D&D General Darksun Adventure sales from Ben Riggs author of Slaying the Dragon

darjr

I crit!
Does it? I see that it shows that the Core rules sold best. That the sales started with a large number and then had a large drop off. That campaign settings sold closer to the Core rules sold better than those sold later. That rule releases sold better overall, and gave a bump to other products.

That data doesn't say that sales from Dark sun was what made Dragonlance sales decrease, or that releasing Forgotten Realms made Dragonlance decrease.

Instead it shows a distinct pattern of strong sales at the start which then have a drop off.

Nothing indicates that they were cannibalizing their own sales with other lines.

WHAT DID happen (not sure if the book covers it, probably does if Riggs is as thorough as people say it is) is really dumb financial decisions.

When you make a compilation of magic stuff in a book which no one really wants, and start off with a sale price of maybe $15 you might sale a few and perhaps turn a profit. Make it $20 and you will sell less. Then when the boss comes and says...put leather covers on it so that it will cost $50 to make...you just have to scratch your head because that book is NOW going to LOOSE money no matter how you try to sell it. You can't sell enough to make back the money if you sell it at a high enough price point, but if you don't sell it that high, you lose money with each book. It's a lose/lose situation (edit: Example of a situation that may or may not be based on an actual situation that occurred).

It's not that the book CAN'T make money, but the decisions behind how it is going to be published makes it a lose/lose situation. The books COULD make money (and WotC showed that very well with how they "split" the lines at some points, though probably not all the time, at one point in particular it probably had some harsh realities that came to fruition, but not the time to cover that), but decisions were made that were terrible choices.

Investing money into sidelines that had nothing to do with the products being made, relying overly on future sales as hard numbers rather than estimates, counting on borrowed money as income, and many other BAD financial decisions are what sunk TSR most, not the multiple campaign settings themselves. Those are things that I don't recall being mentioned when WotC was trying to advertise 3e, but the reality (boring as it probably would be to most who would read such stuff) is probably the harsher truth. It was really bad financial decisions in regards to money that sunk TSR.
Yes it does.
Making three complicated expensive products for the same money vs making one or two costs you more to make and thus squanders your profits.
 

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Ben has evidence. It might not match Darcy’s conclusion but it is evidence and shows directly how it hurt them.

Mainly they were chasing the same dollars with more and more complicated products. A significant portion of which were expensive to design and produce and either made them zero dollars (planescape) or cost them money to sell (dsrksun advenures)
Grey Lord's argument is, how come this logic didn't happen when WotC did the exact same thing?
 



GreyLord

Legend
Yes it does.
Making three complicated expensive products for the same money vs making one or two costs you more to make and thus squanders your profits.

I don't see it. So you are saying that when WotC published Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and Modern that they were squandering their profits?

WotC did the exact same thing, sometimes worse, than TSR did with multiple campaign settings.

If they TRULY believed what was said, they would NEVER have done that.

Look at the actions taken rather than what was said and you'll see that they drew the same conclusions (maybe not Dancey, but the Hasbro execs did and those that talked to them did) I'm talking about.

Once again, looking at simply what the data posted is saying, I don't see what you are stating. I can see how people may make assumptions (finding correlations does not necessarily mean their is a causation). I find strong evidence of the cycle I posted (strong sales at first, drastic drop off) on almost ALL the releases. It is a very predictable pattern from what has been posted. I don't see that they are cannibalizing themselves.

Cannibalizing is normally much more noticeable. I'd expect a graph like that would then show dips and rises, rather than simply a drop off. When one product cannibalizes the other you'd see a drop, then a rise again as it cannibalizes another...etc. I don't see that in these graphs posted.
 



darjr

I crit!
I don't see it. So you are saying that when WotC published Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and Modern that they were squandering their profits?

WotC did the exact same thing, sometimes worse, than TSR did with multiple campaign settings.

If they TRULY believed what was said, they would NEVER have done that.

Look at the actions taken rather than what was said and you'll see that they drew the same conclusions (maybe not Dancey, but the Hasbro execs did and those that talked to them did) I'm talking about.

Once again, looking at simply what the data posted is saying, I don't see what you are stating. I can see how people may make assumptions (finding correlations does not necessarily mean their is a causation). I find strong evidence of the cycle I posted (strong sales at first, drastic drop off) on almost ALL the releases. It is a very predictable pattern from what has been posted. I don't see that they are cannibalizing themselves.

Cannibalizing is normally much more noticeable. I'd expect a graph like that would then show dips and rises, rather than simply a drop off. When one product cannibalizes the other you'd see a drop, then a rise again as it cannibalizes another...etc. I don't see that in these graphs posted.
Don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say that.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't see it. So you are saying that when WotC published Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and Modern that they were squandering their profits?

WotC did the exact same thing, sometimes worse, than TSR did with multiple campaign settings.

If they TRULY believed what was said, they would NEVER have done that.

Look at the actions taken rather than what was said and you'll see that they drew the same conclusions (maybe not Dancey, but the Hasbro execs did and those that talked to them did) I'm talking about.

Once again, looking at simply what the data posted is saying, I don't see what you are stating. I can see how people may make assumptions (finding correlations does not necessarily mean their is a causation). I find strong evidence of the cycle I posted (strong sales at first, drastic drop off) on almost ALL the releases. It is a very predictable pattern from what has been posted. I don't see that they are cannibalizing themselves.

Cannibalizing is normally much more noticeable. I'd expect a graph like that would then show dips and rises, rather than simply a drop off. When one product cannibalizes the other you'd see a drop, then a rise again as it cannibalizes another...etc. I don't see that in these graphs posted.
To be fair, WotC didn't start out 3E doing thar, and they stopped pretty quick. Multiple product lines is something they have avoided hard for some time.
 

darjr

I crit!
Also WotC tried harder to grow the hobby. Also it wasn’t thier cash cow. They KNEW it was tiny profits and did it anyway in hopes of fostering a bigger industry. See just about anything the CEO of WotC posted about why he bought TSR and why he kept trying to sell D&D.

