Thoughts on the Recent Leaked 40K Price Increases

This hobby can get expensive!

So by now I am sure all have you have heard about the rumored price increases, some products said to be going up by as much as 25%!

Well, it’s that time of the year, GW’s annual price increases.

This time though, if the rumors are true, they are really going way too far. Some models are said to be going up by as much as 25% which is absurd. The Storm Raven at $82? Land Raiders for $75?? 5 Fire Dragons for $41???

Come on GW, what are you doing? I am a capitalist at heart and believe that you are entitled to charge what you think the market will bear for your product, but this is stupid. As the competition in the miniatures market heats up and we see what small companies can produce (looking at you Drop Zone Commander) and with established companies closing the technology gap (Warmachine/Hordes) and further companies coming in at much more reasonable price points (Dust Tactics) GW’s hegemonic status is going to be put to the test.

To date, they’ve been the 400lb Gorilla in the corner of the room and have been able to rely on dominating market presence and established customers but that advantage is going to shrink as other companies catch up to them. The smart thing to do, IMO, would be to lower prices and drive out your competition. Try to break into new markets with alternate media such as Cartoons (I have it on good authority that that worked pretty well for Transformers and GI Joe). You could keep it Grim Dark too, put it on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. GW, break into new media and grow your viability as a company to increase revenue and keep prices LOW to dominate the market. YouTube, etc. are great and FREE. Why they don’t use them is beyond me and shows a lack of awareness of technology resources.

With the stupid prices GW charges, the competition can come in at a price point equally stupid or below GW and grow while looking like heroes. It seems to be a very shortsighted plan to me, to increase profits in the short term while driving away customers in the long term.

However, maybe it isn’t so crazy. GW’s stated policy is to recruit new players. They want the fresh blood who, apparently, spend more money on average in a year than a veteran. And, by focusing on this ever-replenishing market, they can avoid spending time and resources on things like game balance, fluff consistency, and customer loyalty. Awesome models, pretty pictures and kewl stories are enough to draw in the young and un-jaded customers. It’s a ruthless attitude, but I can see why they may choose to go that route.

My feelings though are that this type of policy ultimately hurts GW. Companies that lack integrity in their product leave the door open to companies who position themselves as caring about their game to a large, dissatisfied player base who are just fed up with getting the cold shoulder from GW. These people recruit others and gain momentum. We’ve seen it with the strong growth of Privateer Press and I bet we’ll see it with other games such as Dust Tactics, Infinity and Heavy Gear as well. These companies are largely responsive to the player base, and at least appear to care about game balance and creating a game that is more important than just selling models.

Time will tell how these things pan out (or if these price increases are even accurate, we’ve heard the increase will be much lower) but I will guarantee that if they are true we will see a slew of players migrate to other game systems. If GW follows this price hike up with a crappy set of rules for 6th edition, we may see a very, very big change in the gaming landscape.

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14 Responses to “Thoughts on the Recent Leaked 40K Price Increases”

  1. Crispy May 24, 2012 2:33 am
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    I really hope they don’t put up the prices as much as these rumours are reporting… Prices here in Australia are already ridiculous. I walk into the battle bunker in Sydney and its deserted, theres no one in there except 3 store staff who immediately pounce on you and try to sell you the black reach set for 165 bucks. I long for the days when it costed you 50 bucks for 16 Ork boyz or even 35 bucks for 20 zombies and the GW shops were packed full of happy gamers

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 24, 2012 12:48 pm
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      The price increases are real, unfortunately. Just got off the phone with them. Fucking insane! What are they thinking? Poor Aussies have it rough man, this is going to hurt.

  2. Kalamadea May 24, 2012 3:33 am
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    I worked at my local game shop from 2004 until 2010. Before I started and also for the first few years it was all GW, all the time, and everything else was called Game of the Month as people would buy into the new hotness, interest would die away and people would gravitate back to 40k. About 2009 Warmachine dethroned 40k at my shop as the go-to game played on pick-up nights. Endless price hikes for the same poorly written rules and new editions of just as poorly written rules that required updating your current army were taking their toll on the playerbase. New customers were being turned off more and more and more and more by the incredibly high price point to even start playing Warhammer.

    Customers that walked in for the first time and thought miniatures were just the coolest thing they’d ever seen would ask about what game to get into and were being directed to Warmachine, it was simply so much easier to sell the game. SOOOOOO many soccer mom’s looked at the price point of 40k and decided an xbox would be cheaper. A $50 rulebook and a a $25 codex and an $80 battleforce. You were $150 in and you didn’t even have paints and glue yet, and certainly not a tournament sized army. Then you look at Warmachine and you can get a $40 starter set and play games with just that. Want to expand? <$10 for a solo, $15 to $25 for a new warjack, $30 or so for an infantry unit. Then a $30 rulebook (in full color) and a $13 deck of all the cards that have all the rules for any given faction. That $150 that barely started you on 40k got you a full tournament army for Warmachine, and you could build it at a whatever speed you could afford and yet get in some games in the meantime. PP is a bit more expensive now thna it was, but you're still looking at $200 vs $500+ for a tourney army.

    Now I look around the game shop and there's very little 40k played anymore. It's all Warmachine, or Malifaux, or Infinity or Flames of War. The community is more fractured than I've ever seen it, but also healthier and happier because of it, I think. Even the staunchest of old GW die hards have started to notice these other games, and notice that they've got models every bit as good, with artwork and backgrounds every bit as detailed and yet with much tighter rulesets. And the funny (sad?) part is they were all of them loyal to Games Workshop before the prices and rules changes drove them to start looking at these other companies to begin with. GW is still that 400 pound gorilla in the corner, but people have realized there's plenty of other rooms to play in and it's nobody's fault but GWs for causing them to look elsewhere.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 24, 2012 1:11 pm
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      You hit the nail on the head. GW is fucking themselves. It’s as if they are unaware of the fact that they do indeed have competition, and that their competition is catching up to them.

