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Old 08-31-2014, 07:42 AM   #511
Pragmatic
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Default Re: Report To The Stakeholders

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Originally Posted by Kuroshima View Post
Indeed, but at least they recognize this and are trying to diversify. It saddens me that GURPS isn't higher up on the priority chain, but well, the realities of economics are what they are.
Yeah, as I've said multiple times, I'm glad that Steve Jackson has a special place in his heart for GURPS. Because it'd be oh-so-easy for SJ Games to drop it as unprofitable (or not profitable enough)...

I get especially anxious when I remember the great purge of product lines in the waning days of AD&D 2E, where my favorite settings (Dark Sun, Birthright, and Planescape) were dropped. From "too many products, how am I going to buy them all?!?!" to "no more will be available, ever?!?!"
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:07 AM   #512
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Default Re: Report To The Stakeholders

[QUOTE=Pragmatic;1807222

It's definitely scary that so much of the company's revenue is tied up in one product line...[/QUOTE]

Really? Id say its pretty straight forward variant of the http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle in business.

Though instead of 80% from 20% of customers its 80% from 20% (or less) of product.

Its pretty common on many levels of business if you think about it. The Pizza shop where sales come 80% from the pizza the rest is the drinks, desserts etc.

My friend worked in bike retail he said it was exactly the same a few products were about 80% of their sales.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:41 AM   #513
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Default Re: Report To The Stakeholders

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Really? Id say its pretty straight forward variant of the http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle in business.

Though instead of 80% from 20% of customers its 80% from 20% (or less) of product.

Its pretty common on many levels of business if you think about it. The Pizza shop where sales come 80% from the pizza the rest is the drinks, desserts etc.

My friend worked in bike retail he said it was exactly the same a few products were about 80% of their sales.

Huh. I had not been aware of that, though the more I think about it, the more sense it actually makes. That's definitely something to consider.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:00 AM   #514
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Really? Id say its pretty straight forward variant of the http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle in business.
If it were "card games," sure.

But we're talking about what is very likely a fad (Munchkin). That's what I meant.

A pizza shop may get 80% of their revenue from pizzas, but what if one particular pizza shop got 80% of their revenue for having created the "Ultimate Pizza"? A pizza that sells because it has banana slugs, raw oysters, and peppermint (just doing random words that popped into my head...). They sell very little of any of their other pizzas.

How comfortable would they be that the "fad" of people enjoying banana slugs, raw oysters, and peppermint would continue for years to come?

Munchkin is doing very well--it's been out since (wikipedia says...) 2001. But how comfortable are you that it'll continue to do well?

Though hearing that it now has shelf space at several brick-and-mortar big box stores does make me confident that they're getting better sales figures.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:04 AM   #515
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It's almost impossible to know what's truly a fad until it's over and seems obvious in retrospect. Except for the pet rock. That was silly.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:27 AM   #516
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Default Re: Report To The Stakeholders

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Enjoy your vacation, Steve.
Indeed. And I for one welcome our new toy-collecting overlord.

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Originally Posted by Cpt. Sqweky View Post
It's called being able to poke fun at yourself and not taking yourself too seriously.
I'll go one farther: Munchkin has contains exactly the kinds of jokes that I make about gaming. SJ Games just happens to have built a multi-million dollar publishing company with them.

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If, heaven forbid, Munchkin has a bubble that bursts, where would that leave SJG? It doesn't look like that would happen anytime soon, but still, one needs contingency plans. Be prepared, and all that.
They're certainly trying; see the priority given to ZD and the appearance of other non-Munchkin games in their top 40. The problem, of course, is that they can't control what's popular. SJ Games is putting out a diverse product line, but it's not like you can deliberately plan another breakaway hit as a contingency.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:46 AM   #517
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"Sales of the core set were actually down a bit this year, but sales of Munchkin Deluxe were almost 50% higher, for a definite net increase."

This, for me, is the fact of the report. I held out on buying vanilla Munchkin until Deluxe because, frankly it's more of a full game (pawns, a board, etc.) From a consumer's standpoint, at a $5 price increase over that of the standard game, why wouldn't one go for the Deluxe version? Unless SJG is losing money on each Deluxe copy sold... Then I'd feel bad. But I doubt that's the case.

It is great to read that everything continues going well for SJG; I'm looking forward to hearing about what comes out of the acquisitions. And of course, more games!
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:52 AM   #518
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They're certainly trying; see the priority given to ZD and the appearance of other non-Munchkin games in their top 40. The problem, of course, is that they can't control what's popular. SJ Games is putting out a diverse product line, but it's not like you can deliberately plan another breakaway hit as a contingency.
The non-Munchkin, non-Ogre business now seems to be running around $1 million gross. That is a substantial fraction of the size of SJG (including Munchkin) during the aughts ($2-3 million).

If Munchkin disappeared overnight, there'd probably need to be some job loss and a renewed focus on not doing stupid stuff (see "Calculated Sloppiness"). But there is a solid game company hiding under the Munchkin fluff -- a couple of evergreen products (Illuminati, GURPS Characters), a couple of popular products (*** Dice), and a stable of good concepts (Castellan, Revolution).
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:19 PM   #519
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Thanks for the comments, all.

I don't want SLUGS on my pizza, but if you make it "bananas, raw oysters, and peppermint," I'll try it. Once.

The Munchkin/fad/bubblepop issue is one that we regularly discuss. On the one hand, yeah. It's a valid point.

On the other hand, nothing that runs for ten years, and gets stronger every year, can really be called a "fad." No game can grow forever, even if it gets bigger until everyone on Earth has a copy. Since we are not at that stage yet, we'll support Munchkin as much as we can! But if and when Munchkin levels off or even shrinks, we're fine. Other new games are coming. Car Wars is returning. More is in the Ogre pipeline. And so on.

And, on the gripping hand, there's a relevant story about TSR, back in the 1980s. It was common knowledge in the industry that post-Gygax management was constantly expecting the D&D "bubble" to pop, which helps explain their strange non-game diversification. And, as we see, D&D turned out to be just a passing fad . . . no, wait, that's wrong, isn't it?
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:32 PM   #520
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Indeed pursuing the non D&D diversification was one of the factors in TSR's demise as I understand it.
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