First up, GW are not dying (a), nor do I wish them to be (b).
(a) The reports I hear suggest that while their business model may come in for some criticism, they are doing fine at the moment, thank you. Can they sustain this? Well that sort of business forecasting is not my speciality. Read their annual reports and decide for yourself.
(b) Regardless of whether I play their games, appreciate Finecast as a medium or believe in their business model, I actually think that GW as a whole does some good things for the tabletop gaming hobby. Chief among these is simply introducing people to the concept of gaming with model soldiers and raising the profile of this hobby (with a small h) in general.
Having said that, I was struck the other day, by a sense of a real change in the way the gaming industry feels about GW. Of course I haven’t spoken to everyone, but I do talk to lots of people from all sorts of positions and roles within gaming and it’s a sort of cumulative and gradual feeling that’s been growing over the last few years.
It’s about what would happen if GW imploded and disappeared.
GW is undeniably the big player in tabletop gaming. A decade ago, if they had disappeared then it would have been sackcloth and ashes all round. Disaster and calamity would have ben the order of the day. This was the flavour of discussions at the time: even people who did not like GW didn’t wish them away because of the collateral damage they imagined it would have done. Not so now.
Now I get the strong impression that after the initial surprise people would see GW’s demise as an opportunity rather than a problem.
This may seem like nothing worth noting to people who haven’t been involved in gaming for ages, and perhaps I’m playing catch up here. Maybe I’m the last to twig. Maybe not though. This, for me, is quite a big conceptual shift within the industry. Perhaps it’s a sign of it growing up and maturing. Possibly it’s just that there are now other big dogs snapping at GW’s heels. You can argue about how far behind they are, but what matters is that there are enough medium sized gaming entities that GW falling would create more openings to exploit than problems to resolve.
So why am I posting this? Well it’s not to bash GW. As I said, on reflection I think I’d rather they survived. I’m really just punting the thought out into the shark-infested waters of the internet because I thought it was interesting.
What do you guys think? Has the imagined impact of a dead GW changed?