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Author Topic: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs  (Read 1323 times)

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Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Topic Start: July 07, 2017, 04:41:50 AM »
If you were ever curious just how small tabletop RPGs are as an industry, this article has the answer:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?563442-How-big-s-the-RPG-market

Videogames in USA&Canada $91billion
TT RPGs in USA&Canada $35million


Offline Garwoofoo

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #1: July 07, 2017, 04:46:47 AM »
I don't think that's a surprise though, is it?  With the possible exception of the 1970s D&D craze, it's always been a niche hobby.  It takes time and dedication and creativity and needs a committed group of like-minded people, and that's not taking into account that its general image is the nerdiest of all nerdy things.  It's never going to be mainstream.

(None of this is a problem of course; it's clearly self-sustaining, and that's what counts).

Offline aniki

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #2: July 07, 2017, 05:05:57 AM »
Most tabletop RPG groups I've ever been part of have mostly had a single copy of the sourcebook that got passed around, rather than everyone bringing their own - and some books were only ever going to be needed by the GM (anod most of those are optional).

But of course the cost of developing a tabletop RPG is probably much lower than your average videogame - though I'm not sure they're able to take advantage of digital distribution as much. I'd always prefer having a physical rulebook to flip through over a PDF.

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #3: July 07, 2017, 05:18:16 AM »
It certainly isn't a surprise to me.

In the '90s Deadlands was one of the biggest RPGs, it had about 30 supplements and an entire spin-off game. It only sold 30k copies of it's core book.

Like Aniki says, there isn't actually a large outlay required for half a dozen people to play weekly for a year.

I expect that the European market is two or three times the size of the American one, and there will be a lot of small press and self published that probably don't feature in these numbers. It's still tiny though.

I think the most surprising part is that it has recently more than doubled in size. I guess RPGs are riding the wave of the recent boardgames book.

Offline Hapimeses

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #4: July 08, 2017, 10:27:15 AM »
The scaling seems fairly accurate to me, for all the numbers are bobbins. As is no surprise to any who pay attention, tabletop RPGs are a tiny slice of a tiny slice of the entertainment industry pie. The thinnest of slivers. Still, it's more than large enough for the canny, skilled, and consistent to make a living full-time, though, for most, not a good one. It takes hard work and is pretty unforgiving as the fan base is entitled, and it expects standards and prices that are often unrealistic. Thus, most RPG-workers are part-timers, working a day job in addition to RPG work. And many aren't terribly good at what they do, and are only involved because of their passion for the hobby.

That said, anecdotally, the industry appears to be growing lately, and relatively quickly. Not as much as board games, but still growing. I'm now paid more than I have been in decades (the weak GBP£ helps me a lot here -- Brexit was good for something), and I receive more job offers than I can ever imagine completing. Most companies that I deal with are increasing their business and find themselves in stronger positions than in recent years, so that's good. That all amounts to my tax bill this year being somewhat more substantial than previous years.

Many claim we're in a new Golden Age of tabletop RPGs. Old games are surfacing with new nostalgia-driven editions (indeed, I'm currently working on three games that largely exist today because of nostalgia), new games are popping up all over the place, and a rather massive indy scene has developed over the last two decades, allowing RPG fans to buy a game about pretty much anything. The only problem I frequently hear on the lips of creators is the ageing fan-base and the relative lack of new gamers to the scene -- but even that has been changing these last few years due to increased exposure and platforms such as Kickstarter.

Yes, board games are much, much bigger, but large RPGs Kickstarters can now pull in over half a million dollars on Kickstarter, and the biggest (currently 7th Sea) pulled in over a million ($1,316,813), which isn't small change. Further, the many non-Kickstarted games from established companies are pulling in just as much, and sometimes more. That's not small change, for all it's still a tiny amount compared to other industries.

So, yes, the RPG industry is minuscule, but it's currently healthy, and seemingly growing, too. But, still not one I recommend anyone enter if they like money. You have to be at the top of the industry to be make it financially worthwhile.

Offline Luscan

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #5: July 09, 2017, 07:39:27 AM »
If the RPG industry is so small, why the fuck does it attract so many fucking awful people.

