Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pathfinder sold out....yeah, so?

The rpg blogosphere is all abuzz as Paizo has announced its first printing of the Pathfinder RPG has been completely sold out on pre-order. I don't know how many copies we are talking about, although Erik Mona describes the first printing as "hugely ambitious" which in the world of tabletop rpgs typically means something like 10,000. This is obviously good news for Paizo and the Pathfinder game. Paizo has made all the right moves on this with the year-long playtest and the release of a $10 pdf version, so kudos to them. Having said that, I think it's premature to start talking about Paizo becoming a major competitor to WotC. Pathfinder RPG is probably the most highly-anticipated rpg product release since D&D 4e came out. I would have been surprised if it didn't sell out. Also this first print run has been bought up by stores stocking up on what they see as a big seller. It doesn't mean those retailers will be sold out of all their copies. The real test for Paizo will be how the first Pathfinder RPG supplement will sell. Considering how much supposedly compatible D&D 3.5 material is already out there, my guess is that future supplements will have a hard time finding a market.


Edit: It turns out I may have underestimated the size of the print run. While the Paizo folks aren't releasing the number, they have said it is in between the upper and lower ends of the speculation range mentioned by various postings on the Paizo forums. That range is between 15,000 and 100,000 (snicker). It looks like a 25,000 to 30,000 copy print run is not out the question. That is a substantial result for a tabletop rpg, but still not a D&D-level print run for a core book.

A quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests they would have to sell about 100 copies in a city the size of Calgary (and surrounding areas) to sell out a 30,000 copy print run worldwide (based on the assumption that about 90% of their sales are in the four major English-speaking countries of Canada, the US, the UK and Australia). Certainly sounds plausible, since our own little group will probably buy 5 or more copies.

1 comment:

Obiri said...

I have to agree. Something tells me that the print run of the PFRPG is no where near as large as the 4E Players Handbook. Paizo hasn't and won't release any real numbers so we'll never know for sure but I suspect there is at least an order of magnitude difference.

Still, good for them.