The Hobbit: An Unexpected Price Hike
We’re only a couple of weeks out from the worldwide release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Games Workshop have finally broken their license-enforced silence to announce a range of models based on the first film.
As expected, these models are heavily inspired by how their respective characters appear in the film, and they are some of the best looking (and realistically scaled) models GW has produced for some time. It’s not all second breakfasts and half pints of ale, however. These models come with amazingly high price tags – especially for those of us living outside the UK.
Here is an example: the plastic kit for The Trolls retails for 50GPB in the UK, while here in NZ it is a whopping $165. That’s $165 for three large, fairly plain models on 60mm bases and a small campfire, all in plastic. That is stupidly expensive.
There are a couple of factors that might account for this price. Firstly, GW probably paid a whopping amount to get, and keep, the license to produce the model range. It’s possible they’re passing on the extra cost of the license to the consumers through higher prices. Secondly, gamers are unlikely to ever purchase more than one copy of The Trolls. They are all considered ‘special characters’ and are likely to have limited use outside of the particular scenario designed for them. Because of this, their price goes up to offset their expected lower sales totals.
That’s all fine and good (to a degree), but that still doesn’t explain why gamers in NZ are having to pay an extra premium on these models. As I’ve mentioned before, GW still use exchange rates from over a decade ago when calculating their foreign pricing. To highlight how skewed the pricing has become I took the pricing for The Hobbit range (except for the rulebook) from the USA, Australia, and New Zealand and converted it, using the current exchange rates, to British Pounds. The results are a little shocking:
And because a box full of numbers can be a little hard for some to read, here it is as a graph:
As you can see, American prices are pretty much on a par with those in the UK, with some models being slightly more expensive and others slightly cheaper. Meanwhile, prices in Australia and New Zealand are considerably higher, almost double those in the UK and US. This is plainly ridiculous. We’ve known for some time that we are getting taken for a ride, and this data clearly shows that.
I tried contacting Games Workshop to see if they had any comment on this disparity, but unsurprisingly I have had no response. The only option left is to either call up their HQ in Australia or walk into a store here and ask them in person. Neither of which I’ll do as I have gotten to the point where I simply don’t care any more. I was hopeful that The Hobbit range would be excellent, and it is. The models look great, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the two remaining movies, but I won’t be buying a single miniature from them. I’m happy to pay a small premium, but this too much.
In fact, I encourage you to do the same thing. Don’t buy these models. Take your kids (if you have any) to see the movie (again). Buy a copy of the book. Buy the Lego toys. Just don’t buy anything from Games Workshop. That may be the only way to send them a message that this sort of pricing has to stop.