Rolling for Initiative--Selling GW in Spite of Themselves
Column by Scott Thorne
Published: 07/08/2012, Last Updated: 07/09/2012 03:23am
In case you missed it, and you might have if you don't carry Games Workshop's line of games, the 6th Edition of its flagship game (in the U.S.) Warhammer 40,000 released Saturday, July 7, certainly an annoying day to release a game from the retailer's point of view, since Saturday for retailers is generally the busiest day of the week. Luckily, their policy for most products makes Saturday a soft street date and we can put the product out when it arrives, thus removing one more thing for us to deal with Saturday. However, the sales reps emphasized that July 7 was a hard street date and to hold it for release then.
We did quite well with 6th Edition release, as we ran a midnight release for it and had a line of customers at the register at midnight. However, the game sold quite well in spite of Games Workshop's handling of the release, not because of it.
First we didn't even know about an upcoming 6th Edition two months before. Unlike, say, Wizards of the Coast, which has been very upfront about the upcoming D&D Next, we first heard rumors about this from customers and 40K fan websites. Nothing official from Games Workshop until late May. Then we are told, yes, there will be 6th Edition and it will release sometime. The rumor mill said late June or early July; Games Workshop, not even that specific.
A promotional video next appears on the GW website, giving no information about what to expect, save that indeed 6th Edition was coming. The video closed with the date June 23. OK releasing June 23. This appears in early June, giving us about 2 weeks to plan an event launching 6th Edition. Given that we plan our event calendar one to two months ahead of time, all of our June and July dates for events are already set.
Whoops, turns out June 23 is not the release date for 6th Edition, it's the release date for the new issue of White Dwarf, which will focus on 6th Edition. Still not sure when 6th Edition is releasing.
Finally, we get our upcoming releases list from GW (we get the list of next month's releases about 2 weeks before the end of the month), with a release date of June 30. Now we can take pre-orders. Not much time to do so, but we will work with it. Oh, wait, what are the Gamer's Edition and Collector's Edition?
More conversation with the GW rep. There are very limited special editions of the 40K rules that GW put on our list but that we probably can't get. They go on sale the evening of June 22 and individual customers can order them from the GW Website. Retailers can email orders in over the weekend and the sales reps will key them in Monday morning, if there are any left. Guess what? In most cases there weren't.
We did get the rest of the order in and had a very successful midnight release of the new edition, but the lack of information from GW early on was frustrating, as was not getting any of the special editions for those customers who wanted one. However, people seem to really like the new rules so everything did work out, just not that easily for the store.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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