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"Dancey predicts major change for GW in 2007" Topic

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CATenWolde12 Jan 2007 12:52 a.m. PST

Ryan Dancey (of WotC fame/shame) has made his annual predictions for the rpg/hobby industry in general, and his remarks on GW were very interesting.

The full blog is here:

Before the end of 2007, Games Workshop will announce it is either being bought, is going private, or is merging with some other entertainment venture to form a new entity. On November 27th, Games Workshop was notified that Fidelity International had liquidated its position in Games Workshop's stock, selling approximately 2.4 million shares, or 7.83% of the company. On or about that date, 6 million shares, or more than a third of the company, changed hands. As of yet, we are unclear who bought and sold those equities, but we believe that the action, which has no similarity to any recent move in Games Workshop's stock, heralds a major change at the company. On January 5th, Games Workshop made a profit warning announcement, indicating that sales in the run up to Christmas had not met expectations, and that the company was revising its earnings estimates downward. Managements failures to address their sliding business model, and increasing pressure from large investors will force major changes at GW by year's end.

BugStomper12 Jan 2007 5:39 a.m. PST

Interesting stuff.

Capt John Miller12 Jan 2007 5:40 a.m. PST

I'm shocked I tell you!

Absolutely positively 100% SHOCKED!

*sarcasm button* turned off now.

jimbibbly12 Jan 2007 5:55 a.m. PST

I don't think I really care what happens to GW anymore (as long as historical dosn't go under which I don't think will happen)

Alias Zero12 Jan 2007 6:15 a.m. PST

Interesting. I'm suprised Hasboro has not yet made an attempt to acquire them. Seems like a natural fit to me.

Delta Vee12 Jan 2007 6:26 a.m. PST

thats interesting as by my reconing ( and i stand to be corrected if wrong) but if 2.4 mill shares are 7.83%, then 6 million are abought 18%, which is less then a fith of the company. ( sorrect me if my maths is THAT far out). And i do seem to remember that ( was is Josh Kirby?) some one inside GW bought a large chunk of shares at around that time also. But ill sit and see.

battlepack200112 Jan 2007 6:31 a.m. PST

he's made some interesting predictions about mongoose as well.

PeteMurray12 Jan 2007 7:00 a.m. PST

Hasbro was my first thought, too.

But I would also expect to see something akin to the mini companies happen as well--as the big names shrink or fold or cancel projects, you'll see the designers start up their own lines to support these projects without the parent company. A lot of this will be web-based and electronic product support (pdf purchases, limited run books with preorders garnered online, etc). Just because a big company isn't pumping capital into something doesn't mean it's not getting supported.

Says I.

The Gonk12 Jan 2007 7:10 a.m. PST

I find it interesting that RD has nothing negative to say about Privateer Press, run by his old L5R partner Matt Wilson.

Rod Langway12 Jan 2007 7:13 a.m. PST


Historicals have no chance of going under, as that is the one area of the industry that is not strongly tied to the retailer-distributor model (with a few exceptions, such as FoW).

Most Historical manufacturers simply gave up fighting for retail and distributor space, and they have been mainly dealing direct for some time now, the internet has only helped.

While there are certainly some stores in the US that have a strong historicals inventory, they are few and far between.

Kid Kyoto12 Jan 2007 7:24 a.m. PST

Interesting stuff, is his stuff on Wizards of the Coast accurate? No more D&D or Star Wars minis (barring ship battles).

No predictions for Mongoose?

vojvoda12 Jan 2007 7:30 a.m. PST

Outside of books, paint, and a few odd lines I do not see any stores except two or three that carry historical miniatures. On line and direct sales is where Historicals will be going.
James Mattes

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jan 2007 8:01 a.m. PST

This is an interesting read indeed. If half of what he predicts comes true, there are going to be some "MAJOR" shake ups in the industry.
I'm hoping that eventually one day, it will finally be learned that one of the biggest problems with game companies is that "Most Gamers/Game Designers do not understand business to make their company work, while most business people don't play their own games that they sell in order to understand how gamers and the gaming industry works."

Maybe this will help a lot of the smaller companies….

