Thursday, 19 May 2011

The price of pain


Well it seems as though there's really only one topic stretching across the Astronomicon at the moment - MONEY! and our favorite hobby suppliers desire for more. There's not a whole lot I can add to the debate but I'd be remiss not to acknowledge it at least. There seems to be three parts to GW's business shift:
  1. The introduction of Finecast - stopping metal miniatures because the price is too high and making saving by this new resin, although apparently the raw materials will be cheaper and were hinted at bringing the costs of those figures down when in fact in most cases the costs have gone up.
  2. A new raft of prices, a lot of them UP, the majority staying the same and a very few going down. "Who wants a Pyrovore? Anyone? Even if we drop the price? Damn!"
  3. The change in terms and Condistions stopping discount resellers from selling to the Rest of the World. Of course they can't get away with this malarkey in Europe, there are trade rules preventing this from happening but for those in the New World and the colonies, well they're screwed, Royally, and not the new face of the monarchy one of those old school "off with their heads Royals" with gout and an eye for conquest.
The Back40k has an interesting open letter that covers a lot of what can be said of which there's little to disagree with from most hobbyists views. For me personally I knew this was an expensive past time in 1997 when I finally gave up the hobby because I could see the greed involved. Fast forward to today and I'm still aware of the costs and this prompted most of my purchases to be via ebay. There's a considerable amount of satisfaction to gain from getting a bargain, but even more so when you know how expensive they are direct from their source.

Unless it's through vouchers, or paint [which hasn't gone up in price] there's little chance I'll be shopping direct at GW. I also had thought hard about offloading some old miniature but actually feel that the cost of replacing anything would be too much and so it's best to keep what I've got.

In GW's defence though they have practically a monopoly on what they do, like Apple they can push that envelope of customer loyalty and price. Maybe Nintendo might be a better comparison as they make a proprietary system and games can cost up to £40, not too far from what a starter box can cost, but they also have cheaper games and this is one thing GW doesn't do very well - cheaper options. I talked in the past about the Skeleton box sets and the original plastic Imperial Guard. You used to get a lot in those days and as you can see above there used to be vouchers to make savings on all sorts of purchases, not just at store openings but summer sales and other events.

Sadly with the lack of blister packs available you can't get a figure for a 'quid' anymore. Even the snapfit Tyranids are over a fiver [current price, and I think subject to change], that's just beyond what I'd call pocket-money priced but at least you get 5, whereas you get only 3 marines for the similar set and 4 Eldar or Orks.

On the plus side it's great for a British company, if increasing prices and stopping sellers selling abroad increases profits. Not sure how much of a silver lining that is though, what with all the ill-feeling engendered.

UPDATE: and if you want some real good advice check out A Year of Frugal Gaming it may help you decide your own future in the hobby.