How well do you predict non-OGL/CC games will do?


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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I'll be generous. For every $1M that official 5E D&D content earns, I predict:
5E/OGL-compatible materials from other publishers will earn about $50K​
non-5E, non-OGL materials will earn about $15K.​
system-neutral or universal materials (like battle maps, minis, dice, VTTs) will earn about $100K.​

This is going purely off of my own purchases, a quick browse of Kickstarter, a handful of Google searches, and my "Grade the ___ System" surveys I've been doing here on ENWorld. I don't work in the game industry, I'm not an economist, and none of my sources are scientific, though...so take all of this with a grain of salt.
 

I think the games that will be best will:
Have a good, solid community and support it​
Want to be successful but do not even have it in their imagination to overtake D&D​
What I worry about is metrics. Numbers don't lie but they certainly mislead. If we're judging health of the community solely on D&D sales, it will be easy to overlook if a lot of smaller products are out there.

I worry that we will see mass expansion and then a bust phase. We seem to be fascinated by what Kickstarter numbers come in, and not if the games are delivered or, more importantly, are PLAYABLE and table-friendly.
 

I'll be generous. For every $1M that official 5E D&D content earns, I predict:
5E/OGL-compatible materials from other publishers will earn about $50K​
non-5E, non-OGL materials will earn about $15K.​
system-neutral or universal materials (like battle maps, minis, dice, VTTs) will earn about $100K.​

This is going purely off of my own purchases, a quick browse of Kickstarter, a handful of Google searches, and my "Grade the ___ System" surveys I've been doing here on ENWorld. I don't work in the game industry, I'm not an economist, and none of my sources are scientific, though...so take all of this with a grain of salt.
Those numbers feel 'truthy' to me, to quote gamer Stephen Colbert. The problem will be all these people who weren't in a position to open a game studio and think they can cash in on the 'rage against Wizards' phase - it's like restaurants, not everyone who's worked in a restaurant and sees how things work can actually handle owning/running a restaurant
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Those numbers feel 'truthy' to me, to quote gamer Stephen Colbert. The problem will be all these people who weren't in a position to open a game studio and think they can cash in on the 'rage against Wizards' phase - it's like restaurants, not everyone who's worked in a restaurant and sees how things work can actually handle owning/running a restaurant
Some people are going all-in on the 'rage against Wizards' noise, aren't they? Seems like every week certain channels on YouTube squeeze out another pile of sensational videos about 5E/WotC being terrible, or doomed, or grinding peoples' bones to make their bread, whatever they can think of to stoke the flames of Internet outrage. It's like they honestly, truly believe that everyone who stops playing 5E D&D will instantly start playing their NewDifferent Game instead.

But that's not what's happening. Rather, it seems like whenever the tide of Wizards of the Coast rises, it raises everything else in the industry with it, including all of those NewDifferent Games. Folks would do well to consider that possibility.
 
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Define "well."

Is being able to moonlight as an TTRPG maker and print out a few hundred physical books every few years good enough?

Is it running a small business where you can employ others good enough? And how many others? A few people for a year? Some regular freelancers? A hundred full time people?

Is amassing enough resources to be able to take market share from WOTC?
 

I remember those days in the 80s and 90s where trying out new systems was pretty common. We'd switch between D&D, Palladium, Traveller, Twilight 2000, Top Secret, and other games.
I remember this too in the 90s. Part of it was that you'd actually see books from other systems in the stores, and advertisements for those books in Dragon magazine, so you'd get curious and try them. In other words, it was culturally normal to pick up something new and try it.

I don't think anything will supplant official dnd per se, because people identify so strongly with it (lifestyle brand and all that...). But it would be great to get back to a paradigm where people buy and try various things, just like they do with board games or video games.
 

Greg K

Legend
Didn't Savage Worlds do well after the OGL debacle? Obviously, they are not at WOTC's market share (and probably, not near Paizo's either). However, I remember they sold out their print run of the core rules and I have seen several D&D and other YouTube reviewers promoting it as an rpg option and giving it praise as one of several D&D alternatives.
 
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Didn't Savage Worlds do well after the OGL debacle? Obviously, they are not at WOTC's market share (and probably, not near Paizo's either). However, I remember they sold out their print run of the core rules and I have seen several D&D and other YouTube reviewers promoting it as an rpg option and giving it praise as one of several D&D alternatives.
They did also do things like release Savage Rifts, to get those Rifts players who love the setting but not the system. (Wonder if they've ever try a SW/Shadowrun cross)

I do wonder with their core rules getting bought, how often that was because someone in a group wanted to run some SW setting, and people decided they'd get more bang for their buck by buying a SW main book instead of another copy of Savage Rifts?
 

Are any games going to become a "D&D Killer" (as some hyperbolic youtubers are dubbing Daggerheart and/or MCDM RPG)? No. However if you define success as paying your employees and keeping the lights on then I think most established RPG companies are going to do fine.

I think 5E adjacent games like ToV and even PF2 will benefit from WotC adopting an exclusionary position. "D&D without the a-holes at Hasbro" is pretty much the elevator pitch for ToV and the more Hasbro acts like a evil empire, the more support they are going to get, both from players and other designers supporting their systems. So I think those companies are going to be fine because of - rather than in spite of - WotC closing off access to D&D. Is there ever going to be a ToV movie? Probably not, but Kobold does not need to hit that level of success to keep putting out quality stuff.

We will see more non-D&D systems from mid sized gaming companies. Lots of companies like Monte Cook, Modiphius, Fria Ligan, Pinnacle, Mongoose, Chaosium have been doing just fine without leaning on D&D. Hasbro adopting unpopular business practices will only help them, although likely not as much as the more 5E-like games. Some are still going to fail, but it has always been thus.

Where I think it will hurt is individual creators and people trying to break into the industry. These are the ones who have benefited from having the hobby coalesce around one game system that was open to create for. Having a fragmented market with with a bunch of smaller games you can create stuff for will make it more difficult (but not impossible) to succeed financially. MCDM got their start with Strongholds and Followers for 5E and I think building up their business around 5E has put them in a position where they can do their own thing now.
 

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