It’s been a while since I gave you all an update on the continuing battle between Australian consumers and Games Workshop. By now it’s probably more accurate to call it a protracted siege. I only remembered about this issue a week or so back when I was writing my Boring Announcement. Which, by the way, got more hits than anything I’ve written in six months you perverse bastards!
Anyway. I haven’t actually bought any GW products for over a year now I realized, barring the THQ Space Marine game for X-Box. That may have more to do with my new baby than anything else though. GW have just released their financials for last year, so let’s see what impact the fairly substantial boycott of their products in Australia has had, if any…
The Back40k has a nice write-up here. Looks like not much impact. They’re still apparently doing well, although the sales figures in the UK are low, which surprises me. Whatever, I’m not here to speculate about the Brits. If we look a bit more closely though we can find that the Australia-New Zealand boycott may have had an impact after all. I visited the facebook group and found a link to GW’s preliminary financial statement.
I’m not an economist at all, but I can read. The CEO doesn’t mention the Asia Pacific region – or ‘Pan-O’ as I’m thinking of calling us from now on – at all in his justifications and bragging, which is most interesting. It’s the only major region he omits.
The reason for this soon becomes apparent. Sales in Australia are up, yes, by about 6-7%, but Australia is the only region that ended up running at a loss overall – of nearly three-quarters of a million pounds. That’s nearly twice as much of a loss as last year. Surely this cannot all be accounted for by store rent and our high minimum wage, which was GWs excuse in response to the letters from Australian gamers last year. It’s true, rent in Australia is horribly unaffordable (hey, so is everything), but it hasn’t uniformly doubled across the country in a year.
Here are some sample explanatory quotes from the facebook page:
Mathew Coll said: Their losses in Aus have nearly doubled what they where last year so it has to tell them something. I know they will not change their policy as long as they continue to operate at a profit but to loose nearly a million pounds, they should stand up and take notice. Great market down there and they continue to cut there toes off in spite
Marc Buckingham said: @ Mathew Coll – so the brackets indicate a loss in the figures on page 18? ok, As you have said, In our region, its a Loss of 735,000 in 11-12, and it shows a loss of 406,000 in 10-11. Revenue increased slightly however by 698,000 in 11-12 for our region. So it cost more to do business in the australia, despite the increase in sales. All very interesting. No doubt the Australian manager of our region is being asked what the hell is going on….we could tell them, but they haven’t been interested in what we have to say so far…
Indeed they have not.
A significant loss when all the other regions were running profits? Of course this will most likely result in the closure of GW stores across the region, and the established Australian community further distancing itself from Games Workshop. But you know what, I’ve realized that if both the GW stores in my area closed, it wouldn’t affect me at all. If GW Australia closed, it wouldn’t even affect me. If GW worldwide died, I could keep playing 40k if I wanted to. I feel no sense of loyalty to them as a company, even though I still play and enjoy the game. All my 40k plans for the near future involve models I already own or conversions of other manufacturer’s products.
So that leads me to the next bit of this post. An enterprising fellow named Rob in the UK has contacted me and asked me to help get the word out on Ozhammer.webs.com. This really made me feel like a real
Rob sells GW products – via Paypal – to customers in Australia, New Zealand, etc, for UK retail price. This is not as cheap as Maelstrom, but you can’t easily get Maelstrom prices anyway can you Mr. Pan-O citizen? And it’s a pretty good deal. As you can see on the front page of his site, two boxes of Terminators at UK retail (plus postage) will save an Aussie about £45, or $65. Looks good. He doesn’t deal with GW so there are no legal shenanigans to contend with.
Since I’m not planning on buying any GW stuff soon, I can’t personally vouch for Rob and Ozhammer, but I’m totally fine to get the word out. Seems to me he’s onto a good thing, unless GW decides to match their prices worldwide (yeah, like that’s going to happen).
And if they do, then hey – we won!