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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Future of Games Days & Games Workshop - Part 4


The Future of Games Days & Games Workshop - Part 4

What would Spiderman do?
Today: Nerdtears

Wow - it's been a few days since Part 3. My apologies to everyone who has waited - this was probably the first time I got messages asking for the next post on anything ^^

So, in the unlikely event that you have not yet been hit by the massive walls of text on the subject, here's your chance to be bold, hard and brave:

Boldly run at a wall of text, bounce off hard and bravely run at it again: ^^

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Also: I don't know why I mentioned this earlier, but if you are interested in this kind of thing, I recommend this article on Wikipedia for further wall-text-climbing adventures.

P.P.: About the Terms of Trade (Part 3)

When I read my own Part 3 again, I felt that one very important implication of how the discount retailers and GW's terms of trade have effected did not really come over very clearly. I will elaborate on that real briefly now. 

Also, I will skip the whole Lord of the Rings discussion as it has been dealt with in the comments to part 3 already. 

I recommend you read the comments to all three articles - very interesting information in there!

Discounters cause rising prices

Slice bread sells well. 
We looked at GW's financial difficulties in the early 2000s. They had a product that sold better than sliced bread (thanks to Frodo & friends) but at the end of the day they made no profit. In contrary, GW wrote losses. 

In order to get back to solid earnings, GW basically had to cut costs and sell more. Cutting cost meant a quite big investment in new machinery, manufacturing workshops and most importantly, new, streamlined development processes. Yes - cutting cost often costs money. A lot of it! Just the investment in their manufacturing process was - if my memory serves me right - in the area of 12m£. Yikes. 

But the good news was that everyone wanted GW products, in particular LotR stuff. So GW sold to any retailer that would buy. And here (and that is my gripe with GW's policy in that time, as discussed in part 3) the terms of trade allowed retailers to basically sell GW's products at any price they wanted. 30%, 40%, 50% discount? Sure! 

So what's so bad about buying at discount? Well, for us, nothing - or is there?

The vicious cycle of discount sales

Let's assume, you are a consumer. No. You ARE a consumer. You can go to GW's website or their hobby centers and buy a product at 100% retail. You can also go to your trusty rusty independent brick-and-mortar store and maybe get 5-10% discount, because they like you. Or you sit on a computer and get the same stuff delivered to your door at 30% discount or more. Shipping free. 

Hm....

Vicious cycle is vicious
YES, I CONFESS! Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. This is the reason my hobby room looks like a GW outlet (or rather a GW warehouse :P). I bought like crazy. And so did pretty much everyone I know. 

This caused all kinds of havoc. First and foremost: The small independent retailers who ran their neighborhood stores for decades took a massive hit. And of course, this is not just true for GW merchandise. Video killed the radio star. Internet killed the neighborhood store. And many - too many - went out of business. Attracting new customers? Not without a store.

Secondly, GW's problem wasn't sales. GW's problem was cost and - with that - margin. So, what do you think happened to GW's margin? Up or down because of discount sales? Well, down of course! You sell less at 100% because customers buy from retailers that bought your stuff at around 50% retail. That's half of your potential margin! 

When I talk about margin from here on, I talk about the potential margin for GW. Example: GW produces a box for 5€. It sells it at 105€. The potential margin is 100€. If they sell it to a retailer at 50€, GW's margin is reduced to 50%. Not scientific, but it shall suffice.

The one way out: Price increases.

Let's see how a 10% price increase helps the bottom line. 

Just for argument's sake let's say 100% of the product GW sold went through retailers. Raising the product price by 10% means that the retailer purchase price  and sales price increased by 5% and 5% is increased 'potential' margin for GW. 

In fact 60% of sales went through direct sales (11%) and hobby centers (49%) in 2007. So, 11% would give 100% potential margin, 49% would give something in between 50% and 100%* and 40% retailers would result in 5% more cash on the stash. 

*I don't really know what the profit margin of a Hobby Center is, but with inventory loss (lol, 10-30%! At ALDI we were furious at 0.2%, noobs), salary (OK, that's not that much) and rent (ouch), let's just say the margin is around 75%. Still better than independent retailers, I would think.

