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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: Is Gaming Dead?

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    Is Gaming Dead?

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    Okay, so I sent this out on the Talislanta mailing list today so anyone who double dips can ignore. Regardless, I went into my local gaming store here in Milwaukee looking for a copy of the Talislanta 5th edition book because I was thinking of getting involved in a play by post game just to be involved with the game again. Quality gaming seems hard to find here and as much as I prefer the real world interaction of a game I am basically desperate to find something more than a D&D campaign run with old modules. Anyway, point being the guy who owns the store basically said the RPG hobby is dead or at least dying. Am I fooling myself by still engaging in this hobby or at least trying too? I've been gaming for more than 20 years and it is obvious that the number of gamers is going down, but is it dead?

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    Table top gaming is far from dead. Our registry has over 11,000 gamers who have come together most for the purpose of finding other gamers in their area. A quick glance at RPG.net revealed there were some 500 registered gamers online right now over at that site talking to each other. Companies like Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, and White Wolf are still publishing multiple gaming books per month and supporting a host of game designers and support staff. Meanwhile there are a ton of smaller press companies that are successfully making a business of publishing RPGs.

    Although I would agree that the industry is becoming more niche, it is far from gone, and I don't think it will be gone any time soon.
    Robert A. Howard
    Pen & Paper Games
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    pk, it sounds to me like you are old school looking for something that may not be as visible to you (and a 20-year veteran like me, too) as it once was. I have recently discovered that going to the local gaming store in the DFW area does not necessarily yield the expected sight that I used to see... guys my age at one of the available tables playing some of the latest RPG material sold in the store. I tend to now see a group of "kids" playing something that I did not know was even out. The reason for the lack of familiarity with some of the "hot" material is the sheer amount of stuff that is out there now. With so much stuff available online, it is difficult for a guy like me with a day job to keep up. My best example was at Christmas... I visited a local gaming/comic store and found a group of young guys playing some kind of d20 module that I had never even seen. What I saw at the table were some d20 books, but the module that the GM was running was obviously a pdf that he had printed. In fact, many of the "books" they had at the table were printed/bound print outs that were not sold at the store.
    It also seems that play by post and online "tabletop" gaming (as I like to call it) is becoming very popular. I would imagine that kind of gaming has taken a slice of the tabletop/in-person gaming pie.

    My two cents,

    Meste

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    I would not say the industry is dying so much as it is in a slump while it sorts itself out. Part of it is due to the economy, part of it is due to new technology and media availability, but the RPG had a slump back in the mid 80's as well. There were many companies producing RPG's and supliments back then and as TSR began to flex it's muscles, a lot of these companies either died or dwindeld. In the late 80's the industry recovered as many companies started looking at innovation and/or big name liscences like Star Wars. When d20 hit, the market was glutted again as everyone with access to desktop publishing put out d20 product like there was no tomorrow. Just like the CCG craze of the 90's, the d20 craze caused an industry slump that is just starting to turn around.

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    I was out there buying a lot of that stuff in the 80s, at a time when I could find gamers everywhere. I had a ton of stuff from publishers like Bard Games and Chaosium and other companies but my local gaming store was never empty and I gamed with two or three different groups. These days the game store is dead, the other major game store went out of business and I can't find a quality group in my area at all. Having the guy at the gaming store tell me he is basically done with RPGs other than a very small selection combined with so much trouble finding a good game is discouraging me. I hope you are both right because I love this hobby

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    Yes, gaming is dead. As are music, free speech, privacy, the American economy, reading, manners, offices with paper, and irony.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Yes, gaming is dead. As are music, free speech, privacy, the American economy, reading, manners, offices with paper, and irony.
    You forgot...Personal Responsibility, Assumed Risk, and Parents that parent their children first before being their friends.

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    OK, seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pk1305 View Post
    Anyway, point being the guy who owns the store basically said the RPG hobby is dead or at least dying.
    It may be dying as a revenue stream for him, and the industry as a whole isn't doing so well (nor are many these days), but the hobby is alive and well, thank you very much.

