Yesterday, ICv2 released their list of Top 5 best-selling roleplaying games in the third quarter of 2010. There was something surprising in there.
While Pathfinder RPG had held the second place ever since its release, it is now tied with the sovereign market leader of over three decades, Dungeons & Dragons (with the possibly apocryphal single month in the early 90’s when allegedly Vampire: The Masquerade held the top spot).
Of course, there are no actual numbers shown and the methodology is a bit fuzzy, neither WotC nor Paizo release their internal sales data, and it lacks stuff like DDI and Paizo product subscriptions and RPGNow. However, I can easily believe there’s an element of truth to those rankings. WotC will probably reclaim the top spot in the fourth quarter since the Essentials release falls there, but Dungeons & Dragons is no longer the only 800-pound gorilla in the room, whose dominance has been seen as unshakable, unyielding and eternal.
The third and the fourth spots have been occupied by Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play and the 40K roleplaying games for some time now. I expect they will continue to hang in there, especially with the recent release of Deathwatch, which has… strong appeal. I haven’t yet got a copy, but expect a post once I do. There are issues I desire to address.
The fifth spot is taken by Dresden Files RPG, which isn’t surprising since it sold like hotcakes on its release. This is interesting also because Evil Hat has released numbers on their developer blog. The initial print run of a total of 12,000 copies sold out, and they printed up 7,500 books more. So, the cutoff point for the list is somewhere thereabout. I don’t know enough to start speculating anything from those figures, though.
I don’t think DFRPG is going to hang around on the list much longer, though, since there’s no new product in the pipeline the release schedule is very sparse and sustaining core book sales like that is probably not possible. However, I must congratulate Evil Hat for a job well done!
It is an interesting time to be a gamer.