Wednesday, December 29, 2004

d20 has left the Building

posted by L0N

Over on James Maliszewski's LJ Blog the Schizonomicon they are discussing the possible publishing of Pulp Call of Cthulhu. And many are wondering why they chose not to include d20 rules in it now. Well d20 has left the building.

I am not saying it is anywhere near dead as a game system. I think sales of WotC product will continue to dominate the sales charts for a long time to come. Along with the other folk like Green Ronin who do inventive things with it will probably keep making money with d20 related products, but the added sales from simply putting a d20 logo on a product are long gone.

Most retailers are very weary of any new product now and many consumers are have been playing d20 for over five years and perhaps are growing tired of it. You also have to factor in that if you dual stat stuff like Holistic Design did with Fading Suns you tend to annoy people who liked your game before. They get the impression that you are doing less for them when they have supported you from the beginning. You also have to ask is it worth doing the extra work in stat blocks for d20. Will this add to my sales?

I know in recent months at the store I worked for the only d20 we were selling with any regularity was WotC, Conan, and Warcraft. Green Ronin stuff would sit a while but would sell eventually. Mongoose had almost completely died and everyone else tended to be a special orders.

RPG games are a smaller and smaller market for shops that sell games. The store sold more things like Settlers of Catan (and its variants), Munchkin, and Carcassone. These board games turned over more often than most RPGs. I think RPG manufacturers need to worry about selling more units overall than rather or not they include d20 stats.