Release Day Second Edition Amazon Sales Rank

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I think it is fairly obvious when you look at the product design, pricing, and design philosophy of Pathfinder 2 that they are not targeting as broad of an audience as 5th Edition. It is definitely designed for a smaller, but more actively engaged audience. I'm not speaking just about mechanics here.

The initial product offerings suggest an audience that is just as invested in the lore of the game. Many classes have direct and detailed connections to the setting lore and fairly early in the life cycle of the new edition we are getting detailed write ups on individual deities with curses and blessings they can provide, organizations that PCs can possibly join, and regions they can come from.

The premium price point, detailed lore, high page counts, and lavish full page spreads of many of these books also suggest a strong collector audience to me. These are some incredibly beautiful books. They definitely want you to think about the game when you are not playing it.

I do not know if it will be successful enough or if there is enough of a market for a game that is meant to engage its audience this deeply. A lot depends on how it actually plays when people have had a chance to actually sit down and play it. If the game proves to be fun enough over the long term the audience should grow. Probably not to 5th Edition levels, but it is not really trying to be that game or compete with Wizards.

Much of the commentary here suggests that they should have tried to compete directly with Wizards. I think that would be a mistake. Paizo has always really excelled at catering to a devoted audience with detailed lore, extremely challenging adventures, and a game that allows you to build the character you want to play. It's their core competency.

I am also not certain that anyone could meaningfully compete with Wizards at what 5th Edition does best - a simple, undemanding game that can be picked up and played just about anywhere. No one else has their reach. Between Magic and Dungeons and Dragons they pretty much own the hobby market. Adventurer's League is tuned perfectly for pick up and play. You can play through fairly simple scenarios in just a couple hours.

Paizo's organized play program has always been more demanding and much of their core audience likes it that way. Pathfinder Society scenarios take about 4-5 hours to play out and are often deeply challenging and lore heavy. The efforts that they have taken to make the game more accessible are already fairly fraught. Fully embracing casual play would mean leaving most of that audience behind.

In summary I'm not sure if they have threaded the needle just right. Making the game more accessible while preserving depth of play, depth of lore, and character customization is deeply difficult. I think they have to try though because a differentiated strategy might work while directly competing with 5e would be certain to fail.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Anecdotally, I can say that when I arrived to Austria (Fall 2015), I found an initial gaming group within a few weeks. They played Pathfinder. I asked why they didn't play 5e, since it was the newest, hottest, freshest thing for the past year, and they expressed disappointment in 5e about building characters. I say this because I recalled this conversation when looking through Campbell's post, and it made me curious to check Amazon.de for a comparison.

On Amazon.de roleplaying games section - admittedly a smaller market than the US for RPGs - the English-language 5e Core Rule Giftset (PHB, DMG, MM, DM Screen) is #1; the German-language 5e PHB is #2; the German-language 5e Starter Kit is #3; and the English-language Pathfinder 2 Core Rulebook is #4. By the way, Der Schwarze Auge is #6.

I think that is pretty impressive for "not-D&D."
 

jib916

Explorer
Amazon seems to be a great indicator of how well 5e is doing, but I would say that does not apply equally to Pathfinder. Currently (Online) DND does not sell books directly, while Paizo does. I suspect that Paizo has a large percentage of there business thorough there website and subscriptions (myself included) while the majority of 5e's online sales are done through Amazon. The fact that Paizo is behind on sending out this months subscription shipments would indicate that they seeing an increase in subscriptions as well (which is good for there model) . Also paizo sells PDFs of their books (As well as posting all rules online for free) , while Hasbro does not (No Curse's DND Beyond (While neat, though extremely overpriced) is not the same) , so that could also affect there amazon sales.


Though like people have suggested, PF2 does not and will never beat 5e in sales/amazon. It doesn't need to. The better 5e sales, the more people into the hobby and the better Pf2 will do. 5e is the gateway drug of Fantasy Gaming.
 

darjr

I crit!
We’ve been through this before. Amazon sales dwarf any other sites sales. So a ranking that shows good numbers compared to all other books is quite likely the most significant proxy for total sales. Granted Paizo direct sales might be a higher percentage of thier sales than any other third party sales. Somewhere here a Paizo employee gave a rough number of Paizo forum users and compared to Amazon sales it was a tiny fraction. Note that I think you become a Paizo forum member if you are a subscriber. Also there are other third party online PHB sellers.
 

zztong

Explorer
I don't know how well this relates to sales, but I stumbled across a Roll20 report for Q2 of 2019 that relates to what is being played. I'm curious what the Q3 report might show.


