Poor decision?

GW got me. They got me to pay 50 bucks for a new Dark Angels codex.  It was not a difficult decision because I won a 50 dollar credit at a LGS for Best Painted at a tournament. So I just picked up the codex.

But here is the error of their ways.

In 2006 when I got into 40k, codex books were 20 bucks.  Actually I picked up the Blood Angels one for 15.00.

It was outdated and quickly replaced with a download/ White Dwarf PDF.

The first ones I bought were Demon Hunters Black Templars for 20 bucks each.

Shortly after they jumped to 22 or some such. I grumbled when the little store from which I was buying my stuff put new price sticker over the old one.  But I understand, inflation. Whatever.

20, 22 or 25 though, it didn't matter. I still bought the books.  All of them. I owned every codex from 4th edition which was the game I started playing. It changed about a year after I got into it. At the low to mid 20s, the books were affordable and allowed me to buy them all.

But then GW started creeping up.

The Space Marine codex turned into a huge all encompassing book. I didn't gripe though, it was a good book, about twice the size of it's predecessor. I don't remember it's cost. It didn't matter though because it was still a value for the price.

But the IG book was also bigger, better and more expensive. I didn't buy it. But Jwolf gave me a copy when I went to Bolscon!  



Then GW started getting froggy.

Codex Blood Angels came out and forgive me if I am wrong, was about 33 bucks.  Woah! A 33% increase? But I had to have it.  I snatched it off the shelf.

But wait. I just noticed. Another book is also 33 dollars.

Wait what?  How could the price of a book go from 20 dollars to 33 in just a couple years? The same book... That's not right!

Sadly, I could not afford to buy the other books any more.  I got the new Space Wolves book,

but for the cost of the SW and BA books, I should have been able to, and would have, bought the Tyranid and Ork books.

I didn't.



 (I know the release dates of these books are a big jumbled and the prices are approximates. I don't remember the order and exact prices. The point I am illustrating is that I bought the Eldar, Imperial Guard, Demon Hunters, Space Marine, Ork, Tyranid, Space Wolves and other books all for about 20 bucks a piece.)

You see GW, you got the same amount of money out of me. But I got less value. Does that work?

I can't imagine for long.

As prices started rising, I started having to pick and choose which ones I bought.

Welcome to 2012.  Six years later. We have seen a 150% increase in price.

The era of the 50 dollar codex has begun.

From 18, to 33, to 50!

I think I made my point.

I just paid 50 bucks for Codex: Dark Angels.

I will not be buying Codex: Chaos Space Marines. Or Codex: Chaos Demons or even The Tau. When if the books were 25 bucks a piece, or even 30, I would have.

I would have happily scooped up every book they released at a reasonable price. However now in the era of the 50.00 Codex, I have to pick and choose.

I bought Dark Angels, and will buy Eldar and Blood Angels. But that is it!

For 150 bucks, I should be able to buy most of them. GW, you would have gotten my money any way.

The worst part is my 50.00 book was already out of date the week it was released, forcing the use of a downloadable PDF to make it valid.

Don't even get me started on a 75.00 land speeder.  I defended them when they released a 65.00 Storm Raven, it was a huge and well done model. (Though it is now 82.50, a 33% price increase in the two years since it's release... )

That is like raising a pot of paint from 2.50 to 4.00.  Ridiculous... oh wait...



pbagosy said...

I hear you. I was more than willing to pay $33 for a codex and buy every single one just to have and learn the rules for. If they'd kept them at that price point for the next 4 years and put out an entire new line, they'd have taken close to $500 from me. As it stands, I'll only buy codexes for the three armies I play, which means if they roll over in the next 4 years, that's $150 out of my pocket.

GW has gone 'round the bend with these price increases. I will continue to play the game, but I can guarantee you that the amount I spent will actually *decrease* due to these price changes rather than increase or even stay the same. Why? Because where I would be able to buy 10 models before at a certain price, I'll only be able to get 5 - instead of paying double, I'll pay zero and start repurposing older stuff. Which is sad, because I was really looking forward to the new Eldar stuff coming out. Instead of whole units, I'll buy a few special characters and stick with what I have.

