ICv2 Reports Disappointing Year For Hobby Games Channel: TTRPGs Down, D&D Declines 30%

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According to ICv2, 2023 was a tough year for hobby game sales. The US and Canada market increased by just 1%, which was less than the rate of inflation, growing from $2.86 billion in 2022 to $2.89 billion in 2023.

The hobby game sales channel is defined as specialist game and card stores--it doesn't include Amazon, direct sales, etc. It does include Kickstarter.

Top Hobby Channel TTRPGs (2023)
  1. Dungeons & Dragons (WotC)
  2. Pathfinder (Paizo)
  3. Cyberpunk Red (R. Talsorian)
  4. World of Darkness (Renegade Game Studios)
  5. Starfinder (Paizo)
  6. Warhammer 40K (Cubicle 7)
  7. Marvel Multiverse Roleplaying (Marvel)
  8. Kobold 5E Books (Kobold Press)
  9. Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium)
  10. Pirate Borg (Free League)
The only two categories to grow in 2023 were collectibles and miniatures. All other categories--board games, card games, and roleplaying games--were down. ICv2 reports a 30% hobby store sales decline for Dungeons & Dragons specifically, citing the impending new edition and lackluster movie performance, and the tail end of a pandemic-fuelled high; they also report that while the OGL crisis of last year impacted some lifestyle gamers, newer players as a whole were oblivious to the situation. The other important element ICv2 mentioned was D&D's increasing move to digital, which impacted retail sales.

Older D&D players, says ICv2, are also migrating to other games, with Pathfinder as one of the major beneficiaries.

The last 6 years has seen much larger growth rates--partly fuelled by the pandemic--ranging from 10% to 30%. 2022 saw a 7% growth over 2021. Despite the small increase, 2023 represents the 15th year of growth for the overall market. ICv2 does predict a market decline in 2024, though.

ICv2 conducts periodical surveys and speaks to publishers, distributors, and retailers, along with publicly available company information and Kickstarter data.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
The 'increasingly move to digital' also isn't really that fast.
It's less the move to digital in general, and more spwcigically that WotC started direct sales of the phyaical/digital bundle, and for a while there was meeting MSRP: ao someone could pay the same price to buy the physical book from WotC and get the Beyond version, or just get the book from their FLGS. That is going to take quite a few sales from FLGS, with Beyond's user base being over 11 million or so.
 

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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
It's less the move to digital in general, and more spwcigically that WotC started direct sales of the phyaical/digital bundle, and for a while there was meeting MSRP: ao someone could pay the same price to buy the physical book from WotC and get the Beyond version, or just get the book from their FLGS. That is going to take quite a few sales from FLGS, with Beyond's user base being over 11 million or so.
I agree that the bundles are very convenient and enticing. Just a small clarification: the price of the bundle is more that the cost of the book. For example, Vecna and Staircase both cost €75, vs €50 for the book in a store.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I agree that the bundles are very convenient and enticing. Just a small clarification: the price of the bundle is more that the cost of the book. For example, Vecna and Staircase both cost €75, vs €50 for the book in a store.
They are now, but when they started they were doing some special introductory price sales for the first few weeks of preorders thst were at MSRP...and it is hard for to imagine that they didndraw away a lot of FLGS sales.

Even at the normal price, that going to be a draw.
 

Arcanra

Villager
Sounds about right. I'm an older gamer, in my mid-50's and due to my group playing PF 1e since it came out, the only real thing I buy anymore is dice and miniatures, since we already have a plethora of PF 1e stuff that we haven't run yet, we don't need new adventures, and there aren't supplements made anymore for the system. I did back and buy Shadowdark though, and have run that some, it's a fun game, a good blend of the modern mechanic with the old school feel, but that is the only rpg book I have actually bought in many years, except a few old Harn supplements that I find used from time to time in our local gaming shop's used section.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
They are now, but when they started they were doing some special introductory price sales for the first few weeks of preorders thst were at MSRP...and it is hard for to imagine that they didndraw away a lot of FLGS sales.
Ah, I didn't remember that.

Even at the normal price, that going to be a draw.
Indeed they are. What the stores have going for them is the exclusive of the alternate covers, which usually (and IMHO) are nicer than the the standard ones.
 

mamba

Legend
It's less the move to digital in general, and more spwcigically that WotC started direct sales of the phyaical/digital bundle, and for a while there was meeting MSRP: ao someone could pay the same price to buy the physical book from WotC and get the Beyond version, or just get the book from their FLGS.
FLGS gets you the alternative cover, if that is of no interest you can get the book for about $15 cheaper on Amazon instead.

I guess the bundle eats into both, not just FLGS sales, I have no idea how many bundles they did sell however
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
FLGS gets you the alternative cover, if that is of no interest you can get the book for about $15 cheaper on Amazon instead.

I guess the bundle eats into both, not just FLGS sales, I have no idea how many bundles they did sell however
I do buy from FLGS, whether I prefer the standard or alt covers.

However, I would not die of shock if up to a third of FLGS decided they liked the physical/digital bundles better.
 

jolt

Adventurer
MSRP is created by setting a retail sales cost a certain percentage above wholesale cost whereby the merchant can make a sustainable profit selling that item. Amazon, however, is an effective monopoly and can (mostly) ignore it. Being a monopoly doesn't mean that no one else is offering what you are, but it does mean they can't compete with you. In the US this happened with Pacific Bell in the 70's - no one could compete with them and so they were broken up. No one can compete with Amazon. They are so big, and deal with so much volume, and have so much money, that they can sell at a loss across entire sectors for no other reason than you might buy there more as a result. No one else can do that. They are largely immune to the traditional market forces that 99.99% of the rest of the world have to obey. Every so often, you'll hear complaints that Amazon needs to be broken up, but anti-regulatory forces are much stronger now than they were in the 70's and so it goes nowhere.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
MSRP is created by setting a retail sales cost a certain percentage above wholesale cost whereby the merchant can make a sustainable profit selling that item. Amazon, however, is an effective monopoly and can (mostly) ignore it. Being a monopoly doesn't mean that no one else is offering what you are, but it does mean they can't compete with you. In the US this happened with Pacific Bell in the 70's - no one could compete with them and so they were broken up. No one can compete with Amazon. They are so big, and deal with so much volume, and have so much money, that they can sell at a loss across entire sectors for no other reason than you might buy there more as a result. No one else can do that. They are largely immune to the traditional market forces that 99.99% of the rest of the world have to obey. Every so often, you'll hear complaints that Amazon needs to be broken up, but anti-regulatory forces are much stronger now than they were in the 70's and so it goes nowhere.
Less because they are a monopoly, and more that they buy wholesale as their own distributor and are able to cut out one of the profit margin steps. That's why Target matches their price for D&D books, too.
 
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teitan

Legend
Less because they are a monopoly, and more that they buy wholesale as their own distributor and are able to cut out one of the profit margin steps. That's why Target matches their price for D&D books
Oh it is a lot more than that, in some cases it's exactly the same network.
 

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