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General A look at WotC and Paizo Product Lines (and their different approaches)

Mercurius

Legend
Note that Paizo's product schedule, as large is it is now, was far larger in the 2013-2017 era when PF1 was the 500lb gorilla.
According to my research, this isn't true, at least as far as text products (books) are concerned. Here are the total individual text products published by Paizo, for 3.5, P1, Starfinder and P2, according to my charts:

2007: 4 (all 3.5)
2008: 24 (all 3.5)
2009: 28 (13 3.5, 15 P1)
2010: 37 (all P1)
2011: 41 (all P1)
2012: 40 (all P1)
2013: 41 (all P1)
2014: 41 (all P1)
2015: 40 (all P1)
2016: 41 (all P1)
2017: 38 (34 P1, 4 SF)
2018: 48 (37 P1, 11 SF)
2019: 46 (20 P1, 11 P2, 15 SF)
2020: 39 (1 P1, 23 P2, 15 SF)

The number actually went up in 2018-19; the 2020 numbers include only what has been published or announced, so may change.

So, yes: the number of Pathfinder 1 books published is "far larger" than the number of Pathfinder 2 books, but the number of Paizo books is roughly the same or more over the last few years.

Still , core rulebooks, which can be printed in the hundreds of thousands of copies over the course of a game's life is where the real money is in RPG publishing, so WotC focuses on those sales via retailers. Those same FLGS retailers are the ones who generate the real money selling hobby games: which is to say, selling Magic:TG for WotC. [All RPGs taken together are modest compared to MAGIC:TG. It also explains why WotC has been reticent to sell directly. WotC depends on those retailer relationships.]

The direct sales model allowed Paizo to dominate the RPG business from 2010-2016. But when 5e started to gain some real legs in the marketplace, by early 2017, Paizo's retail sales via FLGS had dropped significantly.

Players like direct sales and the free PDFs a subscription provides. FLGS store owners? Not so much.
This might explain the possible reduction in books in 2020; that, combined with them not supporting P1 anymore.

Now if we compare a typical P1 year and 2020, which is the first full P2 year, we have 40ish vs. 23 books. The big difference in terms of what is being published are the Player Companions. 2020 sees 3 hardcover splats; P1 saw a bit over 3 per year, from 2011-18 (usually 3, 4 a couple times, and 2 once). Campaign setting books have reduced from about 9 a year (plus or minus), to 4 -- but hardcovers about twice the length. Both see about a dozen adventure path episodes. There are also about half as may modules. But the dig difference are the Player Companions; P1 usually saw 10-12 a year, which hasn't been replaced.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
You're mostly talking about experienced gamers. But the important question is, is 5E easier to learn from scratch, both for those "mentoring" with an existing group, and a bunch of kids inspired by Stranger Things who buy the Essentials Kit at Target?

I think,the answer is clear. 5E is a simpler rules system. It also has improvisation and hand-waving built into it in a way that makes it easier to "wing it until you get it."

But yes, I agree that it was mostly experienced D&D players who found 4E off-putting. The difference in mechanics and tone was rather jarring for traditional-minded D&D players.
Oh sure, I'd agree that 5E rules are probably slightly easier to grab ahold of than 4E's... but the gap of understanding between 5E and 4E is much, much smaller than the gap between not knowing how to play D&D at all, and 5E.

So it was the premise that new players could learn how to play 5E but would find 4E impenetrable that I disagreed with. Although that being said... perhaps I misunderstood what the poster was actually intending with what they said.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
According to my research, this isn't true, at least as far as text products (books) are concerned. Here are the total individual text products published by Paizo, for 3.5, P1, Starfinder and P2, according to my charts:
Snip

You are counting Starfinder. I am not. It is a different - and while similar, a still incompatible RPG - from both PF1 and PF2.

When you start counting pages, you will also find that your rough estimate is off somewhat. The lack of stand alone 64 page modules, Player companions and 64 page PF Chronicles has not been wholly replaced by the newer, less frequent Age of Omens hardcovers. The difference in SF AP and PF AP is significant. SF AP is only 2/3rds as long as a PF AP volume. Over the course of a year - that is a lot fewer pages. 432 fewer, in fact. That difference in page count alone is close to what WOTC publishes in a year. And you've made it vanish in what amounts to a rounding error.

Starfinder sales, while pretty good for a new RPG, are also not as strong as either PF1 or PF2.

So, yes: the number of Pathfinder 1 books published is "far larger" than the number of Pathfinder 2 books, but the number of Paizo books is roughly the same or more over the last few years.
I am not sure what the point you are trying to make here. While this is mostly true, it doesn't capture sales - or comparative sales, either. It ignores page count, and that is not a small point. It also is deceptive in terms of those who are engaged in writing the material. Most of the new stuff for Starfinder is very art heavy and "crunch light". Monsters/Races and SF Adv Path (which are also only 64 pages, not the 96 in PF AP). SF harcovers are also much slimmer than the big fat books that were typical of PF1; about half the size, sometimes even less. This matters most in terms of a lack of need for playtesting - meaning the vast majority of it can be produced by freelancers. While PF1 and PF2 are worked on by lots of freelancers, too, it is comparatively less. And when it comes to crunch - a LOT less.

