Word is spreading online very quickly that Games Workshop has announced that as of July 15, 2003 it will no longer allow miniature retailers to sell its products on the internet.
According to Games Workshop this is being in done in an attempt to protect its intellectual property (IP) rights which it feels are being infringed upon by retailers who use GW images with their products.
Over the years GW has done a lot to earn a reputation of being an "evil empire" type of corporation that seeks its own profits over the good of the industry in general and its retailers in particular. However, with this recent policy GW may have tipped the pendulum over and down. By depriving miniature retailers of valuable internet sales GW will inevitably deprive itself of sales from those retailers. There are a lot of internet only retailers - probably far more than brick & mortar hobby shops - who will no doubt go out of business as a result of this policy if it enforced. Some believe GW has anticipated this and still feels it will benefit in the end with more online consumers coming directly to their website. I fear they are wrong. Most if not all of these retailers got their business simply because of the 20% or greater discounts they offered on GW products. A discount that is not available at the GW website. Without that discount most consumers will either buy from their local hobby shop, or else not buy at all. And in the end it is the local hobby shop, and not GW, that will probably be the big winner in all of this.
And just maybe that is what GW is up to after all... a little back scratching.
Deano C. Ware