State of 4E?


4th Edition

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I'm posting this here as opposed to WotC because I know the community here tends to be more mature and less prone to simply flame.

Here's the thing: I've been running and playing 4E along with a couple other systems up until about a month and a half ago. After that time, I got tired of 4E. It didn't have the staying power for me personally that other editions or other systems have had.

No big deal. Gaming preferences are subjective and some people like one thing while others like another. That said, I want 4E to be quite successful even though I don't play it, because the D&D IP has been my favorite among RPG systems for 25 years.

When 4E first came out, we had some people who would only play 4E, and other like myself who played both 4E and some other edition. Like I said above, I stopped playing 4E in favor of other editions and systems. Interestingly, in the last week to two weeks, a lot of the people who only wanted to play 4E are coming around looking to get in my 3.5E game or my Warhammer FRPG game, having also grown tired of 4E. Of the people I played and around with who switched, I'd say 8 of 10 are going to something else.

This made me curious how 4E as a whole is progressing in terms of sales, player base, and the like. I suspect that 4E has brought in quite a few new, young players who will be sticking with it. I also know core books sales were good (I pre-ordered them). Someone like me isn't likely to make any future 4E purchases, however.

Can anyone point me to anything that gives post-core book 4E sales? I'm thinking adventures, Realms Campaign Guide, etc.

I'm thinking future books like PHB2 will be more telling.

But like I said I'm curious and I haven't seen anything on the success of 4E after the initial core books sales figures, which were quite good.

Also, I'm not bashing 4E. I'm glad people like it, and frankly I hope it draws many, many more people to the hobby. I'm just curious (what spurred this is I got another email from one of the 4E-only people this morning looking to get into a 3.5E game. I directed him to Pathfinder. I wonder if this is a trend, or if it is just an artifact of local gamers and more specifically the ones I have played or associated with).

Thanks, guys.

Dark Archive

I haven't even tried it yet - all of the D&D players around here are sticking w/ 3.5/PFRPG.


odanuki wrote:
I haven't even tried it yet - all of the D&D players around here are sticking w/ 3.5/PFRPG.

Ah. Well I figured in the 4E forums...

It's worth trying, IMHO. It's a bit more metagamey, and I felt like a strategic miniatures game was breaking out in my RP sessions, but if you shift your mindset a bit it works. I had a blast with it early on, but unlike older editions, for some reason, it's allure has faded with me.

Still I recommend giving it a shot and seeing for yourself.


The only thing we have is amazon sales rankings - and they really don't mean much.

Click here for the rankings

In the last week, the 3.5 Player's Handbook has been outselling the 4E Forgotten Realms Player's Guide - which can't be a good thing for 4E - but, again, we don't really know if this has any statitical significance.

I have seen many, many posters who were excited about 4E - and played it - that soon after lost their interest.

However, there are also a number of people who love it - even after playing it for a few months.

Personally, I'm glad for Pathfinder. :)

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I wouldn't put much credence in Amazon sales rankings for anything. I mean, I'm happy when our books have "good" rankings, but the calculations shift so often the data is essentially meaningless.


Everyone playing D&D in my local area is playing 4th Edition, and everyone playing it is loving it. Localities mean nothing, and we haven't got enough data to judge anything about 4th Edition aside from what little we've heard from WotC on the matter (that the first released books hit their third printing months ago).


I'm a cynical bastard, and have been labeled a 4th Edition hater, so take this with a half pound of salt - at best.

But, given the backlash against 4e (at least at first) and the previous marketing strategy, I'd be inclined to take "no news" as "bad news" (for WotC).

Sure, they could have changed their tune and listened to people that hated their anti 3.5e marketing... But I'd find it more likely that they (as a company) would take the time to continue the "4e fixes everything in 3.5e" theme by touting any 4e dominance over 3rd.

I may not be giving the company enough credit though.


Disenchanter wrote:

I'm a cynical bastard, and have been labeled a 4th Edition hater, so take this with a half pound of salt - at best.

But, given the backlash against 4e (at least at first) and the previous marketing strategy, I'd be inclined to take "no news" as "bad news" (for WotC).

Sure, they could have changed their tune and listened to people that hated their anti 3.5e marketing... But I'd find it more likely that they (as a company) would take the time to continue the "4e fixes everything in 3.5e" theme by touting any 4e dominance over 3rd.

I may not be giving the company enough credit though.

Except that they're not trying to demonstrate dominance of 4th Edition over 3rd Edition in terms of sales. I've never seen them push that as being somehow important or significant. Again, the only news we have gotten was from WotC, and it was good news (core books passed their 3rd print run months ago).


This is just my two cents, I gave 4e a chance. Mind you I went in having already decided that it would have to be the greatest game ever for me to convert and go 4e and/or to buy the core books. It wasn't.

On the other had it wasn't the worst thing ever made but it had a fundumental flaw in its thinking.

The rules are so far removed from what has come before that Wizards effectively killed off everyone who like the rules (such as those going with Pathfinder). Fair enough maybe the rules needed it.

But then they destroyed so many sacrad cows that you kill off all the fans of the D&D 'verse. Maybe I don't care if all Chromatic Dragons are evil, I've never set their aliments so ridgedly, nor do I understand the Great Wheel (and perhaps I never will) But say what you want that is what D&D is (to many fans).

So they really hurt a chunk of the fan base with 4e. By sheer numbers however they will remain on top for now. The flaw in the thinking comes with new gamers.

