Let’s just get this part out of the way. We LOVE 8th edition and the work Games Workshop has done over the last few years for their flagship product. The rules are solid, the balance is (generally) better, and the games are just by far more fun to play. Not to mention we’ve been receiving a steady flow of new models.
BUT I think we’re all getting a little saturated by the content at this point. As happy as I am to know that Gee Dubs is regularly updating their stuff via annual Chapter Approved books as well as great campaign books, they need to take it down a notch. Let me explain.
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Let’s say you’re an ultramarine player, the pumpkin spice latte drinkers of the hobby. Let’s say you want to participate in your hobby shop’s local tournament, escalation campaign, or even just a match play game with another friend. You want to bring a Vigilus detachment (Indomitus Crusaders). Not only that but you want to spend the command point to make your Chaplain the “Master of Sanctity”. Do you know what this all entails? You’re expected to have, in hand, The core rulebook, the most current Chapter Approved Book, Vigilus Book #1, Space Marine Codex #2, The Ultramarine Codex Supplement, AND the new Psychic Awakening book. That’s SIX books you’re expected to own. If you’ve bought everything at retail price from Games Workshop or your local hobby store. That is a whopping $245! Less if you bought the e-publications, more if you’ve bought collector’s editions. This also assumes you haven’t already spent any money on the previous codex, previous Chapter Approved books, or publications for any other faction you might own. Not only that but you end up feeling a little silly when your source material is invalidated within a few months because of the regular FAQs that GW releases. Now I think we can all agree that is a good thing when the guys in Nottingham fix their mistakes, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating knowing that swathes of pages within your expensive collection of books aren’t going to be reliable and you’re still going to have to print out corrections from the internet to back you up when the inevitable disagreement about the rules comes up. Which brings me to my next question.

Why does Games Workshop still do this?
Now corporate doesn’t publish their earnings or offer a breakdown of their sales. But I think we can assume that they make a lorry load of money from the sales of rules/campaign books. But there must be a better way of separating us plastic crack addicted souls from our hard earned cash. You all know where I’m going with this….Enter the digital subscription model! Keep reading!

Games Workshop should charge us a subscription fee. You’ll still have to buy each publication when it comes to things like campaigns, a faction’s codex, etc. But NOT publications that only offer rules updates, like chapter approved. These all get put on a single app. This app, which you’re paying a fee to use, will continuously update the rules as they change along with adding new models that might have been released since their codex was released. Now you might be asking at this point, “why would I pay money for something I can already get on their website for free?” That’s a great question that has an equally great answer.
This subscription should also offer services that keep you engaged. Like a built in list building toolkit (They are already working on “Combat Roster” after all), objective card generators, the ability to select,cycle through, filter, or generate mission types and deployment maps. Maybe even a command point and score tracker. The possibilities could be endless here and I’m willing to wager that people would be willing to pay a nominal fee at regular intervals to access this content all from one official source as opposed to downloading a hodgepodge of various apps to make playing the game easier.

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Naturally, people who enjoy collecting the literature or those who prefer the tactile feel of a thick hardcover book can still purchase them. But a digital subscription method would likely reduce the overall cost of managing the operations and logistics required to publish, ship, and sell the material to hobbyists. Not only that, but players would probably be happy with their favorite nerd company taking this much needed step into the modern era the rest of us are living in.
The steady revenue stream brought in by this service would probably be pretty substantial. In fact, lets looks at Reddit for an idea. Specifically r/WarhammerCompetitive. These guys are not representative of the entire player base of 40k (there are likely FAR more customers than that), BUT its almost certain that the vast majority of the redditors who are in that community have all purchased the required books for tournament play and would probably be the most likely to pay for and use such a service. So lets do some quick mathammer. At the time of this writing there are 23,844 members on the competitive subreddit. If GW charged a monthly rate between $5-$10, we’d be looking at approximately $119.2k-$238.4k (Or £91.5k-£183.1k for our British overlords). That’s going to be well over a cool million every single year, before factoring in the costs to maintain/staff this project of course. Remember, this is a pretty conservative estimate as it only includes the members from a single subreddit. The number of paying customers would likely be far higher and its not even including the previously mentioned sales of digital publications and expansions.

What do you think? Are these ravings of a mad capitalist, high on the fumes of his Citadel brand plastic glue? Or is Games Workshop missing out on a huge opportunity to make their players happy (as well as their shareholders rich)?

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Maybe we should just wait for the limited edition 9th ed. rulebook instead

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