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Monday, August 15, 2016

RPGs Are a 35 Million Dollar Market (out of a 1.19 Billion Dollar Hobby Game Market)


There's an interesting article over at ICv2 about the size of the Hobby Games Market and it's components.

Roleplaying Games make up 35 Million of the 1.19 Billion Hobby Games Market. Which is small, but grew 40% from 2014 to 2015 (from 25 Million). Hobby Games as a whole grew 29% over the same period.

As for the top 5 RPG game lines for the 2nd Quarter of 2016, D&D 5e tops the list. I'm surprised to see Shadowrun in the top 5 myself.

I suspect the drop off after the first 3 is huge.


All this is before Dungeons & Dragons finding it's way back into the public's eye this summer.

Still, the OSR is a niche of a niche.

I'll need to dig out the latest Roll20 report for some further analysis.


22 comments:

  1. The only way it makes sense for big companies to publish games is to use the licenses for motion pictures.

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  2. One important (IMHO) caveat to that top 5 list. They don't sound to be all that scientific to me. As they admit: "The charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers."

    Interviewing and polling are not the same thing, and I suspect the word choice is intentional. At best it is important to remember their sample size is probably not all that big. For example back in the day when they had Pathfinder #1 over 4e, I doubt it would have been taking into account sales from Amazon & big stores like B&N etc.

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  3. It's also worth considering the methodology of the games themselves. Collectible card and minifig games, for instance, have an inflated income value to the industry because they are literally designed to encourage customers to spend more and more on the same game. Expansions, improvements, and sometimes just buying packets of what amount to lottery tickets hoping to unearth some of those ever-elusive "good cards."

    The second and fourth categories, "hobby board games" and "hobby card and dice games," represent something with comparatively easy setup, quick play within one specific story framework, and relatively easy pack-up.

    Meanwhile, with most of the RPGs, you get ...a rulebook. Some RPGs may have published adventures which people can also buy, but often the rulebooks also contain instructions on writing your own adventures.

    The non-collectible miniatures game has almost as much flexibility as the RPGs, although they're suited only for one particular type of game, and usually in only one setting.

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  4. It was pointed out at GenCon one year that the revenue from World of Warcraft that year exceeded the full market revenue of all pen and paper RPGs ever.

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  5. It was pointed out at GenCon one year that the revenue from World of Warcraft that year exceeded the full market revenue of all pen and paper RPGs ever.

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  6. Interesting the falloff of RPG games after D&D and Pathfinder.

    Star Wars....Shadowrun......Fantasy/Dragon Age.

    How many people play Dragon Age?

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  7. Not sure what the point of this is. I don't care how much money the industry makes. I only care how much fun I can get out of a game. Haven't bought a new game in years.

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    1. FYI, everyone else around you cares. Without an industry, there's no hobby!

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    2. No. A whole bunch of know that the hobby will do just fine without the industry.

      (But, unlike Matt, I have to admit to always being curious about such figures.)

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    3. Matt thinks The Tavern should post things solely for his interests.

      The point is, your are not the point...

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    4. I couldn't disagree with you more, Robert. Without any kind of financial and industrial infrastructure, you wouldn't have the Tavern, the OSR, D&D, or hundreds of new products every year.

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    5. And I couldn’t disagree with you more, Venger. :) Even if you are correct about those things not existing without the industry, plenty of us would still be gaming every week without the Tavern, the OSR, the latest edition of D&D, or any new products every year.

      But when it comes right down to it, your assertion is as unprovable as mine. Until the industry actually does disappear. So, I guess we won’t convince one another.

      And as much as I don’t believe the hobby needs the industry, I don’t think the industry will ever disappear. After all, we’ll always be willing to spend money on new dice, right?

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    6. Well, I can agree with you on this point: regardless of outside influences, hundreds of individuals will always engage in RPG activities. Does that constitute a hobby? Perhaps, but nothing that we'd recognize today.

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    7. Until the generation playing dies off and takes their games with them. Without the industry the hobby will only limp to its grave.

      Case in point. I pulled out some BESM books yesterday wondering if Half-Price books would take them since GoO is dead and the fandom effectively so.
      How long do other games have?

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    8. Sorry, Timothy, I don’t buy that either. My kids have their own copies and know about all the great free games out there. And are infecting their friends. And I’ve seen it among other people’s kids too.

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    9. The free stuff is part of the industry.

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  8. The massive disparity between collectible games and the RPG industry certainly helps explain how WotC was able to buy up D&D.

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  9. Why is D&D having an upsurge this summer? Didn't notice anything happening myself.

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    1. I believe RPGs are having an upsurge. Since D&D is the leader, it looks even bigger from the outside.

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    2. The Netflix series "Stranger Things" is being touted as a big factor in D&Ds resurgence.

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    3. That doesn't hurt, but the resurgence actually started a few years ago.

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    4. Agree with Venger. Stranger Things is not the upsurge. The marketing of 5e and pushing the "geek is the new cool" narrative from WotC and its media compatriots is responsible for the upswing. D&D is being marketed to the main stream by Hasbro in subtle ways, and it is working.

      PAX / Acquisitions Inc targets the video gamers. All the new D&D YouTube series targets the "geek curious". Getting a larger D&D presence in the big box stores helps (even Paizo's efforts with Pathfinder helps).

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