Best Guess: How many quarters will D&D Next beat Pathfinder on the ICv2 list (if any)?


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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ICv2 posts a quarterly chart of the Top 5 Roleplaying Games as reflected in surveys of hobby stores. (See http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/29329.html for one example).

So Im curious as to what your best guess is as to how many quarters will D&D Next beat Pathfinder on the ICv2 list (if any)?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would guess at least one, as they are going to splash the market with a lot of new product in a short period of time, I would even go so far as to say two as that product will carry them strong through the holiday season, after that, hard to say, Paizo has a very strong, and diverse product pipeline, with multiple lines of rule books, novels, comics, audio drama, minis, pawns, board game and a myriad of other licences product (apparel, goblin plush, those new mini like things) they are going to going to be difficult to challenge from a raw quantity of available offers with which to challenge Pathfinders market.

My bet, is two quarters and Pathfinder is back on top, worst case for hasbro is probably one quarter.


I give D&D 5 3 quarters. Then we can see how D&D will impact Pathfinder.


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Hopefully they have better Marketing and Public Relations people than they did when they brought out 4th.

Grand Lodge

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Greylurker wrote:

Hopefully they have better Marketing and Public Relations people than they did when they brought out 4th.

It would be hard for them to do worse, in fact not advertising would be better then the last time around.

Snark aside, they already have done better, they have reached out to gamers to contribute to the game design. That engagement is what worked for Paizo for Pathfinder.


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I'll be shocked if 5E doesn't beat Pathfinder this quarter, and probably next. It's 2015 that will be telling.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

I'm going to go bold and say eight quarters, two full years.


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Galnörag wrote:

I would guess at least one, as they are going to splash the market with a lot of new product in a short period of time, I would even go so far as to say two as that product will carry them strong through the holiday season, after that, hard to say, Paizo has a very strong, and diverse product pipeline, with multiple lines of rule books, novels, comics, audio drama, minis, pawns, board game and a myriad of other licences product (apparel, goblin plush, those new mini like things) they are going to going to be difficult to challenge from a raw quantity of available offers with which to challenge Pathfinders market.

My bet, is two quarters and Pathfinder is back on top, worst case for hasbro is probably one quarter.

Pretty much concur with this thinking and the two quarter prediction. There'll be an initial surge of 5e rulebook purchases ("everyone" buys those) after which the support products currently appear to have a far slimmer release schedule, meaning Pathfinder likely gets the lead back through sheer volume of releases each month.

Shadow Lodge

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Either 2-3 or semi permananetly.

Lets face it, they have resources and something to prove and all indications are they've come up with a really good game.

It might be a flash in the pan i.e. one year and people loose interest, or it may be a permanent pressence.

But there are some good questions like, can they write modules/adventure path type stuff?

Lets face it, Paizo took the top spot, which was deemed unlikely a few years ago. But I'm seeing books from paizo which I don't feel I need (ACG, Inner Sea Gods), which was my response near the end of 3.5. Also, how many adventure paths do we need? That is a big part of paizo's sales. If you have 2-3, do you need more?

All of these questions are questions right now, and how they play out will decide this.

And yes, I think I see pathfinder 2.0 somewhere on the horizon i.e. 3-4 years potentially.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am wondering what proportion of people will only invest in 5E once all the "basic" stuff (the Monster Manual, DMG, and Players Guide) are out. In which case there might be some sort of delay in sales surge.

Also wondering what their product release schedule is like. They will have advantage in novelty, but Pathfinder will at least in the beginning lead them in number of active lines (Campaign Setting, Modules, APs, Player Companions, Map packs, etc). Could level the playing field between companies

Sovereign Court

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I don't think it will.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, as MMCJawa and Matt Thomason wrote, I don't think we can predict because we don't know what D&D's product release schedule is going to be like over the next few quarters - and that includes other items that are "D&D" such as card games, accessories, board games, etc. Sometimes all "D&D" items are lumped together by the respondents.

I think both games thrive in the short term. I'm very interested to see how Pathfinder Unchained is received in the Spring.

D&D's marketing this time around has been *so* much better than 4E's marketing - much more inclusive.