Old school gamers will get new players into Pathfinder.

The players that like 4e may do this, but the game now is so much like a video game (at lest I'm told, as I don't play WOW or anything else on the computer I see this only in the recovery of hit points, like putting an extra quarter for life points in Pack Man)that new players will simply say, I can do all this witn WoW, what is unique about pen and paper rpgs?

Not that any of this matters, I still think 5e will only be online video game, and that in many ways 4e is desinged to get people into that. When the D&D video game comes out it'll use all the terms of 4th without the RPG baggage of D&D proper.

TTFN Dre

Owner - Dragon Snack Games

Scott Betts wrote:
Except that they're not trying to demonstrate dominance of 4th Edition over 3rd Edition in terms of sales. I've never seen them push that as being somehow important or significant.

You missed them saying that the first printing of the 4.0 books was bigger than the first printing of the 3.5 (and 3.0) books - and that they sold out faster, then. They most certainly have compared them...

But they've also said they've broken their sales goals for the year. Assuming that those goals were set pretty high (since they were releasing a new edition, after all), I don't think they have much to worry about right now. Yes, 4.0 has split the D&D community (even on pro-4.0 ENWorld it only polls between 60-70%), but that's still a pretty large group of players.

However, I haven't heard much about people subscribing to the DDI. THAT is probably more important to WotC than sales of Dead Tree Products...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If it means anything to you, my group has largely turned their noses up to 4e. Only one of us bought the rules, and we're all a little unsatisfied with them. I do know of at least one person who did not play pen and paper RPGs before but is playing 4e now, but other than that, I have seen a largely negative reaction. Of course, I'm not as deeply ingrained in my local gamer culture. I tend not to hang out in game stores and such, so I can't give a wide perspective.

I have to agree with your sentiments, though. As much as I dislike 4e, I hope that it is successful. Dungeons and Dragons should always have a presence in the RPG marketplace, even if I'm not a fan of the ruleset.


I think its pretty indicative of 4.0 reluctance that I'm only starting out my first 4.0 game this week. We'll see how its received. I've been in a friend's test game trough Keep on the Shadowfell. I liked that despite the scenario being very very basic, but the jury is still out as far as our group is considered.

A new RPG can be a little like a new romance - you get all rosy-eyed and really want it to work out, but you don't really know until you've tried it out for a while and been trough some hardships together.

Scarab Sages

thefishcometh wrote:

If it means anything to you, my group has largely turned their noses up to 4e. Only one of us bought the rules, and we're all a little unsatisfied with them. I do know of at least one person who did not play pen and paper RPGs before but is playing 4e now, but other than that, I have seen a largely negative reaction. Of course, I'm not as deeply ingrained in my local gamer culture. I tend not to hang out in game stores and such, so I can't give a wide perspective.

I have to agree with your sentiments, though. As much as I dislike 4e, I hope that it is successful. Dungeons and Dragons should always have a presence in the RPG marketplace, even if I'm not a fan of the ruleset.

I've had the opposite experience. My entire group has bought all 3 of the core books. I'm running a 4e homebrew campaign for them, we alternate between a 3.5 game (savage tide) and my 4e homebrew. Most of our gamer friends are also playing both rule sets. My FLGS is selling almost the same amount 4e product as 3.5 third party products. I'm of the belief that a lot of gammers out there are also playing both and only the fringe, not an insult, on either side of the editions will play their favorite edition.

The Exchange

It really looks to me like 4e and 3.5/PFRPG are both going to endure and be around a long time. I have been playing both, although my 4E has creept up a bit lately based on schedules.

These are two very different games in terms of mechanics and how they play. I enjoy them both.

My FLGS carries PFRPG and 4E. The manager says PF modules are keeping pace with WOTC product, but the 4E books are what is driving his gaming business right now.

So, more anecdotes, but good news for all concerned. 4E is the recruitment platform for the hobby and it would bode ill for the game if it completely choked.


I had decided a while ago that I wasn't going to change my campaign over to 4e, not because it was horrible, but because it was a departure from the current state of the game and would require a lot of changes in how I do things as a GM. Plus, they screwed my Realms pretty badly, and I have to admit that was a factor.

I'm running my current campaign using the Pathfinder Beta, running a Rise of the Runelords game. That having been said, a friend of mine, one of the co owners of the FLGS, invited me to play in his 4e game. While I didn't want to run my game in 4e, I didn't mind playing in his game, in large part due to the fact that I thought it would be a good campaign.

So I guess I am also supporting two editions right now, though I've vowed to never touch another FR book unless someone the "War of Souls" the thing back into a semblance of what it used to be. Truth be told, I'm actually mainly subscribing to the DDI in order to keep from having to buy every single 4e book out there to keep up to date with character choices.

I personally am torn, because while I really, really wish they had not made the drastic changes they have, 4e taken by itself isn't a bad system, and moreover, I do want WOTC to survive and prosper because of its effect on the RP hobby as a whole.


Hiya.

I'm in the same boat (ocean liner at this point I think...) as a lot of others. Looked at the rules, scratched my head and thought 'Huh? What happened to D&D?', and then continued on with my current game of choice.

It has been my experience that a lot (most, in my area from the looks of it; small city of about 22k) of folks picked up the core 4e books and either were disgusted and immediately went back to their previous game, or they said "Lets give it a shot!".

