4/18/2011-The intro is purplely

There is talk across the internet of the secret truths hiding in the dark shadows of the gaming industry.  The actual facts are purposely hidden and obscured by those involved to keep us uninformed.  Although they directly conceal many details, they cannot control indirect trends.  They may blind us, but we can still smell.  Currently what wafts across the breeze and raises the inquisitive brow upon hitting the attentive nose is; Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG could have a bigger slice of the market than Hasbro’s 4th Edition D&D over the last year.  The irony of this possibility is that Pathfinder, through legal maneuverings, is the very same 3rd Edition D&D that was produced by Hasbro.  Many curious consumers now smugly thumb their noses at Hasbro with an unsaid “told you so.”  Because, the consumer base for D&D felt completely taken advantage of by the transition from 3rd to 4th edition and now they can legitimately say that Hasbro should not have change.

I disagree. 

D&D was and still is the industry leader of RPGs.  Should Paizo’s Pathfinder slay the Goliath brand of D&D then they themselves will be forced to make the all too similar choices that Hasbro has.  The RPG market is small and there is only room for one industry leader.  There is plenty of room for innovated companies within the market, but they are sailing inside the wake.  These companies work within the established market and their gains are indirectly gathered by the actions of the leader.  Quite simply put, nearly everyone started RPGs by playing D&D.  D&D is the Kevin Bacon of RPGs; you cannot within a group get farther than three degrees away from D&D.  Can Paizo, by catering to consumer base with an older system, be a real industry leader?

What is the authentic duty of an industry leader of a small market?

An Industry Leader by definition has the following; Brand Recognition, Regulatory Advantages, First Mover Advantage, and Dominance-all things which D&D has capitalized on by Hasbro.  But why? To meet the one authentic duty of an industry leader of a small market: expand the market.   What other company within the market can? Think about it, how many fans of the Dresden Files or Mouse Guard, who never played a RPG, just happen to buy the RPG because they were fans of the setting, but had so much fun playing it they bought Fiasco, D&D, Paranoia, Mage, or any other RPG?  Nope nearly impossibility.  Hasbro can try to take back consumers who have left the brand, but that would be difficult.  It is easier for Hasbro to bring in new consumers and they are the only ones to have the resources to so.  The D&D miniatures game and their board games are examples of their attempt at doing this.

So, I think D&D is still going to be flagship for RPGs, even if Pathfinder has more of the market.  I would only speculate doom for D&D if Paizo starts producing game that expands the RPG market.  Then the real battle will begin.  Because trying to expand the market and doing it well are two different matters; I am not saying that Hasbro has successfully expanded the market at all.  They have done it, but not well and that is a whole other topic.

Pete

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