This week Games Workshop is releasing Death from the Skies, a compendium/update of all of the rules for flyers in 40k.
The release of this book shows that Games Workshop is doubling down on making players pay for rules with no (legal) workaround.
From my perspective, this is just absolutely bonkers. I am not going to buy this book. I already have the rules for the Stormraven (Blood Angels codex), and I have the rules for the Stormtalon because I got lucky and have the WD.
Games Workshop makes miniatures. They should try to sell miniatures. If I wanted to start a new army because I like how some miniatures look, there is now a $50 dollar barrier of entry due to needing to buy the rules for that army.
Personally, I’m less likely to use my limited budget on a book in order to start a new army. If that barrier went from $50 to $0, suddenly I am a lot more likely to spend that $50 on starting a new army, and then probably another $100 on more models for that army. That’s just me.
The same principle goes for any rules supplements they are charging for. If I don’t have the rules for a Stormtalon, and the barrier from having the rules is $35, I’m less likely to buy the model, and then you have negated my spending any money at all.
It seems extra stupid that they would release a rules compendium like this that has only a few pages of rules that are useful for any given player. The average “hobbyist” probably only has 2-3 armies at most, so the incentive to buy a book where 70% of the content does not apply to them is low.
I know this probably won’t ever happen, but if GW actually lowered the cost of rules to $0, we would all probably impulse buy/start far more armies than we currently do, and spending on miniatures is almost always more appealing.
Look at Corvus Belli and Infinity. The basic rules are free, which means you are free to buy from any faction you like, meaning you are free to give them your money with no initial barrier. And hey, they still sell rulebooks because they have tons of interesting background material. Now, I’d hazard to say that GW has about one million times more background material to work with, and if they put up the basic rules/stats for armies for free, they would:
1. Sell more models
2. Still sell rule books because lots of 40k players like to read about background. Granted, they would sell fewer of them, but I’m pretty sure that would more than be compensated for by increase in sales of miniatures.
My 2 cents.