Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?

Parmandur

Legend
I think the idea that an independent publishing house could survive or even thrive off of becoming a third party publisher for another company's game is not necessarily a valid assumption to make. Fifth Edition makes Wizard of the Coast a lot of money. However, unless Matt Mercer or Matthew Colville are attached it has not proven to make anyone else a lot of money. Being #2 in the market, even if it remains a distant #2 provides Paizo with a good chunk of revenue.

Would they really be selling more books or get more prominent shelving space if they were selling source books and adventures for Fifth Edition?

Would they have to plan their release cycle around Fifth Edition? Paizo is already planning well into 2021.

If they start selling really well what does Wizards do to respond? What happens if there is an edition change?

I think the only way this would ever work is some sort of exclusive deal to make D&D branded products and given their history Paizo is loathe to attach themselves to anyone else's ship. They had to scramble and drastically change their business model because of decisions made by Wizards of the Coast before. Being independent to formulate business plans and steer their own ship might be worth it even if revenue is not as strong as it could be (I do not think that is the case anyway).
On the contrary, there are several companies who focus on making third party 5E content. Kobold Press and Goodman Games are prime examples (Into the Borderlands is the best-selling product in Goodman Games history).
 
Would they really be selling more books or get more prominent shelving space if they were selling source books and adventures for Fifth Edition?
I suspect they could. WotC has shown a clear unwillingness to go certain places with 5e. Paizo, with the rep they earned doing PF1, could have gone those places, taking 5e there for those who wanted it. It might have been lucrative, it might even have turned them into a headspace leader, even though market leader was doubtless off the table.

Would they have to plan their release cycle around Fifth Edition? Paizo is already planning well into 2021.
Yes, but the 5e pace of releases is so slow, that hardly seems a burden.

If they start selling really well what does Wizards do to respond?
Throw them a party? Farm out more stuff to them? They'd essentially be on the same team, at that point, Paizo supplements selling super-well would only further drive sales of the 5e core and further cement the dominance of the D&D brand.

Might not be best for the hobby or all the fans or artistically inspiring, but from a business PoV, what's not to like about success?

What happens if there is an edition change?
What happened time before last? The market is WotC's to lose, not Paizo's to win. Each time WotC changes direction, rolls a rev, there's a chance they'll blow it.

I think the only way this would ever work is some sort of exclusive deal to make D&D branded products and given their history Paizo is loathe to attach themselves to anyone else's ship. They had to scramble and drastically change their business model because of decisions made by Wizards of the Coast before.
But, ultimately, those decisions hurt WotC, why would they repeat such mistakes when they're doing so well?
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
On the contrary, there are several companies who focus on making third party 5E content. Kobold Press and Goodman Games are prime examples (Into the Borderlands is the best-selling product in Goodman Games history).
I am talking about publishers who print books and get them to game stores and book stores here. There is a massive difference in terms of scale. Paizo currently publishes the #2 and #3 game on the market. They sell game branded game aids and miniatures. They have a large number of full time employees. The only other publisher who comes close is Fantasy Flight Games.

I am not saying that becoming a Dungeons and Dragons third party publisher would have never worked, but I think it would have been at least as risky. I am also not talking about it merely working, but working better than what they are doing. I do not feel that this is a safe assumption to make.

I admit I have a bias here, but not the one you would probably think. I believe the hobby is better off with more games that are meaningfully differentiated from each other. I think it is important for us to have choice and diversity in the hobby.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
And from what I can see Paizo is happy with sales. They are also doing well with Starfinder. Why attach your fortunes to another game company if you can thrive doing your own thing?

Lisa Stevens is smart and has been successfully managing Paizo for many years now. She knows the business and the market. Paizo takes risks but they are always calculated risks.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Thing is, Mearls has detailed what he would do differently if he had his way rather than following through with making what people wanted (making the game a dice-pooling system, for instance). They really did go out of their way to figure out what the public wanted, and designed for it. To this day, surveys have veto power over new material, which is why there was no mass combat system published until Ghosts of Saltmarsh.
Of course they took feedback under consideration in design changes were made because of it. However, the shape of the game did not fundamentally change because of feedback. That's a good thing by the way. It is good for designers to have a vision and execute on it. They used targeted surveys for acceptance testing and to see how players actually playing the game were experiencing it. They never said what kind of game do you want us to design because they knew what kind of game they were going to design.