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jan 2007 9:16 a.m. PST

I hope so…

aka Mikefoster12 Jan 2007 9:59 a.m. PST

There were some dire predictions there. It would be interesting to see what comes true or not. I think that there should have been some mention in there of Battlefront and the market share they are gaining. The whole thing seem to be more of a dissertation on the who's and why's of failure and not much in who is succeeding.

Never the less it will be interesting to see what comes true from this.

Rattrap112 Jan 2007 10:07 a.m. PST

I thought it was all doom and gloom. But Like Extra Crispy, I hope any fallout has a positive trickle down effect for the rest of us.


Fifty412 Jan 2007 10:40 a.m. PST

Hi Mikefoster--- I don't know that Battlefront even registers at this level.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian12 Jan 2007 10:45 a.m. PST

While his analysis of the retail end of the industry interests me (having spent four years with Foundry trying to sell figures to shops that were barely staying afloat, or closing suddenly) I have to say that -

A) I am not terribly interested in the mass-market end of the gaming industry. Never have been. When I first saw Battletech, I thought, "Who wants this crap? It's a stupid idea!" Obviously a lot of people wanted it. But it wasn't aimed at me, and I don't begrudge the success of it and other projects like it.

B) It's a reminder that the odd little cottage industry which makes metal figures for an older, long term audience of enthusiasts has very little in common with the much larger entertainment/toy industry that aims at a broad, younger demographic whose tastes are faddish but whose collective buying power is high.

So here's my take. I don't care how well GW or Privateer Press or WOTC do. I'm generally not interested in what they make. And I don't think they were relying on my custom.

I do care how Copplestone Castings, Pulp Figures, Heresy etc do. Their prospects are much more important to me.

Farstar12 Jan 2007 11:02 a.m. PST

Hasbro and GW combining? I just can't see it. The property attitudes are quite different. Hasbro would "fix" Warhammer like we fix pets. Factor in the corporate dislike of metal casting by Hasbro and a willingness to "just stop" while they "fix" everything, and you have a recipe for disaster, which makes this theoretical acquisition not worth doing.

In the other direction, GW has no concept of volume production writing and can't playtest/edit their way out of a paper bag. Their direction would muck up D&D far worse than anything we've seen.

In short, it only looks like a good match unless you know the two companies histories and corporate attitudes.

PeteMurray12 Jan 2007 11:16 a.m. PST

Hasbro would be able to do what they will with the GW universe, including but not limited to the words "Space Marine," "Ork," and "The." You could conceivably get such abominations as a M:TG Warhammer game, or a d20 40k. Also, Hasbro tried having a mall retail presence once, being majority owners of the "Game Wizards" store. You could conceivably see the GW retail space expanding to include other products from Hasbro as well. Warhammer would pay the rent, and the Hasbro products would be the profit, in such a situation.

Mexican Jack's observations on the retail-centric views of the article make a large amount of sense. I suspect the hobby as we understand and love it does not appear on Mr. Dancey's radar.

crhkrebs12 Jan 2007 11:21 a.m. PST

I'm with SteelPenguin:

This guy can't do math properly and he was the business manager of WoTC?


Contrarian12 Jan 2007 12:25 p.m. PST

I'm not a GW fan (I own nothing they've produced, save a few stray issues of White Dwarf), but don't think I would take Dancey's predictions too seriously. Since he left WOTC, it seems like his only contribution to the industry has been predicting the total destruction of anybody who isn't Ryan Dancey.

penn4212 Jan 2007 12:50 p.m. PST

"I'm not a GW fan (I own nothing they've produced, save a few stray issues of White Dwarf), but don't think I would take Dancey's predictions too seriously. Since he left WOTC, it seems like his only contribution to the industry has been predicting the total destruction of anybody who isn't Ryan Dancey."

Couldn't have said it better myself….

Farstar12 Jan 2007 1:18 p.m. PST

Mr. Dancey spearheaded the development of the OGL, the "bandwagon effect" of which caused the big surge in RPG companies when D&D3 was released and the equally big die-off when WotC revved D&D to 3.5 and started such a punishing schedule of hardcover releases that there were quickly no gaps left for 3rd parties to fill. That WotC used the OGL and "D20" products released during the 3.0 period as market research is patently obvious, as the early 3.5 books did a brutal job of replacing or obsoleting any successful 3rd party works that could be construed as "general D&D" applicable.

