What Game or Publisher Would You Have Be Market leader

Very selfishly, I will say Magpie Games but many PbtA focused publishers would be fine as long as they are market leader not based on one system. Emphasis on narrative games that fit my style so these tables are easy to find locally and there are more copies. PbtA especially is a design philosophy that basically forces the designer to completely build a game from the ground up (if done well) rather than just copy rules like the d20 days. And most importantly is that they have a philosophy of making several systems to support several different forms of gameplay/genre.

The biggest disservice WotC does for the hobby is to advertise 5e as a do-anything system when its definitely nowhere near as generic as things like Savage Worlds, GURPS, Fate. But even the terminology of generic just feels wrong for the hobby - I think most people can agree, you shouldn't use those three systems in all use cases. I am a big proponent of system matters and learned it by literally using 5e for all kinds of gameplay and its night and day from using a good system for it.

WotC releasing horror, heists, wilderness survival adventures/supplements for 5e is mostly just ridiculous when the PCs are superheroes with powers that trivialize that content and a skill and magic system not balanced around that. Its basically a lie to consumers when I want a market leader who will upfront tell you:

"MASKS is first and foremost about a team of young superheroes. They’re
friends, rivals, love interests, allies...and always teammates, joint stars of their
comic, and superheroes. They’re young; they’ve got abilities that make them
special; they wear costumes; they use codenames; they save people; and they
do it together. They’re growing up in Halcyon City, a place with plenty of older
supers who provide an endless clamor of voices telling them who to be, and
these young heroes are all trying to figure out their own way.
All of those pieces are key. You might have awesome story ideas about the
premiere team of superheroes, or a crazy group of misfits on a spaceship, or
genetic superhumans fighting to protect a world that hates or fears them—but
MASKS, as it’s presented in this book, isn’t written for those stories. You’ll find
pieces of those tales, but the core of this game is different."


Now the issue that being the market leader might just corrupt them and they may abuse that and become like WotC. So I am fine with things as is even if I have to force friends to play with me or go to online to play PbtA rather than how easy it is to find a group running 5e with an open seat. But I would prefer if 5e is the funnel for new players, it should be better streamlined and letting players go to find their own perfect TTRPG rather than trying to keep them in their ecosystem. But no corporation wants that.
 

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Just as a hypothetical exercise, if you could wave your magic wand and determine what the market leader in the TTRPG industry should be -- company, game, or both -- what would it be?

FYI "WotC" and/or "D&D" is a perfectly viable answer if you like the status quo.

For my part, as far as "market leader game" goes I would pull some timey-wimey stuff and have had circa 2000 WotC make Alternity THE game system instead of d20. there would be a D&D Alternity game, but also a modern and space opera and horror and post apocalyptic etc... I really love the original Alternity, especially Star*Drive.

Failing that, Savage Worlds and Pinnacle deserve a much bigger piece of the pie than they are allotted and wouldn't mind seeing that game lead the industry.
Honestly I have a strong preference for a sort of early-mid '90s situation where multiple companies are essentially sparring for market leader. I know, technically, D&D was outselling most, most of the time, but I think what I'd like to see is a situation where who is genuinely "market leader" changes frequently, and where several different RPGs with different rules and settings are quite successful.

Responding to @Umbran's well-made point about being market-leader influencing design and company behaviour, one RPG I feel like would genuinely benefit from being market leader or close to it, would be Shadowrun. I think if Shadowrun had been even more successful (and Findley not died so young, hopefully, 35 is way too early and he was putting out amazing stuff), and never got sold to the awful people who owned it later, then by now, it would have been designed in a streamlined and cool way that both allowed it to have a significant degree of crunch, especially re: the cyberware/bioware/weapons/magic/etc., but also to be a hell of lot more playable. Really actual playability peaked in maybe 2nd edition Shadowrun. Certainly not later than 3rd. Being successful would also be helpful for Shadowrun because it's a game that genuinely benefits from accessory/splat/setting expansion books, and which even had some pretty good adventures (albeit also some dire ones).

I'm not even a huge fan of Shadowrun's setting, I'm more of a Cyberpunk 2020 guy.

Speaking of which, Cyberpunk 2020 is another one which might have benefited from success too - if it was market leader, whilst I think Pondsmith would have quit or taken an advisory role years ago, I feel like we'd be on Cyberpunk 2040 or something, and that it would have a great version of the Interlock rules (not the boring mess Cyberpunk Red has).
 

The biggest disservice WotC does for the hobby is to advertise 5e as a do-anything system
I don't think WotC does do that particularly badly.

It sort of hints at it in the DMG, but in terms of actually being something WotC talks about significantly, not really.

This is more of a fan problem. D&D fans, particularly younger ones with no knowledge of other TT RPGs whatsoever, very often push D&D extremely hard as a "do-everything" system.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
game-of-thrones-im-not-going-to-stop-the-wheel.gif

I'd like to see a situation with four or so "market leaders" roughly equal in size, each hustling to offer the best games to the audience.
 




Reynard

Legend
Or Chaosium. Maaaaybe SJG. Either way, that sounds like a pretty good alternative landscape.
I don't actually have any idea how big any of those companies are. I was just going by what I see in product volume, but I certainly would have blinders on for some companies. Chaosium would be one since I do not play (or therefore buy) any of their games.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't actually have any idea how big any of those companies are. I was just going by what I see in product volume, but I certainly would have blinders on for some companies. Chaosium would be one since I do not play (or therefore buy) any of their games.
They have the best selling non-d20 game that is older than I am.
 

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