*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 30, 2014, 03:53:01 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 87 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5
Print
Author Topic: Mainstream: a revision  (Read 33148 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2002, 09:53:45 PM »

I know what you mean, Raven. Thing is about mainstream is it tends to change over time. Baseball used to be the national pasttime, now football is much more popular and NASCAR and WWE is also carrying a decent-sized media clout.

So talking about mainstream RPGs is a lot like a bit a comedian riffed on once. Paraphrasing:

"People are always talking about alternative comedy and how to make it more popular. I know how to make alternative comedy more popular. Make it more mainstream."

I think that, to a certain exstent, saying mainstream is as helpful as saying realism in regards to RPG design is. It can be slippery.

That said, I think that what seems to be the topic here is not so much what mainstream is or is not, but just realising that D&D fantasy, and I think it is worth mentioning that this does not necessarily mean D&D itself, while it may be a dominant product in the RPG hobby (please stop calling it an industry, folks) is definately not mainstream as per the bulk of human being crawling about out there. Only gamer geeks "get" D&D fantasy. Just like how super heroes are not mainstream even though they dominate in comic books.

Also, there are many lobes to mainstream it seems. I don't think too many people with mainstream tastes would appreciate Sandman, but if they're into fantasy of a more mainstream variety, not D&D fantasy, they will. You see?

I don't know anymore. It's late as I'm writing this. But I think the idea is to make games that appeal to a more mainstream audience because this is the only way to broaden the appeal of RPGs, to break the gamer geek image of it. Or such is what I'm taking away from this. And if that means a Seinfeld RPG. Why not?
Logged
talysman
Member

Posts: 675


WWW
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2002, 10:03:03 PM »

Raven,

I think Ron means that Sorcerer is mainstream in comparison to D&D, which is fringe. D&D and Vampire/Werewolf are the most popular RPGs (some would say) and definitely get a lion's share of the shelfspace, but what would be their equivalent in, say, television?

the D&D cartoon and Kindred: the Embrace. and not much else.

... whereas supernatural horror outside of RPGs is pretty popular, even among non-geeks. and people we would regard as "normal" went to see Star Wars. Excalibur and Ladyhawke aren't just for hardcore fantasy fans. science fiction, fantasy, and horror are somewhat mainstream: most people don't devote their life to those genres, but they like to entertain themselves from time to time with serious (or even frivolous) fantasy.

compare that to Vampire. you pretend to be a vampire. with the exception of a few Anne Rice novels, not really considered a mainstream topic.

"do you have anything written from the vampire's point of view?" Otto, from TV's "The Simpsons"

and compare it to D&D: hack-and-slash fantasy. listen to some comments people make about UO or Everquest, sometime... comments abouut geeks running around collecting suits of armor and magic swords, or logging onto a computer system to chop wood for several hours.

compare that to a game where you pretend to be in King Arthur's Camelot. that doesn't sound as fringe, does it?

superhero RPGs are in the same boat. Ron has already pointed out the superhero comics aren't mainstream, although gritty detective-style graphic novels about the Dark Knight are more palatable outside of fandom, as is a graphic novel about the holocaust written from the viewpoint of anthropomorphic mice (hey, Time and Newsweek did feature articles on it, so it must be somewhat mainstream...)

but consider this possible inventory for an "RPG45" store:

    [*]d20 Afghanistan
    [*]apocalyptic rpgs like The End
    [*]GURPS WWII and Godlike
    [*]TOON
    [*]Transhuman Space
    [*]a selection of Cheapass Games
    [*]supernatural horror RPGs, including Sorceror
    [*]some movie/tv tie-ins (Buffy, Star Wars)
    [*]D&D and World of Darkness corebooks, one short shelf (but the store will be happy to make individual orders...)
    [/list:u]

    there are certainly holes in the list, because the financial realities of the RPG industry discourage anything that isn't a clone of D&D/WoD or some superhero game. I know there was at least one film noire RPG ... so where are the rest? where are the the rpgs that let you pretend to be Billy Jack, defending the commune against rednecks? where is Shaft, the RPG? and where is the sitcom rpg?
    Logged

    John Laviolette
    (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
    rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
    joshua neff
    Member

    Posts: 949


    WWW
    « Reply #32 on: November 14, 2002, 12:04:07 AM »

    Wow. Great stuff, Ron. Not surprisingly, I agree. I've been saying for a while that what the "gaming world" needs is less "gamers" & more "people who like playing RPGs."

