Very recently someone in Twitter shared the list of top selling products for Fantasy Gaming in Amazon.com with very interesting listing, with the Pathfinder RPG Corebook taking the crown in first place. The second place was also taken by Paizo with Ultimate Magic and after that pretty much everything else was Dungeons & Dragons.
That left me thinking a lot of things. Funnily enough all of them good and not particularly controversial, which is not very much like me!
First of all let’s make one thing clear. I have no idea how accurate that list is or if it truly reflects sales. Amazon lists them as the “most popular” and not as the “most sold”. I will assume that popularity and sales are related for the purpose of this article.
Things, though, become a lot more interesting when I take a look at the same list in Amazon.co.uk. This even more interesting list features no Pathfinder products, lots of Dungeons & Dragons, but also a lot more stuff from other companies!
So it would seem the British public is more eclectic than the American when is about Amazon purchases. A lot more different than I expected, to be honest. And this is not a bad thing at all. It’s not good either… it simply is.
It did disappoint me, though, that no Paizo product was in that list near enough the top.
So what does the fact that, in the USA, Paizo sells better than D&D, but not more. Wizards of the Coasts sells a much greater variety of products, thus reaching a wider public. Again I don’t really know this, but I am guessing if we put together all the money from their products sold, WotC makes more money than Paizo.
The first thing that this list is telling me, is that both companies are getting it right in their approaches, and that is very good news for the hobby.
However it also tells me that Paizo is outperforming WotC.
Paizo is nowhere near the size of Wizards. Pathfinder is nowhere near as iconic as D&D. Yet, they are more popular than D&D in the biggest online book seller in the world, which means they know how to reach the public a great deal better without as many resources as a company. That, my dear friends, is wonderful news.
Paizo is proving that the old model of producing and selling Role Playing Games is perfectly viable. The sheer passion they feel about the product is so infectious that people are following them. Of course, this is at the back of a great product.
Wizards, with its popularity is proving that there is nothing wrong with 4th Edition D&D. They’re throwing tons of money at producing tons of good quality products.
And they’re good products. Let’s not be cynical here.
Everyone, this list has proven, categorically, that the “Edition Wars” is, simply put, rubbish. There is no more space for edition wars.
Both games are co-existing very nicely. Both games are sold very nicely. Both games are much loved by the people who play them. Heck! both games are very often played by the same players!
I believe Paizo is the better company because of what they’re achieving with less resources and I will always support the smaller company if it is producing a product of the same quality as a big company.
I also believe what’s saving Wizards is not the amount of money they put into the games, but the amazing writers, designers and artists who are producing them. Of course, also credit must to the people who are choosing them.
The common denominator that both companies have in abundance is the sheer passion the people who produce the games and many products have. It is truly inspiring to see how many of them do their jobs for the love of it and not for the amount of money they earn. I know of some who have “proper” jobs and they write games on the side. I guess the life of the writer is not as glamorous as we’d all like it to be!
So, to conclude, I am feeling very uplifted and upbeat about the fact that two of my favourite games and one of my favourite companies (Paizo) are living side by side, with healthy levels of popularity and coming out with products month after month after month.
Long live both brands and long live the hobby!