      I anticipate we will have a lot of customers jumping ship to new games in the very near future for all the reasons you listed.

  3. Dennis May 24, 2012 5:10 am
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    I couldn’t agree more with this article. I’ve been in the hobby for a hell of a long time and am just now trying to get my kids into the hobby. Now, with the steadily increasing prices that GW insists are necessary, I just can’t afford to.

    And lets not forget that things are not getting any better with the economy so people are spending less and less, myself included. GW has been able to get away with their price increases for years now, but pretty soon its gonna bite them in the rear. They have never had this much competition before and almost all of that competition sells for cheaper.

    As far as rulesets go, you are dead on the money. GW’s rules have been getting worse and worse. If the rumors of 6th Ed going more toward Fantasy type rules is true, I will pretty much lose any respect I have remaining of GW.

    Finally, and maybe I’m remembering wrong here, but didn’t GW say a long time ago that plastic/resin cost a lot less to manufacture than metal? The only possible justification I could see for this drastic of a price increase is if the models were cast with metal. But that’s not the case here. So what’s the deal? Is it costing more to produce or is GW just people greedy?

    Of course, a lot of these discussions could be avoided if GW’s customer relations department would get off their collective asses and start interacting with their player-base.

    • Dennis May 24, 2012 5:12 am
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      “or is GW just people greedy?”

      DOH! that sentence meant to say “or is GW just being greedy?”

      My bad! lol

      • Reecius
        Reecius May 24, 2012 1:12 pm
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        Hahaha!

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 24, 2012 1:14 pm
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      Yeah, it is ridiculous. A low price point adds value, draws in more players growing their business while simultaneously making it harder for competition to enter the market.

      They are out of touch with their customers. They are not selling what their customers want anymore and with all of the alternatives out there, they are going to see a reduction in customers.

      I know it won’t kill the hobby, but it will for sure hurt it.

      They did indeed say plastic would allow them to lower prices, but that was bullshit. Plastic molds have a high cost to make, but the actual cost of production is super low. The margins on these things are immense.

      Stupid GW.

  4. sharkticon May 24, 2012 6:28 am
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    VINCENT: Did you just order a eighty-two-dollar storm raven?

    MIA: Sure did.

    VINCENT: A storm raven? A plastic toy plane kit?

    MIA: Uh-huh.

    VINCENT: It costs eighty two dollars?

    MIA: Yep.

    VINCENT: It doesn’t make you roll better or anything?

    GW Employee: Nope.

    VINCENT: Just checking.

    VINCENT: Can I have a try that? I’d like to know how a eighty-two-dollar storm raven plays.

    MIA: Be my guest. You can use my dice, I don’t roll badly.

    VINCENT: Yeah, but maybe I do.

    MIA: bad rolls I can handle.

    VINCENT: Goddamn! That’s a pretty fuckin’ good storm raven.

    MIA: Told ya.

    VINCENT: I don’t know if it’s worth eighty two dollars, but it’s pretty fuckin’ good.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 24, 2012 1:15 pm
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      Yeah, we’ll have to see how this plays out, but wow does this seem retarded on GW’s part.

  5. Warscythe May 24, 2012 5:04 pm
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    Once upon a time, I used to buy every fantasy and 40K codex that came out. I’d get caught up in the fluff and the potential and frequently bought a LOT of miniatures for the “new great army” with the great looking new figures – usually in the $500 range for each to start. Those days are LONG gone now. It was stupid then (and I finally did wise up since I have boxes and boxes of old miniatures – many unopened) but the simple fact is that now the prices have risen sooooo much I even hesitate making purchases for armies I am playing now.

    For 40K, I play IG, Orks and now Necrons. For fantasy it was Vampire Counts, Tomb Kings, Orks and goblins and Empire (and I have large armies for dwarves and high elves I’ve never painted or played).

    Due to pricing – I no longer play fantasy at all since it can cost several hundred dollars for just one unit these days. I’ve stopped buying Guard and ork models completely and will likely make few additional purchases for my Necrons – which I’ve already spent nearly $800 on. The doubly sad thing is, if the 6th edition rules are as bad as they sound like they may be – I may be done with 40K for good though I may still play some 5th edition and/or play the “fake leaked 6th edition rules” which everyone seemed to react favorably to.

    I’ve been in the hobby since rogue trader (even longer if I include playing WWII micro armor games) and have witnessed many changes through the years but several things have stayed consistent – GW quality and detail on their models has increased, painting quality has increased, and each time GW says they’re going to do something that will make producing their models less expensive, they increase prices regardless. And their new greatest thing – resin figures – I absolutely hate – the models I’ve purchased go together poorly and the joins are NOT designed to hold together under use – at all …. and they cost more to buy. GW made that decision easy – I won’t be buying anymore resign figures from GW.

    If they keep raising prices, GW will make the decision to keep playing their games or not – very easy …. lots of other quality games on the market that will win my hobby dollars.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 24, 2012 5:54 pm
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      You said it. I like, no I love, GW’s games, but there are a lot of viable alternatives out there. This mistreatment of their customers is going to bite them in the ass eventually if not now. It is a bad, bad idea.

      I am a long time hobbyist myself and want to see GW thrive, but come on. This is not an intelligent course of action.

  6. Amberclad87 May 25, 2012 5:33 am
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    Man, DUST warfare is looking really good right now. Hmmm…..

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 25, 2012 12:01 pm
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      Yes they are!