Monday, 16 June 2014

Restricted Visions

It occurred to me that I never did follow up on my Warhammer Visions experiment.

WHSmiths managed to shift one copy in that month and, since then, have been getting in six or seven copies a month, almost all of which are still there at the end.

This is not a very scientific survey, for all I know Warhammer Visions is wildly popular. That said, most of the newsagents near me that stock it always seem to have plenty of copies. Which suggests that it isn't selling well, but also that they keep stocking it in large numbers.

I don't have any axe to grind regarding Warhammer Visions. I haven't been a regular White Dwarf reader in years and the White Dwarf weekly/Warhammer Visions split took place over a year after I last bought a copy. There behaviour isn't irritating so much as baffling.

Warhammer Visions appears to be a very confused publication. It's supposed to be about pictures, but its pages are half the size of the old White Dwarf. It is the only publication they sell through mainstream newsagents, but it is an expensive premium product that is likely to be baffling to anyone not already familiar with Games Workshop and its products. And its sealed in plastic, so that you can't browse and have to spend £8 to find out what it contains. Not to mention that if you want nice pictures of painted miniatures, Google Images will supply enough to last a life time.

On the other hand, we have the weekly White Dwarf. It's more expensive the the old White Dwarf on a monthly basis, but each issue is comparatively cheap. It's published frequently and has plenty of news and up to date information. But if you want it you have to go to Games Workshop or a games shop. So it's only available to existing gamers and hobbyists.

What is the thinking here? The odd thing about Games Workshop is that, because it tries to control all aspects of its business itself, from development through to retail, it's not necessary for every part of the business to make money. White Dwarf or Warhammer Visions don't have to be independently profitable as long as they serve the purpose of marketing Games Workshop's core business. For that matter, even rule books don't have to make money if they help to shift more models. But Games Workshop acts like everything they do has to make money. Or that everything do is inherently worth paying for.

So we end up with the odd spectacle of Games Workshop trying to increase its output of printed publications at a time when more and more content is going online and expecting its existing customers to pay extra to cover the cost.

Now I have no idea of this is working or not. But either way it's astonishing that this is where Games Workshop has ended up.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to know who makes their decisions and why as most of them are, as you say, baffling.