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Is GW's constant "limited release" marketing starting to bite back?

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This topic contains 42 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  phaidknott 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 43 total)
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  • #1458180

    phaidknott
    Participant
    3186xp

    It’s something that started with Bloodbowl, then gradually worked it’s way into just about every game system GW do. The “Limited Release” is something that’s grown from a single model to entire box games/armies, and fans of the games are starting to get frustrated at not being able to simply buy anything anymore because it’s no longer available.

    The latest is GW’s Sisters of Battle army box set (already sold out everywhere), now I’m not a 40K player so I’m a bit impartial to this issue (although I do play NuMunda). The internet is in uproar as GW has already had to “apologise” for underestimating demand https://www.warhammer-community.com/2019/11/18/sisters-of-battle-situation-report/

    But why do things have to be so damn complicated? Why has “marketing gimmicks” (and FOMO) taken over at GW to where simply wanting to spend money with them is all a race against time, availability, and constantly checking GW for updates on products coming to limited release. It’s all a mess of piecemeal rules (you can no longer just buy ONE book with the rules anymore, instead needing a whole bookshelf of rules, cards, codex books. And even the new Psychic Awakening books contain extra rules for multiple factions in each one…so you’ll need that as well).

    GW went from “Nasty” to “Nice” a few years ago, but of late they seem to have been taken over by the marketing dept (rather than the legal team). What ever happened to seeing something advertised and thinking “I’ll have that” only to find out you’ve missed the boat for no other reason than someone came up with another bright idea to drive sales (like GW really need to worry about that one), AND prices (I know a few FLGS that have been hit with “toxic stock” of the Blood Of The Phoenix Box Set that they ordered masses off because they didn’t want to disappoint customers and then found out no-body wanted it (as the gimmick here is you have to buy a £140 box set to obtain the new 6 figures of Howling Banshees….just release the damn figures like a sane person).

    But things are starting to boil over on the internet now as more and more customers are getting tired of the non subtle manipulations of GW marketing team and the fact that simply wanting to spend money now means jumping through hoops and hurdles to obtain a product. Why can’t we just go back to simply seeing something being released and in stock like we used to?  Are GW going to end up with customers turning away due to this (I know I didn’t buy Bloodbowl because I couldn’t get the bits for it I wanted because they had been “limited releases” and I just went “feck that” and spent my money on something else instead). It’s also making life difficult for FLGS as they need to basically gamble/over order to obtain stock (which is fine for GW finances) as they only get ONE chance at this.

    • This topic was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  phaidknott.
    #1458187

    maledrakh
    Participant
    7833xp

    We call the new GW “Nicety”.

     

    To be fair, when they originally released Sisters of Battle, they massively oversold it to FLGS’s and both my shop and several others I spoke to at the time got stuck with a large amount of dead stock that needed to go in the bargain bins.

     

     

    #1458196

    lobstermooch
    Participant
    1589xp

    I can see why they would do it, traditionally new items sell well while the hype is up and its fresh and new, but once the initial new release stage is over the item will sell less and less.

    This is normal, however, if companies make too much stock they can be left with piles of product clogging up warehouses that they have a hard time moving. The cost of storing the items plus the cost that went into production for stagnant products mean less money for new items.

    However, I think Gw are going too far. Especially with piecemeal releases like they do with the rule books.

    Now I don’t mind special edition boxes being limited, wouldn’t be special if they weren’t. And I think its good for them to be able to keep stock moving. It would be nice though for better communication, such as giving people a heads up that a product is about to go byebye, and maybe do a last print run pre-order so people can know its the last chance to grab it and the can squeeze the last few bucks out of the product and just print to cater for the orders.

    But for the love of God, just release a complete f****** rule book/source book.

    Just my thoughts.

    And yes, very good point on how this model hurts flgs.

    #1458198

    mage
    Participant
    17009xp

    I think it is demand vs what they choose to (not ‘can’) produce based on a busy release schedule for the year that is long planned in advance.

     

    They probably could have made more. They probably new they did not make enough. They probably knew they should have done more.

