better fit.


It actually wouldn't. Hasbro has very little interest in the IPs WotC already owns, aside from Magic (its one of their Prime Properties now, and outsells most of their 'grand legacy' boardgames). Everything else under the WotC umbrella is tolerated as long as it doesn't actually lose them money- they basically see D&D, for example, as a form of stress relief for the division that keeps the staff from being disgruntled, not a serious product. In the early 2000s, one of the lead developers for D&D tried to push it as a future Prime Property (which requires certain sales milestones in terms of units and profits), and failed badly. Not enough to kill the brand, but enough to convince the Hasbro execs that it wasn't worth focusing on anything other than Magic. Its worth noting that in the Annual report for the year 4th edition launched, they didn't even bother to mention D&D as a property they owned. And that wasn't unusual.

The 'Hasbro buys Warhammer' pipedream would likely go the same way. If they did do it, they'd sell it, but they'd cut the development and product budget to a small staff that puts out just a few releases a year.

Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in de
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Mezmorki wrote:

The OP's question, and specifically the "in spite of themselves" is perhaps asking if they could've been even 'more' successful. Who here can answer that from a company financial perspective without know even a fraction of details and constraints they were operating under.

Certainly mistakes have been made as a company - as all companies do. I'd like to think that if GW knew that a given decision was a mistake ahead of time they would've gone a different way, and in that regard we all success/fail in spite of ourselves when we look backwards. But that isn't how it goes when you're in the moment of making a decision.


It's not.

If the question is whether GW with hindsight and a "flawless / perfect" decision-making record could be even more successful, it's meaningless. Because that would be true for absolutely 100% of all companies and businesses that exist or have ever existed. No business has ever existed that did not at one point make a bad call.

The OP's question is whether any success GW experienced (profits and stock market success, acquisition of new customers, however you define it) was purely accidental. The proverbial blind chicken or broken clock that occasionally scores by pure, situational luck.

And that is not true. While GW has made mistakes, they also made decisions that were smart, both for stakeholders and for customers.
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






FezzikDaBullgryn wrote:
The TV show is due in March of 2022, and might as well be called the "Game of Simarills" what with all the sex and violence the director said he is including.

Lord of the Rings is a violent setting though, can't comment on the sex stuff because I haven't nor do I intend to read the Silmarillion.
   
 
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