    The Friendly Neighborhood Game Store is dying because of cheap deals over the internet, the plethora of small game publishers even after the d20 Bust who make stocking shelves with everything impossible, the rise of the PDF market, and the diminishing friendliness of the game stores themselves. That's right, I'm going there.

    If your guy is anything like the guy at my "F"LGS, a bunch of kids can run around like maniacs and he won't bat an eye, but a middle-aged guy in T-shirt and jeans wandering among the shelves, sometimes bearing an item in his hand, gets a beady eye. (OK, I do mumble to myself sometimes when I'm thinking, and I can see how that might be offputting, but still.) Considering most of the stock on his shelves dates from the mid-nineties to early aughts -- except for the ubiquitous D&D and World of Darkness, but even that includes 3.x and old stuff -- I suspect he really doesn't want business from RPG'ers or even the few wargamers left. Maybe family games and puzzles -- what's in the front of the store -- are more lucrative.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Nah, it's not dead. I don't think it's even breathing hard really. It's more likely the stores are making choices like closing down or going with a different product.

    I don't recall where I was reading the comment but back in the 70's the market was wargaming. Avalon Hill and SPI with lots of products. The wargamers complained because the FLGS's were starting to carry these new things called role playing games. The wargamers either converted or grumbled about "their" store pursuing the new market.

    Then the FLGS's started stocking Magic and other CCG's and "our" FLGS's had Magic tournaments.

    My closest FLGS is a board gaming shop. They're more expensive (Arkham Horror at $350, Starcraft, others) so the FLGS gets more money and it's more likely that more people will buy the board game than one GM buying a bunch of books for their group. As a gamer in general, I have lots of gear (you may have seen my game room ) but my group of players may have 5 or 6 books and a couple of them don't even have the core Shadowrun book.

    There are many other shops in the area and most of them have at least a few people and most of the time quite a group playing CCGs, board games, or RPG's (D&D, Pathfinder, Shadowrun).

    Add in that there are a lot of used games available (RPG.net has a large used trade/sale forum and of course e-bay, abebooks, and amazon) and of course you can't forget the 'net for the purchase of new books. My FLGS has to make a profit in order to stay in business and they can't carry thousands of books. There are local stores that carry lots of books (Black and Read and Bonnie Brae) but most carry the more popular games. So if I want something a little out of the ordinary or an older book (most of the FLGS's don't reorder associated books I've found), I have to find it on the 'net.

    I'm also a big fan of Shadowrun (if you couldn't tell ) so I spend my money at Battlecorps whenever possible and buy the dead tree books at a specific FLGS.

    Dead? Heck, last time I was in Borders and Barnes & Noble, they had Mouse Guard, Exalted, Shadowrun, D&D, Pathfinder, World of Darkness, and even dice.

    I'm sorry the one store closed and that the owner of your FLGS is of the opinion that RPG is dead or dying. Check around. You may need to go out a little farther but I can't believe that there are only 2 gaming stores in Milwaukee

    Carl
    GMing: Shadowrun 4th
    The Denver RPG Group - My Shadowrun Site - My Shadowrun Blog - Shadowrun Mooks
    I also administer the Mosaic and Stained Glass forums if you happen to be artistic


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    The hobby is far from being dead. If that were true, then there would be no way that we would have a tabletop/inperson group that has 11 members. Also, our Pittsburgh D&D Meetup group has grown by about 100 members over the past year. I believe that most people just aren't to sure as to where to look for gamers in their area. One way to help get people inquiring is to post a flyer up at a gaming store, as long as they allow. If they are hesitant in any way, you could suggest that it would show potential customers that there are gamers in the area that may need books and other supplies from their store. In these days, wether you are a gamer or running a gaming/hobby store, you need to be more proactive in finding people. If you aren't willing to put an effort into the search, then yes, your not going to see players/GMs/DMs/customers. Also, be patient. Just because you put some type of a notice up on Monday doesn't mean that by Tuesday evening you will have a big group of people. It took 8 months to get a start to our group of 11 and then once the first 4 of us showed that we were starting a group, the rest came together over the next 2 weeks.

    Sorry for the ramble, but this is my 2 platinum coins worth.