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DaveMage wrote:

Yeah, as MMCJawa and Matt Thomason wrote, I don't think we can predict because we don't know what D&D's product release schedule is going to be like over the next few quarters - and that includes other items that are "D&D" such as card games, accessories, board games, etc. Sometimes all "D&D" items are lumped together by the respondents.

I think both games thrive in the short term. I'm very interested to see how Pathfinder Unchained is received in the Spring.

D&D's marketing this time around has been *so* much better than 4E's marketing - much more inclusive.

I have read that the D&D development team is only 8 people. This is why they farmed out of their adventures and only released one of the core books each month. Unless they decide to ramp up staff, this suggests to me that their release schedule will be very limited.

Part of me wonders if the main purpose of 5e is simply to make sure there is a current version of the game out there to support licensed products and spin offs such as movies. They tried to make money using the 4e subscription model and it didn't work out. Hasbro likes to license its products for bigger money making ventures like movies and tv. I wonder if support for the game will remain only at the level needed to provide the impression that the game is an ongoing concern.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

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I think that you might be spot-on with your wondering, Danbala. Especially in light of what Mike Mearls has been saying in interviews.


Chuck Wright wrote:
I think that you might be spot-on with your wondering, Danbala. Especially in light of what Mike Mearls has been saying in interviews.

What HAS he been saying in interviews?

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

That they aren't going to focus on putting out too many books, but instead focus on other sales - the MMOs, shirts, movies, video games, etc.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

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"Instead of flooding the market with an endless tide of RPG books, we’re moving to diversify the business. We have two active MMOs, board games, miniatures, t-shirts, novels, and even more stuff we’re working on."

From this interview

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I do kind of wish Wizards had done a CRB instead of a PHB / DMG combo. I was adverse to the CRB concept coming over to Pathfinder, but to be honest I prefer having the one book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have been wondering about that as well.

It certainly would save them money on staff, and allow them to continue to produce product over a longer time scale without running out of ideas.

And Hasbro certainly seems interesting in regaining film rights to DnD, if the recent lawsuit(s) are any indication. It would be way easier to build movies out of DnD related material than Battleship.

On the other hand, if that happens, Pathfinder will probably still dominate sales, just by having more product and options.


Galnörag wrote:

I do kind of wish Wizards had done a CRB instead of a PHB / DMG combo. I was adverse to the CRB concept coming over to Pathfinder, but to be honest I prefer having the one book.

Although we can't be sure until we see them, I do get the feeling the PHB this time around is going to have enough content to run a game with (aside from monsters), with the DMG having more optional extras - plus anything that's 100% necessary will almost certainly end up in the free Basic Rules PDF.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Chuck Wright wrote:

"Instead of flooding the market with an endless tide of RPG books, we’re moving to diversify the business. We have two active MMOs, board games, miniatures, t-shirts, novels, and even more stuff we’re working on."

From this interview

Based on that, the extensive semi-public playtesting, the free release of the basic rules, and the WizKids miniature line, it sounds like they're trying to make their business model more like Paizo's.

D&D has the advantage of their brand, but they're going to need that advantage to reclaim the market share they've lost over the last 7 years.

Also, the ICv2 chart just shows sales through the hobby channel. Presumably that doesn't include book channel sales--Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Even during 4E days, I think D&D was still ahead of Pathfinder in that channel for some time. Think about how many 4E books vs. Pathfinder books you'd see on a typical B&N shelf. Of course, that's purely anecdotal and doesn't account for Amazon sales, which would have to be substantial. Nonetheless, D&D 5E or Next or whatever you call it might be able to pull ahead in the book channel easier than it could do so in the hobby channel.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chuck Wright wrote:

"Instead of flooding the market with an endless tide of RPG books, we’re moving to diversify the business. We have two active MMOs, board games, miniatures, t-shirts, novels, and even more stuff we’re working on."

From this interview

Yes, that combined with the fact that they reduced the entire department to something like 8 people makes me think that Hasbro contemplates a reduced footprint for the RPG as compared to the license. They may not put out all that much once the initial books are out.


