Saturday, 16 February 2013

GW backs away from Social Media


Games Workshop appear to have backed away completely from their tentative foray into social media. Their Facebook page is deleted and nothing has been posted on their Twitter account @voxcaster for four days.

The company have been very slow to exploit the growing virtual world but they did apparently announce at a recent GM that they intended to develop their reach in this area.

Then came the PR shambles of their attempt to ban the eBook version of Spots and the Space Marines, but astonishingly not the dead tree version, using trademark law.

Their problems were exascerbated by their reaction to the slightest criticism or teasing: to 'ban' those they regarded as their 'enemies'. Given that their critics were SF fans and wargamers, they were clearly targeting their own customer base. Not a very sensible decision. And they were not helped by snootily telling the BBC and Guardian that they don't talk to the press.

It remains to be seen whether this silence reflects a drawing back into their shell, a pause for reflection to develop a more enlightened strategy, or a regroup to renew a futile offensive against their customer base.



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27 comments:

  1. The thing I've never quite got over was, sometime in the late eighties, GW dropped the term 'wargaming' and replaced it with 'The Games Workshop Hobby'(I was reading 1984 for the first time when this occurred so its chilling revisionism always stuck with me). Now they go and remove their FB site. Scary.

    Have you seen those absurdly awful new Chaos Warriors- the play-mobil chariot and the lumpy-armed infantry? Even as miniature makers--still their strongest card--GW are beginning to lose their edge. Why? Because the old generation of sculptors is moving on and the next are not as good because GW provides no grassroots. Now I don't sculpt, but I presume you start out by making your own and GW frown on that kind of creativity.

    Personally, I can't wait for 3d printers to become a household item and we can ditch these clowns.

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    1. GW are changing their whole sculpting style to very fiddly models that look good under close up photography.

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  2. Vox Caster blocked me, but Black Library did not (on the Twitters). Go figure. Well, it makes my gaming purchasing going forward a lot less complicated!

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  3. Perhaps what we are seeing is a lack of clear direction from the top.

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    1. I don't think there is anyone left in authority who is a wargamer.

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  4. Facebook blocked me, and funnily enough I a yet to receive a reply to my emails to Black Library and GW HQ...

    I don't think it is lack of practise that makes their current sculpts ugly. Rather it is the lack of old hands in the company who could say whether or not a sculpt fits the long term aesthetic. The problem isn't so much that the new sculpts are junk, just that they don't fit. I don't think any of the Chaos models produced since the plastic daemon Prince have really looked like they belonged to the rest of the range.

    I was initially looking forward to getting plastic cult troops for Nurlgle, slaanesh and Tzeenthch, but now tbh I am dreading how they'll look!

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    1. The whole style is changing see above.

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  5. I'm not sure social media is a viable strategy when you are widely hated by many, and enjoy ambivalent loyalty from the older members of your user base.
    It has always seemed to me that GW depends on a near constant stream of new, young customers to stay viable, whereas social media campaigns seem best suited for developing and maintaining customer relationships over time.

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    1. Yes, I suppose we are atypical customers but school fashions are transient.

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  6. John I think they have been a pack of wankers up at the top since inception. They seem to think they are the only hobby in town and have some sort of authority or wide sweeping governmental powers when it comes to what they want. Pure and simple the big gears of GW/Citadel are a bushel basket of douche-bags. Not the small gears. I have met and befriend many GW footshloggers who are great people they just work for a business that's upper echelons think they are the next dominating fascist party of war gaming. And they have the social graces of a warthog. So their complete failure at anything social cyber or otherwise does not surprise me at all.

    James W: When they started calling it the Games Workshop Hobby. I asked one of their employees "What's it like to join a cult?"

    Michael P: They have always counted on younger customers versus keep age old ones. They basically want you from 13 to college. Then if you come back in your late 20's/early 30's all the better. But realize your slot has already been filled by another kid whose parents have disposable cash.

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  7. For more patent nonsense see http://notquitemechanised.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/patent-nonsense/#comments

    Kind regards, Chris

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  8. Interesting post, John. It's a shame really, because I actually like GW's products - quality-wise they are right up there - but their ridiculously greedy pricing and marketing strategy makes me ill...as well as preventing me from purchasing anything from them.

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    1. I put back my first model ever that I had gone into the shop to buy. £15 for an Abaddon?? really?? Come on guys.

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  9. All that has really happened is that the secret service will have to use means other than Facebook to find out who plays with GW toy soldiers.

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    1. They will have to recruit harder in the MI5 Toy Soldier Section.

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  10. I agree with you Monty. I love their products (except for a difficult vehicle model here and there). BUT the heads of GW are just a rotten bag of testicles.

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    1. They engender such loyalty and goodwill amonst their customers.

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  11. Must admit is quite amusing watching the debacle unfold...

    I do recall a mate who used to work for them at store level (in the mid 90's), He was a great kids, loads a fun, big into 40k, painted up a Marine faction that made it into WD mag... but for some reason he fell foul of them, the face no longer fitted or whatever, and they sacked him, I can't recall the reason...
    Not one to take this lying down he decided to challenge this as wrongful dismissal, and represented himself... he bothered to research into the law of the situation, and went to the tribunal meeting. He stood there waiting to defend himself, as his store manager, area manager and GW lawyer lined to have a go at him, cock sure of themsleves... Basically he tore a strip off them, the judge ruled in his favour, demanded he have his job back and awarded him a substantial payout.

    He then told them where they could stick their job, and left with the payout... The GW types were left stunned muttering humble pie.

    I'd loved to have been a fly on the wall that day!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I'd be interested to know how much the store level guys get paid. A friend pointed out the other day that GW staff must be the most skilled shop workers on any UK high street- they have to remember vast swathes of rules, have artistic flair, people skills, a fair chunk of business naus and the patience to look after an adolescent kresh on a daily basis.

      I'll bet GW pay peanuts and depend on their workers sheer love of the hobby. But I could be wrong...

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    3. Scott, I would love to see the court transect.

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    4. James, I can tell you the pay is crap: really low even by retail standards.

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    5. I'm as outraged as much as I unsurprised.

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