    (And I agree regarding comics, too. And I'm a HUGE fan of superheroes as a "genre." In fact, it's the fringey weirdness that I love the most. Let's face it, superheroes are fucking bizarre. Outlandish costumes, stupid names, weird-ass "super powers"--at their best, superheroes are acid-trippy & surreal-as-shit. I love that. Interestingly, I'm coming to think of D&D in the same way. As Ken Hite noted--& someone quoted this in the Sorcerer thread about Lord of the Rings--D&D is one fucked-up collage of a version of Fantasy. It's a confused hodge-podge. And I sort of like that. Not played as comedy, not as hipster irony, but as a sort-of-Dada take on Epic Fantasy slammed head-over-ass-first into Sword & Sorcery. D&D is to Lord of the Rings what Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" is to Greek Mythology. At least, when it's at its best. At its worst, it's as bad as...I dunno, Secret Wars II or some such. With as much appeal as crappy superhero comics to people outside of the small circle of inbred fanboys.)

    I'd LOVE to see more mainstream stuff in comics & RPGs. No, Raven, not "Friends: the RPG", but an RPG for people who like Friends. Or The West Wing. Or ER. Or All My Children. Or James Joyce. Or Toni Morrison. Or Nora Roberts. Gaming is a fun & interesting way to spend time. There's no reason to limit it to "like D&D." In fact, there's every reason not to. And there's every reason to include D&D, as well. Roleplaying game is vast, it contains multitudes.
    Logged

    --josh

    "You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
    Pramas
    Member

    Posts: 53


    WWW
    « Reply #33 on: November 14, 2002, 12:47:24 AM »

    Quote from: greyorm

    Yeah, but...pg45 does it.
    A couple of my local Insurance Agencies do it.
    The local car lot does it (no jokes about car salesmen, please).
    Many door-to-door salesmen do it.
    The local colleges do it (in their recruiting depts).

    So I'm wondering why you think a staff with the qualities you mention are in any way mythical, since I see exactly this sort of staff working in every successful business every single day?


    Your examples are mostly salespeople. Good sales people are a) hard to find and b) usually work on some sort of commission system. I'm sure there are some people who fit Ron's profile, but it would be difficult to find a whole staff of those folks in one geographic area. Even if you could, then you'd need to find a good way to compensate them. You are not going to get a highly motivated sales force for $8/hour, at least not one that's going to last.

    And again, even if all that were to occur, the RPG store Ron outlined is still not viable economically. I just don't think you could bring in adequete income to pay for rent, stock, staff, utilities, and so on selling RPGs, especially if you specifically do not stock the best selling RPG titles.
    Logged

    Chris Pramas
    Green Ronin Publishing
    www.greenronin.com
    greyorm
    Member

    Posts: 2233

    My name is Raven.


    WWW
    « Reply #34 on: November 14, 2002, 03:43:35 AM »

    Hrm...

    Josh...that's my question, though...how do you write an RPG like that, or rather, to appeal to that?  I don't get it.  Heck, I didn't even recognize any of the people on your list, and I don't know what the heck The West Wing is (hospital show? show about the government?), so that should tell you where I'm coming from.

    And just so no one gets the wrong idea, I'm not arguing that RPGs should be limited to be "like D&D," far from it!  I agree, this sounds like a good idea.  I just don't have the faintest clue what it MEANS, in actuality, as definite product (not talking sales here, just the actual, physical product and idea).

