Gamerati interviewed Aldo Ghiozzi about Free RPG Day and The Tavern got a mention. Now, Aldo may be trying to play down his comment at The Tavern:
but the reality is, he's right - Free RPG Day does nothing to bring anyone into the hobby. Not new gamers, not lapsed gamers, not even gaming spouses (unless they are tagging along to grab more free loot).
Now, here's my question: What value does Free RPG Day have for most publishers? Aldo mentions the free Call of Cthulhu adventure later in the interview. How many brick and mortar stores that had the free adventure actually carry the game? How many carry the DCC RPG? 13th Age? LotFP products? Castles & Crusades? How are you rewarding your customers by giving them free stuff for games you don't even carry?
As a retailer, you know what's coming in the box. Why aren't you at least carrying a product or two that links to the items you are giving away? Because you probably figure they won't sell anyway. If so, what good are the free items? At best, your customers will pick it up as a novelty. At worst, they'll find what they need at an online retailer. Is that really what you want?
I really fail to understand why most publishers kick into this program aside from Paizo. I do understand why Frog God Games didn't release anything this year. It's not even a "loss leader" for most publishers, it's just a loss, especially when the stores in question don't even carry your line of releases.
I'm not knocking "free", I just don't see this as a very effective use of the concept. Not for publishers, not for retailers and not for the customers.
Oh, and I never mentioned "OSRIC". The post title in question was: An Underwhelming Free RPG Day 2016 From an Old School Perspective
I did love the question about "Pencil Dice" ;)