Saving Throw Posted February 21, 2008 Report Share Posted February 21, 2008 The internet is changing game publishing in a big way. PDFs dont go away the way print publications do. I have a boatload of old print RPGs.... Powers & Perils, Bunnies & Burrows, Tunnels & Trolls.... it was a very special time. All of them are print and I'm the only one that will 'benefit' from them. If I leave the market I take my games with me and new games dont have to compete against the old. PDFs are different. They take up virtually no space, labour or upkeep. They can be sold as cheaply as you can transfer any file. Today a new game competes with every previous pdf that has never left the market. I think the results are a general depression in the sale price of RPGs. In many cases there is always a 'free' option available to players. To turn players from the free option companies have to lower their prices or raise their hype. In that sense we are seeing the Twilight of the old market. The D20 license sped up this process. It reduced the market value (We are not talking quality in any of this) of every game that wasn't D20. It generated hype for itself mostly by making it easier for people to publish in the one system with clear legal and publishing guidelines. It soaked up a lot of talent. Just look at Monte Cook - who wrote some great Role Master modules - and consider that every one of his fans recently Ptolus etc... has been a supporter of D20. Had he continued to write for a competing company Ptolus might be a Rolemaster or Runequest project. With its marketing clout it tied up paper distribution channels - Chapters\Indigo by me has almost no non WOTC RPG products - and starved other game companies. I think the market wants to move to a 'lingua franca' for role playing games. The Pen & Paper role playing market has shrunk, especially considering the game market has grown (Think computer games here). A shared language for adventures so that you can enjoy them like novels. Good adventures will still sell but competition is more fierce. Even its profits from this successful strategy have not made it content. I think fundamentally that WOTC is too demanding for the shrinking market. Some say this was TSRs flaw too. It needs to generate new sales every month to sustain itself but most players won't buy new books every month and the number of players doesn't grow fast enough. I don't think most purchasers (You dear reader are not necessarily included in this) have read their gaming publications very closely at all. The average RPGer would get more out of staying home with his old books than going out to buy more. So the market leader sees a decline in sales & profitability. The competitors are pinched for market space if they don't publish D20 material. Faced with a uniform market, I think players start to think of RPG gaming as vanilla. So what is a sustainable business model for RPGs? What is tenacious enough that it will keep producing material for ever and ever? I think the new model demands a very stripped down almost non profit approach. There is almost no money in game publishing because games are a luxury that few people will pay for especially given so many free options. Rather than Wizards of the Coast we have a new Strategic Review. Publishing has never been cheaper. People have never been more connected and shared authorship has never been more easy. The internet sets new rules and find new players. The new market demands a lingua franca. That was to be D20, I think it should be anything else. It needs to be something that no one company controls. Anyway, Thats my .02 This is off the cuff so its a little disorganized (I apologize) Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.