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ICv2's Top 5 RPGs for Spring 2020 - D&D 3PPs In The Chart!

ICv2's latest set of figures are in (I compile them all here) and, while there's little surprise about D&D followed by Pathfinder coming in the top two places, and Starfinder also featuring, there's a new entry -- "5E-Compatible". These are for Spring 2020.

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The 5E-Compatible category, according to ICv2's online magazine, shows that collectively third-party D&D products are doing well, although none individually make the top five chart. Goodman Games was called out in particular, as were Kobold Press and Nord Games. RPGs as a whole, however, took a (small) dip for the first time in years, likely due to COVID.

One retailer commented on WotC's D&D releases, noting that while sales of recent books have been 'OK', it's been a while since a really big hit like the Volo and Xanathar Guides.

1Dungeons & DragonsWizards of the Coast
2PathfinderPaizo
35E-CompatibleVarious
4StarfinderPaizo
5CyberpunkR. Talsorian
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments



OK', it's been a while since a really big hit like the Volo and Xanathar Guides
Didn't the critical roll hardcover setting sell really well?

Personal i write all my own adventures in a homebrew setting so monster books and rules books are what I want. I buy most ot the 5e books just for the last 20 pages of monsters.
 








Jimmy Dick

Explorer
Paizo is doing quite well with Pathfinder Second Edition sales during a pandemic. They sold out of the first run of Core Rulebooks which is pretty good when you factor in the pandemic and tariff wars which are wreaking havoc in the TTRPG industry. Thanks to their Organized Play Foundation, online gaming is filling the niche left by the absence of live gaming. That said, obviously things would be vastly better for them and everybody else in the industry if we didn't have this pandemic negatively impacting live gaming and therefore sales across the board.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Possibly it sold really well, just not noticeably so at retailers.
Retailers in the case of ICV2 does not include mass-market retailers (like Amazon or Barnes & Noble), but just hobby retailers - it's called out in the first sentence. And hobby retailers are 98% dependent on walk in traffic. If your store is closed due to pandemic lockdown, going to be pretty hard to have sales. Meanwhile, Wildemount was top seller on Amazon, but that's orthogonal to the metrics discussed in the article.

Also, hobby retailers are going to feed the core hobby, who are more likely to want core material like Xanathars, rather than "extraneous" material like Wildemount, or even Theros.
 

macd21

Adventurer
Retailers in the case of ICV2 does not include mass-market retailers (like Amazon or Barnes & Noble), but just hobby retailers - it's called out in the first sentence.
Yes? That’s what I was referring to.

And hobby retailers are 98% dependent on walk in traffic. If your store is closed due to pandemic lockdown, going to be pretty hard to have sales. Meanwhile, Wildemount was top seller on Amazon, but that's orthogonal to the metrics discussed in the article.
I don’t think the retailer in question was referring just to sales since the lockdown. He’s talking about his impression of DnD’s products for quite some time.

Also, hobby retailers are going to feed the core hobby, who are more likely to want core material like Xanathars, rather than "extraneous" material like Wildemount, or even Theros.
This I disagree with. The ‘core’ hobby are the ones more likely to pick up everything. It’s the ‘fringe’ hobbyists who only pick up the core books and little else. What I think is happening is that the core of the hobby is increasingly not being fed by the hobby retailers. They’re getting their books from Amazon.
 

jerryrice4949

Explorer
Retailers in the case of ICV2 does not include mass-market retailers (like Amazon or Barnes & Noble), but just hobby retailers - it's called out in the first sentence. And hobby retailers are 98% dependent on walk in traffic. If your store is closed due to pandemic lockdown, going to be pretty hard to have sales. Meanwhile, Wildemount was top seller on Amazon, but that's orthogonal to the metrics discussed in the article.

Also, hobby retailers are going to feed the core hobby, who are more likely to want core material like Xanathars, rather than "extraneous" material like Wildemount, or even Theros.
I am a core hobbyist in that I buy a lot of 5E books but the last WOTC book I bought was MToF. I have bought a lot of 3rd part material such as Kobold Presss, Frog God Games and the OAR by Goodman Games. Could explain the comment by the one hobby store employee and the new 5E compatible category.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Paizo is doing quite well with Pathfinder Second Edition sales during a pandemic.
I would love to see an objective source (someone who isn't a Paizo executive) that indicates this. I have not been able to find one.

