Starfinder Outpaces Pathfinder In Fall 2017!

ICv2's periodical industry report has come in for Fall 2017, and the surprising news is that Paizo's Starfinder is outpacing its flagship game, Pathfinder! Of course, the effect may be temporary, as Starfinder was launched around then (and it was Paizo's fastest selling ever product at Gen Con). With D&D in its usual top spot, this is the first time Pathfinder has dropped down to #3.

Starfinder-768x955.jpg




1Dungeons & DragonsWotC
2StarfinderPaizo Publishing
3PathfinderPaizo Publishing
4Star WarsFantasy Flight Games
5Star Trek AdventuresModiphius Entertainment


So Paizo has two of the top 5 spots, and sci-fi has three of them (which is unusual in a fantasy-dominated hobby).

The top three are usually D&D, Pathfinder, and Star Wars, with the bottom two changing depending on what's new and popular that quarter.

In other news, ICv2 reports that the hobby channel was up by 5% during 2017 (making nine years' growth in a row), although collectible games were down.

As always, note that these charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers.
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Maggan

Writer of The Bitter Reach
Trend points to success if you have the word "Star" in your title.

I have a hard time thinking that Starfinder sold at "Pathfinder levels", so from this we might discern the motivation for a 2nd edition Pathfinder.

Given this I think we can expect Pathfinder 2.0 to at least match or surpass Starfinder at launch, as fantasy most often sell better than SF. Then it becomes a question of staying power. As always with ICv2 ranking, the next one is always more interesting than the current one.

/M
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I have a hard time thinking that Starfinder sold at "Pathfinder levels", so from this we might discern the motivation for a 2nd edition Pathfinder.
Fastest moving product for Paizo ever at Gen Con 2017. I suspect you'll find it's just a blip - normally the new hotness hits positions #4 and #5 for a quarter then drops off, leaving #1-3 as D&D, PF, and SW. Because it's Paizo, this time it hit position #2. I'm willing to bet anything Pathfinder will be back at #2 next time -- but we'll see!
 

TerraDave

5ever
Its impressive Paizo have the 2nd and 3rd spots going into a new edition. But new Starfinder probably should be able to outperform 10 year old PF in book sales, at least for a while.
 

Lord Rasputin

Explorer
This isn't as meaningful as folks are making it out to be. Starfinder is a new game pushed by a big company with a big installed base of a similar game. As right now it's selling the core rulebooks to the existing Pathfinder customers, which are always the biggest sellers, this isn't indicative of its staying power.

I'd gather that it falls behind the Star Wars and Star Trek RPGs, which sell to the base of Star Wars and Star Trek fans, which are surely more numerous than Pathfinder players and are already on supplements. Beyond that, I don't know. I'm expecting an economic downturn in the next year or two, which won't bode well for RPGs if the last one is any indication (though the previous downturn coincided with the D20 boom, so that might be meaningless).
 

LuisCarlos17f

Explorer
But Star Wars and Star Treck are the most famous (no-RPG) sci-fi franchises. They are a "safe bet". And the sci-fi is a genre what get old very fast. A ten years child would be surprised when he watchs a old sci-fi movie from decades ago, and she miss a lot of modern things, for example the mobiles and tablets.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
I have a hard time thinking that Starfinder sold at "Pathfinder levels", so from this we might discern the motivation for a 2nd edition Pathfinder.


Given this I think we can expect Pathfinder 2.0 to at least match or surpass Starfinder at launch, as fantasy most often sell better than SF. Then it becomes a question of staying power. As always with ICv2 ranking, the next one is always more interesting than the current one.
New core rulebooks/ games do sell quite well, and Starfinder was a solid hit at GenCon.


However, for most of the Fall, Starfinder only had a single book, compared to the dozens of Pathfinder books. Starfinder beating Pathfinder does mean that the combines sales of their back catalogue of two or three dozen accessories and splatbooks were selling less than a single core rulebook.


Honestly, Pathfinder has probably been losing sales for a couple years. It's an older game that is only slowly attracting new players. That it continued to hold onto the #2 position really says more about the gulf between it and the games below.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
If anything, this points to a good reason for a second edition of Pathfinder. There may be diminishing returns in core book sales, over ten years it may be approaching a saturation point. So core PF sales are smaller than those interested in PF/SF because of that long history of sales, where a new edition can tap into it again. And unlike the pushback when 3.5 came out, a ten year run of the original won't be considered premature.
 
I have to say, speaking as someone who has two groups playing Starfinder now (I even convinced my D&D 5E regulars to switch over to it to give me a much needed break from straight fantasy) that I am happy it did so well so far. It's a fun game, and a kind of weird gonzo design energy to it that bodes well for PF 2.0 I hope.

Given that Star Wars, despite being such a big IP, has an RPG that requires funny dice and Star Trek is (imo, ymmv) something of a fading and mismanaged property with an RPG that I suspect is only resonating with the hardcore fans who don't feel like they've been disenfranchised over the last three movies, that it's not too surprising a new Paizo title carves its way to #2.
 

Cergorach

The Laughing One
I just wonder if you combined the sells of PF and SF they out sell StarDungeons and StarDragons or not.
Well, if you did not depend on just Icv2 lists and Amazon ratings and could actually get sales figures for WotC D&D vs Paizo Pathfinder en Starfinder... Paizo does a TON of direct sales, WotC does very, very little. ICv2 only does FLGS and doesn't ask for hard numbers, just gut feeling... And seeing how many fanboys are actually running FLGS, it's such an undependable chart!
 

darjr

I crit!
WotC also has a ton of 5e digital sales. On four different platforms. Those are not counted and last I heard DMsGuild has grown to soon eclipse drivethru.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
WotC also has a ton of 5e digital sales. On four different platforms. Those are not counted and last I heard DMsGuild has grown to soon eclipse drivethru.
You heard it had a better Alexa rank. Not the same thing at all. :)
 

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