So as a totally non-scientific estimation I'd say a 10% price increase buffs the income before taxes by around 5-7% for GW. It's just a gut feeling, but then again, I have a lot of gut :D

Now let's do that 10 years in a row. Because that's what GW did. (Actually longer than that). 10% price increase times 10 years means 100% price increase, right? MÖÖÖÖP! Wrong. For mathematicians: ((1,1^9)-1)*100 = ~135%. Yowser! Good thing our dispensable income also increased by 135%... oh wait... damnation.

Is that true?

Weeeeell, let's look at my favorite retirement plan of all times. Purchasing a Space Marine Company Box. 

I got three of these beautiful boxes!
Best retirement plan investment ever!
In 2000, the Space Marine Company box, consisting of 70 tactical, 20 storm, 10 devastators, 1 captain, 5 command dudes, 1 razorback and 8 rhinos cost the staggering amount of 600 Deutsche Mark. 

Then the Euro came and the same box cost 400€ (I bought mine in 2007, I think. At 50% discount :D). 

600DM / 1.95583 (wow, didn't even have to look that up) = 306,78€. That is roughly a 30% price increase in 6 years. Not so bad, now, is it? (cough)

Since 2007 GW increased sales and raised prices at a faster pace to counter all the 'challenges' they were facing. As we all know, GW's famous one-click-deals don't save you a single cent. Just mouse-clicks. Let's look at what the same box would cost today. 

Drumrooooooll: 685,50€. Yup, that's right. Up another 70%+ since 2007 - and a total of +125% since 2001. Our above estimation seems about right. 

But wait, there's more! 

We all know how price increases are hidden: Don't increase the price of low-sellers such as basing material and increase Space Marine prices by 20% - that should make 10% on average right? 

MÖÖÖÖP (German you're wrong buzzer)

Split 10 units into 5 (or more recently 3) and increase the price by 15, 20 or even 30%. 

We've seen it year after year, I don't even care anymore. 

But honestly, I don't want to add to the endless 'GW's price increase bashing' posts, I want to point out something completely different: The fact, that the price increases for most consumers are even higher than that! 

GW pulls the breaks: No discount for you!

GW is not stupid. They realized their immediate problem - even back then: Online retailers were cutting deep into the financial flesh of the giant called GW. The problem is, having underestimated the Internet and it's effects (see part 3), it took GW years and years to slowly go to where they really needed to be with regards to trade terms and market strategy. (I think they are almost there - more on this in part 6 or 7 or however long this series will turn out to be in the end). 

The solution is (and was) obvious: Pull the breaks - limit discounts, especially on the internet. Period. (Full stop?) But instead of pulling the breaks all the way, going full speed astern, GW trickled in small changes year after year - needlessly prolonging the suffering. 

The first cut is the deepest, the first loss is the cheapest. It took GW almost 7 years to turn their ship around.

So let's look at my personal price increases. As a professional haggler, I bought my Space Marine company box (alongside dozens and dozens of other boxes) at 50% discount. The price of MY box was not 400€. It was merely 200€. Free shipping. Without breaking a sweat, everyone could buy at 30% discount minimum back in the good ol' days.

Very high chill factor.
Today, at current GW prices, it would cost me 685,50€ to buy the same box (+285,50€!). If I support my local retailer, it would cost me 620€ (10% off), and if I order on the Internet, I can still get it at about 550€ (20% off, +/- currency fluctuations). 

My personal price increase is not 125%. It's 175%

Call it 'felt price increase' or a price-chill-factor (though I ain't chilling at all).

It's all our own fault

No-one can blame an informed consumer to shop for the best deal. I don't either - been there, done that. 

With the financial troubles and massive investment GW was facing back then, however, I actually can't blame them for what they did as a result of our shopping behavior. 

Only time stores are cheaper than the Internet
We have indulged in cheap shopping sprees, killed our local neighborhood store in the process and forced GW to raise prices like there is no tomorrow. I know I did.