WotC is paying for that schedule now, as the D&D market is glutted with badly-written and barely tested *official* hardcover books, and WotC has nothing of value left to print. That WotC is back to printing adventures when they so pointedly vilified them three years ago is a good sign of this.

I'll actually counter-predict Ryan's WotC section. I think the RPG side of D&D is going to be soft this year, while the pre-painteds carry the day until WotC is ready to announce D&D 4th. Then, of course, the Bleeped text will really hit the fan…

Jovian112 Jan 2007 2:22 p.m. PST

Another Nostradamus strikes with dire predictions for those in the hobby industry. I doubt that there will be HUGE changes in GW in 2007. I can see the management revising their business model, revising certain game lines, and perhaps diversifying a few things, but Hasbro isn't buying them and the majority stock holders still have a controlling interest and it doesn't look like they are losing money – just not making as much per share as predicted. Hence, the thought that we are entering a recession.

Psycho Rabbit12 Jan 2007 2:42 p.m. PST

Well that was certainly an exorcize in depression!


CeruLucifus12 Jan 2007 4:04 p.m. PST

Interesting, certainly. Depressing, yes, especially if the hobby store decline numbers are accurate.

In the comments section he addresses questions about some of the gaps asked about here (Mongoose, boardgames, etc) and explains why he left them out. Notably he sees web-based game companies as a different economic model, separate from these predictions, and likely to continue.

deanoware12 Jan 2007 8:59 p.m. PST

Obviously SOME of what he predicts is going to come true (i.e. Horroclix will be cancelled….DUH!)

But overall I couldn't detect any "concrete" information he possessed to support his predictions other than speculating on the future based on what has happened in the past.

However what I have observed more frequently with this hobby which I have been a part of since at least 1984 is that the "major" innovations or overnight successes AREN'T known before hand or any way related to what was big in the past. As an example I use 1.) Pokemon which literally created the CCG industry. Before Pokemon "card games" consisted of WAR and GRANNY. 2.) Mage Knight. This was totally unpredicted. Basically Weismann was attempting to address the most common complaints of miniature gamers in one product being painting, cost of metal and keeping separate stats on paper. Little did he know that it wouldn't be the actual miniature gamers who devoured his new miniatures but it would be a whole new category of gamers (i.e. kids) who basically saw them as the next generation 'toy soldiers'.

With that in mind there are at least three or four possible break out types of products that I am aware of that may carry this industry for another half decade. One of which is AT-43, Battlefield Evolution and Heroscape. I believe these products will do for the miniature gamer what Weisman was trying to do when he created Mage Knight. Another area previously mentioned are "miniature board games" like Battlelore, Memoir 44, Descent, Tide of Iron, Cave Troll and Marvel and others. All that is needed is for one of these to get mass marketed through Wal-mart or Toys R Us and another new category of miniature consumer may be created.

Finally as for some "new game platform" I would be less hopeful for anything like this saving the day. Obviously he is referring to his friend Peter Adkison's "CLOUT FANTASY" which is a poker chip game with miniature aspects. At GENCON 2006 it obviously had an interested following but it was hardly anything like POKEMON and those who were really playing it seemed to be an older crowd.

battlepack200113 Jan 2007 6:42 a.m. PST

deanoware: Pokemon didn't create the CCG market M:TG did.

also Jordan Weismann was a founder of FASA and has been inteh industry for many many years. He is very smart and knew exactly who his audience for mage knight was when he introduced it. Likewise Heroclix, his occasional dud, were attempts to expand into audiences outside fo his core knowledge/experience. Creepy Freaks, Shadowrun (figures not the FASA RPG).

I think the next big trend will be an upsurge in pre painted miniatures such as Mongoose and possibly GW are investing heavily in.

Cyrus the Great13 Jan 2007 2:00 p.m. PST

The only predictions of Ryan's that'll come true are the ones where he has the hobby industry's version of insider trading information. I'm amazed anyone still talks to him, but there are those who haven't been screwed over by him… yet, that'll blab.

RudyNelson14 Jan 2007 5:22 p.m. PST

Change or no change, it will not affect my store sales ,since I do not carry GW.

Too much GW bashing. I may not like a lot about them but the hobby would be worse off without their systems introducing new players to gaming.

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