I'm not just talking about the grogs.txt level people on the periphery - the players that are shitty people - but the people 'on the inside.' The current edition of DnD (don't play dungeons and dragons - it's the RPG equivalent of The Room; when you're having fun with DnD it's not because of, more inspite of. Ask inside for DnD alternatives!) has an editor that outed transpeople, made abusers aware their victims had taken issue with him hiring said victimizer, hired people that are literal fucking fascists with 'interesting' and 'alternative' and 'hot-takes' about jews.

The newest version of Vampire is just the fucking worst. Just the fucking WORST. The product lead has hired people that, again, are serial harassers. They're writing total fucking trash and are doubling down on the worst fucking parts of Vampire in the mid 90s. They almost certainly won't get called out on any of their shit because Paradox (yeah, the same paradox behind Stellaris and CK) fucking refuses to take any responsibility for this shit. They say they're a separate entity, but I say 'no, fuck you, they're a company you own and operate, stop being so fucking shitty and start protecting your fucking community. And get rid of that shitty, tokenistic piece of armor you use as a pride flag on your twitter profile you enabling shitehawks.'

An example of their terrible shit:

Quote from: Some fucking moron in a dumb as fuck blogpost
The reaction was overwhelmingly positive and did not raise any red flags about content or core systems.

Quote from: The same fucking moron in the same fucking blogpost, literally 3 paragraphs later
V5 Pre-Alpha QA
We answer some of the most common questions about the V5 Pre-Alpha. Feel free to send us more questions.

Q: Why is Amelina a pedophile?
A: She’s not. She has an obsession with young (recently embraced) Kindred and a feeding restriction that forces her to feed from children and young teens.

Q: Why did you use the term “triggered” to describe someone easily offended on ideological grounds?
A: Because that is the common usage of the term in everyday language, no disrespect intended.

Q: Why are so many characters children (“Club Kids”)?
A: The term Club Kid (at least in Sweden) means a youngish (roughly 18-25) person who spends all their free time at clubs, often under the influence of drugs. 

Onyx Path isn't a huge amount better, having stiffed writers and artists.


grumpy mode deactivated.

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #6: July 09, 2017, 09:51:03 AM »
While I am in no way going to try and defend the actions of those arseholes, I don't think that they are representative of anything more than a minority of the creators currently involved in RPGs. Many online communities came out strongly against GamerGate and there are some good initiatives in place now trying to increase diversity in gaming. So, while there are a dozen or so arseholes in very prominent roles at the moment, RPGs overall seem to be moving the the right direction.

Offline Luscan

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #7: July 09, 2017, 10:11:22 AM »
Sure and I agree that it's moving in the right direction but saying 'minority of creators' and having Mike Mearls be an enabling POS seems-

When your biggest, most well known brand is also the brand that features people that refer to players as 'the swine', has worked with people that wrote entire books where sexual violence was the punchline and willfully ignore deeply egregious shit I find 'it's just a small factor' to be a pretty hollow defence, especially given the small size of the industry as a whole.

When the second biggest brand in a lot of peoples memories has someone writing for it that impersonates others online to make fun of them and names another character in a book they're writing after someone they've victimized in the past to turn their strawman into a rapist, that 'it's just a small factor' line stops sounding hollow and starts to make a loud thunking sound.

It might be a minority, but it's still a really bad look for the industry as a whole.

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #8: July 09, 2017, 11:53:51 AM »
While I am in no way going to try and defend the actions of those arseholes,

Quote from: Luscan link=topic=4309.msg174230#msg174230
  I find 'it's just a small factor' to be a pretty hollow defence,

I'm just trying to say that if we all keep calling them on their shit then things will continue to improve, so don't get to down about it.

Offline Luscan

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #9: July 09, 2017, 12:45:39 PM »
While I am in no way going to try and defend the actions of those arseholes,

Quote from: Luscan link=topic=4309.msg174230#msg174230
  I find 'it's just a small factor' to be a pretty hollow defence,

I'm just trying to say that if we all keep calling them on their shit then things will continue to improve, so don't get to down about it.

Will it though? Like- A bunch of people called out the harassment of a group of people by one writer that now works at White Wolf and Paradox and they said they found no evidence of wrong doing even though there's chatlogs, screenshots, admissions of guilt.

Again, part of the thing with small industries is they get pretty incestuous pretty fast.

