Top 5 RPGs Compiled Charts 2004-Present

This is a compilation of the retailer surveys of Top Five Roleplaying Games. They are generally compiled quarterly (with some exceptions). ICv2 notes that "the chart [are] based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers." Thanks to jodyjohnson for sterling compilation work and to ZsuEtAm over on WotC's D&D forums for finding the pre-2008 entries.
  • These are not based on actual sales figures. With very few exceptions, sales figures are not available for any of these products.
  • These do not take into account online sales, direct sales, Amazon, or anything other than hobby retail sales (although they do include Kickstarter).
  • These are based on interviews with hobby game retailers and distributors.
  • The RPG industry is tiny. ICv2 estimates its total size (US) as only $65M; see the table below.
  • Note the addition of Kickstarter sales included in the 2015 figures onwards.

US Hobby Game Market ($ millions); based on figures from ICv2

Collectible games
$625 (+14%)​
$750 (+12%)​
$625 (-14%)​
$175 (+40%)​
$205 (+17%)​
$285 (+7%)​
$125 ($160)​
$250 (+56%)​
$305 (+22%)​
$370 (+7%)​
Card & dice games
$55 ($60)​
$105 (+75%)​
$130 (+24%)​
Roleplaying games
$35 (+40%)​
$45 (+28%)​
$65 (+18%)​
$880 ($920)
$1,190 (+29%)
$1,435 (+21%)
$1,495 (-3%)
For timescale context, I highly encourage you compare chart changes with events listed in my chart TSR, WotC, & Paizo: A Comparative History.

In the below chart, I've listed games only for space reasons, unless more than one company produced games with the same or similar names (e.g. multiple Star Wars games), in which case I noted the company in parenthesis. Where ties exist, I put the incumbent first.

For a color-coded (by company) version from Summer 2008 up until Spring 2014 (sorry, I made it before finding out about the 2004-2007 data!), click here.