Or, worse yet for GW, go to the after-market for conversion bitz. Their model only really works if the only way to play the game is to buy their products. Luckily for everyone else, it is not.

Tim said...

Yep...pretty ridiculous. Torrent, dude, torrent.

Jawaballs said...

I want to support the company, but that support ends at 150 bucks. If I get 3, or 8 books for it, so bet it.

I will NOT pay 75 bucks for a land speeder. I will slap a couple of Storm Raven plasma cannons on one of the many I have sitting around if I wish to use that model.

Tim said...

Good explanation. Someone needs to explanation the economics of the sweet spot for pricing to GW. There is a cost vs. quantity tradeoff. If your prices are too low you just leave money on the table. But if you set them too high then the quantity purchased goes down. Through 5th edition I bought every single codex released regardless of whether I played the army because I like reading the fluff and knowing the rules for each army. Now at the new price I am only buying the army books for the armies I play. Net result to GW is I'm spending less money then I was in 5th. *shrug* leaves more money for me to spend on other companies games...

JRBunn said...

It is becoming increasingly difficult as a competitive player/rules judge to keep up with both Fantasy and 40k. Between both game systems, I am now spending around $500 per year on rules. I play the game rarely, as I spend most of my time digesting new rules, updates, and FAQ's. My largest gripe is with the inability to know what your opponent's army can do without buying the codicies associated with the book - unlike Warmahordes where I can buy a card pack periodically and have the faction summed up in $15.

Quality product? Sure, if you buy a constantly updated iPad codex that I am trusting to be correct. Casual gamers (AKA the 'target audience') can't even make it through games correctly anymore because of the 5+ FAQ's they need to reference. Competitive gamers spend >$1,000 per year just to make new armies and keep up with the game, and that is on the conservative side of never traveling to a major tournament. Let's hope the new CEO recognizes our distaste.

Ordo Bob said...

This hardback army book price skyrocket BS started with Fantasy, and I was disgusted. Like you, I've simply stopped buying the books. If it's an army I play, I'll buy the book. Otherwise I'll d/l a pdf to educate myself and give GW nothing.

Happy Downloading!

AJ said...

I completely agree with continuing to support GW. Love them or hate them, they do supply us with our very addictive hobby material, and I dont want to ever see them dissapear. However, I fear they continue to alienate the veteran. Its a commonly held belief in marketing that it is at least 7 times cheaper to keep an existing customer than find a new one, and unfortunately with such a fragmented market, GW runs a risk of simply finding new war gamers and then loosing their business a few years later to their smaller competitors who are offering a friendlier, less corporate approach.

The codex issue is a turnover vs profit margin issue, and I think GW is simply looking to keep its profits healthy, but again its a short term measure.

I love GW, but honestly I have bought more from eBay in the last few months than I have from GW themselves.

The Prodigal Player said...

It seems like a really outdated idea that they would even make us pay for rules anymore at all.

If the bar to own the rules for the new army we always wanted to start went from $50 to $0, we'd all probably be more inclined start it, and spend WAAY more than $50 on new models.

Zero said...

I'm really conflicted about this. I am a staunch supporter of market forces dictating price even when it is to my detriment (and I am totally against piracy/torrents). But I wish I could get a little insight into GW's pricing policy. I would even be happy if an analyst or shareholder asked the board how they set prices.

Is it a blind formula that looks for breakpoints? To Jawaballs' point, are they predicting that the average GW consumer will spend $150 on codices no matter what, and it's cheaper to mark up a marginally fancier product than to offer more at a cheaper price? And they must have some serious cult-like influence over their audience since their "one click" package deals are not deals at all.

Let's face it, GW is a practical monopoly. They can do whatever they want short of driving people to another system (and as much as WM has taken away some of the user base, I don't exactly see them quaking in their boots in Nottingham). They don't care about gamers, nor should they if this is the growth philosophy that they are implementing. I just wonder if it is sustainable.