    Chris,

    That's the point though...what are the best-selling comics titles?
    Well, the superhero comics, of course!

    ...

    But wait, those aren't really the best-selling comic titles outside the established fan-base for such things...that is, they aren't the mainstream titles that sell well.

    Compare Ron's examples of mainstream comic shops, like pg45, to the grungy traditional comic shops...who is outselling who?  It's precisely backwards of what we think it should be.

    In the RPG hobby, the current bestsellers are the bestsellers precisely because that's what the fan-boys buy...just as it is (was?) in comics.

    Compare:
    Superheroes are your bestseller because fan-boy comic-geeks buy superhero comics...but that isn't the mainstream market and doesn't have mainstream market potential, whereas other products which are and do outsell it as mainstream products.

    D&D is your bestseller because fan-boy gamers buy D&D...but that isn't the mainstream market and doesn't have mainstream market potential, whereas other products which are and do would outsell it as mainstream products.

    So saying, "It won't succeed because you aren't stocking the best sellers" misses the whole point behind not stocking niche-market titles (regardless that they are bestsellers in their niche).  The market bears out that you won't succeed by stocking the best-sellers because they are of niche-value.
    Logged

    Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
    Wild Hunt Studio
    joshua neff
    Member

    Posts: 949


    WWW
    « Reply #35 on: November 14, 2002, 08:39:50 AM »

    Raven--

    You don't know what The West Wing is? Damn, son, you need to get out more. Or...stay in, rather. With the TV on. Uh...anyway. (The West Wing is a drama set in the White House, featuring Martin Sheen as a way-too-liberal-to-ever-really-be-elected-these-days President of the US. It's one of my favorite shows.)

    The point is, I think one way to bring "mainstream" people into RPGs is to offer RPGs that are more mainstream: Mystery RPGs. Drama RPGs. Science fiction RPGs (that offer neither "kewl" abilities nor lots of chunky mechanics.) Historical RPGs without the occult stuff. Stuff like SOAP, only minus the camp (which it doesn't have to have, I suppose). Or Wuthering Heights. Or fantasy stuff that, unlike D&D, is actually based on mythology & folklore, with the system to back up that kind of thing.

    Now, granted, I like weird occult stuff. But I also like reg'lar ol' dramas & stuff. I like (some--admittedly, very few) sitcoms. There are a lot of people out there who, I think, could very well get into RPGs, if it were for the "geeky D&D" stigma. A lot of that is misplaced. But having been to two GenCons now, I can attest that a lot of it is spot on, too.
    Logged

    --josh

    "You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
    Paul Czege
    Acts of Evil Playtesters
    Member

    Posts: 2341


    WWW
    « Reply #36 on: November 14, 2002, 09:00:50 AM »

    Chris,

    And again, even if all that were to occur, the RPG store Ron outlined is still not viable economically. I just don't think you could bring in adequete income to pay for rent, stock, staff, utilities, and so on selling RPGs, especially if you specifically do not stock the best selling RPG titles.

    All good points that are addressed, I think, by the Brigadoon store concept. Last year my girlfriend and I went to a local city's annual Home Expo event. And among all the retail booths displaying vinyl replacement windows, floor coverings, mini blinds, hot tubs, and kitchen refinishing services was a guy selling leather wallets, and a woman selling Jose Madrid gourmet salsa. As Kirt suggested, the pg45 model is based on capturing the mainstream "girlfriend" who got dragged along to the store by a boyfriend with an interest in comics. The problem, quite honestly, with RPG's is with the lack of a series model of publishing there's no good way to have a "pull" system in the back of the store that brings mainstream folks into the place with any regularity. So what you need is a store that magically appears in a context like home expo shows where friends and girlfriends and folks otherwise marginally interested in the larger event have been drug along. This is an occasional store, without ongoing overhead or staff costs.

