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Old 12-20-2018, 03:45 PM   #239
GURPS Line Editor
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: The Future of the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game?

Perceptions of how many gamers there are ("Millions!"), how many dollars they spend ("Hundreds of millions!"), how many copies of gaming products publishers sell ("Hundreds of thousands!"), and how much game designers earn ("Ferraris! Huge houses with swimming pools!") have always been inflated. It's sobering when you learn that – D&D aside – a game with 1,000 fans is incredibly popular, a gamer who can afford more than $100 of gaming stuff in a year is a fantastically big spender, a game that sells hundreds of copies is doing well (and one in the thousands is doing astonishingly well), and that most game designers earn below the national median, and many live in smallish apartments and could do better on minimum wage. Games hobbyists confine reality-checking to their games, not to their hobby.

At its pinnacle, during its golden age, GURPS had perhaps 10,000 fans, most picked up 5-6 books a year, 5,000 copies was a huge print run, and at least my pay was below the national median (or even the median for editors). These days, I'd say "a few thousand fans," "a couple of cheap PDFs a year," "we haven't sold even 1,000 of anything printed in recent memory," and my pay is below the national median/median for editors by a greater margin.

I'm talking about pen-and-paper RPGs here, and more specifically GURPS. The numbers are better for D&D and its spinoffs, and orders of magnitude better for digital games. I personally know people semi-retired in their 40s after work on the digital side. I'm 51 and I won't be retiring.
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
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