Those in the later camp had 'campaigns' (if you could call them that) that lasted from between 4 to 8 sessions...then pretty much died. They went back to 3e, 2e, Hackmaster or whatever they were playing. My brother, who is down in Texas right now, just picked up the 3 core books a week or so ago. He's at the "WTF?!?" stage, but is willing to give it a go with his group. He's got a session planned and they're going to take it for a spin. His initial predictions, however, are about on par with what I've heard: "We'll try it, but I don't know...." (and, I can guarantee they'll be dropping 4e in 4 to 8 sessions and go back to Hackmaster or whatever).

Bottom line...initial 'sales of 4e' is pointless. It's like if a new version of Coke or Pepsi came out and was marketed all to hell. Everyone and their dog would buy at least one or two to try it out...and, well, you remember what happened to the "New Coke" don't you? ;)


Thanks for all the responses, everyone. Of course, what is posted here is largely anecdotal, but it seems to mesh in large part with my own experience of people moving back to previous editions or other systems. Guess we'll see how it goes when the PHB2 comes out.


Again, localities mean nothing, there are just as many (if not more) stories of gamers who don't know anyone sticking with D&D 3.5. Sales numbers and event participation are the two reliable metrics, and the only data we have so far is remarkably good for 4th Edition.

And just a prediction, but all the doomsayers here are going to be rather surprised when further sales numbers are released that continue to be strong.

I understand that some of you want to see 4th Edition fail just so your take on "how D&D should be" is vindicated, but that's petty and dumb. Imagine if someone started a thread in Pathfinder General entitled "State of Pathfinder?" filled with nothing but people recounting anecdotal stories of how "everyone I know" is switching to 4th Edition and no one is finding Pathfinder worthwhile.


I won't DM anything but 4e. I'll play 3e/PF in a live setting if the opportunity ever presents itself, but I'm not interested in DMing that mass of needless complexity and oddball rules ever again. I plan on trying other games sometime in the future, like the Exalted game I own, even if I have to GM them cold-turkey style. Just not past D&D editions.

As to what 4e sales are like, I couldn't care less, though I'm willing to bet that 4e remains the mainstream rpg...until 5e.

TS

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Scott Betts wrote:
Again, localities mean nothing, there are just as many (if not more) stories of gamers who don't know anyone sticking with D&D 3.5. Sales numbers and event participation are the two reliable metrics, and the only data we have so far is remarkably good for 4th Edition.

While I don't think 4E is failing, it should be noted you can't rely on Wizards to give anything approaching accurate sales data. They were saying all was well with the miniatures game right up to the set before they cancelled it, and went to "For RPG purposes only".

Scarab Sages

Steerpike7 wrote:
Thanks for all the responses, everyone. Of course, what is posted here is largely anecdotal, but it seems to mesh in large part with my own experience of people moving back to previous editions or other systems. Guess we'll see how it goes when the PHB2 comes out.

I'm not seeing to that way. I'm seeing people who are playing 4e wanting to continue playing 4e and look forward to the next source books. Most of them view 4e and 3.5(PFRPG) as two diferent games and won't give up playing either.

The Exchange

My suspicion is that 4E has done ok. Not great, but Ok.

Two out of three of the Barnes and Nobles in my area(NE Atlanta) are not adding any new product. One is still carrying the new books but that is because the manager is a gamer. Likewise, the Borders I go to has scaled back orders of new prodcut more as a result of inventory concerns and a poor economy that anything else.

All three of the gameshops I frequent are are selling a steady flow of 4E stuff, but the are also selling the Warhammer RPG stuff. Pathfinder is present at two of the stores, and doing steady business at both.

I also remember that 2.0 had pretty much died six months after the launch of 3.0. None of the folks I knew who played 2.0, stayed with it after the launch of 3.0. I'd say about 1/3 of the folks I know who tried 4.0, are back playing 3.5. Roughly a third play both. Roughly a third are now 4.0 only.

Looks like the market bifurcated. Assuming that I am not waaaaaay out there on the bell curve, then a fair amount of folks are still playing 3.5 and will be for quite awhile. Assuming that only 10% of current 4E gamers migrate back to 3.5/OGL gaming, that's still a bloody chunk of folks going retro and not consuming 4E product.

Is is enough to sink 4E? No. Is it enough to cause a product to miss its targets at launch? Yes.

But, this is all my best, but educated, guess. We don't and won't know, unless somebody really wants to get guerilla and go see if some analyst has been able to look at the performance of the prodcut line as part of rating Hasbro's stock.

Me, I am happy there are two interesting games to play, and great people to play them with.


Russ Taylor wrote:


While I don't think 4E is failing, it should be noted you can't rely on Wizards to give anything approaching accurate sales data. They were saying all was well with the miniatures game right up to the set before they cancelled it, and went to "For RPG purposes only".

As discussed in the minis thread where this came up, I don't think anything changed with sales, and I think they were doing fine, except that when the price of oil shot up, the profit margin for minis shrank quite a bit, and suddenly "good sales" didn't quite mean the same thing.

As much as I've had problems with WOTC, I'd rather hit them with things they actually did than try to assume that everything they do is disingenuous.


Steerpike7 wrote:

I'm posting this here as opposed to WotC because I know the community here tends to be more mature and less prone to simply flame.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that, unless you want a whole lot of wild speculation, based on nothing (as you have seen so far), you really need to take a question like this to WotC, flaming or no.

O


Scott Betts wrote:

Again, localities mean nothing, there are just as many (if not more) stories of gamers who don't know anyone sticking with D&D 3.5. Sales numbers and event participation are the two reliable metrics, and the only data we have so far is remarkably good for 4th Edition.