     

     

    #1458200

    kiranamida
    Participant
    1064xp

    I have to wonder about the feasibility or a print on demand period for limited releases like these where there is something like a 24 hour period to place your order and then they make as many as are required.
    Sure, it might take a bit longer between paying for it and getting it but they do this for the likes Black Library anniversary models so I have to wonder if this would mean that at least they are only running the machines to make product they need, as long as they need and every item of the line is a sale (or near enough, anyway).

    The website problems can’t be helping (and they definitely have the money to see that fixed even if they have to contract to a third party specialist) but it does seem poor form when they have a solution to the root problem but seem determined to stick to this artificial scarcity that isn’t kidding anyone.

    We’ll have to see what this working on some pretty cool fixes for this kind of thing going forward though adds up to I guess. See if they are willing to make real changes to better fit the market they find themselves in.

    #1458201

    phaidknott
    Participant
    3186xp

    @mage from your response we’re starting to see all this “limited release” stuff as normal from GW, but it wasn’t the case a few years ago. They just added boxes of stuff to the range and you were safe in knowing they were available for the next few years or so. The problem has been of late that these things are selling out in the pre-order stage of things on a consistent basis these days (it’s been a real problem with the Necromunda cards as each one is OOP within either a week or two, or even “again” in the pre-order stage).

    This make a hurdle for gamers wanting to start into a game (such as Necromunda) as rules are no longer available (as they are only on the cards), so you can buy part of the game but not all (and gamers are obsessive collectors after all). So the way GW are doing things these days it’s be there from the start or you’ve missed out (FOMO becoming a real issue for those that have).

    Just release the game/minis and stop with hurdles put up by these marketing schemes, you’ll have less frustrated customers AND allow gamers to buy into the game after initial release (and make things less volatile for your local FLGS). There’s no real need for all this stuff (as GW are pretty dominant in the market) and people prefer to buy GW minis over 3rd party options anyhow. It’s like we’re buying from a Kickstarter than a normal retail company these days 🙁

     

    #1458202

    balginstondraeg
    Participant
    232xp

    “Apologise” for underestimating demand.

     

    Surely you mean  apologise for “underestimating” demand.

    #1458204

    robert
    Participant
    14200xp

    Underestimating demand is just another way of saying the price was too low.

    #1458207

    sundancer
    Participant
    15782xp

    Is GW’s constant “limited release” marketing starting to bite back?

    No. No it doesn’t. As long as there are fanboys, any company (not just GW) can do this.  As long as $company appeases the fanboys and -girls they “can’t do no wrong”. And as long as the fan-base is willing to pay ludicrous amounts of money for any sort of collectable thing companies will continue to do so. There is a German saying that fits very well:

    “Every day an idiot is born and one crook to take advantage of him”.

    I quote a very wise Wookie: “People are the worst”

    #1458211

    phaidknott
    Participant
    3186xp

    @Balin Well it’s wasn’t really an apology, or even a statement like we’ll do another print run. It was more of a statement “you’ve missed out, but the parts will be released later” (hence the emphasis on apologise). They don’t sound contrite at all 🙁

     

    #1458215

    tredhed
    Participant
    646xp

    Its crap like this that is making me regret breaking my self imposed ban on GW products. I quit GW for close to 2 decades. Ye gods that sentence makes me feel old, but I digress. I got back in because a new buddy was really enthusiastic about 40k, which also lead me back into fantasy.
    But the constant rise of the prices, the ‘gotta have all the books’ mentality of the rules, and this simple scarcity of getting newer stuff is getting on my last nerve with them. I love the idea of Blitz Bowl and want it to be good for the community….but with it being exclusive to just 3 stores, it makes me wonder if anyone around will be playing it.

    #1458248

    zeker1966
    Participant
    1600xp

    So it makes business sense that these box sets are limited runs. As someone above points out you don’t want to end up with too much product because it ties up money and costs money because you need to warehouse it. They could do another print run but they have limited “bandwidth” in their production line as they have other products to produce. As they said all the contents of the boxset will be made available but you’ll have to wait until 2020.