End result: a LOT more of Paizo's full time staff is involved in making PF, not Starfinder.
 
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Khelon Testudo

Cleric of Stronmaus
It should be pointed out that Critical Role was using Pathfinder before they decided to stream. They went over to 5e because of its more streamlined system.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Snip

You are counting Starfinder. I am not. It is a different - and while similar, a still incompatible RPG - from both PF1 and PF2.

When you start counting pages, you will also find that your rough estimate is off somewhat. The lack of stand alone 64 page modules, Player companions and 64 page PF Chronicles has not been wholly replaced by the newer, less frequent Age of Omens hardcovers. The difference in SF AP and PF AP is significant. SF AP is only 2/3rds as long as a PF AP volume. Over the course of a year - that is a lot fewer pages. 432 fewer, in fact. That difference in page count alone is close to what WOTC publishes in a year. And you've made it vanish in what amounts to a rounding error.

Starfinder sales, while pretty good for a new RPG, are also not as strong as either PF1 or PF2.

I am not sure what the point you are trying to make here. While this is mostly true, it doesn't capture sales - or comparative sales, either. It ignores page count, and that is not a small point. It also is deceptive in terms of those who are engaged in writing the material. Most of the new stuff for Starfinder is very art heavy and "crunch light". Monsters/Races and SF Adv Path (which are also only 64 pages, not the 96 in PF AP). SF harcovers are also much slimmer than the big fat books that were typical of PF1; about half the size, sometimes even less. This matters most in terms of a lack of need for playtesting - meaning the vast majority of it can be produced by freelancers. While PF1 and PF2 are worked on by lots of freelancers, too, it is comparatively less. And when it comes to crunch - a LOT less.

End result: a LOT more of Paizo's full time staff is involved in making PF, not Starfinder.
That's all well and good, but you're shifting from the post that I was replying to. You wrote "Note that Paizo's product schedule, as large is it is now, was far larger in the 2013-2017 era when PF1 was the 500lb gorilla."

Meaning, you said "Paizo's product schedule," not specifying Pathfinder-only.

You are also shifting from "product schedule" to things like page count, staff, sales, and amount of crunch. Those are all interesting and worthwhile discussing, but different than the number of products, and not at all what I was responding to.

I would also argue that Starfinder should be considered, given that A) it is part of Paizo's product schedule, and B) it is essentially an expansion from Pathfinder ("Golarion in space!").

2020 seems to be different, at least what has been announced--so it is hard to assess. But 2017-19 saw only a few less Pathfinder products than previous years, and overall more unique products if we count Starfinder.
 

Haffrung

Adventurer
A considerable portion of Paizo's audience of subscribers (I've heard around half) do not actively play an RPG. And even those who are actively in a game don't use most of the books they purchase. When you consider that a subscriber to the Adventure Path line alone will receive six complete APs in three years, that shouldn't surprise anybody.

This shapes the kind of content Paizo publish. APs are filled with background content and character drama that players will never uncover, but which someone who reads APs for their private fiction will appreciate. Books of crunch present far more options than any player will ever use at the table, but it's grist for the mill for those who enjoy white-room character builds and optimization.

While WotC sells lots of books to people who don't actively play and who use the books as reading material as well, they don't deliberately cater their content to that market to the extent Paizo does. Their whole strategy with 5E is to sell fewer books each to a much larger audience.
 
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Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
This shapes the kind of content Paizo publish. APs are filled with background content and character drama that players will never uncover, but which someone who reads APs for their private fiction will appreciate. Books of crunch present far more options than any player will ever use at the table, but it's grist for the mill for those who enjoy white-room character builds and optimization.
Apologies for the total sidebar, but Paizo APs are pretty challenging to run. This is due to an information format. Huge blocks of text with important info buried within, small fonts, and a writing and organizing style that seems more geared towards people reading the APs as fiction instead of the GM who wants to know exactly what they need for a specific encounter.
 

Haffrung

Adventurer
Apologies for the total sidebar, but Paizo APs are pretty challenging to run. This is due to an information format. Huge blocks of text with important info buried within, small fonts, and a writing and organizing style that seems more geared towards people reading the APs as fiction instead of the GM who wants to know exactly what they need for a specific encounter.
Agreed. That's because they're written with two different audiences in mind - DMs who will be running them at the table, and people reading them as game fiction. From Paizo's POV, it's better than the format be appealing to the second group and that the first group muddles through when it comes time to run the game, rather than present the content to be easy to run at the table, but not fun to read. And to be fair, Paizo is hardly the only publisher than compromises ease of use in play in favour of reading appeal.
 

MichaelSomething

Adventurer
Agreed. That's because they're written with two different audiences in mind - DMs who will be running them at the table, and people reading them as game fiction. From Paizo's POV, it's better than the format be appealing to the second group and that the first group muddles through when it comes time to run the game, rather than present the content to be easy to run at the table, but not fun to read. And to be fair, Paizo is hardly the only publisher than compromises ease of use in play in favour of reading appeal.
If you do it the other way around, you end up with 4th Edition...
 


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