    Paul
    Logged

    My Life with Master knows codependence.
    And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
    James Holloway
    Member

    Posts: 372


    « Reply #37 on: November 14, 2002, 09:38:09 AM »

    Quote from: Pramas

    And again, even if all that were to occur, the RPG store Ron outlined is still not viable economically. I just don't think you could bring in adequete income to pay for rent, stock, staff, utilities, and so on selling RPGs, especially if you specifically do not stock the best selling RPG titles.


    Hmmm. But is anyone suggesting not stocking D&D at all? I agree, that seems pretty unlikely to succeed. I'm sure pg45 or other alt-comics shops still carry Superman. If we follow that model, the D&D stuff should be available, it just shouldn't dictate the attitude of the store, or be pitched as "the big thing."

    But I think that the broader point is that things that seem "alternative" or "fringe" in a hobby where D&D dominates might seem "mainstream" if you come at it from a different perspective. Which is probably true enough, though I have my reservations about it from a retail perspective.

    For example, comics have spent years trying to get out of the "dumb superheroes for kids" stereotype, even when it wasn't true. It's only in the last few years that non-supers comics are starting to get broader media attention and people who don't read supers comics are starting to read things like Ghost World in numbers. I don't know if gaming has had anywhere near the opportunity to avoid the "dumb games for dorks" stereotype.

    Or in other words, while I think there's probably a lot to learn from this model, I think that for a variety of reasons comics don't map to RPGs terribly well.  But that's just me.

    - James
    Logged
    Ron Edwards
    Global Moderator
    Member
    *
    Posts: 16490


    WWW
    « Reply #38 on: November 14, 2002, 09:56:24 AM »

    Hello Chris,

    ONE
    As a rule, I mean exactly what I say. In the quote you pulled from my post, I state that RPG insiders (retailers, distributors, publishers) tend to seize upon "one thing" which is magically supposed to benefit "the industry" (which I translate as "me," referring to the person speaking) if everyone simply does it. Such discussions are wholly empty - they always translate as, "If everyone acts to benefit me, I'll benefit." Furthermore, the evidence or basis that the thing-de-jour will actually work is dubious at best, since it almost always involves deep-ordering a particular product.

    By the Vulcan nerve-pinch comment, I think it's easily understood. You're on the industry mailing lists and forums just like me, and you can, I'm sure, identify any number of instances in which recrimination and backbiting overrides whatever topic is at hand - and I suggest that such activity serves as a defense against further investigating uncomfortable thoughts. I won't provide examples here because we're not supposed to make those interactions public.

    TWO
    Now to the more trenchant points of your last post. You seem to be under the impression that I'm proposing this sort of store as a possible real thing. I'm not. Again, I mean exactly what I say and nothing more, and you can re-read my posts on this thread and the companion thread accordingly - I am saying that we, meaning myself and similar publishers, need to reconsider the meanings of "mainstream" and "alternative" as I've outlined.

    The store issue is a bit of a red herring, although only a bit. Page 45 did very well as a store by considering this terminological distinction, and by walking the walk that it implies. But that's as far as I go; since I'm not a retailer, I'm not interested in duplicating Page 45, but in learning and applying its lesson in my terms. I think we apply it as publishers in terms of interacting with our market.

    As for reaching that market itself, that's a big toss-up. I am not proposing that the cure is to set up a new kind of store; I agree, it seems daunting. I also agree that the current stores, with some exceptions, are not helping. Perhaps the typical retail store is not the best venue for Sorcerer, for instance (bearing in mind that my game makes money, and that Adept Press operates at a gain).

    If the kind of store that we're battin' around cannot occur (as you claim), then yes, different modes of marketing, promotion, and distribution are necessary. And, smiling innocently but a little threateningly, I've already gone and done that: by literally inventing, for RPGs, a new approach to internet sales and a new approach to convention play. Adept Press and the Forge exist for that sort of innovation. Paul's comments seem right on the money to me.