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #10: July 09, 2017, 01:40:01 PM »
Well sure, even if the majority of gamers are decent people one arsehole in charge of a high profile company can make us all look bad. With any luck Vampire 5th will not sell particularly well and the next arsehole will think twice before their throwing all the controversy they can think of into their new project.

Offline Hapimeses

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #11: July 10, 2017, 08:49:57 AM »
Hmm. No. The situation with Zak S is significantly more nuanced than presented here. I don't want to get into specifics as the arguments can be found elsewhere for both sides, but some of the things written above are just wrong. I know they are wrong. I was there. I watched the genesis. I watched the inevitable fallout. The resulting accusations against Zak S are... difficult. Some are false. Some are wrong. Some are debatable. Some, however, are spot-on. But he is not the man you are portraying.

Unfortunately, I have friends on both sides of this continually gaping divide that's been rumbling on for years, and that's complicated. The situation had a relatively simple genesis -- some people didn't like that Zak S and his (entirely female) RPG group were porn-stars and viewed sexuality in a very different way to them. And the especially didn't like that he was popular, had a voice on the Escapist, and was openly sharing his views. They took issue with this and attacked. Relentlessly. Zak S, a man who seemingly thrives on conflict and who's not a little abrasive, aggressively defended himself, his friends, his art, his views, and the love of his life. It went downhill from there. Soon factions formed and enormous blogs claiming all manner of nonsense were posted. It got really shitty for all involved. As I said, I watched it erupt and it wasn't pretty. It's now a complete mess where false information mixes freely with truth, and insults fly left and right. It's complicated, divisive, and awful. And not a little insane. So much of it is massively blown out-of-proportion. So much reactionary bullshit.

Thankfully, it does't impact me much as I work in different circles, but I frequently had to speak out against personal attacks on many G+ posts over the last few years, enough so that I largely quit the platform to avoid the hassle -- the vitriol is sometimes astounding, especially when you know the 'truth' behind many of the accusation, some of which are entirely false, or based upon very little to no evidence.

As for White Wolf? Well, I don't work for them, and never have. Though I probably would if asked. I love Vampire, and would hate for some poor decisions to bring the new edition down.

Offline Luscan

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #12: July 10, 2017, 06:13:16 PM »
That's interesting to hear. I've really only heard one side of the story but the whole thing seems incredibly messy. Sorry for flying off the handle :/

Offline Hapimeses

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #13: July 10, 2017, 06:44:54 PM »
Nothing to be sorry about in the slightest. The situation is, as you say, incredibly messy. And Zak S doesn't do himself any favours. The more he and the things he loves are attacked, the more he attacks back. And then he's accused of having a vendetta. And then. And then. And then.

Never met him, but I have talked to him online a few times. Seemed a genuinely nice guy with an open mind and a keen artistic sense. Picked up his book A Red and Pleasant Land (Alice in Wonderland meets Dracula/Bathory in D&D), and was impressed. A rare coffee-table offering from the RPG industry that speaks to many non-gamers as well as gamers. Not pretty, per se, but definitely arty and stylish, and full of fun/disturbed concepts, art, and tables. Although not designed as such, it's also a book stuffed with ideas and suggestions about how to GM and tweak existing rules -- a letter from one GM, and what he did, to others, I suppose. Given the content of that book, and its underlying themes of horror and sensuality, it's easy to see why White Wolf would hire him for Vampire, definitely after the computer game (well, visual novel would be more appropriate) he wrote for them, which was apparently alright. If you could get beyond the fact he was involved, of course. :D

So, hardly an innocent figure, but not the creature of horror he's portrayed as by some parties, either.

Offline Brian Bloodaxe

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Re: Videogames>Hobbygames>RPGs
« Reply #14: July 10, 2017, 07:24:44 PM »
I am active on the RPG.net forums where speaking in defence of Zac is effectively banned. The way they immediately shut down any talk about him locked threads and insta-bans doesn't give a good impression.

I am also active in Google+ communities where I have talked to Zac and his friends. They seem nice enough, but then they would wouldn't they?

As Hapi has said, it's near enough impossible to figure out what is actually true in this ongoing debacle. As far as I can tell Zac and his friends were attacked and then Zac attacked back. I just try and stay out of it.

Personalities aside though, new Vampire does indeed seem to be awful. RPG.net and G+ both agree on that much.