Manelmacar wrote in to tell us that Wargames Workshop has officially closed down business. Wargames Workshop was a very popular online store allowing fans to purchase miniatures, and often times at pretty good prices. Fans have been e-mailing us since Games Workshop announced they were no longer going to permit online sites to sell their product, many of these fans were insulted, and confused, not sure why Games Workshop would close stores that have served them so well. I felt this was a good opportunity to explore the various sides of this story, and hopefully everyone will understand why the choice was made.
From the Consumers stand point, this change came as quite a shock. Many fans have relied on Online Retailers for their Hobby needs, especially fans who live in smaller towns and do not have Games Workshop Hobby Centers. These are the fans who truly loose from this change. Games Workshop Mail Order is of course the alternative for fans who live outside of the range of one of Games Workshop’s Hobby Centers, but many fans have been disapointed in the quality of service of Games Workshop’s Mail Order service. These smaller Online Retailers did not have the volume of orders as Games Workshop’s services, and thus were able to fill orders quickly and often times with a personal attention to each customer, something that you do find in GW Hobby Centers, but not through their automated services.
From the stand point of the Retailer, the Online Market Place has been consuming sales as items have been so readily available online, point, click, have. It was that simple. The question we have to ask ourselves is, where do we game? Across the country Retailers and Hobby Centers alike have been pouring money into making areas available for Wargamers to play. Terrain tables are not cheap, and setting aside an extra room to facilitate players is not something that is easily done for many places. Players then spend their money online, buy their hobby supplies online, and then take their armies into a Hobby Center to play. Thus taking advantage of the Gaming Tables in their local Hobby Centers, without spending a dime in the actual store.
The economy is hurting, money is not in abundance, so every way we gamers can save some money is a great thing, but at the same time by saving that money we are starving the profits of the gaming stores that house us. So in time, if we do not support those gaming stores, they will slowly disappear and take the Terrain Tables with them, leaving us players no where to play. Obviously, not every retailer hosts their gamers to the best of their abilities, and that unfortunate lack of customer service is why many gamers turned to the Online Marketplace for their Hobby needs in the first place.
So we’re in an odd place, while us gamers are trying to save money every way we can, the retailers suffer as our purchases are made outside of their establishments. So Games Workshop made the call of limiting Online Retailers in an attempt to bring sales back into the Game Stores, and hopefully revitalize the War-gaming Hobby. We here at Gaming Havens want to hear your thoughts on the subject, as I’m sure everyone has mixed feelings about this recent decision. So please feel free to e-mail us at Havens@TheOneRing.net and share your individual experiences, be it with an experience purchasing from an online retailer, an experience with a gaming store near you, or an experience purchasing through Games Workshop’s Mail Order. We want to hear what you have to say, and we will be sharing your comments here on Gaming Havens.