And I am truly and deeply sorry for that. I could have and should have done better as a responsible consumer. (Although, I still positively love my precious purchased plastic pals to pieces though ^^)*. 


As a result (with the exception of Forge World), I buy all of my Games Workshop miniatures and supplies at my local, brick-and-mortar independent hobby store. It's a better deal than buying at full price and it supports the local gaming and painting community!

* This sentence was nominated for most awesomely apt alliteration aver.

It's all GW's fault

Again, as a business person I understand GW's behavior completely - and given the recent financial success - can only congratulate them (don't think this series is over yet, GW! *evil grin*). 

HOWEVER. I don't just blame GW for everything that's wrong with the world. No. I say: This IS all GW's fault. Yes, they know how to run a company. But they did not know how the market worked back then (causing everything you read here and in the other posts) and I am afraid, they still have no clue how their typical consumer ticks - or even who their consumers really are or even should be! (Oh, I am so looking forward to more on THAT - don't you?)

GW has sent us on cheap shopping sprees, made us help them kill local neighborhood stores and paid us by increasing prices. They know they did.

And I don't even think they are sorry.

The worst is over. I think. 

So is it all gloom and doom?

No. 

I think right now GW has finally implemented a system and a strategy that will allow a balanced market with little online sales (no more ebay, amazon & co for retailers!) - except of course for their own web store. I don't blaming them for trying to get the online sales for themselves - I would have done the same to some extend. 

I think if GW had pulled the breaks hard early on and discouraged the Wild West discount-online-sales we would have a much healthier landscape, much lower prices and overall less nerd-rage (probably allowing Facebook comments, but we'll get to that later). Alas we don't. 


Light at the end of the tunnel.
So in summary, if you look at GW's current terms of trade, I would say the worst is over. The US Online market is 100% in GW's hands (surprisingly so, in the land of the free, home of the brave), discount retailers have been cut down to size by punishing them for big online sales and discounts with severely reduced margins and the brick-and-mortar stores that are still around have weathered the storm. And to make sure they don't get touched by Chaos through the witchery that is online sales and discounts, GW's ever watchful eye sends out hordes of Inquisitors to read from the 'Liturgies of Trade Terms'. Hundreds of years of social evolution, however, led to the cutting of margin instead of limbs in case the stores sell too much online. How poetic. :) 

In 2013, in the first time as long as I can remember (which is not that long anyways), GW did not increase the prices on their self-manufactured products at all. Paints & stuff are 3rd party purchases, they went up a little bit.

I think a) GW does not need price increases to generate sustainable income and profits any more and b) they are already on the edge of pricing themselves out of the market. 

End of Part 4 of more parts you can shake a stick at ^^

So, let's see which of the sections I announced in part 3 were discussed today: 

- GW pulls the breaks

- The Spanish Inquisition and other incredibly stupid ideas (The worst is over)
- Honesty shall reign, because snow is black
- Bubble Boy: Me, myself and I
- It's all our fault. 
- 42! All ur bases are belong to me

Not bad! 


Oh, I am looking forward to the next two posts of our more-and-more epic mini-series about the Future of Games Days and Games Workshop. Tomorrow I will spill all my nerd tears from a fan's perspective. It will be one more rough day for GW before we slowly close the series with a positive outlook on the future.

Next: MOAR NERD TEARS!
ETA: next two days. Promised :) 

Comment. Follow. Subscribe

Again, I strongly recommend to read the comments under these posts. I even more strongly recommend to comment yourself! What is your perspective on all of this, so far? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Did I get it all wrong?

Last, but not least a little message from a company that strives to pretty much be the opposite of everything you read in the first four parts 
(yes, that would be us :P)

Best deal in the miniature industry this side of Andromeda
While supplies last!

Part 5 can be found here

And as always:

SHARE & ENJOY!

15 comments:

  1. Really nice analysis!
    Can't say that I care much about GW these days, but nonetheless an interesting read.
    Thanks again Mr. President!

