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Sitting on a goldmine, Trebek – Part 1

So during one of the many Facebook discussions that took place during my work week, the topic of GW’s wasted opportunities for revenue came up. This sort of thing is discussed all the time, but I really do think it’s a worthwhile area of discussion and by trying to make a well thought out and organized list, maybe there’s some slim chance that someone important will see the list and go, “Hey that’s a great idea! Let’s steal it!”

This happened before with my idea of using Tarantula turrets as a Razorback conversion… many years ago, before there was a plastic Razorback sprue, I used a Forgeworld Tarantula turret on a Rhino hull to make a pretty cool and unique tank. I posted this idea on the old Portent.net (back when I was one of the best known contributors to their 40k forums… yeah things have changed!) and the idea was incredibly well received. After all, there was no official model available yet. Lo and behold, a year later, Forgeworld releases a huge collection of revamped Tarantula turrets that were also being marketed as Razorback conversion kits. They still sell the lascannon, heavy bolter and multi-melta kits to this very day. I kinda wonder if they’ll ever do any more for the las/plas, heavy flamer or assault cannon options…

Anyway, I will try to heed the advice of Gold Five (not Porkins, as many “fans” would have you believe) and stay on target. I present you with part 1 of my Top 10 Untapped Revenue Streams for GW. Some will be obvious, but hopefully I’ll have a few novel ideas for you. Part 2 will be posted Sunday, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

10. Bitz!

While I don’t consider bitz to be a money-maker in and of itself, it’s a wasted opportunity because people used to take the hobby seriously. Many of us would never have started our various armies if we didn’t have access to the necessary bitz to make our conversions. The simple fact that GW has to threaten to sue all of these companies that produce after-market bitz (ie. Chapterhouse Studio) should tell them that there is a healthy demand for these accessories.

To a certain extent, GW has delivered on their promise to release weapon packs and the likes, but many of them are pretty lackluster. With the switch to Finecast, I don’t know what the odds of getting any more bitz packs are, which is a shame for certain armies that don’t have all of the necessary weapon options on their basic sprues. Luckily, Forgeworld is still kicking around. They obviously do 10x more Space Marines than any other race, but they clearly intend to keep pumping out upgrade packs for whichever armies are featured in their current Imperial Armor books. I’m always hoping for more upgrade weapon/accessory packs, and not just complete models.

9. Licensing Tie-ins and Cross-promotion

This one isn’t quite so obvious, but GW is missing a huge opportunity for cross-promotion with their affiliates, such as video game companies like THQ and EA/Mythic.

Simply put, these companies have done a pretty respectable job of bringing the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 licences back to the video gaming industry. They are selling games, pumping out expansions and drawing people in who would have never heard of Games Workshop otherwise. So why the hell isn’t GW doing anything with this?

Warhammer Online (WAR) concept art like this is the number one reason why I started my Chaos army.

It’s possible that there’s some contractual hurdles to jump with this, but all I know is that I would buy WAR-inspired miniatures (ie. Tchar’zanek!) in a heartbeat. The concept art that came out for that game is bloody amazing, and I find mysel referencing it constantly whenever I work on my fantasy projects. My Warriors of Chaos, Empire, Khemri, Dwarfs and High Elves all owe a lot of their color schemes and overall style to the WAR concept art. The fact that the art for all these armies so so damn good will ensure that I can never truly focus on one of them. So maybe it’s not all good 😉

Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the Dawn of War series, the only Space Marine army I have any interest in ever doing in the future would be Blood Ravens. Great color scheme for the army, a delightfully ambiguous past and questions about their loyalties/geneseed abound. I have two boxes of Spacehulk minis waiting, just in case I ever decide to do a Deathwing style list. Forgeworld released a set of decals for them, but they are probably the best known chapter that still doesn’t have any conversion kits. Some day… some day.

8. Digital Media

Granted, Black Library is actually starting to pick this up, but when there are literally millions of smartphones and tablets being sold daily, there is no excuse to be lacking in the digital media. There should be something available on the App Store bearing the official GW trademark.

GW should really consider the possibility of releasing some army books electronically, or at least some handy reference materials. It would take no time at all to release an iOS app for the magic card decks that sell out worldwide the first day they go up for pre-order. An iPad app that includes the 8 Lores of Magic and gives you a decent interface for viewing the spells that your wizards currently know would be freaking awesome. They could even do an in-app purchase to allow you to buy the decks for any army book for a couple extra bucks each. I own almost all of the card decks, but I’d still buy that app in a heartbeat.

With the current revenue structure that Apple has in place, where they take a 30% cut and everything else goes directly to the developer, their margins would be pretty good on this stuff. Yes, it would cut into their hardcopy sales to some extent, but you wouldn’t want to make an army list solely from your iPhone screen. You’d still buy the book, too. Oh, and one more thing. Whenever they come out with an FAQ/Errata update, a simple patch would automatically update your electronic codex with the fixes. No printing of PDF’s necessary.

7. Space Marine Legions books

This is my dream for 6th edition 40k: two giant hardcover books that would contain all of the Space Marine variants. One for loyalists, one for Chaos.

They could easily make a 200-page book for each, and in hardcover they could get away with charging $60 for them. Cram those suckers full of art and fluff, and there’s no way anyone with any interest in 40k would be able to resist picking them up. Best of all? They would be able to do one book for all of the Chapters, so that they could actually pay the Xenos races some attention in the studio for a change. And three years down the road when they want to update a Space Marine list, they would be able to release a new version that every single Space Marines player would have to buy. It’s pure genius I tell ya!

For the rules sections, you could have a vanilla list followed by a separate section for each chapter, giving them their own units, wargear and characters to differentiate them from the vanillas. Sort of like the 3rd edition style mini-codices that modified the original Space Marines ‘dex, but all in one book.

Remember these guys? Chaos Marines deserve better...

The rumor mill is suggesting that the Chaos Legions book might be on the way, possibly for a March 2012 time slot. The interesting twist is that this book might not replace the Chaos Space Marines book. The crappy old Codex would apply to “Renegade Space Marines” and not the true descendants of the original Traitor Legions. I don’t necessarily buy that. Who in their right mind would ever use the current POS codex when the new Legions book comes out? It’s in GW’s best interest to just pretend that the current CSM book never existed… just like the metal Possessed box.

6. Xenos/Non-Imperial Terrain

Have Eldar ever had official GW terrain that wasn't made out of cardboard?

Speaking of paying the Xenos some attention in the studio… how about some freaking non-Imperial terrain for either of the two core game systems?

These would match those nice Ork barricades they came out with a while back.

Fantasy has got some nice additions in the Arcane Fulcrums, but they aren’t intended for 40k. With a bit of thought, they could easily make High Elf/Eldar terrain, Dark Elf/Dark Eldar Terrain, or some ramshackle Orc/Ork buildings. Some modular Tau stuff would be awesome, as well. We all understand that the Imperium is the focus of the 40k universe… but 40k scenery needs some variety. Badly.

Stay Tuned…

Remember, I will be posting the Top 5 on Sunday so be sure to check back this weekend for more! And please feel free to add any ideas you might have to the comments section. I have been known to make mistakes… from time to time.

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One comment on “Sitting on a goldmine, Trebek – Part 1

  1. […] of the game. A little bit of fluff and an extra rule or two doesn’t hurt, and I have been saying that this sort of thing is long overdue for a […]

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