Saturday, April 5, 2008

D&D Associated Press Article

There's uproar over this article. It's fine. It tends to hype the online element of D&D, but from an outside observer, that's what you can point to as new and innovative. Nobody cares that all elves are wood elves or that gnomes have been disenfranchised. The article goes over market share and compare RPGs to World of Warcraft, with it's supposed billion dollars a year in revenue.

RPGs are fighting for their life if you look at the new ICV2 numbers:

Year RPG Sales at Retail (millions)
2002 35
2003 30
2004 25
2005 20
2006 17
2007 15

Our store sales are pretty steady. No decline, but no ramp up like you might imagine as the store grew. I got into this business mostly through my love of RPGs, so it's been a little disconcerting to watch the market evaporate before my eyes.

EDIT: 2008 should break the cycle of decline. We've seen Dark Heresy emerge as a strong player, and D&D 4 will catapult sales for the year. Shadowrun has suddenly become very popular, with the last two releases selling better than most D&D titles. Small, independent titles are also strong. Trail of Cthulhu has sold well beyond expectations, as has the new Robotech RPG, by Palladium. The Dresden Files RPG, by the same folks who brought us Spirit of the Century, will definitely dominate small press titles when it's released late in the year.


  1. Hey Gary,

    Good to hear that Shadowrun is doing well in your store!

    As for the ICV2 numbers, I'm always a little skeptical of them. I remember when they put Big Eyes, Small Mouth in their Top 5 RPGs of 2005 list ... 2005 being right after GoO laid everyone off, and there were _no_ new releases for BESM that entire year, and the couple that came out in 2004 were, to my recollection, poor sellers.

  2. Thanks Adam,

    We're seeing renewed interest in both Shadowrun and Battletech. Keep up the good work over there!