Games Workshop stock loses 25% of its value in one day

By Polar_Bear
In Games Workshop
Jan 16th, 2014
33 Comments
695 Views

Games Workshop released their quarterly profits and due to the not-good-news, their stock fell 24% in one day.
Link goes to MastermindMinis article on the event.

Source

From the article:

Newsflash: After peaking at over 810 pence per share in October, Games Workshop’s stock market value dropped sharply by 24% today, following their release of half-year numbers. Turnover (that is sales, people) is down 12% from last year.

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  • If I was running GW I would do 2-3 kickstarters and make a ton of money for the company. If not money, it would certainly pay for brand new product lines that they wouldn’t have to create from thin air.

    Epic – Not sure what sales figures are like, but an Epic 40K KickStarter would crush.
    40K – Kickstarter. Yep Bring on the Dwarfs or Squats. Again GW would crush with this.
    Ipad Game – Come out with Epic or 40K ipad game. Think they could gather a lot with this one as well.

    • surprize

      Its a nice idea, but their 6-month operating profits are down £3.5m.

      The biggest mini KS (reaper bones) made like $3.5m? Which is just over £2m. KS take 5%, amazon take 3-5%, so that’s £1.9m the creator gets in the bank. If they make around the same profit-to-turnover ratio on a hypothetical KS to normal operations (based on these recent GW figures of turnover/profit), that means a Reaper Bones sized kickstarter would net them about £250k profit.

      So long story short to fill the hole in 6-month profits they would have needed something like 14 kickstarters the same size as Reaper Bones. Or a total Kickstarter pledge haul of something like £30m ($49m).

      So basically, they need a bit more than a Warhammer Quest kickstarter!!

    • 4tonmantis

      Games Workshop would need to hire other people to make the tablet games.. which would also take at least a year.

      GW are IP control freaks and a Kickstarter would be “icky” for them because they would have to post concept art and preliminary designs.

      GW are losing money because they keep getting rid of valuable people and keeping crappy ones while removing the aspects of the hobby that drew people to it in the first place.

      Pretty sure GW stopped supporting Specialist Games. Epic presently has 15 very outdated and overpriced products and I believe that as those stocks are depleted the items will be removed. I personally like Epic and own a modest Ork force. GW’s neglect of their offshoot games is nearly criminal. Games like Necromunda have a market (look at Deadzone) but it requires love and development and GW is more interested in the quick dollar.

    • Somebody is really not paying attention to what’s going on with GW and their mobile games…

      GW mobile games

  • blkdymnd

    Good! Keep on movin!

  • Ghool

    Wow. That’s a crushing blow for any publicly traded company.
    It will be interesting to watch what happens during the rest of the year.

  • facie

    Recipe for corporate securities disaster:

    Treat your customers like crap (for years)
    Blatantly attempt to control prices and prohibit Internet-based sales
    Send cease and desist letters to everyone, including people who are actually growing the hobby (I’m looking at you Beasts of War and Blood Bowl sites).
    Rely on a never end cycle of dramatic price increased and the supposed inelasticity of demand for your “goods”
    Sue small company without basis and dramatically lose in Federal District Court (http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/2013/06/18/74763/)

    Mix well. Visit with Board of Directors to explain your “enlightened” management and negotiate your management parachute.

    • 4tonmantis

      On the money. I think GW could survive bad legal maneuvering, bad management, or bad community relations as individual things.. but choosing to ride all 3 of those rollercoasters at once is simply dumb. Top it off with their ludite view of things and simply ignoring actual growth opportunities that the community has asked for in lieu of endeavors nobody wanted.. it’s just bad business.

    • TheHairyCaber

      You forgot regurgitation of the same imbalanced system, in the hopes of generating new revenue from sales of the same models.

    • Lemminkaeinen

      To be fair, the cease and desist letters are essentially forced by the current legislation. Companies are forced to protect their IP or they lose it.

      • facie

        That’s not exactly correct. I’m an IP attorney. I often comment on legal happenings on this web site.

        What GW does is far in excess of advice I would give major corporations. While a company must proactively manage its IP, there is plenty of room for authorized but unaffiliated mark use. Does it require more oversight? Yes. Does it require more thoughtful brand management. Yes. Does it require more work from the company. Yes.

        Is it good PR and community management to take on those extra burdens? Absolutely. GW IP management has one speed. They never have learned or been counseled to shift gears when appropriate.

        • Lemminkaeinen

          Thank you for the insight – much appreciated!

  • phoenixman

    my thoughts / opinions on this are;-

    finally it seems gamers are waking up to the fact that GW games and their associated minis simply dont give value for money when compared to all the other main games in the marketplace now.

    they simply have stagnated with the same armies for years and continue to put the wrong units in the army starter boxes for each force and dont seem to consult the people who know what would sell… their customers! who wants more bret men at arms in a box and less knights or pegasus knights, crazy decision…

    if they simply had a poll each time a new / updated starter box was muted and asked what units the players wanted in it then they would sell more than they do now, i have no doubt.

    personally i have not played GW games for about 5 years and i stopped suddenly, sold up my stuff and have NEVER missed it and more and more of our club players are doing the same. we were 90+% GW each week and now i bet it’s less than 10% with most weeks no GW games at all.

    all hail the revolution!