    Best,
    Ron
    Logged
    xiombarg
    Member

    Posts: 1183


    WWW
    « Reply #39 on: November 14, 2002, 01:18:00 PM »

    Quote from: Paul Czege
    This is an occasional store, without ongoing overhead or staff costs.

    Interesting model. However, I kinda wanna defy Chris and claim that that sort of store IS viable as an ongoing concern, as long as you're willing to do orders. Remember the smelly guy I mentioned whose store was full of bugs? He didn't stock very much stuff, in reality. He has a lot of display space he didn't use. He just ordered what you wanted, and had regular customers who came in to get what they'd ordered. That store was economically viable enough that he was able to sell it and move away, and the store still exists under (cleaner) ownership. Now imagine a store that uses that sort of model (supplemented, perhaps, with mail orders) to maintain a clean, hip store on the Page45 model. I think it's quite economically viable, especially as even the hardcore gamers would be more likely to stay and browse in such an environment, and wouldn't be ashamed to bring girlfriends/relatives along to the store.

    And the "pull" model is viable for most gamer-intensive RPGs. While the stock would concentrate on stand-alone games with less supplements, the store could make plenty of money on hardcore "supplement junkies". "Yeah, if it's for Mage and it's new, I want it." (Don't tell me these people don't exists... I know for a fact they do. I used to be one of them.)
    Logged

    love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
    Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
    talysman
    Member

    Posts: 675


    WWW
    « Reply #40 on: November 14, 2002, 02:27:05 PM »

    Quote from: xiombarg
    Quote from: Paul Czege
    This is an occasional store, without ongoing overhead or staff costs.

    Interesting model. However, I kinda wanna defy Chris and claim that that sort of store IS viable as an ongoing concern, as long as you're willing to do orders. Remember the smelly guy I mentioned whose store was full of bugs? He didn't stock very much stuff, in reality. He has a lot of display space he didn't use. He just ordered what you wanted, and had regular customers who came in to get what they'd ordered. That store was economically viable enough that he was able to sell it and move away, and the store still exists under (cleaner) ownership. Now imagine a store that uses that sort of model (supplemented, perhaps, with mail orders) to maintain a clean, hip store on the Page45 model. I think it's quite economically viable, especially as even the hardcore gamers would be more likely to stay and browse in such an environment, and wouldn't be ashamed to bring girlfriends/relatives along to the store.

    And the "pull" model is viable for most gamer-intensive RPGs. While the stock would concentrate on stand-alone games with less supplements, the store could make plenty of money on hardcore "supplement junkies". "Yeah, if it's for Mage and it's new, I want it." (Don't tell me these people don't exists... I know for a fact they do. I used to be one of them.)


    yeah, I believe the Pg45 store Ron mentioned ordered superhero comics, so it's certainly part of an established model. make a good store. stock interesting stuff that could potentially interest people who have never played D&D, WoD, or Champions. have the core books for those major fringe products, but just don't push them. I mean, you aren't going to get very many new D&D players or WoD players; fringe groups recruit their own.

    here are some more ideas:
      [*]carry games, not just RPGs.
      like I said, there's a chain of mall gamestores that almost follows the Pg45 model, but they only carry a few shelves of RPGs and stock the wrong products. the idea is to get "normal" people to browse RPGs. "normal" people will go to a game store, if there's more than just fringe stuff there. they will go for Monopoly and custom chess sets.
      [*]have an in-store game database.
      maybe an internet-enabled terminal that searches for reviews on a couple prominent RPG sites?
      [*]let the fringe people know they're still welcome.
      put up a new releases board; no gaudy promotional materials for WotC/WW, just some good descriptions of product releases. put up a prominent sign that says "we can order games and game suppliments".
      [*]hire non-surly employees.
      everyone's been making a big deal about the impossibility of finding knowledgeable sales staff. well, guess what? good sales people become knowledgeable. you would hire people who are friendly, know what an RPG is, and know that they have to keep up on press releases and reviews. they don't need encyclopedic knowledge of every RPG ever written; they can look stuff up in the game database. they just need to keep up-to-date on what's happening. when I worked in tech support, I was expected to keep up-to-date on technology; I didn't have to get a certification for everything that hit the stores, but I was expected to read slashdot, wired, zdnet, and other tech sites to get a good idea of what was happening in the computer world.
      [/list:u]

