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D&D 3E/3.5 5E's Initial Raw Sales Numbers Stronger Than 3E's!

It seems that the initial sales of D&D 5th Edition are very strong. Asked about how they compare to 3E and 4E, WotC's Mike Mearls says that "Raw numbers are stronger, but that's not the complete picture. end of year 1 is the key." The Player's Handbook has now topped the hardcover nonfiction sellers list at Publishers Weekly. As of right now, it's #1 in Fantasy Gaming at Amazon, and a week ago it was the #1 book on Amazon!

BwoJwYwCMAA4NuS.jpg

In other news, prompted by some discussion about the gaps between D&D edition releases, I whipped up this quick info-graphic showing the dates that each edition was released. [threadcm]http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?359004-So-I-have-been-out-of-town-for-a-few-weeks-did-I-miss-something[/threadcm]

releases.jpg
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
I was actively talking D&D on BBS's in 1982 using my Commodore 64 (and thanks to FidoNet, it was national discussion by the mid 80s, with national email too thanks to EchoMail). By 1991 a lot of us were already on university internet access playing Nethack, MUDs, and emailing using PINE while discussing D&D on Usenet.

I am starting to wonder if this is a generational thing. I don't want to be impolite and ask your age, but is it possible you were a teen or younger in 2000 and maybe that's why you thought internet usage was lower than it was for that year? A lot has changed since 2000, but hardcopy Amazon book sales, internet usage in the U.S., and D&D discussion are not things that have changed all that much since then.



I am claiming otherwise in the context of "D&D discussion", it's not disingenuous for me to do so, and I'd prefer you stop being rude and reply to what I am saying rather than calling me names like liar (which is what disingenuous means in this context). MySpace was really not much different than Facebook, nor was Friendster or much of AOL. There are some aspects that are different, but not the ones that are most relevant to the topic of D&D discussions. In fact we've had some of the same discussions in 2014 that I had in 1991 on Usenet with people.



Sure but most people are not posting on their TV. And whole many post on their cell phones, those same people were posting on their computers before. It's not like that changed the quantity of people talking about D&D, it just changed the device they were using to talk about D&D. But ask Morrus about his usage here - usage actually went DOWN for many years, and only recently rebounded with the introduction of 5e.



I was General Council for a large internet co-location (server farm) company from 1997 to 2003. It was a joke only. We were massively profitable, and almost all our clients were profitable as well. Internet advertising was taking off in a huge way, and people were paying big bucks for it - in some ways, bigger bucks then than now.

And I was playing Xbox on Xbox Live in 2002 by the way. And before that I was at LAN parties, and playing 15 different people on Spaceward Ho!



OK stop, just stop. This has already been refuted. You can't just keep pretending nobody replied to you, that nobody cited hard evidence to refute it, and then just repeat your claim. Amazon BOOKS were not in their infancy (they were almost as big as they are now). eBay in the U.S. was not in it's infancy (it was half a decade in already, and huge, and was about to buy PayPal).

It really seems like you think 2000 was 1990. Most of the stuff you're saying is off by about a decade. Which is why I referenced your age - I don't know of anyone who was a geek and an adult in 2000 who thinks these things.



Are you friggen kidding me? LiveJournal was huge. Blogging was huge. 2002 is the year Journalism classes were teaching blogging vs. journalism classes, and in 2001 "how to blog" books were being published. Once again it really seems like you're off by a decade on this stuff.



iPod was 2001, and it was a copy of several devices that came before it. Palm PDAs were huge, and the Palm VII had internet access in the U.S. by 1999. I had a Palm Treo phone in 2003, which had apps, and internet access.



No idea what Steam has to do with this discussion. But yes, no Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, which is a point that you've made three times now and which has been responded to three times now. The longer you pretend it had no reply, the worse your argument looks.



WOW. Dude...what do you think E.N. World stands for? This forum was founded by Eric Noah BECAUSE of the launch of 3e. It was absolutely around then...before the launch in fact! They were not "pre-ENWorld" forums, we just had a board reset at one point. There are lots of people who have been posting here since before 3.0e launched.



Excuse me? Did you just call me a moron for disagreeing with you?

