RPGs Is it crowded?





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  1. #1

    Is it crowded?

    Is the foreseeable future of the RPG market crowded?

    With all these kickstarters and hope for new editions of games, how do the waters look?


    For an aspiring game writer, such would be worth knowing, as well as worth debating.
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  • #2
    The current market reminds me of the d20 glut of the early to mid 2000s, but much more diverse and fragmented.

    I've kicked around becoming a game designer/writer myself. It's easy to jump in and there's plenty of venues to chose from to promote your work. It's just that there's hundreds of others, both companies and individuals, like you out there who also are trying to make a name for themselves.
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    IMHO, there are waaaaaay too many "perfect game systems" sitting on shelves and not enough scenarios to play and talk about.

    The play's the thing.

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    Not more so than 10 years ago, I don't think. It's been fairly drenched with small publishers for a decade now. KS is the latest mechanism to do that, but other things - the OGL, the advent of easy-to-use PDF publishing retailers, etc. were earlier new things. In five years, there will be something else - maybe some super easy way to create and sell interactive stuff - like mobile apps, but even easier to create.

    But in answer to your question - yes, it's very crowded. It has been for 10 years. Sometimes it feels like there are more publishers than customers!

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    It is already crowded. For some reason companies don't seem to be failing and going away like in other industries.

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    Everything in this post is my best guess. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Quote Originally Posted by Summer-Knight925 View Post
    Is the foreseeable future of the RPG market crowded?
    In terms of raw numbers of products and publishers, yes. However, what we actually have are WotC and Paizo jockeying for the position of top dog (and, in RPG terms, about neck and neck)... and the rest. Even adding everyone else together, they're still smaller than either of the big two.

    Five years down the line, my expectation is that the position will look much the same (unless Paizo implode). The names of the other three members of the "top five" list will change, bit will remain the case that "the owners of D&D", Paizo, and three other companies will make up that list.

    With all these kickstarters and hope for new editions of games, how do the waters look?
    Kickstarter is a fad, like the dot-com bubble and the OGL glut. Over the next 18 months, we're going to see a lot of projects (that reached their funding targets) fail to actually deliver what was promised - probably 50% or more will simply fail.

    Once that happens, the bottom will drop out of the fad, and publishers will no longer have people lining up to throw money at any and all projects they dream up.

    Kickstarter won't go away, but it will cease to be a sure thing. Instead, people will become much more choosy on who to back. The offerings that meet their target will either be people with proven track records of success (such as Monte Cook or Reaper); projects that are mostly 'done' but need funding for some specific, and well defined, addition (with the promise that something will come out regardless); or, most often, both.

    In the specific case of RPGs, things will look much as they do now, but smaller. Yet more FLGS will have closed, and we're likely to have fewer 'big' companies. But there will still be a steady stream of small companies putting stuff out, there will still be games being produced, and the community may well be as vibrant as ever.

    As far as I can see, the big unknown surrounds D&D. 5e might be a runaway success. More likely, I think it may well be a moderate success, fail to meet Hasbro's expectations, and so be cancelled. The question then is whether they just put it in the vault, or whether they license it out to another company.

    As I said, everything in this post is just my best guess. Make of it what you will.

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    Can there be too many games?

    Are there too many video games out there?

    I see the diversification as a cool thing and very different from the d20 glut.

    I do agree we need to see more shots at scenarios - not rules & campaign settings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
    Can there be too many games?

    Are there too many video games out there?

    I see the diversification as a cool thing and very different from the d20 glut.

    I do agree we need to see more shots at scenarios - not rules & campaign settings.
    Actually, there have been a few video game producers who have shuttered their doors in the past few years- a buddy of mine worked for one of them- and there was a glut of "play along with the music" games that caused a sales slump big enough to cause certain ones to cease development.

    IOW, just like other products, games obey the laws of supply & demand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summer-Knight925 View Post
    Is the foreseeable future of the RPG market crowded?

    With all these kickstarters and hope for new editions of games, how do the waters look?


    For an aspiring game writer, such would be worth knowing, as well as worth debating.
    It's a bit crowded, but most of the 3PPs seem to be doing well, though I only follow the top 3PPs, not all of them. I do freelance cartography for several and they continue to pay me.

    Kickstarter is just a method of funding, like getting a loan at the bank - it's only a source of money, not simply a fad.

    Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
    Can there be too many games?

    Are there too many video games out there?

    I see the diversification as a cool thing and very different from the d20 glut.

    I do agree we need to see more shots at scenarios - not rules & campaign settings.
    Well my work with Rite Publishing includes developing a setting (Kaidan - Japanese horror), supplements and adventure material - we've released 5 adventures so far for it, with one more coming soon, and I'm currently building a map product with pre-built complex encounters ready to insert into any game or existing adventure, but not an adventure itself.

    I can't create material for Golarian, not officially, if I do Paizo has a chance of owning it, and not the 3PP I work with, so it's very unlikely to see supplements and adventures for other companies game settings. If a publisher doesn't create adventures for their settings, they can't really design adventures for settings of other publishers. Some 3PPs can work together, but not like Paizo and a small 3PP.

    If you're expecting adventures published for a Paizo or WotC established setting, you're unlikely to ever see that. An adventure would have to be so generic that it could fit any setting, and we publisher/freelancer want to create custom material, not vanilla adventures.

    Those 3PPs creating non-adventure supplements like new alternate and class archetypes, feat books, spell books, monster books on the other hand can be used in most any setting, this is probably the majority of work being done by small publishers - because they can be used in any setting, even Paizo default setting.

    Is their work for freelancers? Definitely. Consider that I didn't become a freelancer until after Paizo published Pathfinder - so I'm not a long time veteran in the industry, yet I do get commissioned for work all the time from many 3PPs to Paizo itself.
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  • #10
    Define what you mean by scenarios, do you mean like modules for certain rule types?
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