And just a prediction, but all the doomsayers here are going to be rather surprised when further sales numbers are released that continue to be strong.

I understand that some of you want to see 4th Edition fail just so your take on "how D&D should be" is vindicated, but that's petty and dumb. Imagine if someone started a thread in Pathfinder General entitled "State of Pathfinder?" filled with nothing but people recounting anecdotal stories of how "everyone I know" is switching to 4th Edition and no one is finding Pathfinder worthwhile.

Clearly you haven't read my posts with any degree of comprehension.


Arcesilaus wrote:


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that, unless you want a whole lot of wild speculation, based on nothing (as you have seen so far), you really need to take a question like this to WotC, flaming or no.

O

I don't think my answers there would be better...I think they'd be worse, honestly.

I've found the thread interesting and most people who have responded here seem sincere in their answers, which I appreciate.


tadkil wrote:

My suspicion is that 4E has done ok. Not great, but Ok.

Two out of three of the Barnes and Nobles in my area(NE Atlanta) are not adding any new product. One is still carrying the new books but that is because the manager is a gamer. Likewise, the Borders I go to has scaled back orders of new prodcut more as a result of inventory concerns and a poor economy that anything else.

All three of the gameshops I frequent are are selling a steady flow of 4E stuff, but the are also selling the Warhammer RPG stuff. Pathfinder is present at two of the stores, and doing steady business at both.

I also remember that 2.0 had pretty much died six months after the launch of 3.0. None of the folks I knew who played 2.0, stayed with it after the launch of 3.0. I'd say about 1/3 of the folks I know who tried 4.0, are back playing 3.5. Roughly a third play both. Roughly a third are now 4.0 only.

Looks like the market bifurcated. Assuming that I am not waaaaaay out there on the bell curve, then a fair amount of folks are still playing 3.5 and will be for quite awhile. Assuming that only 10% of current 4E gamers migrate back to 3.5/OGL gaming, that's still a bloody chunk of folks going retro and not consuming 4E product.

Is is enough to sink 4E? No. Is it enough to cause a product to miss its targets at launch? Yes.

But, this is all my best, but educated, guess. We don't and won't know, unless somebody really wants to get guerilla and go see if some analyst has been able to look at the performance of the prodcut line as part of rating Hasbro's stock.

Me, I am happy there are two interesting games to play, and great people to play them with.

This post more or less coincides with my own feelings. I will be happy to see 4E continue to be successful, whether I decide to play it again in the future or not.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

KnightErrantJR wrote:

anything changed with sales, and I think they were doing fine, except that when the price of oil shot up, the profit margin for minis shrank quite a bit, and suddenly "good sales" didn't quite mean the same thing.

As much as I've had problems with WOTC, I'd rather hit them with things they actually did than try to assume that everything they do is disingenuous.

Except wizard's own comments are that miniatures game play was way, way down, so something was going wrong - and they chose to pretend everything was going great up until the day they killed it.

Note that the minis game is only one piece of the sales question for D&D minis, but anecdotal evidence is very strong that sales are down for their minis line in general. I don't think you can draw the conclusion that sales AREN'T down from the thread on these boards, but you certainly can get that impression frequenting the miniatures-oriented boards (people are buying cases less, not just a few less).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:

Again, localities mean nothing, there are just as many (if not more) stories of gamers who don't know anyone sticking with D&D 3.5. Sales numbers and event participation are the two reliable metrics, and the only data we have so far is remarkably good for 4th Edition.

And just a prediction, but all the doomsayers here are going to be rather surprised when further sales numbers are released that continue to be strong.

I understand that some of you want to see 4th Edition fail just so your take on "how D&D should be" is vindicated, but that's petty and dumb. Imagine if someone started a thread in Pathfinder General entitled "State of Pathfinder?" filled with nothing but people recounting anecdotal stories of how "everyone I know" is switching to 4th Edition and no one is finding Pathfinder worthwhile.

I don't know if I'd call the people posting on this thread "doomsayers". We're curious as to how 4e is doing, and if you've read our comments, we don't want it to fail. I may not like the game, but that doesn't mean I want it to sell poorly. I want 4e to do well, because Dungeons and Dragons, for better or worse, is kind of the core of the RPG business. When D&D does poorly, it does not bode well for the rest of the RPG market.

I honestly don't know how well 4e will be doing. Your optimism is commendable, but the anecdotal evidence I have from serious gamers in my area has been largely negative. But a large part of 4e's base seems to be in drawing in new gamers, which I have not witnessed first hand. You may be very right and sales will continue to stay strong, if they really have been strong so far, but I have my fingers crossed.

And just for the record, I don't think anyone on this thread was being petty or dumb.


Russ Taylor wrote:

Except wizard's own comments are that miniatures game play was way, way down, so something was going wrong - and they chose to pretend everything was going great up until the day they killed it.

Note that the minis game is only one piece of the sales question for D&D minis, but anecdotal evidence is very strong that sales are down for their minis line in general. I don't think you can draw the conclusion that sales AREN'T down from the thread on these boards, but you certainly can get that impression frequenting the miniatures-oriented boards (people are buying cases less, not just a few less).

I did notice that the "clarification" message that I found on WOTC's site seemed a bit more detailed than the original one that I had read, although it danced around the issue a bit.

Still, had I read that one first, I likely wouldn't have commented one way or the other on minis sales. Thanks for prompting me to double check what I had read.