Note, another site suggested that homebrew games largely filled the "uncategorized" category. I don't know how true that is, but I don't have an alternative to suggest. The same site seems to comment on trends that I haven't tried to verify.

 

Parmandur

Legend
I don't know how well this relates to sales, but I stumbled across a Roll20 report for Q2 of 2019 that relates to what is being played. I'm curious what the Q3 report might show.

My prediction is that it will get messy for 3.x/PF purposes: split marketplace, lots of holdovers.
 

darjr

I crit!
I hope they can split out pf2 in a reasonable fashion. Though I don’t quite grok how they do things.
 

darjr

I crit!
Oh! Good point!

How does that get made available? Does roll20 do it? Or Paizo? Is it there already?
 

Parmandur

Legend
Oh! Good point!

How does that get made available? Does roll20 do it? Or Paizo? Is it there already?
Roll20 does it, but I think they officially work with Paio & WotCz, among others.

The main theory for the "Other" in there is that it is 5E and PF, mainly, using custom fan made PC sheets instead of the official products.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Oh! Good point!

How does that get made available? Does roll20 do it? Or Paizo? Is it there already?
Somebody has to build it. Since Pathfinder 2 is fully OGL there might end up being several options just like there are already several character builders. I suspect there will also be an official sheet.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Somebody has to build it. Since Pathfinder 2 is fully OGL there might end up being several options just like there are already several character builders. I suspect there will also be an official sheet.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that last one is coming, or already available possibly.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
At PAX West many vendors I asked said they weren't selling their stock and they thought it was mostly due to low awareness of the new edition. The Avernus miniature collection sold out. Peripherals like dice and dice bags sold alot. 5e players handbook, the Acquisition Inc. book, and Ghosts of saltmarsh limited cover were selling well.

But PAX is heavy on D&D and has alot of representation there so that's not surprising. The PF society games we saw listed there for signups were PF1 games. And those were free play games. D&D AL had it's own room and so did the Acquisition Inc. game room.
 

Parmandur

Legend
At PAX West many vendors I asked said they weren't selling their stock and they thought it was mostly due to low awareness of the new edition. The Avernus miniature collection sold out. Peripherals like dice and dice bags sold alot. 5e players handbook, the Acquisition Inc. book, and Ghosts of saltmarsh limited cover were selling well.

But PAX is heavy on D&D and has alot of representation there so that's not surprising. The PF society games we saw listed there for signups were PF1 games. And those were free play games. D&D AL had it's own room and so did the Acquisition Inc. game room.
The game is more niche, by it's nature.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Finally saw the books today at Barnes and Noble.

There was the PF2 Core book (which only said second edition in small letters upper right corner). And the PF2 Core book, different cover (I saw no indication it was intended as a special limited edition on the cover - it literally looked to have the identical title to the other one). And PF1 books, some of which were clearly player focused and could have also been a starting place for a player.

If I were new and looking to pick up PF....I would have no clue what to buy. It looked like three different books all with essentially the same title.

And the "correct" book (the regular PF2 core) looked like a textbook. Literally, the binding and thickness and measurement of it looked very much like a text book from college to me.

This...does not seem like wise marketing to me. In the very least, it should be clear which book to buy if I am new, from the cover.

Looking at the 5e section, it was obvious what to buy if I am new. A big box which said "D&D Starter Set", with sub heading of "Everything you need to start playing." And once I bought that, the Essentials boxed set was an obvious next purchase, as it said right on the box "Everything you need to create characters and play new adventures".

I am sure PF2 will get a starter set. But I am surprised they didn't...START with the starter set, like 5e did. I really think I'd be lost of I were new and trying to go buy PF2 right now. Particularly the two identical books, identical titles, different covers, different binding, nobody to ask what to buy (since this was Barnes and Noble, not a game store), and then all those player oriented books in the same section which are actually PF1 books.

As for the interior of the book, I flipped through it. I now see what people meant by "Looks like 4e". At least presentation-wise, the layout and format looks like 4e. Which is not a bad thing (I liked 4e) but it's definitely a choice which will turn off some people who prefer the exploration and story-oriented style to the more textbook style of this format (which matches the textbook look of the book itself).
 
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darjr

I crit!
Different goals drove their decisions. Are they good goals, I dunno. What goals? I’m not sure if that either.

I think they wanted to have something for their core, knowledgeable, audience first. Then look to expand with intro material. That’s my guess anyway.
 

darjr

I crit!
PF2 is at 1537, PHB is at 60, starter set is at 23 though that may be in a different category.

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