    I know a lot of people want them to produce a single book per game so that you don’t need to continuously purchase books and have all the rules. From the companies point of view there are two things going on here. If they did that it would (1) lock in the models that they produce (and they would all have to be designed prior to the release), and (2) it would reduce the amount of publicity they get for the releases. The incremental releases makes total sense from a company point of view and honestly more companies should do it. We pay way more attention to products and games on release so the best way to have your product at the front of mind is to have lots of releases. GW does this by have about one release per game per month (perhaps 2 months). This means that the game is always getting attention. There are lots and lots of games that have a release, get a bit of airtime, and just disappear into the background. We don’t hear about them until a 2nd edition is released. Kickstarters are even worse because they produce the entire product at once, release it and often that is it. Slightly larger companies like Mantic might be able to do a couple kickstarters for the same game but they would probably be served better if they did releases similar to GW. Having said that though I think GW has the advantage that they are giants by comparison and can afford to hold back and the incremental releases basically are realized as a near constant funding source. It isn’t clear to me that Mantic or Warlord would be as successful at it. Though Warlord does play that game, at least with models, to some extent.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  zeker1966.
    #1458273

    limburger
    Participant
    8726xp

    GW’s games have always needed a ton of additional content.
    40k had codexes throughout its entire lifecycle.
    WFB had several supplements in its 2nd edition.
    And White Dwarf was filled with extra rules and even new units since day 1.
    It’s always has been part of this hobby.
    And to be honest … GW has managed to limit it by doing the ‘chapter approved’ / ‘generals handbook’.
    Reducing the bloat would be nice … but given that GW is minis first / rules second that’s never going to happen until they make selling rules their primary business.

    As for these ‘limited edition’ starter sets. They’re only a problem if you want one and it sold out.
    Yes, it sucks. However we’ve also seen that the minis eventually make it into retail on their own (like the Vanguard spacemarines). I’m sure the Banshees will be sold separately and the plastic sisters already have retail releases planned.

    It’s important to keep in mind that we’re not dealing with a product that has no predictable audience and a predictable sales cycle.
    As such it shares more common ground with fashion than electronics.
    They can hype a product all they want, but that still doesn’t make us buy all the shiny because they say so.

    I’m pretty sure GW (and every other industry) would love to produce exactly the amount of products people want, but that is part science and part black magic. They can’t rely on how many things there fans claim to ‘want’, because we don’t always buy the stuff we say we want (or we change our minds).BTW :
    IF you think GW is bad … you should look at how Nintendo (and the rest of the video game industry) do things.
    They manage to make digital products into ‘limited’ resources.At least GW has a (good) reason to not create infinite amounts of [insert army]

    Nintendo – A Shit Distributor And Fuckheaded Toymaker (The Jimquisition) from JimSterling

    (Warning : it is a bit full of F-words)

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  limburger.
    #1458274

    tobymagill
    Participant
    548xp

    Bluntly no – GW are expecting record half year sales and profits, and have just sold out the SOB release in record time. There is no evidence of customers “biting back” in any significant way.

    While I can understand being annoyed at missing out, given the full release is going to be early next year its not like we won’t be able to buy the range at our  leasure if we want it.

    Being the contrarian that I am I would suggest what this actually shows is there is a large, silent majority of GW customers who are perfectly happy with how things are going at the moment and who aren’t represented by the content of online comment sections.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  tobymagill.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  tobymagill.
    #1458294

    fightcitymayor
    Participant
    131xp

    Bluntly no – GW are expecting record half year sales and profits, and have just sold out the SOB release in record time. There is no evidence of customers “biting back” in any significant way.

    I think that’s part of the warning: GW has been (successfully) focusing on revenue and stock price, but I think the OP is saying that sort of short-term thinking can only last for so long before some % of the faithful peel off and say Enough. You may be right, we might not have reached “Peak GW” yet, but after a few years of positive press and general goodwill with these “limited” releases, they do seem to be maybe flogging the horse a bit too much. Time will tell.

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