DaveMage wrote:


I have seen many, many posters who were excited about 4E - and played it - that soon after lost their interest.

I managed to get into a 4e group when it was first on the store shelves. One of the "try it out" gaming sessions that my local game shop hosts, that is. I went into it sort of neutral, thought it was relatively fun while playing (although very different), but since then I haven't been all that interested in either buying 4e or trying to get a 4e group together. There was just something about it that didn't reel me in, and I've been really turned sour on what they've done to the Forgotten Realms, so it's very unlikely that I'll get any 4e products.

Dark Archive

I like 4th and play in a campaign.
But I only bought the PHB and that will be my only investment in 4th.
On the other hand I am superscriber for Pathfinder products and always looking on ebay to fill the gaps in my 3.5 collection.

So:
Gaming Time - 4th
Gaming Cash - 3.5/PF

The Exchange

I'm about to kick off a proper 4e campaign soon. From what I have heard from one of my players (who is running H1 with his group as DM) his group are loving 4e.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32

I suspect, as been stated, that sales of 4e have been in the average to good category. Not as stellar as WotC hoped, but not as bad as feared. I think a lot of this is due to the hamhanded way in which 4e was announced and marketed in those early days. Too many players were offended and made their choice even before they ever saw the rules.

I also suspect that 4e marks a change in game design, from simulationist to a more cinematic style. Older players who grew up on the simulationist style will probably resist changing the longest, while new players will probably adopt 4e edition quicker. Unfortunately, I have not seen a great deal of effort being put into recruiting new players on the part of WotC, which disappoints me. If they don't do it, no one else in the market really has the money or resources to devote to it.

I expect 4e is here to stay and will continue putting out rules book at close to its current rate. I think the adventures will slow down and eventually stop as more third party publishers produce them. The quality I've seen in the writing of the 4e adventures just aren't high enough to carry them beyond the point where others finally get to compete. Plus they now have Dungeon in house, so why divide your time?

I think my group might (MIGHT) change over to 4e in about two years or so, perhaps, once there's been enough options put out in print and something resembling a third party publishing effort has begun. Currently we haven't been happy enough with the system to warrant any change.

Note: this is not to say EVERYONE will eventually change to 4e. Indeed, they need not since Pathfinder exists as a competing system. This is a new wrinkle in the game, and 4e might actually lose sales as Pathfinder RPG gets its legs and 4e players decide to give it a try. Coupled with the third party publishers modifying the system and adding new options and WotC will have to run to catch up. It should be an exciting time to be a gamer.


4E is going very strong in my area. Of my two gaming groups, one has fully converted to 4E without even a glance backwards - the other is still finishing up an ongoing 3.5 campaign (which I've been running for about a year now), but is ready and eager to switch to 4E once the campaign is over in a few months.

Everyone has enjoyed the 3.5 campaign, especially since we have mostly been playing in 'the sweet spot' - but in the last few sessions, we've started to get frustrated with the system. (Every combat is over in one round, etc. As the DM, I have begun to dread preparing for each session - I used to enjoy it, but after 4E showed me how easy it should be, spending hours statting out monsters and looking things up has become an exercise in tedium.)

The local gaming stores seem to be selling lots of 4E, and there are several regular 4E campaigns run in the store I usually visit, in addition to weekly LFR (which often ends up with more trying to actually sign up for the game than can actually play in it.) The Weekend in the Realms event which ran a month ago was completely packed throughout the entire weekend, from what I saw.

But then - this is just my experience. From the sounds of things online, different locations tend to throw in pretty strongly one direction or another. I'm not sure how useful this sort of evidence actually is.

That said, every single sign I've seen has indicated 4E is doing quite well. The core books obviously did great, the early adventures went to multiple printings, and WotC has said they are extremely happy with how sales have been. Of course, none of that is proof, and there really is no way to know for sure, given that some will doubt anything WotC would be willing to tell them, and that there really is no way for us to have access to instant and immediate sales figures for all their products.

I was pleased to see that D&DI seems to be going strong - a recent poll on Enworld showed almost complete satisfaction from subscribers, and while again a very small sample size, I found it fairly useful data. (If only to confirm I'm not alone with finding it among the best gaming investments I've ever made!)

I think there are definitely areas WotC still needs to improve upon and try to deliver - getting the revised gaming license finished, and getting the rest of their digital tools produced. (Though I was extremely impressed by the character builder beta, so it seems the delay is at least resulting in a quality product.)

But for right now, I see nothing to indicate that 4E is in any trouble - indeed, from everything I've seen, D&D in general seems to be doing better than ever, which I think is something everyone can get behind!


I'm just going to state upfront that I'm probably biased for 4e 'cause I love the game. That probably affects my viewpoint.

From what I hear, Adventurer's Vault has done extremely well. In fact they announced AV2 a few days after the first AV was released. My guess, particularly with the line up that WotC has already announced for the coming year, 4e is doing really well.

One trend I've noticed in my area: A lot of people who weren't necessarily interested in D&D or in 3e D&D are playing 4e on a pretty regular basis.

I've also noticed among my group a certain dedication to the game that I haven't experienced before. I don't have to ask players to buy things like the FR Player's Guide or the AV - they just do it. In fact, at least three players in my group (myself included) have determined to buy every WotC published 4e book that comes out and the other players are buying all the player-oriented books. At least two of the players have subscribed to DDI. I never noticed that kind of purchasing pattern with my 3e players, including among the ones who want nothing to do with 4e.

