Saturday, January 7, 2023

The Horrible Truth About The RPG Publishing Business

 A whole lot of noise and attention about monetization and future licensing plans in the RPG world the past few weeks. Everyone forgets the horrible truth of the RPG Business from the business angle: you have to publish things people want to buy because the customers have no reason to buy anything else once they have the rules. If you bought any version of an RPG over the past 50 or so years that includes the rules for foes and treasure, creating and developing player characters,  the core rules of the game and how a game master can establish and run a campaign you have no reason at all to buy anything else from that publisher you and a whole room full of people can play for the rest of your lives using just that initial investment. 

A publisher must continue to produce new materials to keep selling to the same customers; they have to bring something new to market or be content to market only to new customers. Licensing can't make people buy something new from you.  

Absent one heck of a new platform a certain publisher is going to do nothing but alienate a whole lot of customers and fellow businesses that have been responsible for the bulk of their success unless they are certain they can deliver on that new platform in a sufficient matter to retain some old customers and many more new customers.  

If you have the rules you get to keep playing without paying anyone any extra money.

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