Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Of Carts, Horses and Such
So much hullabaloo has been made about this recent announcement from Maelstorm Games about an alleged change in GW retailer policy. So we’re all on the same page here’s there statement:
Games Workshop's new Terms and Conditions
Firstly, Games Workshop's new Terms and Conditions, which come into force on the 31st of May 2011. These, among other things, restrict the sale of language products - i.e., rulebooks and codices that are not in English - and, most crucially of all, restrict the sale of all of their products to the European Union, although there are a couple of countries (such as Norway and Switzerland) that are geographically within Europe but not in the EU that we can still sell to.
The full list of countries that we can sell GW products to is as follows:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
Obviously this means that all of our faithful Games Workshop customers from the Anglosphere - Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States - as well as those from Brazil, Chile, Peru, Russia, Japan and South Korea (apologies for those countries I have missed out) will now miss out on our superb service and cheap prices, but I'm afraid the terms and conditions of our contract with Games Workshop mean that we have to say goodbye.
Not surprisingly the internet has gone a bit nuts over this. You can check out the various rants/reactions here, here, here, and here.
My take? Let’s all calm the fuck down.
First and foremost, the information is being reported second-hand and we have no idea how broad the ban is (i.e. does it apply to UK retailers only), or if Maelstrom’s reporting of the change is even true or simply an instance of one retailer lashing out against what they perceive is a slight against their interests.
Before we go around yelling that the sky is falling we need to establish the facts, and as I see it that has not been done with any degree of certainty. Is the rumor plausible? Of course, that’s why its getting traction. But we need confirmation from multiple independent sources or (better yet) a statement from GW before we make melodramatic pronouncements or threats.
I too have frustrations with the way GW has been running things and agree with many of the side points made in the articles and forums linked to above. I will not by a single WFB miniature as their new rules add nothing but cost to the game. I’ve also known several former GW employees – both at the hourly and management level – and can tell you from their experiences that the company is not nice to the people who serve in the trenches for it. Their disregard for their older fans is especially galling. But none of these – or any other legitimate complaint – makes this recent speculation automatically true by default.
If it turns out true, fine: we’ll write letters, call service reps and think about taking a month or two off buying just to protest a unfair policy. I’ll right there with you. But acting out before all the information is in makes us look like baboons.