Period#5#4#3#2#1Events (click for more)
Q3 2004--GURPSWorld of DarknessDungeons & DragonsWoW and Facebook both launched this year.
Q4 2004Mutants & MastermindsMongoose*GURPSWorld of DarknessDungeons & Dragons
Q1 2005Green Ronin**Mongoose*Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2E (Black Industries/Green Ronin)World of DarknessDungeons & Dragons
Q2 2005Green Ronin**Mongoose*Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2E (Black Industries/Green Ronin)World of DarknessDungeons & Dragons
Q4 2005Mongoose*Green Ronin**Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2E (Black Industries/Green Ronin)World of DarknessDungeons & Dragons
Q1 2006ExaltedMutants & MastermindsWorld of DarknessWarhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2E (Black Industries/Green Ronin)Dungeons & Dragons
Q2 2006Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2E (Black Industries/Green Ronin)Mutants & MastermindsExaltedWorld of DarknessDungeons & Dragons
Q3 2006GURPSExaltedMutants & MastermindsWorld of DarknessDungeons & DragonsWhite Wolf merges with Eve Online publisher CCP.
Q4 2006BESMMutants & MastermindsExaltedWorld of DarknessDungeons & Dragons
Q1 2007ScionExaltedWorld of DarknessMutants & MastermindsDungeons & Dragons
Q2 2007ScionWorld of DarknessWarhammer Fantasy 2E (Black Industries/Green Ronin)Star Wars (WotC)Dungeons & Dragons
Q3 2007ExaltedBattlestar GalacticaScionWorld of DarknessDungeons & Dragons
Q4 2007ShadowrunWarhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2E (Black Industries/Green Ronin)World of DarknessWarhammer 40k RoleplayDungeons & Dragons
Q1 2008Mutants & MastermindsWorld of DarknessWarhammer 40k: Dark HeresyExaltedDungeons & Dragons
Summer 2008ExaltedShadowrunWorld of DarknessWarhammer 40K: Dark HeresyDungeons & Dragons
Fall 2008PathfinderShadowrunWorld of DarknessWarhammer 40K: Dark HeresyDungeons and DragonsDungeons & Dragons 4th edition released.
Winter 2008-2009ShadowrunStar Wars (WotC)World of DarknessWarhammer 40k: Dark HeresyDungeons and Dragons
Q2 2009ShadowrunSong of Ice and FireWorld of DarknessWarhammer 40k: Dark HeresyDungeons and DragonsKickstarter launched.
Q3 2009ShadowrunSong of Ice and FireWorld of DarknessPathfinderDungeons and DragonsPathfinder RPG launched.
Q4 2009World of DarknessRogue Trader/Dark HeresyWarhammer Fantasy RPG 3E (FFG)PathfinderDungeons and Dragons
Q1 2010Dragon AgeRogue Trader/Dark HeresyWarhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3E (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Q2 2010Rogue Trader/Dark HeresyShadowRunWarhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3E (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Q3 2010Dresden FilesDark Heresy/Rogue TraderWarhammer Fantasy 3E (FFG)(Tie) Pathfinder(Tie) Dungeons & DragonsDungeons & Dragons Essentials launched.
Q4 2010Mutants and Masterminds, inc. DCDragon AgeDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchPathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Q1 2011Mutants and Masterminds, inc. DCDragon AgeDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchPathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Q2 2011ShadowrunDragon AgeDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchDungeons & DragonsPathfinderFor the first time, D&D is not the top-selling RPG.
Summer 2011ShadowrunDragon AgeDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchDungeons & DragonsPathfinder
Q4 2011The One RingDragon AgeDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchDungeons & DragonsPathfinder
Spring 2012Marvel Heroic RoleplayingDragon AgeDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchDungeons & DragonsPathfinderD&D 5th Edition announced and public playtest begins.
Summer 2012Dungeon Crawl ClassicsDragon AgeDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchDungeons & DragonsPathfinder
Fall 2012Iron KingdomsDark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchDungeons & DragonsStar Wars (FFG)Pathfinder
Spring 2013Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchIron KingdomsStar Wars (FFG)Dungeons & DragonsPathfinder
Summer 2013Fate Core SystemIron KingdomsDungeons & DragonsStar Wars (FFG)Pathfinder
Fall 2013Iron KingdomsDungeons & DragonsFate Core SystemStar Wars (FFG)Pathfinder
Spring 2014NumeneraFate Core SystemShadowrunStar Wars (FFG)Pathfinder
Summer 2014Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/DeathwatchShadowrunStar Wars (FFG)Dungeons & DragonsPathfinderD&D 5E launched.
Fall/Holiday 2014FateNumeneraStar Wars (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Spring 2015Iron KingdomsShadowrunStar Wars (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Fall 2015Fantasy AgeDragon AgeStar Wars (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Spring 2016Fantasy/Dragon AgeShadowrunStar Wars (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Fall 2016Call of Cthulhu 7th EditionShadowrunStar Wars (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Spring 2017ShadowrunAdventures in Middle EarthStar Wars (FFG)PathfinderDungeons & Dragons
Fall 2017Star Trek AdventuresStar Wars (FFG)PathfinderStarfinderDungeons & DragonsStarfinder released.
Spring 2018Genesys (FFG)Star Wars (FFG)PathfinderStarfinderDungeons & Dragons
Fall 2018Vampire (White Wolf)Starfinder (Paizo)Star Wars (FFG)Legend of the Five Rings (FFG)Dungeons & DragonsPathfinder 2E announced.
Spring 2019PathfinderVampire 5th EditionStar Wars (FFG)StarfinderDungeons & Dragons
Summer 2019Star Wars (FFG)Vampire 5th EditionShadowrun 6EPathfinderDungeons & DragonsPathfinder 2E released.
*Mongoose Publishing is a company name rather than a game, but this is what ICv2 reported.

**Green Ronin is a company name rather than a game, but this is what ICv2 reported.

Below may not be the clearest of graphs, but it maps the positions of games with 3 or more entries in the ICv2 charts over time.



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My point was that Fate did show up in the top 5 for 3 successive quarters in the IC reports. It's missing off the graph because it has three datapoints.

Ah... I missed that it was actually in the report. That's great. I'm a big fan of Fred Hicks though I admit I don't quite have my mind fully wrapped around aspects and compels.
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Well looking at these numbers D&D by wotc owns any quarter it shows up to the race in (aka puts out a book) and still makes an excellent showing (aka top 5) when they aren't even trying to put out a for sale product... They still very much seem to be the 800lbs gorilla in the room.... it's number one competition is a house ruled version of an older edition.

As for the other interesting thing... World of Darkness was recently called out as the number 2 selling RPG... and I think this shows sighns of truth here... it holds pretty solid on the number 2 place droping to 3rd for half the life of the chart... and has how many huge kickstarters after it falls off that chart...

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