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  2. I read this article and I found it interesting. I wonder about the effect of discounts from online stores. They are so much cheaper than the alternatives.

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    1. Like your name, refox4242 ^^

      I know many stores (mostly GW hobby centers) where the same people play weekend after weekend - but NEVER buy anything. They buy it all online. If that happens to an independent brick-and-mortar store, I find it very sad.

      That's why I now CHOOSE to buy at the brick-and-mortar store (who usually have a ton of other cool stuff and hobby supplies at reasonable prices as well ^^). I also enjoy the atmosphere in the stores - talking to actual people, rather than using a paypal checkout in the discomfort of my own home :D

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  3. Ok fine, they have cut Retailer Margins in the past. I really don't see how it's going to help them in the long run to raise Suggested Retail Prices.

    Most of the retail stores I talk to have seen sales of all GW products fall because of those price changes. This was very clear esp at Christmas time when the Starter Sets for both 40k and The Hobbit only sold to hobbyists if at all. Also most parents looking for a new game for the kids got sticker shock and never purchased any GW Starter Set or anything by GW.

    Now GW does have to sell to Retailers at some discount to allow those retailers to be able to make a profit when they sell those same items to their customers. No Profit or too little profit = no Independant Retailers to sell their products. It's the constant game of messing with Retailer's Margins and SRP, and GW's Margin. I still think that GW's retail prices are a bit on the High Side. Game store owners seeing their GW sales die seem to bear that out. This opinion has nothing to do with whether I am getting a discount or not.

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  4. I'm sorry but I have to give another upon the situation.

    Maybe resellers did indeed cut GW profit by selling mountains of GW products at an insane discount, but when it happened around 2007-2008, especially when the pound dropped, GW prices where already insanely high.

    I can say with certainty, I would never have spent as much money I did during those years if not for the resellers.
    I spent several thousand euros during those years, and I'm not the only one. I felt the price were decent again for the first time since the end of the nineties.
    How much did I spend the last 2 years when GW slowly locked the market? maybe 180-200 euros max IN 2 YEARS and I bought from resellers too.

    What is better I ask you? today's prices are just crazy.
    Some people will buy but far less and the competition will strive (and recasters also).
    Fear the 3D print.

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    1. I agree, I, too, bought at discount prices, just because they were discount. We man nerds are hunters. We want to feel the excitement of the great catch.

      However, if you sell tons of stuff and you still make no money (2002-2006), it does not help your company - all you do is trade money (or in this case lose it). It does not matter, how much you as a consumer buy, if the company does not make money of it.

      You probably also have mountains of unpainted minis at home, like me. Again, doesn't help sales today. Other than ebay sales ^^.

      So what is better? Well, for the company, today's situation is better. For a consumer, the earlier years were better (but again, we kinda caused today's situation) - for the hobby, I personally think it's something in between. As I wrote, I think had GW responded correctly in the first place they a) would not have the bad reputation they have now and b) the prices would be much lower - which would be good for GW and for the hobby.

      We'll talk about what I think GW should do in the future (and they most likely won't do).

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  5. I'm loving this series, it's really nice to see this from your business perspective and not just NERD RAGE!!!

    I'm also a die hard Aldi's shopper, best thing to happen here in the US since the last Ork codex :)

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  6. Nice analysis of the situation Michael, and not just nerd rage and tears :-) I can perfectly understand what GW do in their current situation, business have to strive and they had to do something to stop a situation where they lost money or at least made very little money. What I can not understand is how they kept making bad decisions to patch the holes from earlier bad decisions, one would think that they were more proffesional... I still think that it is a very bad decision to only focus on the new costumers who generate an income now, but not in the long run. At the same time they loose all their old costumers, without whom there would be no GW. Maybe we have been bad boys and bought lots of stuff online at discounts, but hey that´s GW´s own fault, we have still spent a lot of money in the beginning and probably would still if GW would focus a bit on us as costumers instead of only the kids. It´s kinda insulting to an old miniature nerd like me -that was my personal nerdrage for you ...
    I think they need some kind of compromise to keep their costumers in the long run, it is just quite hard to see that coming as long as there are young people who start in the hobby and buy tons. What about Games days and Golden Demons? I find it hard to believe that they will continue any of them if they don´t generate an imediate income. Very saddening indeed. Writing this I realise more and more that I am afraid that I am through with GW I love to paint minis, but there are many others out there. I guess Golden Demon is the last thing that keep me in the fold, except from nostalgia of course, but old minis are bought on ebay ;-)or already in my stash.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series Michael, well done so far :-)

