Tau Delayed / Sold Out

The pre-order page for the Tau displays the following. Note I've put in bold those items on the list that are collections.
"For European customers:

Due to exceptional demand for Tau Empire miniatures, any orders that contain the following products will not be fulfilled until Monday 8th April at the earliest:

Tau Empire One-Click Launch Collection
Tau Battlesuit Collection
Farsight Enclave
Tau Recon Team

Shadowsun Firestrike Hunter Cadre
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit
Cadre Fireblade
Commander Farsight
XV8 Battlesuit Commander
Darkstrider
Longstrike

Note that if your order contains other products, they will be delayed until these Tau Empire miniatures are back in stock and your items can be sent together. Orders that were placed before 4pm on Tuesday 2nd April are not affected.

For those of you who urgently desire to join the cause for the Greater Good, head to your local Hobby Centre this Saturday - they will have limited numbers of these Tau Empire miniatures in stock."

I recieved the following email this morning from Dark Sphere, which gives a snapshot of how this will knock on to independent stockists
"Dear Customers,
Late yesterday afternoon we were informed that due to an unpredicted level of demand, Games Workshop are unlikely to be able to supply many of the new Tau models due for launch this Saturday.
According to a conversation we had with Games Workshop's Trade Department, virtually the entire range of Tau is now out of stock. Games Workshop's own site has removed the launch date and put an expected one to two week wait on these products. 
A small part of the range (mainly the new Tau Codex) are unaffected and we should still receive significant quantities of these in time for Saturday; some of the others (e.g. Hammerhead) we still expect to receive this week but we will be unable to reorder additional stock for a small period. Unfortunately, the most popular new products (e.g. Riptide Battlesuit, new XV8 Commander and Commander Shadowsun) are in such high demand that instead of the hundreds that we requested we are likely to only end up with a handful, if any, for release day. 
Based on current Games Workshop estimates we expect Riptides to be available in proper numbers around 19th April. In the mean time we have shifted the release date for those products to the 19th April since the stock shortage effectively pushes the release back to then.  Any stock we receive in the meantime will be allocated in date order, so the earliest orders get the priority since they will be the customers who have been waiting the longest.
We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience that this delay may cause and assure you that any frustration or disbelief you are experiencing is matched by all the staff at Dark Sphere."
This is the first time that I've ever seen GW stuff up a launch day, which begs the question of what's different about this release. The list is covers a fair chunk of the new releases, with the focus being on the new Battlesuits. The new flyer is clearly not experiencing the same sort of demand (or GW has more of it in stock).  It's interesting that they're pulled the Tau Recon Team, which contains Pathfinders and a Hammerhead, but not the Pathfinder box. Likewise the Farsight Enclave collection only has Farsight as a truly new model (and the shoulder pad set).  I'm not reading much into the other collections being listed (in terms of their own popularity), as all contain the Ripetide.

Are Tau seeing a huge amount of interest, or have GW underestimated how popular they are already? If they simply take date from recent in store sales I can see that it would be skewed heavily in favour of other forces, especially new releases, but surely this is something they account for as it's the case with every release.

In terms of the larger timing of things within the games industry, the Zombicide 2 Kickstarter has just closed, which has surely taken a chunk out of a few gaming budgets, but clearly not enough (despite making over $2mill) to pull people away from GW for a month.

It's a testament to GW's efficiency that this hasn't happened before, and hopefully this will be the only time we see it.

Any news from other territories about this?

2 comments:

  1. Perhaps they misjudged the fact that sales of Tau have been pretty weak for a while, predominantly because they have been apparently fairly rubbish in-game. I know at one point I considered getting some (I love the idea of the suits!), but on investigation found people so upset with how rubbish they were I held off (I'm used to a large level of whining, but this was abnormally whiney even for the internet). Perhaps many similarly minded folk have decided that the new codex will make them fun to play as well as fun and distinctive to look at?

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    1. It's quiet possible. Which way things will swing with the second Hobbit film way down the line, will be the next acid test that jumps out at me, although High Elves might see a jump in interest, give the excitement around the leaked picture.

      I wonder if the full release schedule we've seen recently is starting to catch up with them and they just can't keep up the levels of production needed, and the Tau shaped lull just hasn't materialised. Next month will confirm that I suppose if release dates seem out of synch with White Dwarf.

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