So, White Dwarf as we have always known it, has ended. We got the official announcement yesterday after weeks of speculation and rumours that our well-aged monthly hobby magazine has had its last issue.
In its place though, we are getting two new magazines, White Dwarf Weekly and the supposedly mammoth monthly Warhammer Visions. So what will these be like? Will we see twin phoenixes rise from the old Dwarf’s ashes, or are we getting stiffed?
Well, we won’t know until February 1st when both new publications will have their first issues revealed. WDW (am I the first to use this new acronym? Probably not, but I’ll totoally claim it) will:
“contain everything that’s new and exciting in the hobby that week, from news and information on all the week’s other new releases, to new columnists, interviews, painting, modelling, game rules and much more. And the price? The same as a pot of your favourite Citadel paint.”
While, according to the GW website, WVs (First! 😉 ) will be:
“a completely new monthly magazine, also from the White Dwarf team. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before and this super high-quality visual feast weighs in at a whopping 236 pages, each and every month.”
In a couple of weeks, we’ll get our first look at the future of GW publishing, but I have a few thoughts to share prior to this because, well, this is my blog and it would be pretty pointless if I had no thoughts or opinions to offer, right?
Way back when… *cue harp music and everything going black and white*
169. This was the first issue of White Dwarf that I ever bought. That makes me feel old, considering that we’re now on… wait, do they even have numbers now? It wasn’t the first one I ever read, but it was the first one that I ever bought with more than two weeks of my own pocket money!!
Let me give you some context, this issue featured:
• A free cardboard bunker (can you imagine getting one of these now?)
• The first appearance of the Bjorn The Fell-Handed Dreadnought model.
• Full colour! Still relatively new for WD in them days.
• The Battle report was Man O’War. MAN.O.WAR. If that doesn’t date it…
The odd thing about it was, people hated White Dwarf’s ‘new look’ back then. They cried that it had lost a lot of what made White Dwarf great because it had just started to be a sales piece. Sound familiar? Well, there weren’t blogs and internet forums back then (the web was still in its infancy) but there was plenty of bitching about WD in the GW that I used to frequent. I distinctly remember some of the oldies (like 20 year olds – I was about 10 I think – if that!) arguing and deriding the ‘new’ White Dwarf.
Nowadays, we hear a lot more of that. The internet is awash with forums, blogs and more about how ‘new’ White Dwarf isn’t as good as it was. The point of that little stroll down memory lane was to illustrate that the grumbling is nothing new, and that, as with all things, we humans are not so good at dealing with change. I fully expect a wealth of rants and diatribes regarding the new publications, regardless of whether they meat our demands or not. I will give it a while to bed in and become part of the routine before I have at it.
Marketing Men, and Dwarves
When I look at this move with my Marketing hat on (yes, I am one of the evil ones who makes you buy stuff), this is a really clever move. We, as hobbyists, are clamouring for new content all of the time, and a weekly fix will be enjoyed by many. And the mammoth monthly mag will ensure that, between the two, all areas are covered.
What’s more, calling the big one “Warhammer Visions” and with it available in WH Smiths and Newsagents across the country (and indeed the world) is a great trick. People know what “Warhammer” and “Games Workshop” are, but “White Dwarf” doesn’t necessarily convey that it is part of the same hobby to the casual observer. ‘Unless you know, you don’t know’ sort of thing. This will put the word “Warhammer” in front of eyes all over the world belonging to people who are not hobbyists but, crucially, could be hobbyists. Cunning move indeed. Brand and product awareness drives business in such a big way, increasing your new customer levels and ultimately revenue. What’s more, put that word on the front of a big, glossy and professionally produced tome full of awesomeness, and you’re reinforcing your reputation for quality too.
Sorry, when the ol’ marketing brain gets going, it tends to drone on a bit. But what I’m saying basically is that this could be a very good tool to get the Hobby in the face of more people and that is a good thing, providing they spend money.
One interesting aspect to the announcement was the lack of confirmation relating to digital edition support. I’ve been reading White Dwarf on my iPad now for some time, and I think the format has worked wonderfully. However, there’s no mention of either WDW or WVs appearing on either apple or android devices. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when they roll out, unless we get some info beforehand from GW themselves.
Personally, given GW’s move to embrace all things digital, I would be shocked to not see it supported, but the lack of confirmation is intriguing.
Rumour Mongers thwarted!?
WDW will supposedly deal with new releases, but what will a now weekly schedule to this publication mean? Weekly releases!? Maybe. Also, will the same printers be used to create these magazines? These sort of changes are often brought about new printers being given the contracts, having pitched the potential of their capabilities over those of the previous contract holders. Rumour sites may need to start looking for new sources in the future. Of course, there’s always the argument that the rumours help GW by drumming up interest in new releases, and some believe that these rumours are initially spread from within the sombre halls of GW HQ anyway. But either way, it’ll be interesting seeing how this affects all of the hobby gossip and leaks in the coming months.
Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to seeing the new incarnations of a magazine that has been a great staple of the Hobby for so many years now. Here’s hoping that we get the publications that we all want.
What do you think about the changes? Worried? Excited? Happy? Sad? Sleepy? Comments below please!
==][== UPDATE ==][==
Games Workshop have confirmed that both White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer Visions will both be available in digital formats. You can read their announcement here along with some FAQs for subscribers.