I think this is a great time for roleplaying. Between 4e and Pathfinder (which I predict will be the bestselling non-D&D roleplaying game of all time), I think more people will be roleplaying than ever before.

Which can't be a bad thing.


I've noticed similar things. Our players, who normally only buy the PHB and maybe one other book that fits the kind of characters they like, all have the PHB, AV, and some of them bought Complete Martial the day it came out. Our group is latching onto the books and really enjoying them.

There's no mumbling about 3rd edition being better. Not in any way. In fact, over the past 3 months a number of players have noted during and after the game that they're having much more fun with 4th edition than 3rd, mainly because of the increased flexibility during character creation and less frequent rules lookups/disagreements.

Our FLGS has all the 4th edition books prominently displayed and the bulk of the 3rd edition books are shelved in a corner (except Pathfinder).

It appears that the state of 4e is very strong in NYC, and it looks like it's even stronger when compared to 3rd edition. If you compare it to Pathfinder, I think they are both doing well. It makes sense, since both WotC and Paizo are turning out best-of-breed products.


I'll say that the only person in my group who has lost interest in 4th edition is me, the DM. And it's really that I've lost interest in D&D altogether.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

In the State of the Mongoose released last night, Mongoose Matt commented about 4E sales:

Mongoose wrote:
it is no secret that sales thus far have been somewhat behind those for third edition

link

Now, he didn't explicitly state whether or not he was specifickly talking about Mongoose only or for everyone involved in making 4E products. But I do remember Adamant commenting that his first 4E (non-GSL) had a rather low showing. The only two I have heard say that 4E sales are good are Wizards and Goodman, and goodman said that during GenCon and ... well ... of course sales are going to be good at GenCon.

The Exchange

From Hasbo's Quarterly Statement, 10-31-2008, "U.S. and Canada segment operating profit increased to $131,929 for the quarter ended September 28, 2008 compared to $122,847 for the quarter ended September 30, 2007. For the nine months ended September 28, 2008, U.S. and Canada segment operating profit increased to $212,933 compared to $204,141 for the nine months ended September 30, 2007. Gross profits for both the quarter and nine months increased as a result of the higher revenues discussed above. Gross profit for the nine month period ended September 30, 2007 was negatively impacted by approximately $10,400 of charges related to the July 2007 EASY-BAKE OVEN recall. The increases in gross profit were partially offset in the quarter and nine months by increased operating expenses reflecting increased product development spending as a result of increased investment in the Company's digital initiative related to its Wizards of the Coast subsidiary; increased amortization as a result of the acquisition of Cranium and the purchase of intellectual property rights related to Trivial Pursuit; increased advertising and promotional expenses to support the growth of the business; and increased selling, distribution and administrative expense, including both increased shipping and distribution costs, reflecting increased sales volume and higher transportation costs, and increased sales and marketing to support the growth of the business. "

Translation: Profit is up. Wizard's is costing us money, but it is a strategic investment. This is the only time WOTC is mentioned in this SEC filing.

From the 8-1-08 Statement:
"For the quarter ended June 29, 2008, the Company's selling, distribution and administration expenses were $190,078 or 24.2% of net revenues compared to $164,539 or 23.8% of net revenues in the quarter ended July 1, 2007. For the six months ended June 29, 2008, the Company's selling, distribution and administration expenses were $366,271 or 24.6% of net revenues compared to $321,464 or 24.5% of net revenues in the six months ended July 1, 2007. The increase for the quarter and six months reflects increased sales and marketing expenses to support the growth in the business; increased investment in the expansion into emerging markets, including Brazil, China, Russia and the Czech Republic; increased investment in the Company’s digital strategy, including the digital initiative related to its Wizards of the Coast subsidiary and its agreement with EA ; the impact of foreign exchange; and increased shipping and distribution costs associated with both increased revenues and higher transportation costs. Selling, distribution and administration expenses for the six month period ended June 29, 2008 were positively impacted by the recognition of a pension surplus in the United Kingdom. "

and again:

"U.S. and Canada segment operating profit increased to $43,693 for the quarter ended June 29, 2008 compared to $35,544 for the quarter ended July 1, 2007. For the six months ended June 29, 2008, U.S. and Canada segment operating profit remained flat at $81,004 compared to $81,294 for the six months ended July 1, 2007. Gross profits for both the quarter and six months increased as a result of the higher revenues discussed above. Gross profit for the quarter and six month periods ended July 1, 2007 was negatively impacted by approximately $10,400 of charges related to the July 2007 EASY BAKE OVEN recall. The increases in gross profit were partially offset in the quarter and fully offset in the six months by increased operating expenses, primarily increased product development as a result of increased investment in the Company’s digital initiative related to its Wizards of the Coast subsidiary, and higher royalty expense resulting from increased sales of entertainment-based products. To a lesser extent, operating profit was also negatively impacted by increased amortization and selling, distribution and administrative expense. Amortization expenses increased as a result of the acquisition of Cranium and the purchase of intellectual property rights related to Trivial Pursuit. Increased shipping and distribution costs reflect both increased sales volume and higher transportation costs. "

Perhaps a theme. The only mention in the quarterly SEC filing is as a loss category. Wasn't there some new product launched in Q2? Some edition that should move the needle somehow?

So, how to interpret this?