Matt Thomason wrote:
Galnörag wrote:

I do kind of wish Wizards had done a CRB instead of a PHB / DMG combo. I was adverse to the CRB concept coming over to Pathfinder, but to be honest I prefer having the one book.

Although we can't be sure until we see them, I do get the feeling the PHB this time around is going to have enough content to run a game with (aside from monsters), with the DMG having more optional extras - plus anything that's 100% necessary will almost certainly end up in the free Basic Rules PDF.

I'm the opposite, I think the single thick book is just too big. I believe the new 5E books are like 320 pages or something. 640 pages is a lot of material for one physical book and probably makes for a slow PDF.

I think the revised Basic PDF (after MM and DMG release) along with the PHB will be complete to run a game.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Legendarius wrote:
640 pages is a lot of material for one physical book and probably makes for a slow PDF.

If you open the whole PDF, it is slow. But downloads by chapter make it much more usable.


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I see a number of factors here:
- 5E's shiny newness
- burn out of other similar fantasy systems like Pathfinder, 4E, etc.
- the game's quality (and I for one think they did a solid job designing and developing it)
- support product release schedule (what and how often)
- electronic support

My personal guess is that PF will retain a solid following and sales will level, at least for the pure crunch products. Adventures and campaign materials, along with generic support products like maps, will remain high. D&D will lead sales throughout 2014 and then we're just going to have to see.


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Galnörag wrote:

I do kind of wish Wizards had done a CRB instead of a PHB / DMG combo. I was adverse to the CRB concept coming over to Pathfinder, but to be honest I prefer having the one book.

Argh, no thanks. I really dislike the single book approach. To each their own, though.


I think it's only reasonable to expect them to top the charts during any quarter they have a core rulebook coming out. So Summer and Fall should be quite good for them.

Past there it gets interesting. They aren't planning to release a lot of books, but new editions can have long tails.

Whether that happens depends a lot on how many new players are recruited by the early adopters. Really, the longer that period is, the better things look for the industry overall.

From what we know now, which isn't much, I'd bet on four quarters. If more rules material starts popping up, though, that'll get longer.

Cheers!
Landon


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Danbala wrote:
They may not put out all that much once the initial books are out.

I'm sure this will strike some people as crazy, but that would be fantastic. Contract out ongoing adventure production to people who specialize in adventures, keep the rules releases to an absolute minimum.

I can hope. ;-)


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Danbala wrote:

I have read that the D&D development team is only 8 people. This is why they farmed out of their adventures and only released one of the core books each month. Unless they decide to ramp up staff, this suggests to me that their release schedule will be very limited.

Part of me wonders if the main purpose of 5e is simply to make sure there is a current version of the game out there to support licensed products and spin offs such as movies. They tried to make money using the 4e subscription model and it didn't work out. Hasbro likes to license its products for bigger money making ventures like movies and tv. I wonder if support for the game will remain only at the level needed to provide the impression that the game is an ongoing concern.

On the other hand, farming out adventure content means they can easily start producing a lot of content. It's not like there aren't tons of freelancers out there.

Spring 2014 is the only ICV2 Top 5 report ever that doesn't include Dungeons and Dragons. It's not surprising really, what D&D products have released so far this year? The surprising fact is, D&D was on the Top 5 report for two years without releasing any new products. If D&D has such strong brand sales without even trying, what makes anyone think they won't jump back to the top and stay there?


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Yeah I like they did two separate books...I just wish they had both been released closer together.

Sovereign Court

Anyone thinking about organized play? I think a big element will be how well adventurers league takes off. I know PFS is huge in the twin cities and im sure its driving sales.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Charlie Bell wrote:
Think about how many 4E books vs. Pathfinder books you'd see on a typical B&N shelf.

Sometimes, when you see lots of copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's selling really well and the retailer wants to make sure they have plenty of stock. And sometimes it's because it didn't sell as well as they thought it would.

Sometimes, when you don't see any copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's not very popular and the retailer doesn't want to have much inventory of it. And sometimes it's because it sold a lot faster than they thought it would.

In short, you can't gauge popularity (or the lack thereof) by the presence or absence of books on a shelf.


