Profitable Games

Steve Jackson’s recent Report to the Stakeholders got me thinking – of all the types of games in the hobby gaming industry, where is there profit to be had? Here’s the offending (not offensive, by the way) quotes:

Our 2007 gross was close to $2.88 million…

Our most important product, even more than last year, is the Munchkin card game. With its sequels and supplements, Munchkin accounted for over 70% of our sales in 2007!

When I think of SJG, I think GURPS, yet $2 million plus of the company’s sales came from Munchkin – a card game. And I don’t think they’re alone.

Look at the PSI client list, and note the large number of non-RPG publishers. When you talk to a FLGS owner, as I often do, they don’t tout RPGs are the biggest sellers. It’s typically the card and board / eurogames that account for the lion’s share of their revenues.

As a game designer, the market seems to be telling me something – RPGs are an uphill battle. However, as an avid roleplayer, I find it hard to turn my attention away from my first love.

I don’t doubt that profits can be had by publishing RPGs. Alderac, Green Ronin, Paizo, White Wolf – even the late Black Industries – have proven that quality product will sell and can support a business. It seems, though, that a betting man would place his money on cards and boards, not pens and papers.

Am I reading too much into this?

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