Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pathfinder vs. Dungeons and Dragons

I am a strong believer in open licenses, and having content fall under public domain in a reasonable amount of time.  But I realize that I am a bit of a hypocrite on the matter; my preferred gaming system is the closed 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, when philosophically, I should really be using the open game content of Paizo's Pathfinder game.  It is a similar story with software; I should be running the open source Debian Linux, but I actually use Microsoft Windows more often in my day to day work on computers.

The reasons are varied and little bit complex.  I know one of the reasons behind starting up a 4E D&D game had to do with being familiar with Dungeons and Dragons as a brand name.  Another factor was the marketing of the Red Box Essentials that pulled us back into trying out the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons.  In a sense, it could be said that we were swayed by marketing and popularity.

But is 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons the biggest role playing game on the block?  I would have thought so, until I started reading some recent posts and some statistics, scattered across the Internet.  How accurate is this information?  It is hard to say, as it is the Internet we are talking about here.  But it does start to paint an interesting picture.

Ryan Dancey
Mr. Dancey spear-headed the System Reference Document while working at Wizards of the Coast in 2000.  He currently posts to the enworld forums.

2011 January 18th, Ryan Dancey writes [original source here]
And according to my industry sources, it’s outselling Dungeons & Dragons a feat (no pun intended) I would have considered almost impossible 10 years ago. Furthermore the older generation of tabletop RPG players have been asserting their own passion through the “Old School Renaissance”, essentially rebuilding a very frayed social network around a particular style of play that the industry hasn’t well served for nearly 25 years using the OGL and the various Reference Documents to reverse engineer games in the style of the 70’s and early 80s.

Lisa Stevens
Lisa is the CEO of Paizo , and hangs out on the Paizo boards.  She also apparently worked with Ryan at the time he worked on the SRD.

2011 June 29th, Lisa Stevens writes, [original source here]
Scott is totally right here. Pathfinder has surpassed D&D in most of the markets that I check.  ...  And I am just talking table-top RPG business. I am not talking about board games or card games or video games or whatnot. Just books and digital copies of those books for use in playing a table-top RPG.

ICv2 is an industry resource site that gives rankings on geek related products.  What are the criteria it utilizes to rank role playing games?  How reliable is ICv2?  I do not know.

ICv2 Top 5 RPGS
Published: 2011 August 04th, 03:51am
[original source here]

1 Pathfinder
2 Dungeons & Dragons
3 Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch
4 Dragon Age
5 Shadowrun

Amazon's Best Sellers in Fantasy Gaming
I'm sure most of the readers are aware of Amazon.  Amazon provides various top seller lists based off of categories.  I checked the fantasy gaming a few times in the beginning of October and each time, Pathfinder was ahead of Dungeons and Dragons.  Does this mean much in the scheme of things?  I do not know.
Tracked: 2011 October 17th, 4:15pm
[original source here]

1. Black Crusade (Warhammer 40,000)
2. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook
3. Legend of Drizzt: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game (4th Edition D&D)
4. Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: An Essential D&D Starter (4th Edition D&D)
5. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat

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