Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Started by Luke, May 28, 2006, 05:17:29 PM
QuoteNow for a little silver lining. One advantage that we have in the RPG market is that our customers -- you wonderful people -- are much more willing to buy electronic books than mainstream book readers are. Something like five to ten percent of the RPG business last year was PDF business, and that number is growing by leaps and bounds. Companies like Eden, Green Ronin, and Hero have made electronic publishing core parts of their business model. So take what I said above, about the continuing crunch-pressure of store sales, and combine it with that factor. You'll see an industry that moves ever more rapidly online, even as brick-and-mortar game stores (mostly) disappear. (It's not just game stores -- Amazon and e-retailing in general are out-competing a lot of specialty retail. But game stores are already vulnerable.) "Second-tier" game companies and "indie" game companies will move closer and closer together, in public perception especially. If you downloaded the thing off the Net, it's transparent -- the only thing you care about is quality and fun for you, whether it was Rifts or The Mountain Witch. Game conventions will be where Internet fan communities get together to play face to face and to learn new stuff likewise.This, then, implies that good local and regional conventions can only profit from the ongoing sclerosis of RPG distribution. They can also profit from micro-booms or fads in a way that game stores can't. Right now, for example, the ConQuest shows seem to be building on the back of the "German game" micro-boom; a convention, unlike a store, can switch from boomlet to boomlet fairly transparently. Better yet for us, a convention, unlike a store, actually gains by continuing to support legacy hobbies -- wargames now, RPGs soon. A game con that stays on the good side of the RPGA can also still ride RPGs very profitably -- that sub-hobby seems very solid, from the outside at least. Such game conventions are also excellent marketing, demo, and retailing opportunities for RPG companies that aren't Dungeons & Dragons. Much as I pick up a lot of small-press SF and so forth at SF cons, game cons will become everyone's local retailer. (The few surviving good local retailers will also sell at these cons, in the areas that are so fortunate as to have them, or possibly all across the region, much as Dreamhaven Books in Minneapolis sells at Chicago SF cons.) This will give RPG publishers -- who, again unlike most mainstream publishers, already have a solid network of conventions to use for marketing -- another edge as they adjust to the harsh new world of on-time ship dates and "three books and out" Blue Rose or Orpheus style line models.
QuoteI was struck by the idea of conventions as replacing the niche that the retailer die-off is leaving. Conventions are closer to the activity of gaming itself and the internet and such are encouraging and enabling people to focus more closely on what they actually want to do. More of what people want. More precisely when they want it.