As has been mentioned on ENWorld, West End Games owner Eric Gibson has apparently decided to sell the company. After assuming control of WEG five years ago, it seems that economic difficulties have caused the cancellation of Bill Coffin’s Septimus. Fans of WEG have been inquiring about for a while, which is likely adding to stress levels at the company – and has led to a rather angry proclamation on the WEG Forums and another at RPGnet. The questions linger: does the nature of the tabletop game industry lend itself to early burnout for publishers (ala the original Hogshead Publishing)? Do game fans expect too much from companies with limited means? Or is it more that creative individuals struggle with creating solid business plans, much like
I’m sorry to see WEG go, and I certainly feel for its owner and fans. It is the case that many fans have unrealistic notions of gaming companies — they think a nicely printed book and a business card equate to dozens of well-paid employees, money in the bank and pension plans. Actually, you can count those gaming companies on one hand and have a few digits left over.
Still, hard to be angry with folks who only want their money back…
Just somebody PLEASE get Pinnacle (or Great White Games or whatever they’re calling themselves nowadays) to pick up the rights to convert everything over to Savage Worlds PLEASE. All the rumors I’m hearing is SJG is interested but I’m definitely NOT interested in GURPS Torg.
I’m also sorry to see WEG go. I have very fond memories of playing TORG and was happy
to hear that someone stepped up to bring the company back from the dead.
I don’t know that I agree that fans have unrealistic notions about gaming companies. After
all, many (if not most) small businesses of all types are able to manage the basics of customer
service–responding to customer inquiries, shipping product on schedule, honoring warranties,
etc. I suspect most people in the hobby understand that RPG publishers aren’t making
hookers-and-blow money, but it’s not unrealistic to expect a business to respond to you if you
send an email asking where your order is, even if the business is only one guy working out of
his garage on the weekends.
This whole fiasco reminds me of Mark McKinnon and the Guardians of Order debacle. He ticked off
both fans and suppliers by not communicating what was going on. I haven’t followed WEG since
it’s resurrection, but I get the impression that Eric Gibson made a similar mistake, at least
in regards to the Septimus pre-orders. I don’t understand why either of them couldn’t respond to
customer inquiries; lack of response is guaranteed to bring out the worst in your customers.
Especially if you’ve accepted payment.
There’s nothing specifically mentioned, but I couldn’t help notice that Mongoose mentioned the WEG situation in their blog site: http://blog.mongoosepublishing.co.uk/
-Which suggests to me that there might be a possibility the Mongeese grab up some of the WEB IPs. Off hand, I think I’d like that; Mongoose is more likely to embrace older systems without too much tinkering, it seems. Not so sure I’d be as willing to play a version, say, of Torg or Shatterzone that have been modified to fit GURPS or Savage Worlds (although I like both of those systems). Time will tell, I suppose.
We discussed this whole debacle about halfway through last week’s podcast, and even got Joe Goodman of Goodman Games to weigh in on it.
Sethra007: yes, this feels very much like the Guardians of Order collapse and the lack of communication there. Someone stuck in that situation may not want to make contact until they have good news, but eventually one must bite the bullet, make apologies, and not swear at everyone on the way out.