My guess is that there is a user base that we don't ever see on the Internet that they've identified as a slow but steady revenue stream, and their price hikes are reflective of their intent to raise average order value instead of increasing conversions (numbers of sales transactions).

I hope this changes with the new CEO. I, too, am really sick of FAQs and Errata.

Vilicate said...

Isn't the land speeder $65?

Not that I think it's a fair price or anything...probably still going to get one or two of them anyway.

breng77 said...

I see both sides of this...is are the New books of nice enough quality to be $50 (or $17 bucks more than the old books). Probably, nicer paper, hardcover, full color....

Are these things needed if what I want are the rules and not all the pretty pictures (many of which I have seen before).

I guess what I would like is a "Gamers Edition" and "Collectors Edition" published for each book. Keep the $50 bucks for the collectors edition books with current quality. Then sell a paperback copy that contains the Units rules and army list(point costs) entries, and nothing else, sell those to the hardcore tourney players for say $25 bucks. (maybe even in the mini-rulebook size).

Jawaballs said...

Some good points here. Zero perhaps you have it. To put a simple number on it, they know they are going to get 150 bucks out of dudes like me. SO, why not do it with three publications rather than 7? Cheaper for them!

I am not economist but I just don't see how this strategy will pay off. I have to imagine that they rely on new customers more than returning ones. I mean really, most guys have their army, and only buy their army rule book when it updates and a few new models.

The money comes from the new guys who buy the BRB, Dark Vengeance, battle force and etc. But at what point do they price those guys out of the game? I have to say that when Fritz got me into 40k 6 years ago, when I went into the store, and saw a 50.00 codex, 75.00 rule book, and 50.00 for three motorcycles, I would have kept on walking. Instead I bought a codex, tactical squad and combat squad. I think I got started for a total of 60 bucks with 15 marines and a book.

Now it would be 112 for about the same stuff. Almost double... and that is not even looking at the uber pricey new models! How bout just a DA Codex, terminator squad and bike squad? 150 bucks for 8 models and a book!

The question is, do we reward them for their price hikes by throwing money at them?

I for one will be making due by converting plasma guns on my bikes and repainting old Blood Angels terminators I have sitting in a box.

knightyc said...

Jawa I started with the same 3rd edition BA codex as you but I got it not long after it was out it cost me about £10 i think back in 1998. But remember it needed the space marine codex too to be used. so that was another £15-£20 so cost me around £30 wich is the price of the new BA codex so back then I got the 2 codex for price of one now. But the old BA codex was so thin. was only just over 100 pages if at all.

Tordeck said...

Time to make the same jump I did Jawa. Privateer Press is by far the better company when it comes to rules balance as well as taking care of its customers. Plus the models are pretty sweet too.

Shin40k said...

They are really testing it lately. I got into 40k shortly after 5th Edition stated. I later started a DE army when they finally got their update, Warriors and Wyches were 22.50 for ten. They are now 29.00. Nothing changed in the box... Now they are closing the LA Bunker(not really related), but they are prone to making really stupid decisions over the years. I think we've all just been waiting for it to bite them.

alias said...


The da codec retails for 80 dollars (~85 usd) in melboune Australia.

I can't justify getting it.


alias said...

Hi jawa,

The dark Angels codex retails for 80 dollars (84 usd) in melbourne Australia.

It's insane.


Xzandrate said...

We started the hardcover saga with the tomb kings for my girlfriend. It didn't seem as large as the new Chaos and DA books, but it was still hardcover.

It very quickly became apparent that the new hardcovers suffer from the same problems as the massive 100 dollar main books. The are too big and bulky and get in the way. Not to mention that with the hardcover codices,more often than not you are breaking the spine through normal use.

That, in my mind, is where those old 30 page codices shined; they were durable and easy to use to play the game. If only they had some sort of magazine or monthly(now if it could only get to us monthly) publication to put all this fluff into instead of rule books?

Jawaballs said...