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    1. Honestly I don't think there is too much money in the old hobbyists. Most of them got insane amounts of minis at home, thousands of points. How do you get their money? With new books and new units... but thats exactly what freshmen are also going to buy, plus an entire army, paints and hobby supply.
      In Warhammer Fantasy the go for big monsters, 40k is up to flying units. Pretty smart, as there were not too many units like this before. Next stept would be to push armies that didn't sell well - obviously no one bought them, so there might be a market. Looking at Ogre Kingdoms und Dark Eldar they did very well. I don't know the numbers but it seems like there are way more discussions about those armies than before their remake. Good for GW as they sell more and good for us as we get brilliant looking all new models.
      Looking on my old treasure box of minis and studying the new rules I don't think I could assamble a decent army. I'd have to invest quite a lot to be competetive... so maybe GW is thinking more about you than you think ;) .

      But honestly, I share your feeling of being through. It doesn't feel like the hobby it used to be. I might give it another try...

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  7. As a painter - yeah, it's worth buying GW stuff. Their games are POPULAR so there's always someone who want to buy your painted minis. Still, most of these minis come from retailers and/or auctions (-%!). Buying directly from GW is the last thing I'll do (I don't believe I'll do it anyway:).
    But as a gamer... hohohoho, no. Too expensive! I can play a lot different games, a lot cheaper games and with a lot nicer minis. But I'll still paint GW minis and sell them ;-)
    I believe that GW stuff will be a luxury (for players) in the future if the prices don't change.

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  8. Once again, really enjoying this. I've been saying for some time that in fact the mass discounters have been affecting prices that GW is charging, and it is nice to see it put much better than I did. I can now send anyone discussing this to read this series! So Thanks!

    And yes, I completely agree with you that GW could have nipped a lot of this in the bud, and prices would not be at the levels they are if they had. I can also say that certain people in the company were being squeaky wheels about it then - but that most of them are no longer there. Maybe if they had been listened to, then we would still have the "fun" version of GW from older, golden times. And cheaper too! ;)

    But understanding the mindset of GW can help you realize why they were so slow to turn it around: 1) they BELIEVE that they make the worlds best toy soldiers. (Don't care if you agree or disagree - they believe it!). This also means they believe they are worth what they charge for it (again, whether you agree or not). 2)They had a lot of promoted managers that started out as hobbyists. Most were great people, but reading business tea leaves were not their forte. They did not see it coming long-term, they were seduced into thinking that yes, it was this easy to grow and grow again (and make less money). 3) The departments worried more about sales and targets then anything else, especially where those sales were coming from. Upper management also were tricked by the numbers and the ease of the company to produce them (And accountants started guiding things, but had no ability to see into the "hobby" at all - so no bad news went uphill.) 4)GW's mindset to treat all bad things as Chaos. This is true. They tend to burn out the problems, let them all die, and then replace/redo them "clean".

    #4 worked really well with a local independent store that would start a discount war with another store or GW itself. The bank runs dry eventually because a brick and mortar store has set costs....discount too much and it goes away. Time passes and GW would then move back in....Exterminatus! And of course this works great when your price point and exposure allow you to continually draw new hobbyists. But of course this did not work well with companies that drew from more than a local area. It just took too long for the cash flow to run down (see New Wave, Maelstrom, etc...) and when it did it had affected a HUGE selection of gamers from a huge area. It wasn't localized, it wasn't easy, and it was enmeshed throughout the community. It was a cancer that GW could not burn out as Chaos.....it had become the system.

