D&D 5E Alphastream - Why No RPG Company Truly Competes with Wizards of the Coast

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
I can't find it now, but it's either been the top or close to it. During 4E it slipped into 2nd behind PathFinder (about a year before 5E was announced) and, if I recall correctly, even into 3rd for a while.
As I recall during the last year or so of 4E's publication history, when they had an unusually low number of books released, they slipped into 2nd behind Pathfinder.
 

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Oofta

Legend
Has there ever really been a time when D&D was not at (or near) the top of the RPG pile? It has been the gateway to nearly everyone who has ever dabbled, ventured, or committed themselves to the one true king-daddy of all roleplaying games. Aside from some keen insights and interesting factoids, this article (and many others like it) are no-brainers.

But let's continue to be awed and amazed at the nearly 50-year run at the top of the industry. I mean, I'm still playing the game; just not the current edition. ;)

No doubt Critical Role is successful, they have approximately 1.5 million viewers [1]. D&D is played by close to 50 million[2]. The numbers are approximations of course.

I highly doubt the tail is wagging the dog. 🤷‍♂️
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
As I recall during the last year or so of 4E's publication history, when they had an unusually low number of books released, they slipped into 2nd behind Pathfinder.
It was from 2011-2013.

 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
This is also part of the denial.

“It’s no big deal cause it’s always been on top or near it”

Which is true. But also belies the sheer giantness of the recent success.
I don't think there's anyone denying the commercial success in recent years due to the shattering of the social stigmas and acceptance that many of us have been battling with for years. But the topic here is how no other RPG can compete with it, and that's nothing new. But there is one small footnote...

I can't find it now, but it's either been the top or close to it. During 4E it slipped into 2nd behind PathFinder (about a year before 5E was announced) and, if I recall correctly, even into 3rd for a while.
Yes, and therefore I could not just claim it has been at the top this whole time. But it should also be noted that the only other RPG ever to actually compete with D&D is another variant of D&D. ;)
 

darjr

I crit!
As I recall during the last year or so of 4E's publication history, when they had an unusually low number of books released, they slipped into 2nd behind Pathfinder.
I thought this too, but the truth is they slipped into second while they were still producing books. Well before they stopped production.

I think it’s also a bit of denial. It’s more like Pathfinder claimed the number one spot vs just getting it by default.
 

Oofta

Legend
I don't think there's anyone denying the commercial success in recent years due to the shattering of the social stigmas and acceptance that many of us have been battling with for years. But the topic here is how no other RPG can compete with it, and that's nothing new. But there is one small footnote...


Yes, and therefore I could not just claim it has been at the top this whole time. But it should also be noted that the only other RPG ever to actually compete with D&D is another variant of D&D. ;)
After 5E was announced it was not. Check out the link morrus just posted.
 

darjr

I crit!
I don't think there's anyone denying the commercial success in recent years due to the shattering of the social stigmas and acceptance that many of us have been battling with for years. But the topic here is how no other RPG can compete with it, and that's nothing new. But there is one small footnote...


Yes, and therefore I could not just claim it has been at the top this whole time. But it should also be noted that the only other RPG ever to actually compete with D&D is another variant of D&D. ;)
Also not quite true. During 2nd edition Vampire came really close. And according to some may have indeed outsold D&D for a short time.

Note I dint believe it did, I don’t have any good evidence it did.
 

I thought this too, but the truth is they slipped into second while they were still producing books. Well before they stopped production.

I think it’s also a bit of denial. It’s more like Pathfinder claimed the number one spot vs just getting it by default.

And of course, in a sense, they lost ground--to themselves, since PF1e was basically a slightly buffed D&D3.5.

There was a period very early on when you could argue the possibility of another game pushing into the D&D sphere, but that's more than 40 years ago now. I'm not even a big D&D fan in general, but I think people expecting anything else to seriously encroach on it any time in the foreseeable future are living in denial.
 


Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Yeah, but using the pandemic years in overall analysis is a sketchy proposition, because public behaviors differed so much from normal. While it would be awesome if that strength held afterwards, it would probably be wise to consider recent gains to be a short-term phenomenon, until proven otherwise.
They have to analyze it since it's part of their growth, but i'm fairly sure WoTC knows it's an unatural growth inflation in comparison to normal curve and that next years won't be as big unless similar conditions would happen again.
 


Oofta

Legend
They have to analyze it since it's part of their growth, but i'm fairly sure WoTC knows it's an unatural growth inflation in comparison to normal curve and that next years won't be as big unless similar conditions would happen again.
That, and nothing can grow by 30% forever. Sales will plateau at some point, I assume that's why they're branching out into the entertainment side of things. Actually kind of surprised they had not done more already.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
After 5E was announced it was not. Check out the link morrus just posted.
Yeah, I did mention that. I was responding to two different but related posts, like this one. ;)
EDIT: Ok, I see that I was implying without actually stating it. But still...
Also not quite true. During 2nd edition Vampire came really close. And according to some may have indeed outsold D&D for a short time.

Note I dint believe it did, I don’t have any good evidence it did.
I guess it depends on what we consider "competition". Vampire coming "really close" is like hitting the baseball without scoring a run. Frankly, I think it would be good to shake the foundations once in a while just so the company doesn't grow complacent.
 

darjr

I crit!
That, and nothing can grow by 30% forever. Sales will plateau at some point, I assume that's why they're branching out into the entertainment side of things. Actually kind of surprised they had not done more already.
That was the plan at 5ths release, to do media and licenses out of the gate. What I’ve figured, and I cannot corroborate this, there was a freight train that changed their short term plans. Fifth editions success.


Edit: oh and I forgot about the movie rights snafu and the video game missteps. That didn’t help either.
 

Oofta

Legend
That was the plan at 5ths release, to do media and licenses out of the gate. What I’ve figured, and I cannot corroborate this, there was a freight train that changed their short term plans. Fifth editions success.
Maybe? Considering that 5E was kind of a Hail Mary, they decided to wait a bit to have an even bigger recognition and acceptance of the brand.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
Also not quite true. During 2nd edition Vampire came really close. And according to some may have indeed outsold D&D for a short time.

Note I dint believe it did, I don’t have any good evidence it did.

Its one of those really hard things to tell since people generally keep sales figures awfully close to their chest.
Maybe, if we're lucky and he doesn't decide it's too "inside baseball" to appeal to a wide enough audience, Jon Peterson will write another book about TSR, covering the post-Gygax years. :)
 

darjr

I crit!
Maybe, if we're lucky and he doesn't decide it's too "inside baseball" to appeal to a wide enough audience, Jon Peterson will write another book about TSR, covering the post-Gygax years. :)
Ben Riggs is writing a book about TSRs sale to WotC that I think covers a lot of it, but focused on that sale.

He’s red excerpts on his podcast as he’s been writing, and written articles here. Also him and Jon were seen together recently and even commented on how they are covering the different eras.


 


Sorry, maybe my level of English isn't right but I can't understand totally this phrase:

"Spain sold D&D branded bologna in the ‘80s, as part of the craze over the D&D cartoon"

Isn't Bologna an Italian city. And I remember to have bought some numbers of a comic adaptin episodes of the cartoon.

* One of the elements is a product the parents want their children play with, to promote creativity, social skills, to learn to choose and face consequences of the actions.

* We can agree the current success of D&D is a combo of factors. One of them is this edition is easiest to be learnt by newcomers, and it arrived years after Lord of the Rings in the cinemas, and Word of Warcraft as the main MMORPG.

* Hasbro hasn't wanted to hide their intention with D&D was to become a multimedia franchise, this means selling different types of products, toys, videogames, comics...

* And the TTRPG is the perfect tool for the sector of the fandom who loves to create their own stories and ideas.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Sorry, maybe my level of English isn't right but I can't understand totally this phrase:

"Spain sold D&D branded bologna in the ‘80s, as part of the craze over the D&D cartoon"

Isn't Bologna an Italian city.
Balogna sausage, also spelled baloney, is a sausage derived from mortadella

I believe it was this product but i'm not sure i can't read spanish

Ell-yf3VMAEG5ps.jpg
 

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