So in my last post, I was expressing some disappointment with how GW’s handling their start to their new fiscal year (read: the double-whammy price change).
I got a reply from another blogger, TheKingElessar, whose blog I check out fairly regularly (and who seems to swing by here to see what I have to say for myself from time to time). I started replying to a quick comment he posted on my page; and before I knew it, I was in full rant mode–not in an angry way, mind you: I just had too much to say to type out in a couple short sentences.
[I searched for images of King Elessar (Aragorn) but found many. Seeing as how this post’s topic is all about the image-poor topic of Finecast [TM], I’ve decided all the pictures will be of Aragorn-Elessar.]
So in true lazy fashion, I decided that instead of pouring all kinds of effort into a reply to a reply of my short blog entry, I’d instead make a more proper today. In case you’re not on my front page, the original post I made can be found here, to which TheKingElessar’s replied:
While I *sort of* agree – I have been somewhat reliably informed that a lot if not ALL of the metal models have been/are being re-cast for Finecast.
This explains the rise, as the cost of that alone runs to tens of millions.
I guess we shall see in the financial report, later in the year.
My Thoughts Fleshed Out Further
So, totally my fault for not putting all the thoughts going on in my head into that post–I was more concerned about actually getting back into the habit of posting on my blog than I was about fully fleshing out my thoughts that day. And that day I was struggling with my annual disappointment with GW’s annual price increase combined with the new pain from going over the excel document GW sent me with all the new Finecast™ prices.
I don’t doubt that there is a significant investment involved with changing the entire Games Workshop metals line over to resin. Doing so in this way (IE: the entire line getting overhauled–and pretty much getting it all at once), shows us how Games Workshop is an actual BIG company and are able to plan for and tackle huge undertakings–and I do mean that in a good way.
But my posted feelings of disappointment come from GW’s missing a golden opportunity to really make a good move at winning the hearts and minds of their customers.
It seems to me (and I do get that I have neither infinite knowledge nor infinite wisdom) the cost of resin is HUGELY cheaper than the cost of tin/pewter, even with the wear and tear happening to their molds. The inherent inexpensiveness of resin could have presented GW with a rare faith-building opportunity: had they decided to “play the long game” and take it in the chin by doing the switch to resin but deciding to NOT raise any the new resin model prices, they could have served a giant cup of STFU to some of their more vocal detractors among their “customer base.”
(I’m sure there’s a better word to describe all the legions of salty gamers who try to buy as little from Workshop as possible whilst still continue to play GW games quite regularly…but I couldn’t think of it while typing on the fly, so “customer base” will have to suffice.)
Yes, implementing Finecast™ without a price increase would have meant some definite short-term pain; but ideally, that initial hit would be paid off over the long term–and could also be somewhat mitigated presently in at least a small way if GW were to choose put all profits going into paying out the extra 20% they’re giving on the company’s 2011 dividends into, say, soaking up the costs involved with the switch to resin. Were they to do that instead of just doing the Finecast™ price raise, what GW enthusiast wouldn’t stand up to defend Games Workshop against any bad-mouthing thrown their way? (Of course, the counter argument being, because GW is top dog, people will always criticize & attack their actions, regardless of how good, bad, greedy or generous said actions are.)
Be that as it may, instead GW institutes a June 1 price change with a cross section of their product line having their prices increase 2 – 25% (equating to usually just a couple dollars…except for all army books and a few box sets going up by more). In tandem with this price increase is, essentially, a second price increase of similar (maybe a little higher) magnitude…which will be followed by what, two(?) three (?) more waves of Finecast™ releases? And each wave will have the same price increase. And each wave will be released 4-6 weeks after the previous wave.
So, despite each wave not actually being another price increase, to the customers, each wave will FEEL like a price increase as models once available in metal will then have to be purchased for a higher amount, resin notwithstanding. Price increases covering cross-sections of the entire GW line are obviously not popular (and it doesn’t help that, to the customers, the increases also feel a little on the arbitrary side). But I don’t think the way you spin that unpopular move is by actively planning to not let that sting subside by instead choosing to rub salt into the wound. By releasing more price-increased items every few weeks for the few months following the first increases does just that: remind customers that things are now more expensive .
Minted at the beginning of the year following the fall of the Dark Lord, this coin bears the image of the mounted King Elessar on obverse, with the sigil of his realm on the reverse: the seven stars over a tree. Yet one can’t help but wonder how many of these it would take to buy the Finecast [TM] ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ box of models.
–And what exacerbates this is that the whole time during the transition and likely for several months after the final big wave of Citadel Finecast™ gets released, customers will continue to be reminded about how their lot in life was made worse by Games Workshop. Or rather, all the customers who don’t have access to a Games Workshop Hobby Centers risk being constantly reminded about how everything now costs more: those who shop at GW Hobby Centers will have already noted that all the metal models being replaced were removed from store shelves a few days before the arrival of the new Finecast™ models. However, with independent retailers, this is not the case: independent stores will have the metal models on their shelves, available at the old price, until those last copies finally sell…and I tell you, my store’s blisters of Dark Angels Chapter Master run no risk of selling out any time soon. (Simply for interest’s sake: the metal models in GW Hobby Centers were not sold down, they were not auctioned off, they were not put on clearance. They were simply shipped back to GW’s head office warehouse.)
Instead of strengthening their customers’ commitment to the company, it’s feeling to me that the way GW handled the Finecast™ transition may actually start encouraging their customers to look around with more serious intent and see what else there is to collect and play. I think it is that serious intent that could impact GW’s future bottom line in a pretty serious manner. More serious than the short-term pain they’d likely experience by making Finecast™ appear better than pewter in every way, hands down (including their cost).
I’ve been playing Games Workshop’s games for a long long time, so this is not a rant about how they over charge everybody on everything. This really is more about how in one swift move, Games Workshop has made it harder for their fans to back them up. Or want to back them up.