Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Adventure Gaming in 2010

It's traditional to look back and to project forward at the beginning of a year. Since I haven't been running this blog that long (yet), I'm going to restrain myself to looking forward. What's happening in the Adventure Gaming market in the next year?

  • An interesting bit of news is that Fantasy Flight Games is abandoning the CCG market in favor of LCG's... what they call Living Card Games. Essentially it's a different way of delivering boosters and expansions... it will be interesting to see how the market responds over time.
  • Expect a continued decline in the number of retail stores carrying adventure gaming products, though the rate of attrition will probably slow.
  • Expect direct sales of adventure gaming products to contribute a larger share of revenue and profits for most adventure gaming companies. If that's not going to be true for your company, you should do something to make it so.
  • Expect more e-book sales, more print-on-demand sales, and perhaps some new ways to generate revenue without killing trees to do it.
  • The most important trend is the explosive rise in smartphones, which is a new gaming platform that impacts the adventure game market. Why does it impact adventure games? Because many different things compete for the free time (and available dollars) of the target audience, and smartphone apps are usually very low-priced (less than most booster packs or supplements). Games are a type of entertainment, so the rise of lower-cost entertainment on smartphones is a competitor. Especially as prices continue to rise for adventure gaming products, driven by lower print runs. Adventure gaming used to be the greatest deal in leisure time; invest $20 in a game and get hundreds of hours of play time. (Well, you'd be spending a lot of hours preparing for the game if you were the Game Master, but that was part of the fun, too.) Now you're looking at $50 to $100 or more as a basic investment. The books have gotten bigger and the rules lengthier and more complex. World of Warcraft has grabbed many of the people who would have played D&D... it's easier to get into and find a group to play with. (Yes, it gets very complex, and finding a good group is not easy... but overall it's still easier than wading through hundreds of pages of rules, and the computer makes recordkeeping easy.) Smartphones don't offer much to the RPG player (other than dice rollers) yet, but just wait. New e-book readers (such as Apple's rumored device) may offer even more possibilities once the prices drop to where people can afford them (in a few years).

We'll see how well I do at predictions next year when I review these.

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