I really don’t think we value RPGs at all. It seems all we can see is the sale price and nothing else. At least too many times.
I just saw a typical example of gamer entitlement that I keep seeing a lot: Blaming publishers for our issues.
When D&D 5 was announced in Spain, a lot of people complained about the price. 50€ is not 50$, so why should they have to pay more for the same books when the books have already been written? Why is it that there is an increase in price for something that is, essentially, a reprint? Right?
Of course it’s wrong.
People firstly forget, or ignore, that translating is just as expensive as writing. I kid you not. Translating a 100.000 words document can cost in the region of 5000€. And that is inexpensive. I can tell you that I can hire someone for that amount of money and write a full RPG in a similar length of time that will take to do a proper translation of that number of words, around four months.
Then they also forget, or ignore, that there are licensing fees to pay, that oftentimes those come in the shape of an advance amount of money that can vary depending on the license, and that a percentage of the book’s sale price goes to the original publisher.
But then comes entitlement. And this is where things get funny in an unfunny way. Below are some of the arguments I have seen:
“If you want the full experience you must buy the three books even though they say you only need one”.
Right… first and foremost: if they tell you that you only need one book, it is because you only need one book. If you want the full experience, you can choose to build it yourself. They give you the tools and what you don’t have you can invent. Such is the magic of RPGs.
Feeling you must buy the three books to have the full experience is partly, the company’s doing, for sure. They design amazingly attractive product and expand on the basic manual very well. They truly have worked very hard to create something very good.
But they are not necessary. You can make do without them and feeling you need them, that you want to get the full experience is your problem, not theirs. Their problem is to try and sell you products that will enhance the experience, and they do that very well, both sell it and enhance it.
You think the basic book doesn’t give you all you want? Take a proper look at what they offer and reconsider. If you want more, that is perfectly acceptable, but if you are not prepared to make it for yourself, then there is a price to pay.
You think the other books are too expensive? Do not buy them, but understand that there is a price to pay for not spending money on something, and the price is usually time and effort.
“You have to add the money that costs the GMscreen if you are one of those who can’t be without it”: Again, if having the screen doesn’t offer you value over the 20$ it costs, then you don’t need it. But there is a price to pay for having the screen. And a price to pay for not buying it.
“I have seen that in D&D groups all players tend to buy the player’s handbook and that is bad practice. I prefer to play games where I am the only one who knows the rules so there are no arguments about them”.
Wow… I have no idea where to start with that one. It is called a Player’s Handbook for a reason: it is for players. Why should it be so hard to understand that someone who plays a game wants to have a *Player’s* Handbook. Please explain that.
And you being the only one to know the rules so there are no arguments has got nothing to do with people knowing the rules, but with you not being able to setup the social contract and GM agreement before you start playing. I assure you around my table no one argues with my rules because it is MY game.
That has got nothing to do with the pricing of the books. Why are you blaming the pricing of the book on your needs and wants?
It is funny how a lot of people will argue time and again how the value of things is not just the price, but when is about games, that is all we limit it to. Suddenly, when something is steep, we just see the price and stay there. We don’t see the hours of fun we will have afterwards. We almost never see the work behind the scenes.
We just want cheap stuff because money is hard to come back. Thus, we ignore the intangible value of having something that will last forever. That gives us the tools to have fun forever.
Because we want something else.
And we blame companies because they are not catering for exactly what we want, how we want it, when we want it and because we want it.
We need to get out of that. We need to get out of inventing excuses like “if it had less illustrations the book would be cheaper”, or “why does it have to be full colour, it would cost less if it were B/W”.
Seriously… that has to stop.
We need to learn what the true value of the games we purchase is. And the sooner we understand that it goes beyond the price we pay for those games, the better off we will all be.