Most of you (on Io9 anyway) know of Games Workshop, the creators of Warhammer, and Warhammer 40k as 'those assholes who tried to sue a writer over the word space marine'. A few of you know it as the company that previously made a beloved tabletop game that have spent the last 10 years or so systematically alienating every player and fan of the series through a chain of decisions that reads like a textbook how-to on how to fuck up the goodwill you've earned among your own fans and supporters. There might even be one or two of you out here (god help me if this gets front-paged though, because I'll find out who you are real fast) might even be fans of them right now, enjoying their games. To which I say, good for you! Enjoy it for now, because it may not last.
Because Games Workshop is burning.
Reported by several websites but probably most comprehensively covered by the mega-nerd Zaphod over at Masterminis.net, Games Workshop stock price has dropped 24% in a day after a reporting, with sales down 12% and a profit loss of nearly 30%. Entire divisions are shuttering (notably in France, Italy, and Spain and possibly Germany. Originally the US HQ was rumored cut, but that seems to be untrue at this time.
Worse? job postings for Managers of various positions are appearing all over the place. For positions that are currently filled. The rumor goes that said positions are going to be highly scrutinized and fired, with stores shuttered if they don't mean 'expectations'.
Other rumors include Finecast dying (Thank GOD), White Dwarf becoming weekly (I can only assume this is a weird plot to kill what was long ago become a worthless magazine). Warhammer Fantasy Battle being gutted (Are you the proud owner of Wood Elves, Tomb Kings, or Bretonnians? I have bad news. In fact, you shouldn't talk to me. I know a guy who owned these guys called 'Squats'. You should talk to them. They can relate to what you're going through.) And possibly even killed,
Now, does this mean they are completely doomed, DOOMED!? That I don't know. For all I know this the wake up call they've been waiting for. Is it simply the first titan to fall to an industry that's dying, as those damned video games and the continuing struggle of your local game stores shrink the market? Well maybe. Privateer Press seems to be doing okay, but their figures are private, but anctedotal game store evidence suggests it beating Fantasy but lagging behind 40k, and the company seems to be 'growing'. Malifax seems to be making a name for itself with it's horror/steampunk aesthetic, and several tabletop strat games have had successful Kickstarters. But GW struggles. So the question has to be asked, are people leaving the tabletop... or just GW?