There were creative professionals designing a game - not marketing professionals. It would not be nearly as good if the game were designed by committee.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Of course they took feedback under consideration in design changes were made because of it. However, the shape of the game did not fundamentally change because of feedback. That's a good thing by the way. It is good for designers to have a vision and execute on it. They used targeted surveys for acceptance testing and to see how players actually playing the game were experiencing it. They never said what kind of game do you want us to design because they knew what kind of game they were going to design.

There were creative professionals designing a game - not marketing professionals. It would not be nearly as good if the game were designed by committee.
Well, it kind of did fundamentally change over time. Not from being D&D into Monopoly or something, but fundamental parts of their vision did not survive. And honestly, the game is better for it.

They are not marketing professionals, but they brought those in to help design and run the feedback process. Oftentimes, committees produce superior products, if the process is managed well.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
I suspect they could. WotC has shown a clear unwillingness to go certain places with 5e. Paizo, with the rep they earned doing PF1, could have gone those places, taking 5e there for those who wanted it. It might have been lucrative, it might even have turned them into a headspace leader, even though market leader was doubtless off the table.

Yes, but the 5e pace of releases is so slow, that hardly seems a burden.

Throw them a party? Farm out more stuff to them? They'd essentially be on the same team, at that point, Paizo supplements selling super-well would only further drive sales of the 5e core and further cement the dominance of the D&D brand.

Might not be best for the hobby or all the fans or artistically inspiring, but from a business PoV, what's not to like about success?

What happened time before last? The market is WotC's to lose, not Paizo's to win. Each time WotC changes direction, rolls a rev, there's a chance they'll blow it.

But, ultimately, those decisions hurt WotC, why would they repeat such mistakes when they're doing so well?
Where Paizo is astronomically ahead of Wizards is their willingness to go darker. Wizards made Hell goddamn sanitized.
 
Where Paizo is astronomically ahead of Wizards is their willingness to go darker. Wizards made Hell goddamn sanitized.
Maybe that's just a matter of perspective, too. Compared to the way TSR caved with 2e, WotC doesn't seem too reticent.

Of course they took feedback under consideration in design changes were made because of it. However, the shape of the game did not fundamentally change because of feedback.
The feedback for the preceding several years had been "put the game back in the shape you found it in."
So, yeah.
 

darjr

I crit!
I dunno. Friends were writhing about even driving a soul consuming vehicle. Not kidding. The mod was burn souls or lose.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
The success is because they paid attention to what was popular and what wasn't. I don't see how that's a particularly controversial statement, tbh.
Another way of stating this is that they paid attention to what people wanted their play experience to be like...
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
What about the collapse of Goblinworks and Pathfinder Online?
What about the crowdfunded miniatures fiasco where a lot of Paizo customers were left out of pocket from the fallout?
First of all, calculated risk does not mean nothing fails! Paizo has tried many things that didn't work. That's perfectly normal.

Secondly, Goblinworks is not owned by Paizo. They just paid to use PF license. And weren't the miniatures a third party company as well?

I'm getting the sense you're just wanting to bash Paizo. 😂
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
First of all, calculated risk does not mean nothing fails! Paizo has tried many things that didn't work. That's perfectly normal.

Secondly, Goblinworks is not owned by Paizo. They just paid to use PF license. And weren't the miniatures a third party company as well?

I'm getting the sense you're just wanting to bash Paizo. 😂
The point was these risks were taken but they were not at all calculated. In fact these risks seem to have been taken naively.

Lisa Stevens is the CEO of Paizo. And the CEO of Goblinworks.

With the miniatures fiasco Paizo were warned and cautioned repeatedly to not to engage that company. They still chose to go ahead and make the deal. Causing lots of their customers to be out of pocket. Causing that crowdfund to collapse. But Paizo did not lose anything. So no skin off their teeth right?

Not all the risks they take are considered or thoughtful. Especially after having been warned and cautioned repeatedly against something.
 

GameOgre

Explorer
I have played 5E since it's release after finally changing from Pathfinder 1E. I didn't play the playtest mostly because I was playing 5E.

So far Pathfinder 2E is wonderful! It isn't what I would have wanted for a second edition back when I played Pathfinder 1E BUT it's exactly what I want after playing 5E for the past five years.
 

S'mon

Legend
On the contrary, there are several companies who focus on making third party 5E content. Kobold Press and Goodman Games are prime examples (Into the Borderlands is the best-selling product in Goodman Games history).
Yes. My gut instinct is that 5e branded Paizo material would sell very well. Their APs run a lot better in 5e than in PF. Their typical potential customer rejected 4e for PF but then went to 5e. And newbies all want to play 5e. Paizo brand strength plus 5e system would be the strongest combo imo.
 

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