Top 5 RPGs Compiled Charts 2004-Present

This is a compilation of the icv2.com 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

Category201320142015201620172018
Collectible games
$450​
$550​
$625 (+14%)​
$750 (+12%)​
$725
(-3%)​
$625 (-14%)​
Miniatures
$125​
$125​
$175 (+40%)​
$205 (+17%)​
$270
(+32%)​
$285 (+7%)​
Boardgames
$75​
$125 ($160)​
$250 (+56%)​
$305 (+22%)​
$345
(+13%)​
$370 (+7%)​
Card & dice games
$35​
$55 ($60)​
$105 (+75%)​
$130 (+24%)​
$150
(+15%)​
$150​
Roleplaying games
$15​
$25​
$35 (+40%)​
$45 (+28%)​
$55
(+22%)​
$65 (+18%)​
Total
$700
$880 ($920)
$1,190 (+29%)
$1,435 (+21%)
$1,545
(+8%)
$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.

chart_enworld_rpgs.jpg


chart3.jpg


 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


log in or register to remove this ad

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I hope we see it extended to now. I mean we know that 5e is on top, but I'm curious to see how the other games are going.

It is extended to now. ICv2 releases charts for each quarter later in the year. Spring 2019 was released a couple of weeks ago. I’ve kept it updated each quarter for 15 years now.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
It is extended to now. ICv2 releases charts for each quarter later in the year. Spring 2019 was released a couple of weeks ago. I’ve kept it updated each quarter for 15 years now.
I apologize, I wasn't clear, I meant the graph. The chart didn't display right at all on my phone, but now I can see it correctly on my computer, so it's all good. Thanks for this :)
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I apologize, I wasn't clear, I meant the graph. The chart didn't display right at all on my phone, but now I can see it correctly on my computer, so it's all good. Thanks for this :)

That's just a question of some kind volunteer whipping up a graphic! :)
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
As much as I am enjoying 5th Edition, I think D&D will have a hard time regaining first place for the foreseeable future. None of this speaks to quality of either game, or its players. Unless/until WotC ramps up to full production, especially on the adventure side, they don't have the lineup.

Just requoting this from several years ago because it's absolutely fascinating how fifth edition actually rocketed to the top of the charts even with very few products each year!

Cheers!
 

Scarecrown

Villager
Why was 2015 such a huge growth point for retail sales? Across the industry gaming had a huge gain in 2015, is there any analysis as to why this happened?
 



MGibster

Legend
So it could simply be improved reporting, or it could be some TTG renaissance, or even lizardman chemtrails taking our wimmin & stealing our jaaabs?
I hate these ridiculous conspiracy theories. Any sensible person will come to the logical conclusion that it's Martians coming to steal our women.

This information is based on a survey rather than sales data. At least the 1st and 2nd place games in each quarter/year lines up with what I vaguely remember. I was a little surprsied to find both GURPS and Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd edition on the list. I bought both, but only played GURPS once and never got around to playing WHRP. Which reminds me, I have a bunch of WHFRPG books that are in near mint condition I need to so something with.

Oh yeah, and thanks to @Morrus for posthing this information. It's always nice to get a historical perspective.
 

aramis erak

Legend
So it could simply be improved reporting, or it could be some TTG renaissance, or even lizardman chemtrails taking our wimmin & stealing our jaaabs?
Not improved reporting, per se. More correctly, reporting goes public from an industry source.
Also note: ICV2 doesn't release the hard numbers to the public. We only are given an industry overall growth and the relative positioning of the top 5 lists.

The VTT reports are a slice of the industry info as well, but are not sales numbers. That the rankings of play on the two reporting VTTs look similar to the ICV2 sales reports indicates that continued sales and play do correlate, One of those two reports actual numbers... And they're surprisingly large to me before the pandemic.

TSR never released hard sales numbers. But they did share some with other designers. They also estimated a million D&D players worldwide in 1992 or so. WotC's profit numbers were in the hasbro annual reports, but covered both D&D and Magic.

GDW didn't, but Marc Miller dba Far Future Enterprises released the Traveller lifetime sales circa 1998... over 170,000 sales of the CT core rules to that date, not counting the reprint series (in which series they appeared.) FFE has sold thousands more copies in PDF since. Other versions add another 100,000 or so. So, to 1998, we know the traveller lines is around 300,000 core rules sets.

Looking at GDW's numbers gives credence to the TSR Estimates; IME, about 1/3 of Traveller players had rulesets.
But GDW numbers don't include the Judges Guild semi-core Traveller's Logbook, which includes character gen (Bk1 & bk 4), ship operations, trade and commerce tables, expansions to char gen (background/family mods, mods to atts by ho,eworld gravity and TL), alternate damage tables by standard ship type.
 

Remove ads

Latest threads

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top