I am 36 if you must know. I do know a lot of the things you posted did exist. Your perosnal experiences probably did not match that of most Americans. The main point being we are far more connected now than we were in 2000 by an order of magnitude. ANd by E-commerce I meant selling normal goods online not just selling online services and things related to websites, telecommunication, ISP's, etc. Ebay was just getting started for example IIRC, and Amazon was not making a profit in 2000. It was early days was the main point, Everquest was not the 1st MMO but it was big by 2000 standards back then.

From the sounds of it you were on the cutting edge. Do you not understand the basic concept that due to increased internet usage since 2000 especially in the explosion of new devices that one can use these days I would expect there to be way more reviews these days than even a few years ago?

I think a better indicator is the relative lack of negative reviews in regards to 5E than the numbers relative to the internet bronze age when 3.0 launched. 5E seems to have had a good launch and the 4vengers types seem to be in a small minority compared to the h4aters that bailed on 4E and left negative reviews. How we buy things and how we communicate has changed in a massive way since 2000. I used steam as an example because I would not be surprised if Amazon, Steam and I-tunes for example end up becoming bigger than brick and mortar stores for purchasing things you got from a store in 2000. That is if they are not there already. Smartphones would be another example of a way to post online and shop as well.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
Also the bubble will burst as well, look at the starter set after 3 weeks. The bubble could pop in a few weeks and at 20k a week it is around 60k or so. Still looking good but 500k for 3.0, 250-350k for 3.5, 250k for PF.

They need to sustain those sales over several months to come close to 3.0 although to be fair 500k was over 2.5 years or so.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
Wow. #1 overall on Amazon. Blown away. And it's beating not one but TWO books that have movies out right now, with massive ad campaigns behind them. AND the newest Follet book. And a ton of back-to-school books. And all the political books being hyped on talk radio and 24-hour news channels.

They beat Scrabble, man. Scrabble.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Probably what it means is that Amazon estimated sales volume to be similar to 4E, and under-ordered. Seems a number of FLGS made the same mistake. It's not Wizards who puts the orders in, it's the vendor.
 


darjr

I crit!
I do think the amazon numbers are incredible for the PHB.

Though I must admit online interaction is way different than it was in 2000. I talk to my great aunt via facebook. I would never ever have done that via usenet. Nor, my gosh, fidonet, never.

Most of my gaming group back then were not on the internet, not anywhere close to where most/all of my gaming group is now on the internet.

Anyway Ryan Dancy in Morrus' Interview stated that the 2nd edition phb sold 280,000 copies in the year of transition from 1st ed. I wonder how many copies they sold of the 1e phb during that same year.

Anyway, he goes on to say they sold 300,000 copies of the 3.0 phb in one month.

It's at about 28:00 in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXLBBp3YDro

So, is there anyway we can tell if the first month of 5e PHB's got close to or better than that? I think we can find out if we dig, and I'd bet that it crushed that number, just a hunch, a guess.

Don't need exact numbers, a good swag should give us a decent idea.
 


ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
I think we can all agree that it doesn't actually matter. In terms of continued product support, the question isn't whether the
PHB will be profitable (though it seems like it probably will); it's whether the profit margins of the brand as a whole happen to hit whatever arbitrary goals Hasbro has set for D&D this time around.
 

TerraDave

5ever
"All" these rankings tell us is that the PHB has been a top selling book, relative to all other books, for around seven weeks now. At one point it was the top selling book. And not just on Amazon.

We also do know that no other role-playing book has come close to this in the last decade (including anything for 4E or Pathfinder). We have been told that the 3E PHB sold a lot in 2000. Mearls has said that 5E is doing better at this point...but sales where huge for 3E in its first year. We can neither confirm nor deny that 3E got into the top ten on any rankings (though it does seem like someone would have posted about it if it had).

Thats "it".
 

SavageCole

Punk Rock Warlord
I've heard from a couple of FLGS here that they did not go all in on stock of 5e materials, because they got killed and wanted to play wait and see. They confessed they were blown away by demand that they did not anticipate and were out of stock opening weekend.

And the other thing I've started to hear are a lot of people who had preordered on Amazon, but then couldn't wait and ran out to FLGS and tried (some successfully) to get an early release copy. Some canceled their Amazon preorders and others are kept the orders alive to gift their 2nd PHBs.
 


TerraDave

5ever
Its dipping a little bit

#4/#9/#1

It is hard to compare to past releases, but through the way-back machine, I was able to find out that (for bestsellers) the:

4E PHB did get up to 33, fell to 54. then plumeted.