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    I find it hard to believe that the gaming industry is even slowing down. where I am at in Dallas off the top of my head I can think of at least 9 game stores within 30 minutes of my house plus 5 book stores (new and used) that sell games and allow people to play rpgs inside. the newest game store just opened about 6 monthes ago and business is booming for them. they have at least 5 different groups playing each weekend (yes that includes the wargamers as well)and I cannot recall a time when they haven't been busy except maybe opening week for them. So if the gaming industry is dying you can't tell it from where I am.
    Never trust a smiling GM, that's when they're dangerous.

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    Well, I figured at this site I would hear optimistic messages, which is great. I just found myself shocked that a guy who should want to take my money, money I was willing to give him because I was too impatient to wait for Amazon to deliver, would tell me that he had no interest in taking said money or in having stock in his store to meet my hobby interests.

    As far as I know there is ONE gaming store with two locations in Milwaukee and then another store that is almost all miniatures with a small Border's sized collection of Dungeons and Dragons and finally a Games Workshop outlet. Most of the other gaming stores have gone out of business in the last few years. I've had my name up in both of the non-Games Workshop stores for over a year and all I find is the occasional Dungeons and Dragons and an extremely rare Shadowrun game, and I've never found a good Shadowrun GM. It's been a frustrating slog. Maybe I am being too picky by having no interest in Dungeons and Dragons or maybe I need to look at other websites beyond this one and nearbygamers for people.

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    Sounds to me like the guy at that store is looking to use the business to show a Loss that he can claim on the tax return. Some folks actually have no plan to actually make a profit.

    Also, this site was made to bring gamers of all RPGs together, not just D&D. In addition to the Campaign Invitations section, you could check out Obsidian Portal (a partner with P&PG), colleges, or military bases. I have even heard of people hanging out in book stores at the RPG section and find other people that way. You could also check to see if there is anything in your area on Meetup.com that has people looking for games.

    Hopefully this gives you some more places to find some face to face players. Good luck with the search.

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    It is quite amazing how many gamers there are. I am currently on a ship, out to sea. My roommate notices me looking at P&P Games. I mentioned I was into RPG. He mentioned it to another guy and turns out there's a group playing Serenity on board. Kind of fun game. I think gamers just have a hard time finding each other.

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    I feel your pain.

    I don't think that traditional gaming is 'dead,' but I do think it's in a coma. Like you, I have played various RPGs for over two decades now. Back in the day, before PSX3, NIS, good PC games, Facebook and I-Phone apps, we were bored and, at least for me, tabletop RPG's were the solution. We were also alot younger then, with less in the way of responsibility, and we likely had more free time in which to play. Add that to the fact that there are so many RPGs out there, and seemingly so few players who are geographically able to meet for face-to-face games, and you have a gaming industry with a major challenge. On top of that, a major name in the industry (Wizards) seemingly produces a new edition to their game every couple of years- I for one was frustrated by D&D 4E. I had just gotten a good collection of 3.5E works (well over $1000 worth!) and they go and change the game. To be honest, it was enough to make me want to leave the hobby.

    All of that being said, it is up to us, people like you and me, visiting awesome sites such as this, to spread the word and to do whatever we are able in order to keep our hobby, our game, alive.
    --- Merged from Double Post ---
    Farcaster, I hope you're right. As I said in a previous post in this thread, I love gaming. Truth be told though, although I have recently begun buying new material, I have not played in over two years now. I'm jonesing for a game! LOL. Thanks to this site, I have been in touch with two potential players/game masters in my area (I'm somewhat new to the area) but scheduling conflicts have thus far prevented a game from getting started. My fault, not that of the industry, but geez- only two people within a reasonable distance with gaming interests? Wow. Back in the day, had this technology been available, I could only imagine the interest it would have likely generated!

    Whatever the case, I know these to be facts:
    1. I'm having a very hard time finding a gaming store within a reasonable distance from home
    2. I'm not always able to find what I'm looking for in the big-box bookstores that sell some of the books for the game

    I do hope your assessment of the state of the industry is correct. I love gaming and I would really hate to see it die...
    Last edited by Banshee; 02-20-2010 at 01:27 AM. Reason: Automerged Double Post

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