It’s been a day and now pretty much everyone already knows about the latest blow dealt by Games Workshop against its own costumer base outside Europe.
If you haven’t heard it yet I’ll summarize it for you: GW has enacted new terms and conditions to independent retailers located in Europe thus preventing said stores from selling to costumers outside the European Union.
Therefore, like the true empires of yore, Games Workshop is dictating who can buy its products and which prices each costumer should pay. I might be getting something wrong here but isn’t that plainly illegal? Shouldn’t prices be determined by the market itself? Shouldn’t the costumer buy from those who offer better prices and service? In the end, shouldn’t the choices pertaining my hobby be entrusted to the sole interested person, and by that I mean me!
I have to admit being in a mild state of shock since yesterday. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that I have been alienated from the hobby which has occupied a great deal of my time and thoughts over the course of the last 13 years.
I should point out I live in Brazil. The gaming community here is pretty spread apart and even if there were stores carrying GW products at reasonable prices here, which there aren’t, ’d still have to travel an average 1.500 Kilometers to get to them, so it should come as no surprise that buying online has been my main source of models over the years.
Before going any further I should profess that, even though I don’t condone GW’s way of doing business I am a hardcore fan of the games the company produces and of the fictional universes such games are in. I understand GW holds the IP rights over all its creations but one thing should be clear to them, these games and fictional universes are as much ours as they are theirs. We, as gamers, and readers and fans, have invested as much commitment to the game as GW itself, but, without being paid a single penny for it.
Plain and simple I believe this new policy being enforced by GW is wrong in the sense that it alienates its costumers and goes against our consumer rights as it prevents me, as a costumer, to buy choosing the best price offered. Not only that but it also goes against the established market economy and perverts basic economy tenets like free trade, supply and demand and competitive markets. I wouldn’t be surprised if people found out these new terms enacted by GW are in breach of international antitrust and competition laws.
There’s been some criticism about my choice of words for when we first broke out the rumours about the incoming “surprise” GW had for us. Some claimed “Embargo” was too strong a word to describe the situation. I have to answer such criticism by pointing out “Embargo” is indeed the word best suited to describe what’s going on right now.
According to Wikipedia, and other dictionaries, an “Embargo” constitutes a “… partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it”. Well, pardon my french, but that’s exactly what Games Workshop is doing when it enforces a policy prohibiting independent stores from selling to costumers located in countries outside the E.U..
It is my firm belief that Games Workshop could learn a lot by studying the errors of its countrymen from the past, namely those involved in the episodes which went down in history books as “The Stamp Act of 1765” and “The Boston Tea Party”. As for me and the hobby I’ve dedicated myself to in over 13 years. Well I have to admit being hurt and still having not clearly decided which way to go. More on that soon.
Over and out.