PFCRB got up to 369 (and maybe a bit higher, based on what I poasted above), but seemed to stay in the hundreds longer.

So the starter set, which I think got into the top and 10 and is now at 199, looks good by those numbers.

The PHB is something else. The difference in sales as you move into single digits is massive.

Was able to find the 3.5 PHB about one month out. #123.

Very hard to go all the way back to 2000 for 3E...but again if someone else wants to try.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
It seems that the initial sales of D&D 5th Edition are very strong. Asked about how they compare to 3E and 4E, WotC's Mike Mearls says that "Raw numbers are stronger, but that's not the complete picture. end of year 1 is the key." The Player's Handbook has now topped the hardcover nonfiction sellers list at Publishers Weekly. As of right now, it's #1 in Fantasy Gaming at Amazon, and a week ago it was the #1 book on Amazon!


In other news, prompted by some discussion about the gaps between D&D edition releases, I whipped up this quick info-graphic showing the dates that each edition was released. [threadcm]http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?359004-So-I-have-been-out-of-town-for-a-few-weeks-did-I-miss-something[/threadcm]

 



Alphastream

Adventurer
The reason I said Mike was not clear was he claimed each edition sold more than the one before it yet 3rd ed is referred to the silver age of D&D with around 1981-1983 being the golden age. He did also say initial sales do not matter to much as modern D&D it seems is heavily frontloaded to the 1st few months, TSR era was a slow burner as such with smaller print runs sold over a longer time frame.

He isn't the only one saying each edition has outsold the previous one. Dancey says that up to and including 4E, where 4E outsold 3E's initial sales based on pre-orders alone.

It isn't that initial sales don't matter. Of course they do, because sales matter and you always want strong sales, market penetration, and excitement around a launch. But, the key is that the interest remain as high as possible. And, ideally, across the line. One of 1E and 2E's big problems was that they had no idea how to correctly sell product beyond the core books. They had a poor understanding of what customers want and often were ignorant regarding the profit (or lack of it) behind each product. (Dancey writes plenty on these subjects, but others have said the same before).

This is why we can think of the '80s as the golden age (because D&D was a massive brand of which most people in the US and many countries were aware) all while it was terrible from a business perspective (TSR was overhiring, overspending, underselling, etc.). Like many businesses, the highest years of revenue concealed the biggest problems.

What Mike Mearls is saying is that the initial sales are terrific, but it is smart to be cautious and see how the game is received as time passes and more products are added. This isn't just the core books, but also the adventures, the licensed video games, the licensed miniatures, the licensed board games, etc. Fast-forward to March, when the next storyline theme is released, the next officially licensed adventures come out, and so on. Is D&D even bigger then? The same? Smaller? If the licensed products continue to well received, as they have been, then this could pave the way for much more. If not, you have to rethink the model, retreat in some areas, and try new things. A lot can change in a year.

None of that takes away from the incredible start this RPG has had. 5E's initial numbers are nearing the point where they dwarf anything before it. If somehow D&D can regain some of the '80s spotlight (so far so good), it could bring in a new golden era. It doesn't even have to outshine the '80s to be great for RPGs. And, preferably, any golden era comes with much higher profitability and business sense. This seems to be in good hands so far (just look at how licensing is being used to handle traditionally unprofitable products such as DM screens and minis).
 

SigmaOne

First Post
I've heard from a couple of FLGS here that they did not go all in on stock of 5e materials, because they got killed and wanted to play wait and see. They confessed they were blown away by demand that they did not anticipate and were out of stock opening weekend.

And the other thing I've started to hear are a lot of people who had preordered on Amazon, but then couldn't wait and ran out to FLGS and tried (some successfully) to get an early release copy. Some canceled their Amazon preorders and others are kept the orders alive to gift their 2nd PHBs.


I kept my 2nd Starter Set, but I canceled my Amazon PHB and HotDQ order after picking them up locally. Kind of regretting it even though I have no reason to get an extra copy.
 



Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It would be out right moronic ....

Nor would it be terribly bright to use insulting language to describe fellow posters, what with the moderator attention it brings. But it happens occasionally anyway.

Folks, It is pretty simple: keep it civil. Don't be insulting.
 

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