      of course, Ron's not actually talking about starting a store. he's talking about us working towards redefining the backwards definitions of the RPG industry... and perhaps also encouraging designers to to seriously consider the question "what is a mainstream RPG?" and fill that void.

      it's kind of weird. the Forge, in part, is supposed to be devoted to pushing the limits of RPG design, testing experimental RPGs... but because of the backwards definition of "mainstream/alternative", a mainstream RPG is experimental. designing a serious drama RPG that would interest people who watch "St. Elsewhere" and "The Practice" would truly push the limits of the hobby.

      want a comparison? what about computer games? the computer gaming industry has been catering primarily to males who like war and lots of sci-fi/fantasy chrome. there were, of course, women playing these games, too, but it was an overwhelmingly young male market. the popular "female games" or "older male" games are things like tetris -- but you rarely hear about the latest exciting "puzzle game", nor do you see a major tv ad blitz for "rubik's cube for playstation". the ads focus on the fringe, not the mainstream.

      but what's the number one computer game right now? The Sims. a game that is attracting a more mixed market, both gender-wise and age-wise. The Sims is a "mainstream computer game". it may help restore some balance to the computer game industry.

      we need "The Sims" for RPGs. not literally (although I have ideas on how to do that...) but we do need more games that aren't all about dungeon-crawling or collecting gewgaws or dark imagery or hip cynicism. these all have their place, but where are the mainstream games? how can you have an alternative to the mainstream if there's no mainstream?
      Logged

      John Laviolette
      (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
      rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
      Ron Edwards
      Global Moderator
      Member
      *
      Posts: 16490


      WWW
      « Reply #41 on: November 14, 2002, 02:34:49 PM »

      Hi folks,

      This might help with John's conundrum ... remember, surrealism, fantasy (non-D&D), science fiction, adventure, historical, biography, sex, and humor are all mainstream.

      So Toon is a mainstream-content game; so is (wait for it) ... Over the Edge. So is Zero. So is InSpectres, and so is Sorcerer.

      Some of you might now be confused, because mainstream = "what everyone does," right? Wrong. It's what most people like. A given business, the RPG one for instance, may be saddled with practices that literally stifle the ability of mainstream-content consumers to perceive the mainstream-content products. It's exactly what happened to comics.

      Nowhere in my definitions does it say that mainstream = sells widely for current games. I do suggest that certain modes of getting mainstream content to mainstream customers are currently largely untapped.

      Best,
      Ron
      Logged
      Pramas
      Member

      Posts: 53


      WWW
      « Reply #42 on: November 14, 2002, 02:54:14 PM »

      Quote from: Ron Edwards

      ONE
      As a rule, I mean exactly what I say. In the quote you pulled from my post, I state that RPG insiders (retailers, distributors, publishers) tend to seize upon "one thing" which is magically supposed to benefit "the industry" (which I translate as "me," referring to the person speaking) if everyone simply does it. Such discussions are wholly empty - they always translate as, "If everyone acts to benefit me, I'll benefit." Furthermore, the evidence or basis that the thing-de-jour will actually work is dubious at best, since it almost always involves deep-ordering a particular product.


      Afraid that wasn't clear. Thanks for clarifying.


      Quote
      I am saying that we, meaning myself and similar publishers, need to reconsider the meanings of "mainstream" and "alternative" as I've outlined.


      Do you really?

