RPG's More to Love/More to Hate/Industry Review

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Re: RPG's More to Love/More to Hate

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:00 am

For a game company to thrive, they need to be attracting new customers all the time, not merely maintaining their existing ones. I'm not saying SJ Games are making any mistakes at all, and I'm betting that their pdf versions are probably selling pretty well for GURPS, I'm just noticing various trends in the industry, some I catch onto sooner than others, since there's a lot going on out there. I think pdf sales will help keep GURPS in front of people. Munchkin accounts for about 70% of SJG sales, I think, but every Munchkin player that goes to the site or their online store or sees the SJG label on Munchkin has another chance at possibly gaining enough interest to try out GURPS. It's just too bad that the ability to do printed books has diminished over the years for so many.

Personally, I love pdf publishing and that's the first thing we'll be doing once our Initial Release is up and running. I love using my ipad at the gaming table and being able to access rules quickly (I always use it at the table for Cosmothea tabletop playtesting), and they cost less, so more people can afford them.
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Re: RPG's More to Love/More to Hate

Unread postby Bob Whitely » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:40 am

I know some people who wouldn't touch online gaming (PlaybyPost and Skype) with a ten foot pole, but I think they are in many cases, just robbing themselves of an exciting outlet. Not everyone has friends waiting by their phones to get a tabletop game going or even the transportation ability to meet up. And when done right (yes, there are ways that are way more efficient and beneficial than others), online gaming can be a ton of fun!

One problem with a company pushing pdf sales over printed book sales though, is less visibility to new players. I go to Barnes & Noble often and usually only see Pathfinder and D&D, sometimes some M&M and every rare once in awhile, a GURPS book. But at a game store books on the shelf are easier to see than scrolling through an online store where there's a much greater selection and it's easier to get lost amid them all. And non RPG players need to be brought into the industry. It's likely pretty rare for a non gamer to find an online pdf store and buy something. Those online gaming stores are for gamers, not attracting new customers, IMO. Nothing beats a physical book for showing off what you've got. That said, in the future, I'll likely be buying mostly pdfs. Like I said, I love using my ipad, and I can find stuff faster than thumbing through pages. But I still go to the brick and mortar stores for card games, board games, minis and such, when I can afford it (which isn't lately), but you get my point. They offer a lot of impulse buys as you walk around and see all the cool things they've got!

But the more we can point console and computer gamers who say, "Who has time to get together anymore?" to playing PlaybyPost games, which are so flexible almost anyone can find time to play them," rather than pointing them to yet another Call of Duty or some other video game, all the better!

And the next time a console gamer tells you that the graphics are crazy good on their games where as in pen and paper games, you have to imagine crazy good graphics that don't exist, ask them how they like chatting with their scripted A.I.'s? My sons have been known to just read the first few words of an A.I. script and jump through the script looking for the meat, gaining even less out of the "conversation" than what little the A.I.'s have to offer to begin with. That's one of the incredible, "light years ahead," benefits pen and paper games have over console and computer games.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love playing Halo, but when I want a strong, interactive storyline with exciting dialogue, flexibility and future great memories, I turn to Cosmothea or another pnp RPG! When my friends think back at that "awesome" game they just had on a console game, it usually centers around some killing blow or p'wning newbs, neither of which they will talk about for years to come. Whereas those of us who know better, knows what great memories our pnp games offer.

They are both cool experiences, but one does not really replace the other. They are both valid, and it's just a shame that so many think they can have the same experience just sticking with console and computer games, as if those could wholly replace what happens in a pnp game session (at least one with a decent game, a decent GM and players who care). What they are really doing is fooling themselves into thinking graphics could ever truly replace the experience offered in a good pnp game.

Because of this trend away from the table and into a more isolated gaming experience, online gaming is more important than many realize and game companies like QT Games would do well to invest in that target audience and nurture it, not try to push people away from tech. Tech is here to stay. Deal with it and let's see how we can harness it for good! :D

So, I have to say that while I'm not a GURPS fan, applause for SJG for seeing the trend and moving toward it (and while I'm not a GURPS fan, Car Wars has always held a special place in my heart :D ).

And as much as I love pdf's I'd still be tickled to death to have a hardcover of the Cosmothea core rulebook! Never said I was giving up on printed books, mind you, just noting that the trend toward online is here to stay and growing.
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