Friday, May 30, 2008

D&D 4e Sold Out Before it Launches?!?

Well, ok, it's getting its second print run before release, which is almost as good. WotC may have a winner on their hands. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of this year's releases compare.

UPDATE: Mearls offers some context and James Mishler has more on what's being said, and what it probably means.

4 comments:

James Maliszewski said...

I don't think anyone but the most fevered hater believed that 4e would be a flop in its initial release. However, what matters is not the sales of the core books, which probably would have sold this well no matter; what matters is subscriptions to DDI and sales of supplements. What matters is also how many people actually play 4e and make it their new default fantasy RPG. These things are still unknown and my gut tells me that none of them will be as impressive as these initial sales.

So WotC has every reason to crow about this. They are off to a very good start, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. In 18 months time, if sales of supplements are flagging and DDI hasn't been embraced, no one will remember that great sales of the core books, which historically always sell well (except for 2e).

ChattyDM said...

I disagree James.

The great majority of non-internet vocal, WotC loyal, D&D playing fans of the game will make the jump and new players will come in.

I have read a good chunk of 4e and as different a game as it is from previous incarnation, it will be popular because it's going to be fun. Illogical, incoherent, verisimilitude-ampered.... but fun as hell for players.

It will disgust a few DMs. But chances are some players who love it will try their hands at it.

I may change my mind when I get to play it, but I'm convinced the financial success of the game, helped by the 3rd party lineup, is guaranteed.

James Maliszewski said...

helped by the 3rd party lineup

Besides Necromancer and Goodman, has any other third party committed to 4e? If so, I haven't heard about them, but then I haven't been keeping up with the latest news on the game.

As to whether 4e will be a success, that's easy to determine. As I said, wait 18 months or so and look at the lay of the land. If DDI becomes ever more essential rather than merely optional, it's a sure sign that sales of supplements are flagging. I'll gladly admit to being wrong then, but, for now, I stand by my prediction that 4e will not have the same legs that 3e did in terms of sales beyond the core books.

But I'll readily concede being wrong if it turns out I am.

James said...

My admittedly cautious and imperfect reading of 4e reception so far is that it will be fairly successful at pulling people in. 3e did have a problem where different groups could be so far apart in terms of handling the intricacies of the system and spotting the optimal decisions that they were effectively playing two different games. 4e, whatever else it has, won't have that, and I strongly suspect that will help bring people into the hobby and help people who are using it grow their gaming groups.

In addition, it really does look fantastic for one-offs, con games, demos, and other flavors of beer-and-pretzel stuff, which is a strong draw for casual players who just want to throw down some swordfights on a Friday night without caring about polymorph inheritance or the XP Difference Engine.