1) WoTC's value is percieved in establishing a digital brand
2) None of its brands have performed well enough to warrant mention and it has not performed well enough to warrant mention.
3) Hasbro prefers not to trot D&D, Magic, etc. out in front of the analysts via its filing

While these snippetss are nto defintiive, they are a type of hard data this sort of conversation usually doesn't have.

So, speculate. I just did!

:-)

Here is a link to the filings at yahoo

if you'd like to review yourself.


DMcCoy1693 wrote:
In the State of the Mongoose released last night, Mongoose Matt commented about 4E sales:
Mongoose wrote:
it is no secret that sales thus far have been somewhat behind those for third edition

link

Now, he didn't explicitly state whether or not he was specifickly talking about Mongoose only or for everyone involved in making 4E products. But I do remember Adamant commenting that his first 4E (non-GSL) had a rather low showing. The only two I have heard say that 4E sales are good are Wizards and Goodman, and goodman said that during GenCon and ... well ... of course sales are going to be good at GenCon.

Even this though does not really do more then add another piece of anecdotal evidence. A lot of FLGs got pretty badly burned with all the third party stuff they bought with the release of 3rd edition. If you were a publisher like Mongoose you'd have been happy because you had lots of orders but the FLGs did not fair so well when the consumers stopped snapping up product - much of which was blatantly garbage pumped out by companies that had failed to really absorb the rules. So FLGs and distributors, and of course the consumers themselves, are being cautious this time around which means publishers can't move nearly as much product.

Its possible Goodman's doing well because Goodman's getting very positive reviews and have spent the time to put out what amounts to a high quality product (rumour has it they have even included concepts such as role playing in their 4E material, talk about thinking out of the box!) during a period when good quality 4E adventures are not exactly plentiful.

Moongoose has Wraith Recon which definitly looks cool but its also very niche. Not sure how well that will be received. In fact I think they are ahead of their time. I'd think with a new edition most people want to get comfortable with the basic fantasy setting for their first campaign and only then will they start to seriously consider putting a significant twist on it. Wraith Recon might have been a better product for sometime late next year.


TheNewGuy wrote:
I'll say that the only person in my group who has lost interest in 4th edition is me, the DM. And it's really that I've lost interest in D&D altogether.

Time to give up the DM chair and give yourself a break. Let some one else handle the DMing job for a bit and I'm sure you'll be chomping at the bit to be the DM again after around six months.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

tadkil wrote:

1) WoTC's value is percieved in establishing a digital brand

2) None of its brands have performed well enough to warrant mention and it has not performed well enough to warrant mention.
3) Hasbro prefers not to trot D&D, Magic, etc. out in front of the analysts via its filing

It's mostly 2. It can't be 3 - disclosure in a 10-Q or 10-K is not optional with regard to material risks relating to the business and the principal products that the business sells. Hasbro has mentioned Magic in their 10-Qs/10-Ks in the past in the context of a drop in sales attributable to a decrease in the number of expansions in a fiscal quarter/year. They have probably allocated a lot of resources to the digital initiative - enough that it is a material amount of money to their business and thus requires disclosure.

The filings also require a comparison of results of year over year and quarter over quarter and describe the factors driving the changes. In the paragraphs you have quoted, Hasbro is identifying the factors that have caused a fluctuation in its profits. The digital iniative was much bigger than D&D, and possibly includes MtgO 3.0, which is why it's a bigger blip than the new edition.

I can't recall tabletop D&D showing up in any significant way in the Hasbro SEC filings before. If you look at the 10-Q for the third quarter of 03 (the quarter 3.5 was released), you'll note that D&D is not mentioned in those periods as well. The 10-K mentions D&D (but only in the context of the miniatures product and the Eberron campaign setting, not the 3.5 edition), but the disclosure in the 10-K is greater than a 10-Q. It's possible that the 2008 10-K will mention 4e as well (though in 03 and 04 D&D is only mentioned in the context of the minatures game and computer game licenses, not the tabletop game).

Edit: Just did a quick double check. D&D is only mentioned in the context of computer game licenses in 04-07. In 03, the miniatures game and Eberron are mentioned.


Matthew Koelbl wrote:


But then - this is just my experience. From the sounds of things online, different locations tend to throw in pretty strongly one direction or another. I'm not sure how useful this sort of evidence actually is.

I kind of feel one should take even FLGs stated sales and such with a grain of salt. Game store owners are a notoriously opinionated bunch and how well or badly a product is doing can be highly influenced (in the telling) by ones personal opinion of the product. This is made even more extreme when one considers that most such anecdotal evidence comes via a consumer who is also biased one way or the other.

Hence if one has hard data - the actual Point of Sale figures, comparing say 3.5 products to 4E products but outside of that I'm not sure how good the evidence is.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

tadkil wrote:
The only mention in the quarterly SEC filing is as a loss category. Wasn't there some new product launched in Q2? Some edition that should move the needle somehow?

To be clear, all of the dollar figures in the filings are in thousands of dollars (meaning "$131,929" is really "$131,929,000").

Anyone wondering about the relative importance of D&D to Hasbro's shareholders should consider that Easy-Bake Oven Recall. They sold 985,000 Easy-Bake Ovens between May 2006 and February 2007, at an MSRP of $25... that puts the annual retail sales of just that one SKU in the neighborhood of $30 million.

Given that the Easy-Bake Oven line has a couple dozen more SKUs, the value of the brand as a whole is much higher than that.

So, even if it were doing gangbusters, I wouldn't expect the launch of 4th Edition to contribute to Hasbro's bottom line anywhere near as much as the Easy-Bake Oven brand does. And that's just one of dozens and dozens of Hasbro brands for which that could be said.

