Games Workshop’s new Warhammer 40k Lion El’Jonson model went on pre-order on Saturday morning, and competition to get hold of the Space Marine Primarch was intense. According to reports posted online by disappointed fans, massive traffic crashed the Games Workshop webstore; the model is now sold out, with scalpers reselling copies on eBay at a substantial markup.
Pre-orders opened on the UK webstore at 5am EST / 10am BST. The new products available were: The Lion’s Guard, a boxset containing the Dark Angels Primarch and a squad of three Space Marine Bladeguard veterans; the limited edition Son of the Forest, the first Warhammer 40k book to feature the Primarch; and Arks of Omen – The Lion, the last in a series of narrative expansions to 40k that set the stage for Warhammer 40k 10th edition.
Demand was extremely high, and many customers were unable to access the website. Some experienced a 503 error. The 503 code indicates a web server is either down for maintenance, or is unable to respond to the user because it is receiving more requests than it can handle.
Multiple listings for the Lion model and Son of the Forest have already appeared on eBay, at substantial markups.
The official Warhammer twitter account announced that the Lion would be available as an individual model “in the next few weeks”.
Many would-be customers who had hoped to acquire one or more of the new Dark Angels products took to social media to vent their frustration.
The high demand for the Lion made some pre-planned advertising campaigns painfully ironic, as they sent out emails and social media posts after the products they advertised were sold out.
Earlier, independent gaming stores reported that GW was failing to supply sufficient pre-order stock of new products in time for launch weekend. That was attributed to difficulties with new warehousing systems rather than extreme demand.
In January we reported that Games Workshop has a $6 million webstore relaunch planned for Summer 2023. That news came from Games Workshop’s half-year financial report, in which the firm acknowledged that IT systems and infrastructure are “currently holding [GW] back”.
It’s likely there will be very high demand for the launch of Warhammer 40k 10th edition. Games Workshop may well be planning for this: when Warhammer Age of Sigmar 3rd edition launched, Games Workshop had produced so much of the Dominion launch box set that it was ultimately sold at a deep discount by retailers who needed to clear stock.