I agree Xzandrate. The fluff is nice, but I read it once then never look at it again. Then spend hours fumbling through page after page of unnecessary information to find rules during games. Spare the 50 dollar hard cover, print the fluff in WD, and put out a 25 dollar soft cover rule book like the old old Blood Angels.

pbagosy said...

I'd have to say my biggest issue with the codex pricing is the cost-to-value ratio. Codex: Chaos Space Marines is 104 pages, full color hardback, and retails for $50.

Meanwhile, the average D&D supplement is around 160 pages, full color hardback, and retails for $30. If WotC can afford to churn out "Player's Option: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos" for $30 at what I can only imagine is a limited print run, there's no reason that GW can't do the same for a book 2/3rds the size that is essentially core rules.

There's a line between "we need to charge this to make money" and "we are ripping you off." I mean, come on - when your merchandising practices are being compared unfavorably to Pirates of the Coast, you've got a problem.

Although, I must say, in WotC's defense, I bought my 2nd Edition Player's Handbook brand new in 1993 for $20, and 20 years later, the 4th edition one is $30.

mafiacheese said...

I'm in the same boat, started in 4th and owned ALL of the books (and even some of the older 3rd edition ones). Now, I'll just get what I *have* to get to play the game, and that's it. I figure $80/rulebook + $50/codex is already asking too much to get me to buy more; in that regard, eBay is a godsend.

Really, I wish they just understood math. As is stands right now, there are 15 armies with purchasable books (SoB would make 16 if they would get a book). At $20/book, that's $300...not to mention who knows how much I'd spend on models. But at $50/book, we're now at $750 for the same amount...so for that price, my two current armies (SM and GK), there's $100 and I'm done, net loss of $200 for them just on books. The overall book quality has improved, yes, but unfortunately I'd be happier with a cheaper book so that I have more money to play the game!

I can't even calculate how their apparent bravado has cost them in what I would've spent on models, as I order nearly exclusively off of eBay and simply convert.

I used to work at a bookstore, so it always amused me to see people who HAD to have the latest book spend $20+ on a hardback version of a book that, in all likelihood, would be a much cheaper paperback in 6-12 months. If GW were to, say, release these full-color, hardback for those who COULDN'T wait to play the new army, and release a paperback, B&W (save for the 'eavy Metal painted models section) for a lot less, and I'd be willing to bet that more people would buy, um, more.

Dan said...

There is also a significant goodwill cost for them as demonstrated by these posts. ANY company that relies upon brand loylaty should shudder to hear its consumers saynig the company doesn't care. This indicates customers who feel trapped and are looking for any excuse to jump ship. I have a friend who has a theory that GW does not, infact, care about any of its players except those 18 and younger. He posits that their product line up, model design, and marketing strategy is geared to kids just weaning themselves off Pokemon and who have more money than sense. They may even be correct - I can think of at least one 16 year old at the local store who has been into this hobby for about 6 months and seems proud of having begun about six armies between 40K and Fantasy for a cost of upwards of $2000. As long as they can rake in profits from noobs like that, they may be able to maintain their profit margins even if we buy less. Their response to the ebay strategy seems to be to bring more and more stuff in-house to finecast and Foregworld and to limit the ability of outside retailers to obtain it.

Rath of Un said...

This year I'll not be buying more GW stuff I have done the unthinkable

1) my wife over heard me saying that I should get all my stuff painted and put together before I get anything new.

2) GW is starting to price me out of the hobby.

So I'll be spending this year painting what I have and still playing just not as much as I have in the past. However I'll see in a year what GW has done and make up my mind.


Josh Martinez said...

You should see prices down here in Australia....

Josh Martinez said...

You should see prices down here in Australia....

Aus-Rotten said...

Warmachine seems pretty awesome since Privateer Press seems to be in the business of rescultping units into plastic or cutting out the unit box and blisters concept in order to actually decrease the prices of models when they come out.

mafiacheese said...

@Dan: You're not the first person to mention the "target the youngsters" strategy that GW seemingly has, but I have to wonder if it's true. Quite frankly, I don't know many children that have the kind of money to get into a hobby like this; I'm in my late 20's, own a house, have a job, and *I* don't have the money for it. Something tells me that even if they are getting their parents to pay for it, even that market could be slim because parents are broke too, what with paying for what the kid really NEEDS.

