In 1999, Pokémon arrived in the UK and quickly gained popularity among children. A rumor began to circulate that the success of Pokémon had nearly caused Games Workshop, a company known for the Warhammer franchise, to collapse. Curious about this claim, the author decided to investigate.
Upon examining Games Workshop's financial reports, the author discovered remarks made by the chairman, Tom Kirby, who described the year as “disappointing” and referenced “loose talk” regarding the company's health. Further investigation led to a statement made by the CEO, Chris Prentice, in which he mentioned “toy fads” affecting the company's sales and the decline of their younger customer base.
Although Prentice did not explicitly mention Pokémon, the author believed it was the most likely “toy fad” being referred to. However, the financial reports did not show any significant decline in sales or profits. In fact, they showed a steady increase.
To gather more information, the author contacted individuals who had worked at Games Workshop during that time. Some employees recalled children buying Pokémon cards from a nearby newsagent and the store having to set rules about not playing Pokémon inside or outside of the premises. Others mentioned people asking to buy Pokémon cards at the store, which they did not sell.
Despite these anecdotes, the consensus among former employees was that Pokémon did not have a significant impact on Games Workshop's overall business.
In conclusion, while there may have been some minor disruption caused by Pokémon, it seems that Games Workshop was not brought to its knees as the initial rumor suggested. The author's investigation did not find concrete evidence to support the claim, and former employees stated that Pokémon did not have a meaningful effect on the company.
– SM:TV show
– Games Workshop financial records