D&D 5E Are we at, or close, to peak D&D? Again?


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MGibster

Legend
I want to say, "I don't care." The truth is I do kind of care - I'm not sure why. D&D being popular or unpopular or failing commercially would not really affect me. I have played plenty of dead games over the years and still do on occasion. Why do we care? It is weird.
The popularity of D&D is good for everyone (at least those who like D&D). Popularity means more players to meet up with and it means more diversity which is good because it brings with it new perspectives and ideas. An increase in popularity means more money is being spent which, in theory at least, means better pay or more stable work for writers which may help attract new talent or retain the talent already working.

I think the fall in the 90s had a lot to do with poor management and poor QC. Those things could sink D&D again, but I don't think they will.
The more I've learned about TSR the more amazed I am that they were as successful as they were. They really caught lightning in a bottle but they were plagued by internal problems for pretty much the entirety of their existence.
D&D has got a great future. Even the board games have survived the videogame competition. Even if videogame industry can be a serious menace for TTRPGs (again) D&D can survive as multimedia franchise selling different products. Even "Hero Quest" is going to return to the toy-shops soon (I hope that at least).
Here in the US, we saw a board game renaissance starting nearly twenty years ago with the introduction of Euro style games like Settlers of Catan. You can find some of more popular games like Settlers of Catan at Walmart right next to mainstays like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.
The business model straight up didn't work during 2E, 3.X, or 4E. Hence all the bankruptcy, firings, and reboots.
TSR didn't fail because they couldn't sell AD&D 2nd edition. They found themselves in a severe cash crunch when Random House returned a bunch of unsold books and Dragon Dice. (I have a friend who owns tons of Dragon Dice and absolutely loves the game. I don't know anyone else who has such fond memories of it though.) Despite having $40 million in sales in 1996, they ended up in debt and couldn't pay to produce new products let alone ship what they had and they couldn't even afford to pay their writers.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
It's also just easier.
As someone who has never really been able to understand any published adventure I've read, and who has been frustrated in every published adventure I've ever played, I am inclined to disagree. The amount of work needed to make a published adventure make enough sense to me that I could run it is vastly more than the amount of work I do prepping homebrew adventures. Obviously just talking about my experiences, others' are almost certainly different, YMMV, offer void where prohibited by law.
 

TSR didn't fail because they couldn't sell AD&D 2nd edition. They found themselves in a severe cash crunch when Random House returned a bunch of unsold books and Dragon Dice.

I mean, they couldn't sell the books they were printing for 2e, not enough to cover costs. They apparently simply stiffed their printer, too, and thought that would just work forever. Honestly, from what I've read, it sounds like Lorraine Williams was running a bust-out operation. After the WotC buyout, they got the operation profitable within a year, though.
 




Erm. Games Workshops share price has absolutely soared from approx £5 a share in 2014 to a high of £70 per share in 2019. They’re down to about £50 by the end of 2020 due to it being a largely face to face hobby and stores being closed but you can’t argue with 1000% growth.

Games Workshop has no problem selling games to kids.
I read somewhere that most of their current money is coming from licensing video games, rather than selling minis. Although I'd be interested in more up-to-date breakdowns, since Age of Sigmar has been out log enough that players are probably starting to look past the lore changes and actually check out the game.

Which makes sense - video games are just as good at leveraging the IP and a lot easier to get people into.
 

As someone who has never really been able to understand any published adventure I've read, and who has been frustrated in every published adventure I've ever played, I am inclined to disagree. The amount of work needed to make a published adventure make enough sense to me that I could run it is vastly more than the amount of work I do prepping homebrew adventures. Obviously just talking about my experiences, others' are almost certainly different, YMMV, offer void where prohibited by law.

I personally find published material saves me enormous amounts of prep time. In fact, I don't really do a lot of prep at all.
 


TheSword

Legend
I read somewhere that most of their current money is coming from licensing video games, rather than selling minis. Although I'd be interested in more up-to-date breakdowns, since Age of Sigmar has been out log enough that players are probably starting to look past the lore changes and actually check out the game.

Which makes sense - video games are just as good at leveraging the IP and a lot easier to get people into.
Licensing has definitely contributed. Total Warhammer has been very successful. Though Dawn of War 3 was a flop. TW has been out for 6 years now though and doesn’t explain the continued expansive growth.

Clever choice of quality products, excellent starter sets and stand alone board games, a decent online community, and bringing back popular out of print fan favourites has driven growth. As well as using trusted third parties to publish Ip you aren’t interested in (TW and WFRP)

... Hmmm who does that sound like?
 

MGibster

Legend
I mean, they couldn't sell the books they were printing for 2e, not enough to cover costs. They apparently simply stiffed their printer, too, and thought that would just work forever. Honestly, from what I've read, it sounds like Lorraine Williams was running a bust-out operation. After the WotC buyout, they got the operation profitable within a year, though.
The unsold books we're talking about in this case were novels rather than game books. Though I honestly don't know how well AD&D was selling in 1996. That's about the time I stopped playing.
 

MGibster

Legend
I read somewhere that most of their current money is coming from licensing video games, rather than selling minis. Although I'd be interested in more up-to-date breakdowns, since Age of Sigmar has been out log enough that players are probably starting to look past the lore changes and actually check out the game.
I was one of those people who were a little upset that they shut down the Old World in favor of Age of Sigmar. But you know what? I was never going to buy Warhammer Fantasy so who cares what I thought about the Old World? And now I actually own Age of Sigmar models.
 


payn

Legend
Also the seasonal nature of the WoTC and Paizo adventures builds on a sense of community and a shared narrative, not unlike a popular tv show. That’s no accident.
This. Its a lot of fun discussing experiences with published adventures and others experiences with them as well. Thats a context you dont have when discussing homebrewed campaigns.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I personally find published material saves me enormous amounts of prep time. In fact, I don't really do a lot of prep at all.
Same here. If it hadn’t been for pre-built adventures, I wouldn’t have picked up Pathfinder or 5E, as my time to do D&D prep (and desire) has been cut to nearly nil. Prior to 3E, I used to spend the majority of my time building adventure content and the like for my game. I feel too swamped with my current life to be able to put in that sort of effort any more - though I did surprise myself by cranking out a two-session adventure here recently - but it took me two weeks to put together what in the past I could do overnight.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Looking at the age distribution circle: it's so even - I can't think of any other entertainment product I'd expect t look like that. That's surprising.
The "Four Quadrants" model (Younger Men, Older Men, Younger Women, Older Women) is what dominates Hollywood thinking, and when it succeeds (like with Marvel), it succeeds big.
 

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