Monday, November 10, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust


WizKids, pioneer in the field of collectible miniatures games, is closing its doors, effective immediately. I don't think this is really a surprise, coming as it does, hot on the heels of the news that WotC was canceling the D&D minis game. As I suspected when Steve Jackson Games announced the changing of Pyramid's format, the hobby games industry is headed for some rough times. This won't be the last announcement of this sort we hear, mark my words.

21 comments:

  1. Eh. I never considered them part of my hobby anyway. Sure, they may have appealed to some of the same nerds, but their main business was never RPGs.

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  2. Eh. I never considered them part of my hobby anyway. Sure, they may have appealed to some of the same nerds, but their main business was never RPGs.

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  3. Just a sign of the times. I mean a good business with a solid business plan is a good business with a solid business plan. I have to wonder what happened to them, I mean they did have the licenses for DC Comics, Marvel Comic and Halo, and they STILL went out of business. That sounds like a internal problem instead of an external one.

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  4. Where did you hear that WOTC was canceling D&D Miniatures? I just checked their website and didn't see anything to that effect.

    Can somebody post a link I can go to on this? Thanks!

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  5. http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4news/20081023

    Note: WotC is canceling the game associated with the minis and is changing the format of the minis themselves (no longer fully randomized), but you will still be able to buy pre-painted plastic minis.

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  6. Thanks for the link.

    Yeah, I understood that it was the game and not the miniatures themselves that was being canceled. I'm just wondering why they ever put out a wargame like that, when the scale was no different from the RPG.

    I had big problems keeping track of every different possible type of action, back when I played 3.5, because my DM bought every single book (including D&D Miniatures) and his brother read all of them and pretty much insisted that we all follow all of the rules all of the time.

    (It's what drove me back to the three little books, actually.)

    So, I'm kinda happy to see it die. And I'm happy that I'll be able to buy the high quality minis without having to buy a dozen sets to get the ones I want.

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  7. Again, gonna disagree with your predictions of doom and gloom here, Mark. I don't necessarily see a boom either, but the downturn will be more in line with the rest of the economy than hard times particular to tabletop RPGs.

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  8. Why are you predicting industry hard times, James? Did I miss the blog entry on that?

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  9. And yet we've got a large number of people at ENWorld insistent that D&D is more popular now than ever before and that we're currently in the Golden Age of rpgs.

    As someone (kellri, maybe?) stated recently, the current economic downturn could actually be very good for traditional pen & paper rpgs because the costs associated with them are so low -- a rulebook or two, a set of funny dice, some pencils and paper and you're set for years of play. Ironically, however, WotC has just finished transforming D&D away from that model towards a subscription-based model (but literally, via DDI, and in a de facto manner with the "new PH, DMG, and MM every year" release model).

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  10. Sad, I do love the mini superheroes hiding in nooks and crannies among my books. To be honest I never saw it coming--the Marvel and DC lines frequently sell out here in the Twin Cities.

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  11. ...also, the Pirates game is immensely fun, when my obnoxiously clumsy fingers aren't crushing the masts. :(

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  12. I don't necessarily see a boom either, but the downturn will be more in line with the rest of the economy than hard times particular to tabletop RPGs.

    Neither do I. My prediction of doom wasn't specific to RPG companies except insofar as they're the only companies I talk about on this blog :) My point was that SJG is one of the better run RPG companies; if it has to adjust to deal with broader economic issues, then others in the industry will too and they'll almost certainly be more drastic than changing the format of an online magazine.

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  13. Why are you predicting industry hard times, James? Did I miss the blog entry on that?

    I made a post where I said I felt the change at Pyramid would presage similar and worse changes at many RPG companies. I didn't mean to single out RPG companies so much as to say that I think, given what SJG, WotC, and now WizKids has done, we're going to see quite a few RPG companies suffer and possibly fall.

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  14. Ironically, however, WotC has just finished transforming D&D away from that model towards a subscription-based model (but literally, via DDI, and in a de facto manner with the "new PH, DMG, and MM every year" release model).

    Yep. The old ways, "bad" as they were in terms of shoring up quarterly financial reports, had the benefit of being sustainable -- perhaps not sustainable for the subsidiary of a huge toy congolmerate, but then D&D was written as a game for hobbyists, not as a franchise/IP mine. I don't think it can be blamed for not being capable of generating the kind of money Hasbro likely expects it to.

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  15. Buh... buh... But they never made Runaways heroclix! Dammit all, man.

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  16. Wizkids can bite me (pardon me :) far as I am concerned. I bought a supposedly "convention exclusive" Cthulhu horrorclix from a reseller for a lot of money about a year back, only to find out 5 months later that they were available for $80 retail. Nice move. I think I knew then that they were going to be around for very long...

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  17. You know, my father always used to say that the one business that thrived during the hard times was the liquor business...

    I'd like to add to that: The two things that thrive during economic hard times are liquor stores and hobbies. (Not game businesses, hobbies. Two different things...as James has said a few different times.)

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  18. Well, even though I am someone who is not particulary strapped economically right now (stay-at-home Dad, i.e., homemaker, wife is an appointed State official), I'd have to guess that is correct. I'm liquored up (hey, it's a holiday! Veteran's Day in US, that and Remembrance Day for JM), and I'm commenting as a hobby, LOL.

    Actually, my worst fear in these economic times is that I'll receive an e-mail from my favorite game store (Days of Knights in Newark, DE, only 60 miles away, hoooray!) that they're going out of business. I hereby swear on the day that I receive that e-mail I will leverage every last iota of capital I have to buy them out and continue the dream..

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  19. Honestly? Dont care. Never liked the collectable minis model, having already went that route once in the early days of magic the gathering.

    good ridence as far as I'm concerned.

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  20. To be fair, their minis looked bloody awful. The one time I saw them I thought they looked worse than Games Workshop ones had looked thirty years ago.

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  21. Doesn't the article indicate that Topps expects to find new homes for the Clix lines "without noticeable disruption"? The piece reads like an internal realignment to focus on "core business," not a declaration that Wizkids is unsuccessful. They seem to think the lines still have considerable value.

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