    Also, lets be honest, people have complained about GW's prices since the late 80s. And up into the late 90s they could raise prices on a blister and they would SELL MORE the next year. Not new releases, the same old codes! This helps you believe that you can charge whatever you want! That slowly started changing, and then went away (as numerous internet experts have been saying on their financial reports for years). But now, you can't just let complainers die off or go away, because new gamers can always find someone on the internet to fill them in on everything from the good old days to gold swords to GW is evil.

    Customers will always go for the best deal, and it is true, every store and company needs to understand that customer loyalty is a much over-used misnomer. GW could have made some very tough decisions back in the late 90s and it would have caused a lot of issues, but it would have caused less and been less costly to consumers NOW.

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    1. I also want to add something about stores....
      There is a long history of GW and independent retailers. A lot of what people hear can be contentious. But I always wanted to ask people who talked about how their store would complain about GW - Then why do they still carry it? Simple it made money. Back in the 90s, GW still had haters - especially with certain retailers. So Bad background noise has always been around (heck I remember complaints in the 80s about sleeves - why I also bought 12s of a lot of codes back then!). GW has also not always helped the relationship for sure....but GW would not be big if they did not have all of those doorways for people to find their product. I know some of the new generation discovered 40k or fantasy through Dawn of War, Dark Omen, Space Marine or some other video game (and lets not get into how old that makes me feel), but in the past just about the only ways was a friend got you into it, or you found it at some shop. For me, I discovered it in a store (Citadel and Heritage models) on a family vacation.

      Gw thinks they can sell their own product better than any retailer, and in one way they are right....they only sell their product. But they also can't open every community store around the world....think overhead is bad now? So they do rely on those stores. And they know this. Then why do so many retailers think it is them "against" GW? A lot is just misinformation, a lot is not understanding the model GW has tried (because it will always be different from a Single Store or even a Chain that is 9-10 stores big). The best stores would carry the product, and put some work into the game (leagues, tourneys etc). But most stores did not do the demos well. GW stores did mostly painting and game demos. And they are good at it. Some of the best increases for independent stores was when a GW opened near them (not too close, but I know one store that increased their sales by more than double when a GW store opened up 2 miles away. Without a discount. - Because they ran real leagues and GW managers would send the gamers to them once they got them into the product.)

      All of this worked because independent retailers could do things that GW could not....bigger stores, more tables, later hours, etc.

      But that changed when the age of the internet took over. Now stores could run leagues, tournaments, painting competitions, and everything....and the customers would play their hearts out....and then go buy online. Any retailer who does not realize that a price raise means they also make more money does not get the business side of things. But when prices jump and all of your sales go to a .com address, then you get nothing! So they could compete by discounting (hurting their margin and taking many stores out of business) or they could try numerous things to make people buy at their store. But customer loyalty will always be to their own wallets....and the stores continued to lose out. GW made changes incrementally to change things, but by then every step just upset more stores. And when a lot are upset with you, more gamers would come in and be told "Don't do that one, it costs too much", or basically "GW SUX.."

      Stores were not just upset, they were actively trying to get people to buy other things - and in a survival mode! So GW had fewer doorways, and in a lot of those doorways, they were not liked. Growth is hard enough, Growth on growth is ever harder, and GW now had stores and people online actively raging against them. And actively demoing all those other games (many created by or with old employees).

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    2. One other factor is those gamers who did learn about it through video games. They'd hunt down a source near them and then go in and be told "well, we also have Warmahordes, or some other game" (see Michaels part one comments where we talked about secondary games). So GW for a while was able to replace the growth through licensing, but then slowly even that went away.

      These were the mistakes (and the compounded mistakes) GW made, and has sort of worked through for years (see losing money above). They have fixed the business to an extent, but they need to fix the hobby now. Better 9th edition fantasy, new intro games that are supported, better relations with customers (both final and retailers). A new intro game that would allow you to start with a smaller buy-in but still allow you to go "full-bore" into 40k or fantasy later would be ideal. Everyone talks about Warmahordes being cheaper, when they are not....its just the buy-in that is.

