Games Workshop has become the latest major entity to learn that abandoning its core fanbase in favor of chasing profit and wide appeal never results in the success social media engagement would have them believe.
The once-beloved tabletop gaming company has apparently seen a massive drop in stock price ever since it engaged in a mass DMCA campaign against Warhammer fan works in order to promote the mass consumption-approved content featured on their official Warhammer Plus subscription service.
According to a report by UK-based investment news outlet Investment Week (via UK Today News), the ever-growing resentment of fans towards “the company’s tightening grip on its ‘much-loved’ portfolio of characters and stories,” has resulted in Games Workshop’s share price falling “more than 25%.”
Bafflingly, though admittedly unsurprisingly, financial experts have all but dismissed the fans’ role in Game Workshop’s rapid devaluation, with SVM UK Growth and UK Emerging Funds manager Margaret Lawson even asserting that she did not foresee “any impact from a boycott” and that falling stock prices were “the wrong reaction.”
“There is often a tension between franchises and fans, which becomes more acute as the value of IP grows and a brand is extended online and into other partnerships,” said Lawson, before complimenting the company’s philosophy of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ in regards to their fans. “Games Workshop is going through this stage of evolution, which inevitably means a need for stronger control on IP and disappointment for some.”
As noted by UK Today News, fellow analyst Abby Glennie, the deputy head of smaller companies at abrdn investment company, “agreed the move was a ‘sensible’ one and that a ‘loyal’ customer base with a ‘passion for the hobby’ is unlikely to be disrupted by a boycott she believes is ‘amplified by the media, and in reality, very limited in nature.'”
Glennie also noted that “the ‘excellent’ management team has pushed the business forwards over recent years, particularly in relation to the ‘very high margin and return’ business of licensing its IP across a range of formats, including video games, novels and television shows.”
However, not everyone who spoke to Investment Week underestimated the potential of a passionate and dedicated fanbase, as senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Susannah Streeter recognized that “fan sites can be the lifeblood of a brand.”
“Although it is understandable the company wants to protect IP from scammers replicating its miniatures using 3D printers, Games Workshop appears to have upset a die-hard fan base by cracking down on amateur animations as well,” Streeter explained. “We have seen before how tips and advice can spread like wildfire through social media, so the growing clamour on sites like Reddit for a boycott of the company risks being the tip of the iceberg of problems for Games Workshop.”
YouTuber Arch commented on the stock decline declaring, “Arch was right, again. Inevitably, unavoidably, and now the world is slowly, but surely to catch up to me.”
“As Games Workshop is indeed in the early stages of monetizing its IP. And what does that mean? That means that GW is getting ready to get rid of you. They are trying to replace the fanbase with the new mystifistical, glorious, and hitherto unknown wider audience,” he continued.
The YouTuber added, “The hordes of wokeist normies right out there ready to consume Games Workshop products on hitherto unknown and unimaginable quantity.”
He then questioned, “How’s that working out so far? Well, the company has managed to shed 25% of its value. So, I’d say it’s going to just god damn swimmingly. ”
“Get woke and you will go broke,” he asserted.
What do you make of Games Workshop’s free-fall stock prices? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!