Numbers Always Lie

Ben dug out an interesting report on the value of gaming as a whole (in the US). It’s interesting stuff.

For me, the most troubling thought is not that CCGs are worth almost twice the total of other types of gaming put together (though that does trouble me). No, for me the most sobering notion comes when you compare those numbers to this report.

Can you say “niche”?

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16 Responses to Numbers Always Lie

  1. davekay says:

    Obviously I should have tagged you two weeks ago 🙂

    Niche is right. You can also take those numbers a little further. GW sales would represent around 40% of the total for non-collectable miniatures, when you look at the US sales from their latest annual report.

    Magic: the Gathering has previously been pegged as worth a bit over $200 million to Hasbro annually, so they make up a big part of that $450 million total. Out of interest, why does the large market for this type of game trouble you?

    Also with D&D Players Handbook briefly hitting #1 on the Amazon bestsellers list, that $15 million RPG market size may move up.

    • Ben says:

      ICv2 are never clear as to exactly where they get their figures, and it wouldn’t surprise me if direct sales by GW were not included. If that is the case then the minis total would be a little bigger, and WFB would probably do a little better. Either way, 40K is clearly the worldwide market leader and WFB is on its way out, at least in its current format.

      The release of 5th ed D&D likely will provide a spike in RPG revenue, but not by enough to make up much ground on the other markets. D&D is so small that the last WotC annual financial report didn’t give it anything more than a passing mention when discussing their brand. Magic got several pages in the report to itself.

      Magic is estimated to comprise around 40% of the CCG market so that $200 million figure might be a little low when worldwide sales are taken into account (assuming the $450 million figure is correct). It’s certainly the single biggest hobby line in the industry, and probably earns more worldwide annual revenue than GW as a whole, who in turn are probably the second biggest company in tabletop gaming.

      • davekay says:

        It measures sales by retailers, so direct sales from GW are definitely not included – however neither are direct sales from any other company! I expect that all evens out.
        I was (and still am) surprised by the $15mil total figure for the RPG market.

        • Ben says:

          I’d be very surprised if any minis company matched GW’s output for direct sales, even in the US. If they do then those retail outlets are an even bigger waste of money than I thought.

          The problem with RPGs is they give little incentive to spend money. In terms of outlay per player, they’re well below all the other markets.

        • davekay says:

          GW do around 10% of their total sales direct, I think 13% was the most recent year’s figure. Given that no one’s direct sales are included I don’t think a huge change in top sellers would occur if they were.

        • Ben says:

          I’d be willing to bet that neither FFG nor PP do anything like that much in direct sales as a percentage, and nowhere near as an absolute amount. The top seller would remain the same, and probably be more entrenched at the top. WFB may or may not catch Hordes, though given Hordes is a separate game from WM in name only, it would still leave PP as the clear #2.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          All true. The numbers may be a little vague and flakey here or there, but the general list of canines from top dog to just dog is plain enough.

          The death of WFB is intriguing. It never sold as well as 40K in the US, even many editions ago when I was privy to numbers. Did better in Europe.

        • Ben says:

          I’m not aware of any actual figures but anecdotally, WFB seems to have been in serious decline for a while now. Personally I believe it’s because it’s just not very accessible. Needs a ton of minis and has a very unwieldy set of rules.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          That’s what I’ve heard. All hearsay, though it’s very consistent hearsay.

  2. eriochrome says:

    Lego probably made more in profits than the whole hobby gaming industry had in sales. Really makes me wonder about the sense of GWs drive to niche the niche as exposed to try some more expansions into more mass market.

  3. Pingback: Divining games sales | Scent of a Gamer

  4. davekay says:

    I decided to have some fun with the known numbers, and try to put some sales figures against the games in the top 5:

  5. Stu says:

    Hello, not sure if you saw it in the other thread.. I know you are very busy with new games and other issues.. just begging / bugging for those experimental DB rules.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Yup. I saw 🙂

      Just need to check some info with Mantic before I make them public. It’s a holiday here in the UK today, so that won’t be possible till tomorrow at the earliest.

  6. Stu says:

    Hello again 🙂
    How’s it looking for these here Dreadball rules?.. is it waiting on the DBX kickstarter to proceed?

    Thanks, Stu.

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