Weekend Update: 12/10/2022

Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.

DriveThruRPG Top Sellers for 12/10/2022

  1. Rolemaster Core Law
  2. Adversaries of the Righteous
  3. The Atlas of the Latter Earth
  4. Rivers of London
  5. Archives of the Empire Volume III

Top News Stories

D&D executives think brand is ‘under-monetized’: On Thursday Hasbro held a ‘fireside chat’ with UBS, mostly in response to analyst statements which stoked a significant stock price decline earlier in the quarter. While the Wizards of the Coast brand under the most scrutiny was Magic:the Gathering, there was also discussion of the strategy for D&D. The original webcast is available at the Hasbro Investor Portal, but as there is no transcript the lead link is to Dicebreaker, which did the most significant reporting on the RPG side of the matter. Things to expect for the brand in the future include more licensing and more digital plays, notable strategy misses include trying to increase player spending versus DM spending, as DMs are merely seen as ‘the 20% of the market who already buys all the books’. As Chase Carter stated eloquently in the Dicebreaker article, “Dungeons & Dragons is now a lifestyle brand with tabletop as a single cog in the money-printing machine.”

Discussion of the Week

Nobody wants to DM anymore: This week Reddit saw not one but two threads about the ‘DM crisis’: First, one referencing a video by Questing Beast, and then another offering a ‘hot take’ about the whole thing. Now, I’ve said for a long time that 5e is a poor tool for dungeon masters, that its lack of DM onramps, support, and teaching tools means that the people who DM 5e are by and large DMs from previous editions. Fifth Edition is inarguably the biggest edition of D&D ever and by that metric the largest role-playing game in the world. Even though you only need, on average, one out of five players to be able and willing to DM, D&D has now grown beyond the pool of experienced DMs from previous editions and the game isn’t good enough to onboard more. To be clear: this is a 5e problem and essentially only a 5e problem. Take the other game which has recently exploded in popularity: Cyberpunk. Not only do I see plenty of Cyberpunk Red players taking the mantle and GMing games for the first time, I see even novice players willing to go back to the (admittedly quite aged) Cyberpunk 2020 ruleset and see if that’s what they’re looking for. Both how Cyberpunk is framed and all the tools and goodies that Talsorian provides in the game and on their website make it a night-and-day example to compare to D&D, and one that is growing at a similar rate, albeit from a smaller base.

Have any RPG news leads or scoops? Get in touch! You can reach us at cannibalhalflinggaming@gmail.com, or through Twitter via @HungryHalfling.

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