At least, I really don't like to think that the above is their strategy. I also don't think they should cater to the whims of whiny veterans who find a reason to complain for anything ("The Blood God used to be 25% bloodier before! Way to go Mat Ward/GW/etc!"), and should instead consider both global economics and the larger margin of players that are a bit more optimistic.

Jawaballs said...

Well said to both Dan and Mafiacheese. First I do believe there is some merit to the "youngster" issue. I think there may be some strategy there. Get that starter price point out of the parents and forget them. I can say that I have seen the power of a kid at holiday time. If a kid wants Dark Vengeance at Christmas, he will get it.

As a teacher I have heard more than one parent thank me for holding my gaming club because their kids stumbled across 40k, then they got talked into Black Reach, or a battle force, only to open it up and be overwhelmed.

So there is an element of just getting the product in their hands and getting em out the door, as is the same with any business. And I frankly dont begrudge them for it. They are toys after all. Would we begrudge Hasbro for targeting kids?

And no, I don't think they need to pamper us whiney veterans either. I personally try not to gripe about rules. I will express my opinions, how I don't like a change like NFP, but then work out a new strategy for using it.

I do however think that some of their decisions are a big fat kick in the balls to the veterans. They know their niche, and they know what we understand that our toys cost money. But I feel that the corporation is pushing it too far. There is no justification for charging 33 dollars for a Black Templar book now when the same printed document was 20 bucks in 2007.

That is unheard of. In what game has a rule book with no updates, no changes at all, gone up 60% in price during the life of its printing?

It is absurd. The book did NOT become 60% more expensive to produce.

I liked some ones idea about a simplified black and white version of the codex books. I was thinking about it on the way to work, and I really don't think I am going to buy any more codex books at all.

50 dollars is simply unreasonable and I think we should show GW the power of the people. This crap is only happening because drones like me go out and buy the books despite our misgivings, and worse complain about it after.

I think I am going to organize a boycott of the Blood Angels codex when they release a hard cover. If we don't buy it, than their 50 dollar book will not be profitable to produce, and they will have to rethink their product and price point.

mafiacheese said...

Not being someone that'll ever attend a tournament, I would be fine with that (not buying any more overpriced books); the inherent advantages to using an older ruleset (i.e. pre-nerfed units) will be offset by its disadvantages (i.e. higher points costs, inability to use new models). The tournament guys will want their copies to go game with, which is fine I guess; I'd say I'm more of a hobbyist first, as I'd be just as happy converting models over for Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/etc, or playing a characterful skirmish game like Necromunda or MERCs.

I can't encourage PDF piracy, but I guarantee that'll be the way that a lot of folks will be reading their codex books if the prices continue to increase for no particular reason other than GW's whim. They really ought to take a hint from Corvus Belli, a company that GIVES AWAY THEIR RULES FOR FREE but still makes money. Not saying that GW should give their rules away necessarily, but I guarantee that their is a direct correlation between the price of a codex/rules/etc and how much I'll spend on models.

Benjamin said...

You paid $50 for your Servitors to ignore Forge Organization.

Benjamin said...

You paid $50 for your Servitors to ignore Forge Organization.

knightyc said...

sorry bit off topic did you get my email jawa?

nelsonus said...

I guess I'm alone in this, but I was very happy with the DA codex at that price. I build and paint an army at a slow pace, in about 2 years. I know I will get plenty of use and joy out of buying, building, painting, and using that army. It really becomes my pride and joy at the time, my one true hobby if you will.

So is it worth it to me to get a pretty hardcover book for the rules for this army? Yes. Makes it feel official, the pictures really help push the lore into the game, and the points cost themselves are much more entertaining when they are prettied up rather than in a spreadsheet. Give me a codex and I can think up army ideas for a couple hours, give me an army builder and I'll be bored in 20 minutes.

