Games Workshop's annual price increase has just gone by, an event now so routine that Jake Thornton over a Quirkworthy has dedicated a post to noting that even the complaining has become somewhat repetitive.
It's certainly true that every year there will be a fresh crop of protests, a certain amount of outrage and some people will insist that this is the last straw and they are finally done with the Evil Empire for good, some of whom actually will be. Amongst all this general grumbling, apparently wiser heads will point out that the only way to protest is by taking your business elsewhere. It's a theoretically sound argument, the problem is that it doesn't quite work.
Games Workshop's target market is somewhat different than most other wargaming companies. The focus is on 12-16 year olds, 10-18 at the outside, who are just starting out with wargaming, do not come from a gaming background and have no knowledge of any other gaming companies. Ideally, their parents will be financially well-off and indulgent, but if not a fair bit of mileage can be had from persuading them to part with every last penny of their disposable income in a desperate bid to compete with better resourced teenagers.
These teenagers will be milked for all they are worth for a few years until one of two things happens, either they grow out of wargaming entirely or they discover that Games Workshop is not the only player in the game. When this happens, they may stick with GW to a lesser extent or abandon it entirely. In practice, Games Workshop would prefer it were the latter.
Games Workshop does not see itself in competition with other wargaming companies. This is partly sheer arrogance, but mostly that their target market doesn't know about them, or at least doesn't see them as part of the same industry. Games Workshop sees their competition as Playstations, Pokemon and trainers, not Privateer Press and Mantic. Once their players learn about other games GW is done with them.
It's a slightly odd strategy that is essentially based on exploiting a monopoly position that the company does not in fact possess. They maintain the illusion of being the only game in town when this is not in fact the case. This strategy works well in the UK where Games Workshop maintains a high street presence, while independent Game shops are decreasingly few and far between.
This means that Games Workshop is at best dis-interested and at worst actively hostile to the more adult elements of the hobby. Independent conventions, websites and forums are at best tolerated and at worst shunned. They need to maintain clear blue water between their core market and other gamers. Hence the final end of Warhammer Historical just recently, a venture that opened up Games Workshop players to a wider wargaming world.
This is not to say this is true of all Games Workshop staff, many of whom play a number of different games, but this is essentially the attitude of the company.
All of this means that when you vote with your wallet and take your business elsewhere Games Workshop don't care, it's actively factored in. In fact, if anything, they want you gone. The point at which the company stops being exciting and starts being subject to criticism is the point at which they no longer want your business.
If you really want to hurt Games Workshop, the way to do it is not to walk away but to target their core demographic. My little brother is 16 and arguably right at the heart of the Games Workshop market. But he has been exposed to a 32 year old who drags him to conventions. The upshot of this is that he is now building an Empire Army from Perry miniatures War of the Roses figures and a Norse army from Gripping Beast Vikings. If the core GW market found out about the cheaper and, arguably, better alternatives, their sales would drop fast.
So if you want to hurt Games Workshop try persuading a group of 12-14 year-olds to try a new game. Or just talk about one in their presence and let them find out. Alternatively, you could just walk away from Games Workshop. This is perfectly valid reaction, if they won't sell a product you want at a price you are willing to pay. Just don't expect them to shed a tear.