Mearls (mearls) wrote,

A Prediction

Mongoose has announced that they are bringing back Runequest. IMO, this signals a touchstone event in the timeline of economics of the RPG business.

These are my predictions for the next few years in the RPG business.

1. The first wave of print d20 companies are mostly gasping for air. Simply put, with one exception they failed. Nobody in the RPG business understands how open source works. I can count on half of one hand the number of people who understand d20 enough to build products for it.

2. Non-d20 companies have been locked in an ever-downward spiral. We haven't seen a bump up in their sales as the d20 companies have failed. Oddly enough, d20 companies seem to think that leaping over to non-d20 games (or d20 crippleware) is the way to go. There hasn't been any evidence (aside from message board chatter) to suggest that this strategy is working.

3. The time period from this summer and into the next year or so will be the last stand for most of the "industry."

4. After that period of collapse, the RPG industry will slide into a situation similar to what we see with miniatures, TCGs, and CMGs - one major player, one to three mid-tier players, and no one else of economic consequence.

5. If a theoretical 4e is open sourced, we'll see a much healthier growth of the industry around it. The growth curve will be shallower but longer.

To paraphrase Ryan Dancey, a madman is anyone who keeps doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result (though never seeing it) every time.

The RPG "industry" is chock full of madmen.
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