Pathfinder, Cthulhu, Level Up: D&D Competitors Start To Sell Out

One side-effect of 'OGL-gate' is that games other than Dungeons & Dragons are starting to see increased sales--in some cases, drastically so--as gamers explore other possibilities. Games like Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, and our own Level Up, are all experiencing sales surges right now in scenes reminiscent of WotC's 'Game System License' backlash in 2008, which also led to a boom in Pathfinder's popularity.


We at EN Publishing have sold as many copies of Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition in the last month as we did in the 6-months prior. Paizo talks about Pathfinder's recent sale boom -- "Thank you for the kind words these last few days, and for the overwhelming support of our product and our OPENGAMING sale. It has been a critical hit!" -- and shared that the Pathfinder core rulebook has sold out (a new print run will arrive in April).

We were inundated with many weeks' worth of orders. We have brought in additional hands to help with shipping, and are working overtime to send you your new print products as quickly as possible. We apologize for longer than normal ship times as we work through the queue.

Additionally, we have run through what was an 8-month supply of our Pathfinder Core Rulebook in the last 2 weeks, and demand on our Beginner Boxes is surging too. We have already ordered another print run of the hardcover Core Rulebook, which will arrive in mid-April.

In the interim, we have some supply of the Pocket Edition still available. Happily, Pathfinder exists in many forms

Chaosium also reports a similar surge, reporting that they will be running out of Call of Cthulhu starter sets months ahead of schedule (they also have a new print run coming in).

Woah – there's been a truly monstrous surge of "Cthulhu curious" gamers coming to in the last two weeks! As a result, we're likely going to run out of Call of Cthulhu Starter Sets, months ahead of schedule.

But never fear, there's already a new shipment on the way – it's due in early February, and there's an even bigger Call of Cthulhu shipment coming by sea in March!

To Call of Cthulhu fans, thanks for your support and for sharing our eldritch game with curious newcomers. And if you're new to tabletop gaming in the Mythos, we look forward to journeying with you into the black seas of infinity...
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Hasbro would be thrilled if D&D was the Facebook of RPGs. For all the hype about Meta and Facebook fading each of its three platforms were in the top four most popular. The least of these, Instagram, is almost twice as used as the much more hyped TikTok.
That's the thing though - Facebook isn't actually happy being Facebook. Because even though it's bigger it's not growing as fast as it was and everyone has been parroting the "growth is the only thing that matters" line for so long that investors penalize companies that are big and stable just because they aren't growing enough.

That's where D&D is with Hasbro too. As long as it's growing they will be happy with it. If it stops growing - or even starts growing more slowly - it's not good enough no matter how big it is.


Limit Break Dancing
How soon do you think it will be before 5e D&D drops from the #1 position? And how far do you think it will fall thanks to RPGs like Pathfinder and Level Up? I think it will be soon because of the critical fumbles on WoTC's part. As for how far, I have no idea. But I would like it if Level Up supplanted it.
If history is any indicator? The D&D brand will fall from the #1 position immediately after they release a more restrictive gaming license, and will drop to about the #5 position. And there it will stay, until they announce another edition with a more open license.


there is such a large size difference here that this won't happen any time soon. PF as the second biggest is already sold out, they cannot even print fast enough to get there, even if this continued for quite some time ;) Not that it would continue to that level anyway
PDFs and the rules being available online for free, do make paizo less reliant on the physical copy than they may have been in the past.

While I don’t think all this will dethrone hasbro’s number 1 spot, I do think this is all significant. Even a mild decrease in revenue will hurt their stock prices. Hasbro is already losing money overall. Having one of their profit makers falter will make shareholders nervous.


While I don’t think all this will dethrone hasbro’s number 1 spot, I do think this is all significant. Even a mild decrease in revenue will hurt their stock prices. Hasbro is already losing money overall. Having one of their profit makers falter will make shareholders nervous.
Perception of growth is as important as revenue to Hasbro where the D&D brand is concerned. Maybe moreso.

The whole reason they got themselves into this pickle is because they decided that the D&D brand was "undermonetized" and sought to correct that "problem". The reason they thought it was undermonetized is that it's a brand that has seen phenomenal growth in the last 5 or so years and yet doesn't make them a whole lot of money per player in the game because most non-DM players buy a PHB (if that) and nothing else. And the ratio of DMs to Players means there are a whole lot of people playing the game that Wizards makes almost no money from. This whole saga is because they thought they had a clever plan to get players to buy more stuff but they also thought it depended on kneecapping the OGL and the SRD so other people couldn't horn in on their monetization plans.

if the growth in D&D stops because of this - or even just slows a bit - it may put a very large crimp into their very stupid plans.

(And their plans are stupid. Having a VTT offering that you charge for is fine - no problems there. But thinking you've finally cracked the nut that every ttrpg game company since TSR was founded has run afoul of and that you're going to solve it by using video game micropayments and digital loot boxes is hilariously bad. It really shows that the folks at the top of Wizards right now not only don't understand the market that they've lucked themselves into, they don't even understand the game they produce.)


Did WotC course correct after their recent stumbles with Magic? That would be a clue as to how they might respond with D&D.
Not really. They're still going to continue flooding the market, because it brings the bucks short term. They did put off previews of the new set by a week to "help" with new card fatigue lol.

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