I also think the price increases have helped me a lot with sticking with 1 army at a time, and to plan my purchases better. Models for other armies or units I don't want to us can look cool, but there is no way I'm buying them at those prices if I never plan on using them in a game.

Jawaballs said...

Nelsonus I appreciate your point of view, thanks!

But I think your example puts an exclamation point on this post! You are an example of the pure hobbiest. But in my opinion you are not the guy GW is really selling to.

They got their one codex sale out of you, and you will probably buy some models over the next two years, but you admit yourself that GW has priced you out of buying other stuff that looks cool that you may otherwise buy.

Yes it is a nice book, but the price is prohibitive of you buying other books and models.

Is that what GW was intending?

Raising the price so high that the loyal fans of their hobby are forced to buy less?

There has to be some point at which they say, "Sure we are making more profit per sale of our codex books, but we are selling far fewer books!" Maybe we screwed up?

Jawaballs said...

I forgot to finish my point about GW pricing you out of buying other stuff and why they are not really selling to you.

Look at the McDonalds dollar menu or Monopoly game. They give away prizes or great value menu items to get you in the store, hoping that while you are there you will buy something else, like a shake or fries.

I fall for it every time. I go to buy a couple Mc Doubles for a buck each and always end up just getting an extra value meal instead, oh and a McDouble to boot. Instead of the two bucks, they got 8.

Precisely why their mcdouble exists to begin with.

But the 50 dollar codex is like the opposite of that.

Now they are tempting me in with a 7 dollar double quarter pounder with cheese with bacon. It looks great! But when I buy that, I have no money to buy fries and a drink. So I have to make choices. I am less likely to get that bonus McDouble, first because the double quarter pounder with cheese and bacon is so huge I can't eat it, but also, I just dropped 7 bucks on a burger with no fries or drink and can't justify buying another burger. So I actually spent less over all but leave feeling like I got less for my buck.

Perceived lack of value? Less sales?

Are these the things GW wants?

nelsonus said...

You've got a point. I spend about the same amount of money, but I've been planning my purchases out to make sure I get what I want for how much I have.

If the prices were lower, I would probably pick up a box from a different army and then want more to go with it.

Shocklanced said...

I remember contacting GW to ask why they were only selling an iPad version of their digital codex's when there were already PDF's available online. Their response was typically political: "We are aiming to make a high quality product that is only possible in this format"

I would gladly pay for a legitimate copy of their documents at a reduced price (still more expensive than getting those PDF's otherwise)

With all the errata's they have I already need to take my android tablet to games, but they do not give me a legal option to put all the codex's on there.

The Prodigal Player said...

I already threw in my two cents that they would make more money by making rules access free and thereby lowering the bar for us to start multiple armies. After all, most people would rather spend their money on models than books...or at least that is my suspicion.

But I think that the thing that is missing from this discussion is the fact that GW has a vested interest in keeping sales steady, and preventing people from just binge buying a whole army and then waiting for a long time to purchase anything else while they assemble it keeps sales reports to their investors looking steady. As long as things are too expensive to keep people from binge buying, but cheap enough that customers buy consistentlyk they can show gradual growth.

Lloyd S,alls said...

As a new player buying/painting figures for the first time, the new hardbound codex are an absolute necessity!!! While I am not in favor of the $50 price point, the books as a book is worth it.

As far as playing, I would prefer to see 2 versions of the codex. 1 - The big hardbound book with all the background and color pics. 2 - A small mini-codes (like the small rule book with Dark Vengeance) with JUST THE RULES at a much lower price point.

The first book would be a showpiece. Something to sit down and read at home. Something for new players to get more into the game with ALOT of color pics that help them with painting and visualizing the minis

The second boos would be a rulebook. Something that is usable while playing the game and held in one hand. That doesnt have all the extra they came from this planet and dont like these people and dont play cards on Sundays.

In the end, the players that "must collect them all" will spend a whole lot more money. The veterans that just need the updated rules are still able to buy all the codex for all the armies (and in a more usable play friendly format!).

Haha a large company listen to reason like this, but it is a dream.....

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