      In the end, all the little fish could end up helping GW in the long run, but it could be a bit messy again unless GW does indeed change certain things (and not the ones a lot of people rage about). So I'll be interested to see the next two (or more) parts!

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  9. Here's my cut-and-paste rant from Bell of Lost Souls.

    As background, I started dabbling in the realms of RPGs and miniatures in the mid 1980s. I saw GW through the Golden Era of Rogue Trader, WFB 3rd ed, Realm of Chaos, d1000 tables 5 pages long, 3 Rhinos to a box, blahblaholdmanblah...

    In 1991 I went away to university. There were other attractions, even if internet porn was text or dirty ascii compositions. When I returned to look at the old Warhammer, it was 2nd Edition. The starter sets were horrific. New releases were erratic, and favored various colors of Space Marine, an infatuation with boat-to-boat combat which I guess the British would have an interest in but not sure who else, and Mad Max-with-Orks, not sure who that was meant to appeal to.

    So we played Magic and Cosmic Encounter, both of which are much easier than Warhammer to play when you are on various chemicals.

    First through ebay, but then directly to the source, I came back in the early 2000s. I was happy to see that there was more-or-less a new generation for all of the armies. Less happy to see that there were still some ridiculously awful 1990s beasts needed to play (Eldar Avatar), and that certain key troops had not been updated (Eldar Warlocks). And would you look at that? Both of my parenthetical units are still not updated and it's been 20 years. But I happily bought directly from GW, especially back catalog Eldar and Chaos, but also new Tau and Sisters of Battle.

    Background over, here is Rant:

    "Me and the Chaos Squats are doing just fine scavenging on eBay.

    As a long time collector, I can say that prices really took off in the mid-2000s. [I think if you look at the price trend through the 1990s to the mid-2000s you will see reasonable increases (yes, I have all of the old catalogs and White Dwarfs to prove it). Yes, the internet discount situation wreaked havoc, but there really is a major discontinuity between the late 1980s-mid 2000s and mid 2000s to now.]

    I have an Eldar collection as well, and luckily the 4th edition models came out before the huge price explosion (November 2006). Though prices took a jump for many models at this time.

    But in Nov 2006, the Eldar Codex was $20, and went to $33 before the new one came out.

    Dire Avengers, $30 for 10, now $35 for 5. Other Aspect Warriors, 5-6 for $30. Now $41.25.

    The Falcon took a considerable jump at this point from $30-something to $40, but is now $49.50. Fire Prism was $35, now also $49.50.

    Farseer $12 (already expensive) -> $15-19. Characters in general saw their price range go from $8-$12 before 2006 to $12-$17, and now we have Phoenix Lords that were $12 at $22.25.

    The new plastic Wraithlord showed up at $40, up from the $30 metal version, now $46.25. The plastic War Walker was up from $20 to $30, which I suppose is the maximum you can get away with for something that comes in squads of 3 (see also Vypers).

    Basically, it was not too long ago when plastic troopers cost $2-3 (and not so long before that were about $1 each), plastic tanks $30-$35. Metal troopers in the $4-5 range (again, that's up from $2-3), special characters $8-$12.

    This was not too long ago - in 2003 or so 20 Guardians or 20 Cadians were $20 - so it's not just old-timers whining about how things were way back when.

    But to justify that kind of whining: If GW is producing the same model as they were in 1994 (Eldrad, Avatar, Phoenix Lords), I think complaining about the price jumps from $8 to $20.75 (Eldrad), or $15 to $40 (Avatar) is acceptable.

    The only thing that has changed about Eldrad is that now he is made of cheaper material and looks more and more like the ancient creature he is meant to represent. Seriously, that model's positioning was archaic even at the time. Now it's just pathetic looking.

    As for me, I've spent $268 on GW's website since 2009, as far back as records go. And a lot of that was to get my hands on certain Necromunda and Mordheim models available only in sets, while selling the remains on eBay. So really, probably less than nothing."

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