Rumor Lock-Downs and Peculiar Announcement Strategies

Now as you may have heard Games Workshop is currently on a rumour lockdown as a result of the early leaking of the Imperial Knights. Now apparently they were hoping to keep this under wraps so to increase the impact of their announcement in White Dwarf Weekly Issue 4. Unfortunately for them images and details of the Knights had been making their rounds across the internet for nearly 2 weeks prior to their official announcement. In response to this they have severely cracked down on any information getting to the outside world.

The leaked cover on White Dwarf Weekly 4
Are rumours drying up?

It seems that we may be starting to feel the effects of this with very little information regarding releases in mid to late March being released. Usual sources such as 40k Radio and Faeit have only had snippets of info recently, with most of this coming from early access to White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer Visions. But what effect does this lockdown really have on GW and the Warhammer community? Well it only serves to cripple any hype being built by upcoming releases. Now this got me thinking about what else GW do badly when it comes to new releases.

We need more than a weeks notice.

Well to really get to grips with how peculiar GWs announcement strategy is think of it in another way. When you hear about a new film, video game, album or TV show do you hear about it the week before its release? No you are aware of it long before this, several years ahead in some cases. The success of these products relies on building hype and exposure, announcing them nice an early gives the target customers plenty of time to become aware of the new product. It will also expand the audience and, especially in the case of the Imperial Knights, allow them to save money for the new product. Announcing something a week before only serves to put people off buying at release.
The most recent preview is from Warhammer Visions
Why the lack of previews?

Let’s take the Imperial Knight, had Games Workshop announced this in early January they could have really pushed to product to us. GW stores could have had pre-view models that people could see and even use in some in store games. This would have not only given people a reason to visit GW stores again but also get them excited about owning a Knight. They could have seen the rules in action and decided if it was right for them rather than erring on the side of caution and waiting a few months until after release.

In Summary

Well those were my thoughts on the rather odd announcement strategy Games Workshop take. I have thought long and hard and can see no advantage to only announcing products a week in advance of release. In addition to this they shouldn’t restrict rumours (where they do not leak rules), but rather encourage them and take advantage of the free publicity provided by forums and sites such as Faeit 212. By playing their cards close to their chest they only serve to alienate their customers who are, after all, what keep them in business.