Pan wrote:
Anyone thinking about organized play? I think a big element will be how well adventurers league takes off. I know PFS is huge in the twin cities and im sure its driving sales.

I'm going to give it a try, but the strict focus on in-store or convention play means it's unlikely to replace Pathfinder Society for me. Besides, not only is the flexibility of PFS is really nice, but all my friends are there.


I think it will win until the new shiny feeling wears of so about 6 months after the last core book (DMG?) comes out. So 2nd half of 2015 will be telling.

Longer term it depends on how many RPG locations are now PFS strongholds and what peoples friends play. 5E has some advantages over PF and it looks better as well IMHO. I'm still not sure if that will cause me to drop a lot of money on it as I have plenty of D&D books (around 200+) and it is getting harder and harder for me to buy new ones as even my PF purchases have been modest by 3.5 standards.

The Exchange

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Vic Wertz wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
Think about how many 4E books vs. Pathfinder books you'd see on a typical B&N shelf.

Sometimes, when you see lots of copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's selling really well and the retailer wants to make sure they have plenty of stock. And sometimes it's because it didn't sell as well as they thought it would.

Sometimes, when you don't see any copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's not very popular and the retailer doesn't want to have much inventory of it. And sometimes it's because it sold a lot faster than they thought it would.

In short, you can't gauge popularity (or the lack thereof) by the presence or absence of books on a shelf.

From someone who worked in a bookstore, there is one sure-fire way to gauge popularity (and one decent way).

Sure-fire: look for blank spaces on the shelf. With VERY rare exceptions bookstores don't keep spare copies of books in the back. If you see a blank in the Paizo section (but not the books around it), Paizo is selling better than expected.

Spoiler:
Sometimes it's a short-term spike when a customer has recently made a large-volume purchase. We occasionally saw this when s/he discovered a new favorite author/game system.

Decent: look for multiple (more than two) copies of a book on the shelf months after release. Excess books would have been returned by that point. Generally this means the book is a consistent seller and the store doesn't want to be placing an order every week.


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Assuming that WotC has figured out how to support the system long term, I would say 2, maybe 3, quarters in a row followed by Paizo and WotC changing back and forth as their respective product lines ebb and flow between routine material and the big stuff. There are a lot of potential advantages that 5E seems to have right now, but only time will tell how well they hold up, and there are several things I can already tell that even if a lot of people like, an equal number of people will find rather distasteful at best. WotC has a solid product, but it will not bring back the majority of those lost to the 3.5/PF crowd, who were clearly not targeted by the changes, may not win back large chunks of the pre 3.x crowd that will likely see a lot of the 3.x and 4E stuff as unnecessary, and may even have difficulty convincing 4E players that they want to buy yet another set of books so soon after buying all the 4E ones. Also, they chose to lead off with FR, a move that makes sense in some ways, but hurts them in others; it will turn off as many people as it brings in. If the DMG has enough alternate rules to satisfy the pre 3.x crowd, and they have enough quality world and adventure support, it will do fine, even if it does not overwhelm its competition over the long haul; otherwise, people will starting looking elsewhere for their gaming yet again.


Belafon wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
Think about how many 4E books vs. Pathfinder books you'd see on a typical B&N shelf.

Sometimes, when you see lots of copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's selling really well and the retailer wants to make sure they have plenty of stock. And sometimes it's because it didn't sell as well as they thought it would.

Sometimes, when you don't see any copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's not very popular and the retailer doesn't want to have much inventory of it. And sometimes it's because it sold a lot faster than they thought it would.

In short, you can't gauge popularity (or the lack thereof) by the presence or absence of books on a shelf.

From someone who worked in a bookstore, there is one sure-fire way to gauge popularity (and one decent way).

Sure-fire: look for blank spaces on the shelf. With VERY rare exceptions bookstores don't keep spare copies of books in the back. If you see a blank in the Paizo section (but not the books around it), Paizo is selling better than expected.
** spoiler omitted **

Decent: look for multiple (more than two) copies of a book on the shelf months after release. Excess books would have been returned by that point. Generally this means the book is a consistent seller and the store doesn't want to be placing an order every week.