He did actually face some resistance to even making D&D.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Bruce Heard didn’t even take issue the numbers.
You should tell Bruce Heard that.

4E43E362-F5DD-4DC2-9BB4-4E853FFEAAFA.png
 



GreyLord

Legend
Because WotC didn’t. It was a variety of companies that were not WotC. Many of which DiD go out of business.

True, but if the lines were split, that means WotC would have ALSO had that much more trouble as well. Worse than TSR.

For example, If I am Buster, and I have 20 dollars...I can only buy one book. I have a choice of 10 campaign lines. I buy one, the other 9 lose out. If that is TSR, they gain 20 dollars, and don't sell 180 dollars of product.

Take that as WotC. I am Buster...I have 20 dollars...I can only buy one book. I have a choice of 50 campaign lines. I buy one. The other 49 lose out. If it is WotC, they gain 20 dollars. They lose 180 on the other lines they are selling (Because they still have a bunch of books from other campaign settings for sale). The others also go out of business.

I dislike that this entire story is that TSR splitting the campaigns is what sunk it. It isn't. WotC's actions even show they didn't even believe that piece of hokum.

It's not even a hidden secret. These things are out there and even discussed (or at least some of it has been). The book deal and relying on those funds as set hard finances is something that has been mentioned quite frequently. That is probably a MUCH bigger deal on what sunk TSR than having put out multiple campaign settings. It wasn't the multiple campaign settings themselves being put out that was the problem.

If it were, WotC would not have been continuing to do so with ever edition ever since.

It is the financial decisions made BEHIND that support and HOW that support is done which can be problematic. If you are making a module for a line that had it's last product sell 8k units, than it would be dumb to print 20k...most likely. You MIGHT turn a profit if you sell 3k, but it might be smarter just to release a new creative setting instead (yes, that might split the line, but it might also sell better than a dying product line). Printing 20K then is a financial decision, NOT something really related to "splitting" the line. I don't see a causation between the release of campaign settings and cannibalization of product.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
None of that is Bruce claiming the numbers are wrong or that Bens sources is wrong. It’s a complaint about the presentation and format.
We must take asking someone for their source very differently then. When you make a claim and someone else demands you cite a source, they’re calling you a liar and demanding you back up your claim with proof because they don’t believe you.
 


darjr

I crit!
True, but if the lines were split, that means WotC would have ALSO had that much more trouble as well. Worse than TSR.

For example, If I am Buster, and I have 20 dollars...I can only buy one book. I have a choice of 10 campaign lines. I buy one, the other 9 lose out. If that is TSR, they gain 20 dollars, and don't sell 180 dollars of product.

Take that as WotC. I am Buster...I have 20 dollars...I can only buy one book. I have a choice of 50 campaign lines. I buy one. The other 49 lose out. If it is WotC, they gain 20 dollars. They lose 180 on the other lines they are selling (Because they still have a bunch of books from other campaign settings for sale). The others also go out of business.

I dislike that this entire story is that TSR splitting the campaigns is what sunk it. It isn't. WotC's actions even show they didn't even believe that piece of hokum.

It's not even a hidden secret. These things are out there and even discussed (or at least some of it has been). The book deal and relying on those funds as set hard finances is something that has been mentioned quite frequently. That is probably a MUCH bigger deal on what sunk TSR than having put out multiple campaign settings. It wasn't the multiple campaign settings themselves being put out that was the problem.

If it were, WotC would not have been continuing to do so with ever edition ever since.

It is the financial decisions made BEHIND that support and HOW that support is done which can be problematic. If you are making a module for a line that had it's last product sell 8k units, than it would be dumb to print 20k...most likely. You MIGHT turn a profit if you sell 3k, but it might be smarter just to release a new creative setting instead (yes, that might split the line, but it might also sell better than a dying product line). Printing 20K then is a financial decision, NOT something really related to "splitting" the line. I don't see a causation between the release of campaign settings and cannibalization of product.
No. Because the problem it caused was because TSR was the sole investor. There weren’t third party companies losing money and going bankrupt, it was TSR. That burden wasn’t spread across a bevy of OGL minions to take the hits so the main NPC could carry on.
 

GreyLord

Legend
To be fair, WotC didn't start out 3E doing thar, and they stopped pretty quick. Multiple product lines is something they have avoided hard for some time.

They tailored it. If you see the Graphs, it can become pretty obvious WHY they did so.

What the graphs posted show is that campaign settings seem to sell well and then have a steep drop off. Further re-releases or sales also tend to follow that. In that light, releasing a campaign setting is good, but you want to do it at maximum impact. Thus, a release probably ever year or so (or in Paizo's case, with AP's, ever 6 months).

You can see this start to form during 3.5, and it took over HARD for 4e. In that time, you see the idea to release ONE campaign setting per year or more if possible.

I think 5e has tried to follow this trend in a modified fashion as well, though not with campaign settings as it were, but in a fashion related to slower rules releases and adventures based on various campaign ideas.
 

GreyLord

Legend
No. Because the problem it caused was because TSR was the sole investor. There weren’t third party companies losing money and going bankrupt, it was TSR. That burden wasn’t spread across a bevy of OGL minions to take the hits so the main NPC could carry on.

If I have 200 dollars and it all goes to TSR, TSR gets all of it.

IF I have 200 dollars and now only 20 goes to WotC...but WotC is printing just as much product as TSR was...who is going to lose more money?
 

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