  • hithero

    They can’t run a Kickstarter as that would mean discounted figures or value for money, and GW ain’t never gonna do that.

  • Justacomment

    The fact is the “we are a miniatures company first and a game company second” is a poor ideal when you are trying to get me to buy 20 to 100 of the same model.. now that there is very real competition and more coming everyday from kickstarter etc we as gamers can be choosy. Also everyone before me had valid points at the core. I guess we will see if being publicly traded will save them by forcing massive overhauls or sink the ship until someone buys them out. I promise GW is not closing their doors for good someone will buy.

  • wildger

    That is no unexpected. The only surprise is why it does not come sooner. Back in the early 1990’s, GW captured more than 90% of the tabletop miniature game market, being a conservative measure. It has been losing ground since but GW managed to disguise the loss by increasing the price. Eventually, it will hurt their profit as the trend continues. If not for UK protective tariff, it will do much worse.

  • Gallahad

    I think this ultimately bodes well for the hobby. Got priced out of Warhammer years ago and haven’t looked back.

  • mrbushtroll

    YAHOO….now if miniatures prices would do the same

    how about the lord of the rings being up scaled to 25-28 mm

    about time…..the ego maniac company takes a hit…….they have been ass monkeys…and bull dung. so who want buys or even purchase…..when the pictures are censored on any site….like buying playboy with blank pages……just retarded.

    sorry for the rant…..but the mighty have tripped and hope they fall far……maybe a new age of enlightenment will dawn…….looks like another D&D becomes a paizo story…..love D&D but paizo was staffed by the D&D lords and heard the players……hasbro just saw a money grab….may be they will join forces and be Hasbeen GW

    • facie

      Amen.

      /passing the collection plate.

      If Paizo took over GW’s IP, I’d be tempted to play their games again.

      LMAO

  • phoenixman

    GW need to finally realise that gamers aren’t stupid and the younger ones grow up and they then become those who have to spend their own money (not their parents) and then see exactly how much the stuff costs and thats when they lose a good proportion of those customers as they whack prices up every year for the sake of it (IMHO).

    if you treat your customers like idiots by doing this and the other crazy ideas they have with their products it eventually comes back to bite you on the arse (and about time).

  • jedijon

    It disturbs me that people in an online gaming community I’d like to continue to consider as smart would take this opportunity to regurgitate the same ideology that’s been ubiquitous for over a decade in the guise of a “see this situation proves my point/worldview”.

    We could just as easily argue that this is the harbinger for the end of all miniatures games–remember, video games are scheduled to end our fun immanently.

    We could just as easily argue a series of bad logistical decisions, Chinese vendor manufacturing practices, or new corporate tax legislation in their area of incorporation caused the drop in profitability by virtue of reducing margins.

    We could just as easily argue that the American mortgage market repercussions have occasioned a global GDP sag triggering self-reflection and a lack of spending confidence–at least in this scenario we’ll be able to draw infinite metaphorical parallels to the way an investor would feel buying shares of stock in GW….

    Anyone know what their EBITDA is? How are they leveraged? What are their gross unit sales year on year? It definitely means one thing…another price hike from GW. There’s been “CHOICE” for 20 years, you’ve been spoiled for choice for a decade. Both in miniatures and systems. Let’s go out and play one…

    • 4tonmantis

      Wow, it looks like stocks on High Horses are doing just fine.. there seem to be plenty of folks riding around on them here of late. This is a discussion forum and people are discussing their views and opinions. Stocks are more effected by public opinion and social media now more than ever. About 80% of your post is straw man and really doesn’t prove anything other than that we could be talking about other things. But instead, we’re discussing (gasp) GW stocks falling 25%.. To ignore the things that GW has been doing in the last 2 quarters leading up to this would be naive of us and directly in character for GW (who is great at ignoring things they ought not to).

      • jedijon

        We’re not discussing decisions GW has made in the last 2 quarters that lead to a drastic stock price reduction. Everything mentioned above has been the case for at least 10 years. Here’s something that DID happen in the last 6mo. Mantic has a successful kickstarter for futuristic minis. Did that result in a 10+ point reduction in GW sales? Are GW’s stock owners prescient miniatures gaming-world-event followers? Are they super informed about the happenings in the industry and they’ve all lost confidence in GW now? They’re short selling? Do any of us OWN GW stock??

        High priced figures and rehashed edition are the only “facts” I’ve caught so far. I didn’t think those were new in the last 6 months. So “the market” really is FINALLY fed up w/the company…that’s the “change”, that’s the “news”?

        Dude – we’re discussing what a 1/4th reduction in stock price both A) indicates and B) means. I’m just arguing that it DOESN’T mean that GW’s star has set. And it DOESN’T mean a culmination of 25 years of business practices that’s so utterly unfeasible that it’s lasted this long has suddenly met this super obvious brick wall that “we’ve” all been saying it has all along. You’re right though – I’m not different than anyone – we all want to be right.