The Exchange

Vic Wertz wrote:
To be clear, all of the dollar figures in the filings are in thousands of dollars (meaning "$131,929" is really "$131,929,000").

Thanks for that. Didn't recognize that would need explanation.

Vic Wertz wrote:

Anyone wondering about the relative importance of D&D to Hasbro's shareholders should consider that Easy-Bake Oven Recall. They sold 985,000 Easy-Bake Ovens between May 2006 and February 2007, at an MSRP of $25... that puts the annual retail sales of just that one SKU in the neighborhood of $30 million.

Given that the Easy-Bake Oven line has a couple dozen more SKUs, the value of the brand as a whole is much higher than that.

So, even if it were doing gangbusters, I wouldn't expect the launch of 4th Edition to contribute to Hasbro's bottom line anywhere near as much as the Easy-Bake Oven brand does. And that's just one of dozens and dozens of Hasbro brands for which that could be said.

I think ultimately you are dead on. What would really be useful would be some detailed revenue projections by category by an analyst or two, but my digging for the night is done.

And the ultimate value of D&D to Hasbro is going to be IP.

The Exchange

Sebastian wrote:

It's mostly 2. It can't be 3 - disclosure in a 10-Q or 10-K is not optional with regard to material risks relating to the business and the principal products that the business sells. Hasbro has mentioned Magic in their 10-Qs/10-Ks in the past in the context of a drop in sales attributable to a decrease in the number of expansions in a fiscal quarter/year. They have probably allocated a lot of resources to the digital initiative - enough that it is a material amount of money to their business and thus requires disclosure.

The filings also require a comparison of results of year over year and quarter over quarter and describe the factors driving the changes. In the paragraphs you have quoted, Hasbro is identifying the factors that have caused a fluctuation in its profits. The digital iniative was much bigger than D&D, and possibly includes MtgO 3.0, which is why it's a bigger blip than the new edition.

I can't recall tabletop D&D showing up in any significant way in the Hasbro SEC filings before. If you look at the 10-Q for the third quarter of 03 (the quarter 3.5 was released), you'll note that D&D is not mentioned in those periods as well. The 10-K mentions D&D (but only in the context of the miniatures product and the Eberron campaign setting, not the 3.5 edition), but the disclosure in the 10-K is greater than a 10-Q. It's possible that the 2008 10-K will mention 4e as well (though in 03 and 04 D&D is only mentioned in the context of the minatures game and computer game licenses, not the tabletop game).

Edit: Just did a quick double check. D&D is only mentioned in the context of computer game licenses in 04-07. In 03, the miniatures game and Eberron are mentioned.

I think WoTC is really an IP engine for Hasbro and that it is also a gateway to digitalizing what is ultimately low margin product.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

My Feelings Regarding This Topic (Bulleted for easy use!):

* 4e is obviously doing well enough. As is the WotC way they are aggressively rolling out supplements. DDI is, in my estimation, quite enjoyable and the presentation/heft of the articles has been well done. Admittedly, the delay in electronic tools is disappointing.

* We can speculate at financial figures and estimations until our eyes bleed -- ultimately, for now, it seems safe to say that 4e is not going anywhere soon. From what I can gather (again I am just a player like you) it seems to be doing fairly well, at least near me. At the very least, it is doing well enough they are continuing to roll out new product.

* Currently I cannot make much of a judgment on 3pp projects' success or failure. I imagine as we enter the beginning of the new year we may have a better gauge for both the quality of these entries and their success.

* Bulletins are fun.

* Regarding the fan community, there still seems to be a split, but I like to think that slowly it is dying down. I think gamers have either found other systems to play (I here there is a doozy offered by some Paizo company in the works) or play 4e or continue their _____ campaigns.

In conclusion, the state of 4e is unknowable to most of us in regards to any true specifics (sales, # of players, customer satisfaction, etc.). However, I think we can rest assured (or perhaps uneasy depending on one's side of the fence) that 4e is going "well enough" to be a viable RPG.

And that lady's and gents is how you right a bunch of stuff that is probably common knowledge to everyone and post it before letting the realization that you

a) contributed nothing of note to the thread

and

b) possibly regurgitated what has already been said.

stop you.

Spoiler:
Again note the use of bulletins

also

Spoiler:
SNEAK ATTACK!!!!

Dark Archive

Vic Wertz wrote:
-snip- Easy-Bake Oven -snip-

PAIZO should get a license and publish the Easy-Bake-Oven RPG!

"You are all chefs and looking for a new receipe. There is a rumour of the "fantastic cake" receipt. You have to go to the Tower of evil chef Gordon Ramsey, win a cooking duel and get the receipt. If you win, you receive more cooking powers and a better oven. With this power you can even attack three or four star chefs...."

Liberty's Edge

Tharen the Damned wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
-snip- Easy-Bake Oven -snip-

PAIZO should get a license and publish the Easy-Bake-Oven RPG!

"You are all chefs and looking for a new receipe. There is a rumour of the "fantastic cake" receipt. You have to go to the Tower of evil chef Gordon Ramsey, win a cooking duel and get the receipt. If you win, you receive more cooking powers and a better oven. With this power you can even attack three or four star chefs...."

Continue flaming through the edition wars all you want, but there will be no bad-mouthing of the easy-bake oven...

... Or I will curse you.

Spoiler:
I mean it. You'll have crab grass growing out of your eyeballs!

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