Games Workshop is preparing to launch Warhammer Plus, a niche subscription streaming service for fans of the sprawling, lore-dense Warhammer universe (or rather, universes: the sci-fi world of Warhammer 40,000, and fantasy setting of Warhammer Age of Sigmar). The company now says Warhammer Plus will not only be available on iOS and Android through a number of dedicated apps, but also on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku services.
The launch comes at a rather awkward time for Games Workshop, given that some fans are currently boycotting the firm after a recent change to its intellectual property policy. Warhammer 40k in particular has an extremely vocal and active fanbase (check out r/Grimdank for a taste) that produce memes, cosplays, and fan animations. But Games Workshop recently said it is now taking a “zero tolerance” approach to unauthorized uses of its IP, meaning fan films “are only to be created under licence from Games Workshop.”
The change understandably angered a lot of fans, particularly when popular creator Bruva Alfabussa shut down his long-running Warhammer 40k YouTube show, If The Emperor Had a Text-To-Speech Device, rather than face potential legal repercussions. It seems like a bit of a self-defeating move for Games Workshop, considering how the work of fans helps to draw people into Warhammer, and ultimately buy its tabletop figures and video games.
It’s also hard not to draw a line between the change in policy and the new Warhammer Plus streaming service, which includes a number of new animation series. Though, despite the annoyance of same fans, many admit the service seems like decent value for money.
For $5.99 / £4.99 a month (or $59.99 / £49.99 a year), subscribers will get access to a swathe of content, including a free miniature, which would cost upwards of $30 by itself:
- TV shows like Citadel Colour Masterclass for teaching model painting techniques, Loremasters to dive into official Warhammer lore, and Battle Report, which follows tournament-style tabletop battles in the Warhammer TV studio.
- Animations like Angels of Death and Hammer and Bolter.
- Premium access to the games’ official companion apps, Warhammer 40,000: The App and Warhammer Age of Sigmar, which include rulebooks, FAQs, and the Battle Forge army builder.
- The Warhammer Vault, which includes official novelizations and the whole back catalogue of White Dwarf magazine.
- A free exclusive miniature, with subscribers able to choose from a Vindicare Assassin or an Orruk Megaboss, with the option to buy the other later on.
The irony is that Warhammer Plus will also include an animation series called Astartes, which started life as a fan animation, shared on YouTube and racking up millions of views, before Games Workshop offered its creator, Syama Pedersen, a job. By stifling such fan creativity in the future, is the company shooting itself in the foot with a bolter? If so, it’ll definitely lose the leg.