Monday, November 9, 2009

Table Top RPGs are NOT future "IP Prototyping" and here is why…

I read this on Saturday at Gareth’s post Rough Beasts Starting To Slouch.... with Malcolm Sheppard about what it all means for the future of the business and I started to laugh. The reason that I laughed it that Table Top RPGs are NOT future "IP Prototyping". This a very simple reason, to the video game market table top RPG don’t exist and that is because most table top RPGs companies and setting (roughly 99% of them) don’t have a large enough audience. Think about it, if WOTC is the king of the market and they have only 1 million of active players that is really NOT a lot of people. The Halo franchise is one of the best-selling video game franchises of the last decade. Wired Magazine said during the two months following Halo: Combat Evolved's release, it sold alongside more than fifty percent of Xbox consoles and then sold a million units in four months. Halo 2's is quoted in generating $125 million on its premiere day. Halo & Halo 2 sold 14.8 million units BEFORE the release of Halo 3. Table top RPGs don’t sell anywhere near that. Hell, if you sell 100 copies on RPGNow.com you are considered to be a top seller. 100 copies. Top seller.

I worked for a small video game developer and manufacture in from 2001 – 02 called Xicat Interactive, where I got a chance to see how the video game industry really works behind the scenes. Hell, I even have credits on video games where I did quality insurance and development. Their best seller when I was there was X-Plane and it sold just over a 100,000 copies. For a table top RPG to get noticed by anyone slightly important, it would have to sell t least 25,000 which is the equivalent selling equal to Solomon Grundy #7 from DC Comics (25,905 units) or Outsiders #22 from DC Comics (22,756 units) or Incredible Hercules #134 from Marvel (25,359 units) or Guardians of Galaxy #18 from Marvel (24,875 units) or even Nova 29 from Marvel (23,904 units). And you are considered a success if you sell 5,000 copies of a RPG to a game store.

The numbers are not there. Sorry. I wish they were but they are not. So you might have to accept that the table top RPG you are working on will not be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Find a way to increase the numbers then this will all change but until then…

Talk to you later…