They sold out of the first run of Core Rulebooks which is pretty good when you factor in the pandemic and tariff wars which are wreaking havoc in the TTRPG industry.
PF2 came out well before the Pandemic. It was released over a year go now (August 1, 2019). If they had not sold out the first run, I'd think they'd be in serious trouble as historically they have always sold out the first run in a matter of weeks after release. Selling out the first print run isn't, itself, a sign they are doing well. It's the bare minimum I assume.

In terms of objective sales data, we know they are 1) not doing as well as PF1 used to on Amazon or Barnes and Noble in sales ranking, 2) did not sell all their inventory at GenCon when it was first released, despite always selling all their inventory at GenCon in prior years for their biggest new releases, and 3) PF2 isn't being played as much as PF1 on online play tools like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, though that may change over time. You might also add 4) PF2 is not being discussed on message boards and other forums as much as PF1 used to be (or even still is) discussed in such places.

Again, none of this is "clear" data which points to one conclusion, but it's not what you'd call data of "good sales" right now either.

Thanks to their Organized Play Foundation, online gaming is filling the niche left by the absence of live gaming
That is one of the objective sources I've been looking at - online play. And, they're not doing as well as you'd imagine they'd do right now relative to the competition. That doesn't mean they're doing poorly, but it does mean there is nothing in the online play data which shows they're doing well, objectively speaking. But if you have seen something different do please post it.

I am not sure Paizo is doing what they wanted to do with PF2, and I am not so sure the Pandemic carries all or even most of the blame for that. But, I am not sure on any of this. I could be wrong.
 

darjr

I crit!
Lightning in a bottle. PF1 was that. Paizo shouldn’t be held to that standard for “doing well”. I’m not a Paizo cheerleader but being the second leading RPG and fourth leading RPG is quite an amazing feat. Paizo also have some very smart people at the helm, and one of the smartest RPG business persons Lisa Stevens, in her retirement, available to them as well. So “not doing as well as this one time they caught lighting in a bottle” I don’t think is the disaster as some seem to want it to be.

nor do I think missing “theorized” projected PF2 desired sales is either. Not at this level.
 

Retreater

Legend
Luckily, I got my second copy of the PF2 Core Rulebook before it sold out. We're loving the system, and I don't see that group changing from it … at least until the ENWorld Advanced book gets released ;)

You might also add 4) PF2 is not being discussed on message boards and other forums as much as PF1 used to be (or even still is) discussed in such places.
I feel like there are a number of discussions about PF2 on these boards. Maybe not as much as 5E - but 5E really is a juggernaut. I still see more talk about it here than say Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu, WoD, any retroclones/OSR systems, any older editions of D&D, Star Wars/Genesys, Warhammer Fantasy or Age of Sigmar, Numenera/Cypher System, FATE, Powered by the Apocalypse Games, etc. (maybe even more than those combined).

So it's not a failure. The failure was 4E that took much of the discussion and play from D&D. Even though I enjoyed that system at the time (and still have fun with it), 4E was the primary reason PF1 was able to thrive in the years before 5E.

I'm sure discussion boards would've looked much different in the alternate universe that had PF1 release simultaneously with 5E (or even a different version of 4E closer to the 3.x system).
 

Jimmy Dick

Explorer
Back when PF1 came out it didn't have a D&D 5e to deal with. PF2 has done quite well when that is taken into account. They also had a larger print run for the 2e CRB compared to 1e books over the years due to changing circumstances with the tariff wars.
Objectively speaking? PaizoCon had over 1100 game sessions between 1e, 2e, SFS, and PACS. Paizo had over one-sixth of all Gen Con Online games ran for the convention. Go to Warhorn and see how many 2e games are on it vs. the number of 5e games. At this very moment there are 1293 2e campaigns vs. 421 Adventurer's League campaigns.

Roll20's metrics are not usable in determining games being played. The Orr Report does not generate usable scientific data in determining just what is actually being played. I'm sure 5e is the leading game system on it, but its data collection system leaves a lot to be desired and acquired before it becomes representative of the actual community on it.

Do I have more on this? Yes. I am in the OPO Discord server running games for new 2e players constantly. We have a steady stream of new-to-2e players coming in. The online cons are generating more interest in Org Play and we see that show up in the player base on a daily basis.
 

I have to say after playing Pathfinder 2E that for my group that is the perfect game for us. The three action economy and the way all criticals are done with degrees of success is just a good system. Combat is tactical but not overcomplicated and very fast.
 

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