        • Jedjon: I think you are reading the commentary little too literally? There is a lot of GW hate some of it well deserved and some that can be contributed to the internet ‘kick them when there down” propensity.
          Is GW going away? NO, they still sell more toys than anyone in this space.
          Is GW going to change? Likely not, they have a corporate culture that is well established and this recent hit although significant does not bring them close to their lows of a few years back.
          Is GW going to remain the market leader? Yes, they may lose veteran players but the IP is solid and there is always a new influx of players that do not feel disenfranchised. This after all is their true market, who they want to sell to… Those who have not yet spent thousands building armies.

          There are many things GW does that I simply do not understand. Many choices they make seem counterintuitive for me and many others; I think it more reasonable to assume that most gamers would not like to see them go away, but rather change the path they have trodden for the last 5 five to seven years. I think you can still regard the posters as “smart” but perhaps fed up…

          • 4tonmantis

            slow clap

            This is a great unbiased evaluation of the situation. I certainly don’t intend to kick them while their down, but I am definitely in the camp of fed up.

        • 4tonmantis

          What I had said (granted I do not account for the majority) is that GW has put themselves into a bad situation with their practices over the past few years. Over the last 6 months however, rather than fixing things they have damaged/destroyed, they have further (and quite radically) changed/damaged/destroyed things.

          Micro-transactions, a staggering release date for insanely overpriced codices, a focus on weird supplements, releasing and then removing terrain lines, turning White Dwarf into a glorified blog, openings and closings of their retail outlets, etc.. These things are mind-boggling to me. I’m not even on about their other stuff tbh.. that’s (as you said) old news.

          One thing that is being said that I agree with.. and wish to expand upon.. Games Workshop is releasing “versions” of rules.. not editions. If you own a 1st edition and a 6th edition printing of Dune by Frank Herbert, the story is essentially the same and (hopefully) it has been edited or possibly had clarifications over the years. A new edition of a math book still teaches math but has adapted over time to accept new understandings and teaching and testing methodologies. GW is releasing rulesets that are essentially brand new.. and then releasing other supplements, books, add-ons, etc that radically alter these rules. If Games Workshop would simply edit, refine, and actually release an honest to god “next” edition of the rules that simply takes the existing rules and improves upon them, then I personally would invest in the game. The way it is though it is nearly impossible to know if your favorite way of playing let alone your over-priced models will be usable (legality and/or effectiveness) when the next set of rules is printed. I’ve learned 2nd edition through 6th (skipping 5th) while learning other systems and frankly I just don’t have it in me to keep trying to re-educate my brain on it’s understanding of what 40k is and is not. This is a bit off topic but it is also the reason that I have been spending my money on Deadzone and products from Dreamforge etc.. and I know I’m not alone.. (evidenced by the drop).

    • Paconious

      Wait, you want to compare GW’s EBITDA year-over-year? Are you kidding? GW has padded their declining sales in EBITDA with price increases for the last god knows how long. That would be the last metric I would turn to for them. What this report tells me is their operating revenue (OIBITDA) and sales revenue fell. Given all they have done to boost sales this year (sped up releases, direct-purchase only models, etc.) this concerns me more. Can you imagine how bad the operating revenue would have fallen if they hadn’t padded the revenue with a break-neck relea

  • Paconious

    se schedule

    • Paconious

      I don’t know what just happened there, but that was the end of my post in response to jedijon. Clearly I forgot how to internet.

  • KelRiever

    One person retail stores always seemed like a dumb idea. Guess it was.

    Losing sales with independent retailers shows GW is not keeping up with its once dominant position in their stores.

    Though I haven’t understood the willingness of lemmings to pay ever increasing prices for an ever decreasing quality in game, it seems this past couple of years has really been over the top in awful price hikes for quality. I will give GW one thing…the quality of their new sculpts is excellent. It just still isn’t worth the price a person pays.

    Micro-transactions also seem douschy to me and I think that instead of increasing revenue, ridiculous and copious amounts of nickel and diming is what it has come across as.

    Still, if enough cultists line up to keep buying GW products first hand from GW at full price, they could always stick around.

  • Nosaj Verush

    I think the explanation for GW’s decline is pretty simple and I base it on my own experience. I used to buy only GW stuff to engage in the hobby of table top gaming. Why? Because there really were no other good alternatives. NOW, there are tons of great alternatives that are easily made available by the Internet. So, my money is going elsewhere. I don’t hate GW, I love GW, but, I love Privateer Press, Corvus Belli, Spartan Games, Hawk Games, . . . too. It is a wonderful time to be a gamer! Unfortunately, this means GW must share the pie. They just may have to exist as a smaller company.

  • 032125

    The obvious solution to this fiscal decline is to issue a new rule set requiring larger armies, then immediately raise prices across the board. And threaten to sue everyone who uses the word “Games™”.

  • odinsgrandson

    It makes me wonder if Mark Wells saw all of this coming, and cut his losses and ran while Tim Kurby rides the company downward.

    I do hope they turn it around (although the current set of GW related rumors are all negative).

    Failing that, I hope that the properties end up in the hands of people who will take good care of them (and make the smaller ones available).