      What you are talking about is expanding the roleplaying market, so why not talk about in those terms? All this talk about how the "world is upside down" and how the minority is really the majority sounds like an empty discussion to me.

      The crux of your argument is that there is a large, untapped part of the general population that could get turned on to RPGs if exposed to the right game or games. Fair enough, I agree. The crucial question then is not, "Who's the real mainstream?" it's "How can we reach those people?"

      The traditional three-tier system won't do it because it is designed to serve the current gaming market (and that market belongs to D&D/d20 and to a lesser extent the World of Darkness games). Again, I agree that most current retail stores are not ideal places to recruit a new kind of gamer.

      The actual design of these games is a secondary concern to delivery. You can design the best, most engaging intro RPG in the world, but it won't find a new audience unless you find a way to get it front of its target audience. To me, that's the challenge.

      With Mutants & Masterminds, I hope to expand into the comic market. That was foremost in my mind when I decided to make it a complete OGL game rather than a strict d20 game and when I made of point of getting name comic artists to work on the book. Now the comic market may seem like a close cousin to the game market, but few attempts to crack it have been successful. Diamond has gotten behind M&M and initially signs are good. We'll see how it goes from here.

      We have another game scheduled for next year designed with the book trade in mind. It's going to be a gamble, but I'm willing to take it if it gives us a shot at finding a new audience for RPGs.
      Logged

      Chris Pramas
      Green Ronin Publishing
      www.greenronin.com
      Ron Edwards
      Global Moderator
      Member
      *
      Posts: 16490


      WWW
      « Reply #43 on: November 14, 2002, 03:03:44 PM »

      Hi Chris,

      You wrote,
      "The crucial question then is not, 'Who's the real mainstream?' it's 'How can we reach those people?'"

      I agree. However, the mainstream/alternative distinction offers an excellent way to reorient game folks toward this goal - which is to say, it's not the world which is upside down, it's our own terminology and concepts. Worked for Page 45 (in that they walked the walk); might work for us (ditto).

      The other useful part of re-examining the terminology is to identify the "those people" you refer to. It's probably a little surprising to some people to see me say that Over the Edge, for instance, is mainstream content (surrealist modern fantasy, subset satire). Dread is too (action/horror), as are Kayfabe (pro wrestling) and Soap (soap opera). I am absolutely pining for the RPG which takes similar topics as comics like Strangers in Paradise and Box Office Poison.

      In other words, in my view, geek/gamer culture tends to forget that the "straights" like a lot of weird stuff. Defining "mainstream" on the Page 45 basis gets us around that problem.

      Best,
      Ron
      Logged
      Pramas
      Member

      Posts: 53


      WWW
      « Reply #44 on: November 14, 2002, 03:08:22 PM »

      Quote from: greyorm

      So saying, "It won't succeed because you aren't stocking the best sellers" misses the whole point behind not stocking niche-market titles (regardless that they are bestsellers in their niche).  The market bears out that you won't succeed by stocking the best-sellers because they are of niche-value.


      Geez, I feel like an economist in this discussion. Crikey.

      Leaving aside the theorizing, the hard numbers just don't add up to success.

      In most typical game stores these days, RPGs account for a quarter to a third of their revenue. The rest comes from minis, CCGs, LANs, and accessories. D&D/d20, World of Darkness, and Rifts probably account for 80% of RPG sales. Now if you remove that, you can see that the revenue stream is going to be really small at base. Now maybe you can increase that with snappy presentation, faux hipness, and a good salesmanship, but I still don't think you could make enough money to survive.

      As to the selling of D&D and the like as special orders, sure, you could do that. But most D&D fans would go to typical game stores or their local Borders/Waldnebooks, where the books would be in stock and immediately available to them. Why would they want to patronize a store that is trying to marginalize them?
      Logged

      Chris Pramas
      Green Ronin Publishing
      www.greenronin.com
      Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5
      Print
      Jump to:  

      Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
      Oxygen design by Bloc
      Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!