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Gaming is not Dying

Posted in Games

Yesterday I posted about how nobody is deliberately trying to kill RPG gaming by making games, but that’s only half the story: RPGs aren’t dying at all.

That’s a pretty bold statement to make, and I can’t back it up entirely, but it certainly looks to be the case. There’s this from ICV2:

Even the perennially week RPG category is growing despite the fact that category-defining Dungeons & Dragons is in the interregnum between the announcement of a new edition and its release.

The biggest (or second biggest) RPG around isn’t producing new product and RPG sales are still growing. That’s a good sign.

Hard numbers are hard to come by, but the most recent numbers from Evil Hat, Lumpley, Bully Pulpit, and Posthuman Studios all seem positive. Some of those numbers are older, sure, but the overall industry seems solid. Not exactly someplace I’d invest money if all I was interested in was return-on-investment, but not a dead industry either.

Kickstarter is another source of numbers, and it too looks positive. Check out this 2011-2012 analysis of Kickstarter funding for RPGs, especially the list of top projects in money and backers, and compare it with some recent successes. Dungeon World, which is big but not huge, had more backers than any of those. Projects like Numenera and Fate Core are much larger, and they’re still not touching things like Pathfinder.

As one more data point, Dungeon World is looking up too. The Kickstarter was already bigger than our entire sales of the Basic game, but in the 2+ months it’s been on sale the PDF has nearly matched the Kickstarter in number of purchases! The interest seems durable and people are willing to pay for product at a reasonable rate.

Not only is nobody trying to kill RPG gaming, but even if they were they aren’t succeeding.

Sage LaTorra is a game designer and engineering manager at Google. You may know him from Dungeon World.

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