All right, here we go for part 2! Let’s do a quick recap:
9. Licensing Tie-ins
8. Digital Media
7. Space Marine Legions Books
6. Xenos/Non-Imperial Scenery
And now, on to the Top 5 Untapped Revenue Streams for GW!
5. Specialist Games
Long-time gamers probably saw this coming at some point. Specialist Games, while technically still available for sale on the GW page, have completely fallen off the radar in the last decade or so.
There’s a lot of possible reasons for this turn of events. It could be the introduction of the Lord of the Rings games and the added pressure this put on the studio. Supporting a third core game undoubtedly took people and resources away from Specialist Games projects.
The lack of success with Inquisitor might have had something to do with this as well. Pushing the game in 54mm introduced a lot of challenges (ie. incompatibility with existing scenery and 40k model kits) and the decision to make the game a purely combat-based system was a bit of a slap in the face to many role playing veterans who wanted some guidance on what to do in between games. Speaking of slap in the face, GW served Blood-bowl.net with a cease and desist order in 2009, which is an excellent way to say thanks to the community that promoted the game long after GW stopped trying.
One way or another, Specialist Games fell out of favor and it really is a shame. Many of these games were a ton of fun, and some fabulous miniatures aren’t available for purchase anymore.
4. Apparel and Merch
This is something that many other nerd culture companies have figured out a long time ago. Nerds will buy just about anything with a name/logo/icon from their favorite franchise. Whether it’s a t-shirt, coffee mug, or a life-size replica of their favorite piece of wargear, nerds will find a way to get their hands on it.
GW has licensed out some merch rights to dinky little companies in the past, ie. Warp Artifacts and Bulldog Buckle, but there’s a lot more than just belt buckles and keychains to be made. Merch is what made Star Wars into a billion-dollar franchise. Action figures, lunch boxes, Halloween masks, movie replicas… they did it all. At the very least, GW should be making some decent art prints and t-shirts available through Mail Order. Wall scrolls, like the ones they make for the stores, would be a potential money-maker as well.
3. Inexplicable Gaps in the Model Range
This is one of the things that inspired the Top 10. For no apparent reason, there are some mysterious gaps in the model ranges for several armies.
Warriors of Chaos lack one of their most popular units (according to the Interwebs) in the Warshrine, Beastmen lack tons of their new unit types, Plaguebearers are the last Demon core unit to remain in metal… even though there are claims that the plastics were completed years ago… 40k doesn’t suffer as much as Fantasy in this regard but there are still plenty of dollars to be made simply by releasing miniatures to complete model ranges.
As a little side note, there are TONS of missed opportunities within the Storm of Magic range at the moment. They have rules for you to take entire units of smaller monsters, such as War Lions and Great Stags, but many of them are almost impossible to field using Citadel miniatures. If they released two variants for each monster and put them up as Mail Order exclusives for a reasonable price, I guarantee people would buy them to add a little extra theme to their armies. Hell, if they released some smaller War Lions I know a ton of people who would convert cavalry to ride them for use as Dragon Prince proxies.
The Dark Eldar Beastmaster and his big gribblies fall into this category as well. They look great, but are quite expensive and taking multiples will look… absurd. Beastmasters are good at what they do, but trying to convince your opponent that your Beastmaster spent years training the Clawed Fiends to leap through the air in perfect synchronization would be a bit of a stretch.
2. Warhammer 30k
I won’t waste a lot of time on this one, but you know what I’m talking about. An expansion/campaign set in the 31st Millenium, complete with miniatures for lost tech and Adeptus Mechanicus would be nothing short of amazing.
Once again, props to Forgeworld for coming out with some fantastic MkII, III, IV, V and VI armor variants, and even a “new” Dreadnought design based on some classic Rogue Trader goodness. They’re halfway there with these releases, but there is still so much un-tapped potential.
Pre-heresy Terminators. Space Marine jetbikes. Sisters of Silence. Adeptus Custodes. Constantin Valdor. Malcador the Sigillite. Primarchs! The Emperor himself!!
This would be the biggest money-maker in 40k history. Space Marines dominate the sales for any GW system, we all know it. Releasing these long-awaited miniatures, many of which could sell for $50 a pop easily, would absolutely suck dry the bank accounts of every gamer on the planet.
They’ve tried. Oh, how they’ve tried. Bloodquest the Movie never got off the ground, and Ultramarines the Movie is something I’d rather forget.
One legitimate blockbuster movie would make GW more money than they would make in a year of selling miniatures. Just consider for a moment what Marvel and DC have done in recent years. The Dark Knight made a cool Billion dollars in theatres. GW’s gross revenue is about £120M, or $200M. Profit margins are pretty thin, maybe £15M projected profit. One successful movie would be a gigantic boost to the company immediately, and God knows how much money they’d make in increased sales if they ever achieved that level of mainstream success.
This is something that I’ve read about before, the possibility of GW being more profitable as a source of IP than a gaming company. Right now they are making a bit of coin and staying busy, but breaking into the movie business would propel them to a whole different level.
Thanks for reading through to the end, I hope you enjoyed it. As you can see, I think GW’s got a lot more potential than they are using right now. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to see some of these things come together.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Am I totally out to lunch on any of these items? Let me know by posting in the Comments section or on the Facebook page.