PF Question for the Paizo folks regarding D&D's state of today
Page 1 of 8 12345678 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 76
  1. #1

    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)



    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    2,224

    Question for the Paizo folks regarding D&D's state of today

    Some time ago Erik Mona insinuated over here that the strong and healthy presence of the D&D brand in the market was fundamental for the well-being of the tabletop rpg industry.

    I am curious if Paizo retains the same opinion as of today.

    I am also curious what would they think for that matter if D&D's rpg business shifted to a mostly digital affair.

  2. #2

    Lama (Lvl 13)



    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hayward, CA
    Posts
    2,352
    I read an article that Steve Jackson a couple of years ago that said kind of the same thing--that a strong D&D presence is essentially good for the rpg industry. The rationale is that with the large audience for D&D, sooner or later some will become disenchanted by the brand and switch to other games.

  3. #3

    Magsman (Lvl 14)



    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Chester County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,806
    I don't think Pathfinder is ready to become the forefront of the RPG world yet. However, I imagine that they are working towards that goal in the future.

  4. #4

    Magsman (Lvl 14)

    DaveMage's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    6,787
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSomething View Post
    I don't think Pathfinder is ready to become the forefront of the RPG world yet. However, I imagine that they are working towards that goal in the future.
    It will be interesting to watch either way.

  5. #5

    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sand Point Way (NE Seattle)
    Posts
    1,164
    Quote Originally Posted by xechnao View Post
    Some time ago Erik Mona insinuated over here that the strong and healthy presence of the D&D brand in the market was fundamental for the well-being of the tabletop rpg industry.

    I am curious if Paizo retains the same opinion as of today.

    I am also curious what would they think for that matter if D&D's rpg business shifted to a mostly digital affair.
    I would be surprised if that opinion changed. In most of the cahin bookstores (like Barne's and Noble), the D&D books are the "anchor" of the RPG section. Having a strong line to justify the existence of this section makes the possibility of other RPGs (mlost notably Pathfinder) being present for discovery by the general public.

    I suspect that the subscription models (digital or not) are actually going to be a challenge to the growth of the hobby. After all, seeing cool looking books in the store was the way that I discovered non-mainstream role playing games.

  6. #6

    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Algonquin, Illinois 60102
    Posts
    70
    While a healthy D&D is beneficial to the industry, I don't think it is fundamental to its health any longer.

    And unless WOTC gets it together soon, we might all be in the uncomfortable position of putting the above theory to the test

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by xechnao View Post
    Some time ago Erik Mona insinuated over here that the strong and healthy presence of the D&D brand in the market was fundamental for the well-being of the tabletop rpg industry.

    I am curious if Paizo retains the same opinion as of today.
    Yeah, pretty much. To the great unwashed, D&D and tabletop RPG is synonymous. I suspect more people come into the hobby because they want to play D&D (or have simply heard of D&D) than come into it because they like the idea of pretending to be a hero, or to play any other game.

    It's the acquisition arm of the RPG industry, essentially. It's also a major anchor of the RPG business in hobby shops. It's kind of amazing, but if you go to any of the distributor open houses you'll run into tons of stores that _only_ carry D&D (usually in addition to cards or comics). So if D&D were to dry up, I suspect stores like that would just use that shelf space for something else. Which would mean RPGs are available to fewer people in fewer markets, which means fewer players across the board.

    Take a look at the RPG section in Barnes & Noble. Over the holidays, D&D books filled more than a single shelf in that "section" at several stores I visited. If that goes away, leaving only the more marginal brands, you're in trouble. I think B&N does a generally pretty good job of stocking Pathfinder, for example, but more often than not a given B&N has one copy of the Bestiary, two random AP volumes, and nothing else. It's not that they never stocked the other stuff, but they probably ordered one or two copies per store, and it's a crapshoot whether those items will ever be restocked. D&D, on the other hand, has multiple copies of numerous books, including one or two different ways to get into the hobby (say, an unsold 4e PHB, all of the Essentials books, and maybe Red Box or earlier "starter" set). If one of those sells, there are still some ways to get into the game. Plus they seem to be restocked with greater frequency than similar books by smaller publishers. Not a lot of Pathfinder fans start with the Bestiary and two random AP volumes.

    So take away the D&D "shelf" in the RPG section at B&N and you're left with a random smattering of core rulebooks and assorted supplements, usually stocked about 1 deep if you're lucky, and that's it.

    I doubt that's enough to keep B&N investing an entire section to a given subject matter in almost all of their stores. Either some other folks "step up" and fill that D&D space (very, very difficult, as almost no RPG publishers are as well capitalized as WotC and few have long-standing relationships with buyers and distributors like they do), or the space probably goes away.

    Which is bad. Essentially, that leaves the wide-stocking FLGS retailers and the internet. Decent for getting books into the hands of the die-hards, but not so great at exposing the hobby to new customers.

