ICv2's Latest Quarterly Chart: D&D Top, But PF2 Is Strong

The latest chart from ICv2 is up! This represents hobby channel sales through Summer 2019, which is May-August. ICv2 compiles these charts by interviewing retailers and distributors.


Dungeons & Dragons comes in first, followed by Pathfinder, Shadowrun 6E, Vampire 5th Edition, and then the current Star Wars RPG from FFG.

An interesting note is that core D&D books are not growing in hobby stores, because they struggle to compete with Amazon and WotC directly. Pathfinder 2E did better than expected (both of those statements came from hobby retailers). Interestingly, though it's May-August, PF2 only came out in August. I'm not sure how that affects things. You can read the full article at the link, but it's behind a paywall.

Last time (Spring 2019), Pathfinder was right at the bottom of the chart (as expected after a new edition is announced). Interestingly, Starfinder has dropped right off.

You can see all the charts in one big table going back to 2004 here.
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I am a Pf2e fan, it has managed to fill a fantasy RPG void that wasn't already filled.

5e is my medium fantasy sandbox system.

PF2e is my high fantasy heroes journey system

B/X is my old school keep on the borderlands style system (high risk, high reward)

Conan 2d20 (heavily altered) is my low fantasy low magic.

Forbidden Lands is my westmarches style fantasy.

The only thing that is missing is a solid horror fantasy setting, symbaroum has the art but the rules are too empowering to allow for much horror.

Shadow of the demon king stops being threatening quick and suffers from Symbaroum issues without the nuance of world building.

What an age to be alive for a RPG fan though.


I crit!
Well, note: Steady high sales likely means growth of the gaming population. I mean, unless the same people have been re-buying the PHB over and over for five years, those books are going into new hands.
Yup, but the stores are complaining about growth in sales.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Yup, but the stores are complaining about growth in sales.

Well, that's something to ask my game-store-owning friend. Not about growth in sales, but in growth in use of his gaming space, and the income from that.

Game stores cannot expect to compete or keep up with Amazon for outright sales. While Amazon has mostly killed big box bookstores, the independent booksellers seem to be recovering, using their community aspects. The equivalent of that for game stores is probably in-store play.



I have to say that Starfinder has slid right off my shelf as well.
It didn't click with me, but I kept a few modules, maps, and the Pact Worlds book for use in other scifi games.

Jimmy Dick

I can't see the sales chart as I'm not a subscriber of ICv2. I'd like to see if they lumped PF1 and PF2 together or not. I know it sold extremely well via Amazon upon release, but I don't know about sales after August. Everywhere I look, PF2 play is picking up. I run PFS exclusively and my lodges are growing because of PF2.

The presence of Pathfinder and Shadowrun 6 is predictable, given their new editions. Starfinder, in effect, was a placeholder for the Pathfinder market as they went through a transitional period. Not sure it will last much beyond it, unless they make a 2nd edition of it to tie in with the Pathfinder 2nd edition. It’s not looking likely that they’ll overtake D&D again though - and it’s not clear what the drop off of sales numbers from 1st place to 2nd place is (or any other place, for that matter). As such, the actual share of the market could be less than before - but we wouldn’t know without more information. However, wherever D&D is sold in game stores, you tend to find Pathfinder as it’s main competitor. Many retailers don’t stock anything other than these two brands.

Shadowrun, like Vampire, had some negativity on release from some fans - but then their respective fanbases are relatively large compared with other games. While other games may get a dozen or so highly positive reviews and seem universally liked, Shadowrun might get 40-50 reviews with an increase in the number of negative reviews included, even though it’s selling much more units overall. The competition between Shadowrun and Cyberpunk Red will be interesting to observe in the next cycle.

Vampire: The Masquerade has held firm in it’s top 5 placements for the last three quarters - indicating that the latent World of Darkness market lost a decade ago can still be tapped into, and the distribution channels are good enough to maintain their retail presence. I think Vampire has a slightly different market to D&D and many other RPGS anyway - more adult-only orientated and enticing to more female audiences, for example. It’s not necessarily the crowd that is well represented on this site. Notably, however, it’s overtaken FFGs Star Wars, despite not producing any new products in the last quarter. Modiphius and The Onyx Path do have some supplements coming however, so they look to be in a strong position moving forward.

Star Wars, judging on the lukewarm reception of the last movie, may be dipping in interest a little and there doesn’t seem to be much more supplements or development coming for the existing games. I wonder whether the Dune merchandise, including a RPG and upcoming movie, might tap into the public imagination in the coming year?
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