Sunday, 17 February 2013

plus c'est la même chose

It's always reassuring to know that some things never change.

Thus after my sojourn from wargaming and modelling I was pleased to see that GW is still the bogeyman of wargaming, with everyone reacting hysterically to everything the company does.

The company has taken down it's Facebook page and withdrawn from Twitter, apparently in response to the outcry surrounding Spots, the Space Marine.

As we know not having a Facebook page is a sign that you are a potential terrorist, and not having a Twitter account is a sign that you have an agent who is actually working for their 10%. But apparently in the topsy turvey world of the internet angry brigade, it is a cardinal sin because it breaks the accepted wisdom that in the digital age everybody should have the right to vent their spleen at everyone else; which in the wider world usually involves blaming the Jews.

It is all about building 'communities' don't yah know.

Which to be frank is complete and utter bollocks.

If you google Dunbar Number you will find that the ideal size for a community is between 100 and 150 members, which flies in the face of Facebook and Twitter 'communities' which resemble nothing so much as the Los Angeles numpties that promote them - i.e. the aim is to build as wide a circle of 'friends' as possible and then demonstrate your social status by ignoring as many of them as possible.

Now call me old fashioned but I don't want to have a relationship with a company - indeed only last week I was rather curt with some woman from the bank who pestered me for the best part of the week wanting to know what I thought of their service. The only contact I require with a company, once I have purchased the product, is that they replace it if something goes wrong.

But to go back for a moment, I am intrigued to know why Spots, the Space Marine was chosen. Looking at the airbrush art on the printed copy of the book, my first thought was the estate of CS Lewis would be after the writer. But I found myself wondering if there was something in the book that led to the Trademark claim, beyond the title and the sci-fi subject matter; because Trademark, rightly, exists to protect the consumer from confusion (or horsemeat ;)). The fact that Games Workshop backed down, suggests that there was not - which further suggests that the way in which the affair was generated was via google; and possibly via an online image consultant (bloggers with a hit counter will no doubt have come across such companies).

However given that Games Workshop are currently engaged in a legal battle with Chapterhouse, and have run into difficulties elsewhere with regard to trademarks, which in turn have led to the much criticised policy of blackouts with regard to new releases, one can perhaps sympathise with their position - especially given the large amount of fan fiction relating to their various game universes, and the easy access to monitising these works via the Kindle.

Or not, if you are the type to jump on the 'GW bullying again' bandwagon.

Perhaps the most curious stick the hate brigade have dredged up to beat the company with is an editorial by Ian Livingstone in a 1978 White Dwarf. It laments the costs of licensing products, (another cause for dis-satisfaction from the anti-types being the price paid for the Lord of the Rings licence) and is an interesting read, but can hardly be described as relevant seeing as Livingstone sold the company years ago. It's the equivalent of criticising Nokia for no longer making decent rubber boots.

What those choosing to drag up the past fail to mention is that back then Games Workshop was criticised for being expensive, exclusive and not listening to it's customers, plus ca change.

Still, as I say it is nice to see that the various 'communities' continue to rant against the company - oblivious to what the company is actually saying - that it's games are about narrative, role playing (to an extent), and they are not about to tell people how they should be playing their games.

And thus they find themselves in the position of the benign and liberal parent trying to deal with angry and confused offspring up past their bedtime.


No comments:

Post a Comment