I think you're pretty spot on here. Your spoiler is exactly why the pathfinder shelf at my local store was bare for awhile. Bought one book, liked it, came back for the rest they had.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

The ICv2 or Amazon rankings don't account for the direct sales from Paizo to the consumer. Which is probably the tens of thousands(not for every product, just in sales). These sales skip the main three distributors and local stores and we'll never know for sure how many copies of a product are sold, unless you know print runs.


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They also don't count sales through bookshops.

The ICv2 survey an interesting datapoint, but not terribly revealing without a lot more context (which isn't available to most of us).


Steve Geddes wrote:

They also don't count sales through bookshops.

The ICv2 survey an interesting datapoint, but not terribly revealing without a lot more context (which isn't available to most of us).

Yeah, ICv2 is only for hobby stores, which only really tells us what gamers who use their local game stores are buying.

The whole picture is basically impossible to get, though, even for someone in one of the companies. A true comparison requires way more data than either company should be sharing.

Cheers!
Landon

Shadow Lodge

Question: I ran into a person who wished to set up a company that would continue to support 4e. While I thought he was an idiot (for several reasons), I was wondering, is anyone in a position to do a Paizo and divert one source of fans/supporters by providing support for 4e?

I assume the answer is probably no, but truthfully I don't know.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kerney wrote:

<snip> I was wondering, is anyone in a position to do a Paizo and divert one source of fans/supporters by providing support for 4e?

I assume the answer is probably no, but truthfully I don't know.

Unfortunately, there's no OGL, like there was for 3.5 and Paizo. Hence, I couldn't imagine that it would be possible.


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Kerney wrote:

Question: I ran into a person who wished to set up a company that would continue to support 4e. While I thought he was an idiot (for several reasons), I was wondering, is anyone in a position to do a Paizo and divert one source of fans/supporters by providing support for 4e?

I assume the answer is probably no, but truthfully I don't know.

It's tricky. You can produce a 4e-ish game under the OGL pretty easily, but it'd need to be built from scratch.

What you can't do is expand off of existing 4e material, which makes the whole thing pretty tenuous.

I haven't seen anyone come out with a full-on 4e clone yet. But if they did, they'd have to basically rewrite the PHB, DMG, and MM using new verbage and avoiding any 4e terminology that isn't used in OGL products.

Also, I'd suggest anyone making a 4e clone retain a lawyer, because I'm not one but I know this stuff gets murky.

13th Age is the closest I've seen so far, but it's definitely just 4e-ish, rather than a true 4e clone.

Cheers!
Landon


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I'm going to guess "for as long as 5e books are being printed", because that's the same thing that happened with 4e and with 2e (only then it was White Wolf and not PF).

Vic Wertz wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
Think about how many 4E books vs. Pathfinder books you'd see on a typical B&N shelf.

Sometimes, when you see lots of copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's selling really well and the retailer wants to make sure they have plenty of stock. And sometimes it's because it didn't sell as well as they thought it would.

Sometimes, when you don't see any copies of a book on a shelf, it's because it's not very popular and the retailer doesn't want to have much inventory of it. And sometimes it's because it sold a lot faster than they thought it would.

In short, you can't gauge popularity (or the lack thereof) by the presence or absence of books on a shelf.

But, if you can't judge how popular something is by looking at a book shelf then how will forumites proudly declare <any edition they dislike> a failure without having access to non-public sales data?!?:D

Paizo Employee Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Removed a post and reply. Let's not derail this discussion with edition warring please.

Paizo Employee Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Removed another post. We're really not interested in having edition wars here.

Grand Lodge

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Charlie Bell wrote:
D&D has the advantage of their brand, but they're going to need that advantage to reclaim the market share they've lost over the last 7 years.

The last few years have seen most of that inertial value in the brand simply has dried up and blown away. In Compleat Strategist in NYC, D+D's sales block has almost entirely been replaced by Pathfinder.

At this point, 5E has a long uphill road to climb, and they need to do a lot of things before they even match Pathfinder never mind exceeding it.

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