    Quote Originally Posted by xechnao View Post
    I am also curious what would they think for that matter if D&D's rpg business shifted to a mostly digital affair.
    See above. I suspect that would be very challenging for the hobby retailer business and very challenging for the hobby. But it might be necessary to meet the kind of profit goals Hasbro likely has for WotC, so I wouldn't find it a terribly surprising development.

    --Erik

  8. #8

    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)



    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    2,224
    Thank you for your answer Erik.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Mona View Post
    But it might be necessary to meet the kind of profit goals Hasbro likely has for WotC
    Could you elaborate on this a bit more please?
    I mean, could you develop your thoughts as you did with the previous question? How and why do you think shifting the D&D business to the digital realm would help Hasbro achieve higher profit goals?

  9. #9
    I have no more insight into the current workings at WotC than any member of EN World, so I have ZERO info on what Hasbro expects from Wizards of the Coast. I do know that Magic is tremendously successful and tremendously lucrative, and that in recent years Magic The Gathering Online has been a growing part of that revenue. They make money on that game and get people collecting electronic cards that WotC doesn't have to print. It's all direct to the consumer, so there are no middle men like retailers and distributors.

    That's got to look very attractive on a balance sheet, and corporations are not known for lots of sympathy for underperforming brands. (I'm not saying D&D is underperforming, because I don't know that either.)

    I suspect that the amount of money brought in by, say, 12 employees working on Magic dwarfs the amount of money brought in by 12 employees working on D&D. That just seems irrefutable to me based on the associated printing costs, profit margins, etc. Magic is simply a better business, in pure dollar terms, than D&D.

    From running my own publishing operation, I've come to appreciate the concept of "opportunity cost" more acutely than ever before. Let's say I have 1 employee. I can put that guy to work on a Pathfinder book, and let's say that book makes Paizo $200 of profit.

    The same guy could also work on a Planet Stories mass market pulp reprint, which takes about the same amount of time and effort and has somewhat similar costs. But because the margins are nowhere near as good and the audience is much, much, much smaller, let's say that Planet Stories book makes $2.

    My job is to make money for the stakeholders of my company, so no matter how much I personally love pulp fiction, and no matter how strongly the folks who love it with me love it, there aren't as many of them as there are Pathfinder players, and from a purely objective point of view, I'm making a sub-optimal decision by focusing on products with the lower margin and the smaller audience. That 1 man-effort would be more profitable if put to work on a Pathfinder book, or on something with an equal or better profit potential.

    You can make sub-optimal decisions for a long time for a lot of different reasons (strategery, love, because it's the "right" thing to do, stupidity, etc.), but you can't make them forever, especially if you work for a publicly traded company.

    From my perspective, it all comes down to opportunity cost.

    But again, and I think it's important to stress this, I do not have any inside information on Wizards of the Coast, how it deals with its parent company, the fate of D&D, etc. I'm just as in the dark as everyone else, so please take my observations with a grain of salt.

    I don't know what's going on either.

    --Erik

  10. #10

    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)



    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    2,224
    Ok, but couldn't the second idea get in conflict with the first one?

    I mean, if D&D can become more profitable by going fully digital it is obvious that Wotc should act so.

    But if at the same time D&D needs a retail presence to remain relevant as a tabletop rpg, Wotc should have to cover for this too. Unless, D&D does not need that to remain relevant.

    So, what I take from your answers is that while the industry needs D&D, D&D does not need the industry. I most honestly believe that in today's world this is categorically wrong.

    Now, that may not be necessarily what you are saying here, if what you are thinking is that Wotc could manage a specific balance of operations that could let it achieve both of the above goals. And perhaps this is what you are truly thinking.

    But honestly I find this highly ambitious. I find it hard to believe that mass market retailers and hobby stores could constantly keep on their shelves high numbers of the same evergreen D&D products and the casual D&D supplement that would hit the market every couple or even three or even four months or so. Simply because of their own opportunity costs.

    So, whatda you say?
    Last edited by xechnao; Saturday, 15th January, 2011 at 11:41 PM.

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. Paizo FlipMat Question...
    By Scribble in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Thursday, 20th November, 2008, 11:35 PM
  2. Xp question for WotC folks
    By Tortoise in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 50
    Last Post: Sunday, 27th April, 2008, 11:41 PM
  3. Ohio State Question for Crothian
    By pogre in forum *Varied Geek Talk & Media Lounge
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: Friday, 2nd December, 2005, 10:03 PM
  4. [Paizo] Life's Bazaar Question (SPOILERS!)
    By Archade in forum *Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Saturday, 28th June, 2003, 07:46 PM
  5. SW- My last question for today! I swear!
    By DerianCypher in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Sunday, 24th November, 2002, 11:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •