Games Workshop suing Chapterhouse Studios

By tgn_admin
In Games Workshop
Dec 28th, 2010

Games Workshop has filed a copyright infringement suit against Chapterhouse Studios.

No further word on the suit but I will be looking into this to get more details if anyone involved is able to talk.

Update: you can read GW’s filing online in PDF format.

This might be a good idea to remind everyone about the IP and copyright questions we asked of a lawyer.

  • Keeblar the Arboreal

    I will not comment on any legal issues, but as an Eldar enthusiast, I think this shows Games Workshop at their worst, but also how they can get better.

    Eldar collectors have been asking Games Workshop specifically for Farseers and Warlocks on Jetbikes since 1993 or earlier. Now they’re willing to risk a couple hundred thousand dollars to have their lawyers stomp on the guy giving the customers what they want. GW should have released a Jetbike Farseer/Warlock kit with the 2nd edition Codex. I don’t think anyone was really asking for Phoenix Lords with Heads of Ridiculous Size. Wave Serpents, Exodites, and coherent sets of Guardian Defenders and Storm Guardians.

    Games Workshop has a long history of letting the staff decide what will be produced rather than responding to customer needs, especially for non-Imperial players and players of Specialist Games. Combine this with short tenures of employment for many creative types, and you have a company that spurts out part of a range of miniatures, then jerks into another direction when someone new takes a look at things.

    Now technology has caught up with GW. It is now possible for small companies to design and produce bits or entire models without drastic financial investment or specialized knowledge of design and production tools. Now when the inspiration and artistic form are found, much of the rest can be outsourced. If GW insists on making model-less units or refuses to supply critical equipment in the amount desired by its customers, there is a genuine possibility that someone will try to fill those gaps.

    Hopefully, Games Workshop will realize that the current situation is best resolved by speeding up production of models in response to customer demand rather than reinforcing their usually arrogant yet capricious dirigiste policies.

  • hellbringer

    I fully agree. Also the fact that their relaese planning is kept secret, inducing others to fill the gap they themself create

  • Hmm, thats not really true though. GW make and sell what makes money. They have people who decide what to work on next based on what people want to buy, not what a power gamer wants for his army.

    Also, having gaps in the range promotes customers to get more creative. That line is crossed when they start trying to make money from the GW ideas, as Chapterhouse is blatantly doing.

    • Keeblar the Arboreal

      Nope, it really is. As someone who’s followed GW for 25 years and has studied consumer psychology and marketing, GW has a long history of poor communication with their customers, dropping games a few months after heavily promoting them, and promising codices that never appear. Codex: Xenos wasn’t just gamers’ wishes, it was advertised as coming soon in White Dwarf. Games like Rogue Trader and Battlefleet Gothic were promoted years before they appeared. GW shows very little evidence of doing any market research and seems very heavily driven by the whims of its creative types. Maybe this is changing.

      And I don’t know where you’re getting “power gamer” from. I was referring to producing models for every unit in an army, no matter how pathetic they are. If GW doesn’t think a model will sell, it should not have that option in the army. Or it should offer conversion packs. GW used to do this regularly.

      And as far as amounts of bits go, I am not after a ton of whatever is today’s mini-nuke, I was more thinking of the bits service that they used to have, because I convert a lot and use a lot of decorative bits from fantasy on my 40K minis. I don’t even really play at all. I just want to collect all the differing types of models and/or to convert those that aren’t available. In the current status quo, I might have to buy multiple entire models just to get some parts to convert a model that should be available on its own.

      Ramshackle Games sells bits, and that’s great. Games Workshop used to, and used to engage regularly in other customer friendly practices like conversion packs, sale prices, loyalty programs etc.

  • Nemesis

    I agree PanzerKraken.
    I didn’t criticise Gw for the defense of their IP and trademarks ; clearly Chapterhouse has gone too far regarding their use (and abuse). I just considerate the wording of the letter as resulting in an excessive claim on other aspects (non specific fluff, Sci-Fi and fantasy clich├ęs or classics). While I understand GW’s counterattack on their IPs and trademarks and certain of their claims any game designer and publisher would defend too ; I find they sometime tend to have some pretentious (and more “global”) claims.
    Maybe it’s just a way to make sure they mark their territory but hey tend to push the barriers a bit too far. ;o)
    Chapterhouse case is almost a no brainer though.