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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day Zero-The Reconstruction Continues

2012 turned out to be apocalyptic in more ways than just Mayan. It was a year that saw great changes in the gaming community, the repercussions of which will be felt for many years to come. A lot has changed over the past 12 months. Many will say it is business as usual but a bigger picture starts to appear if you look at things now and then project where they may be headed. The impact of 'social media' cannot be dismissed as being the single biggest change in the community. Watching as groups spin-off into microcosms of gaming has changed the way people produce and market their ideas. The Industry, the giant that stomped its way around for so many years and dictated policy on every aspect of the rpg gaming community, is effectively dead. People will of course continue to buy products but it is a much more grass roots approach and if companies were unhappy with the numbers before wait till they see how, by the time they get back to the table, that dinner is long since gone and the plates cleared away. In the years that I participated in the OSR community I gathered a lot of information and the biggest surprise was the sheer output of material from the community. I never have to buy another rpg item as long as I live. At one point, in mid 2011, I was finding 3-5 new systems a week being released for free. I archived everything I came across and can safely say I never have need to purchase another system, supplement or adventure ever again. The commercial side of the rpg community is gone. Companies are closing, sales are dropping and shop owners are making more space on the shelves for Euro games and CCGs. More rpgs are being played than ever before but the future of the hobby is yet to be determined. I have decided to focus my attention on my first love in gaming - wargaming and conflict simulations. This is a rapidly growing field as is evidenced by the increased value placed on commercial items. Where RPGs can barely support a few print fanzines the wargaming community produces magazines that range in price from $30 to $80 a piece and are of higher quality than many games being produced. It is also a market that can support games that range from $30 to $100 plus expansions. The key has been the shift in marketing to pre-order systems and games that can't be easily turned into a pdf and traded across the web on file sharing and torrent sites. The funniest moment of the year for me was the poor fool who dropped into a forum thread and ask where they could download the game Arkham Horror (complete)...you could hear the howls of laughter. The game and its 8 expansions total more than 4,000 components and would cost a small fortune to print out and that would be a crappy copy at best...in other words, just buy the damned thing fool! :) So, onwards and upwards. The developments in the field over the years have brought the hobby back from the edge of extinction to a new growing force in the gaming community. 2013 looks to be an even more exciting year as companies like GMT Games, Victory Point Games, DVG and many others continue to innovate and bring to market ever more impressive products. Here's to a fresh start to the new year and may all your gaming experiences be the best...until we discover a new apocalypse to fret over :)

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