A quick google suggests a 3D printer is currently available for a mere £15,000. Hmm.. OK, that's a lot of money, but, like any technology it'll start to come down. And I was wondering, does this have implications for our hobby?
Why accept the costs of manufacturing, packaging and distributing figures if you can sell the template for people to print their own in their own home?
You the user would browse the wyrd web site, think, hmm.. I like that one, click a button, order it, receive the template there and then and have a figure 5 minutes later.
|Mini figure 3d printed. image by Creative Tools|
Also, for those that aren't painting fans, colour 3d printers are also available. Perhaps before too long they will be sophisticated enough to print colour well enough that you could buy a colour template and not need to paint the figure afterwards?
There would need to be a method of limiting the number of times you could print a template. GW aren't going to sell you one orc template and watch you print off 200 of the blighters are they?
Not sure if figure prices would be cheaper for the consumer or not, the manufacturer could reduce their prices as they'd have no manufacturing costs, no distribution costs and no packaging costs. However consumers would need raw materials, and the printer of course.
There are of course implications for game stores too. They sell plenty of things beyond figures, but this could make a dent.
But, at the end of the day, maybe this is all just a rambling pipe dream.
These printers are still very expensive, it might cause too much of an upheaval to the industry, and lets face it, it hasn't happened in an area it could have done already.. the books and manuals our games rely on.
What do you think? Let me know.