[MUD-Dev] Re:)

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Sat Aug 30 22:04:42 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

Jeff Kesselman <jeffk at tenetwork.com> from:
> At 02:50 PM 9/1/97 PST8PDT, Travis wrote:

> TSR at the time of their collapse was still 50% of the roleplayign
> They collapsed because of bad management, not a lack of market.  There is
> plenty of ducmentation on this available. Look at the avrious posts from
> WotC after their takeover onm the state of the variosu TSr lines.

I never said that TSR lacked a market -- I was trying to point up the
fact that RPGs, while they can be profitable, are not vastly so.

> >being bought out by Wizards of the Coast.  Wizards of the Coast has made

> >most of its money off of Magic: The Gathering, which is *not* a
> Clearly and obviosuly thsi is apples and orenges. MTG is a product line
> with abuitl in heavy repeat sales.  Its a antural to do very well if it
> does well at all.  This is nto to say there is no market for a game
> such a repeat sales engine however.  In fact there is a significant part
> teh amrekt that will not play MTG BECAUSE of the repeat sales engien
built in.

If this is apples and oranges, why did you mention WotC as an RPG company,
when they'd abandoned the RPG market until their recent acquisition of 
TSR?  All I was trying to point out is that WotC's enormous success hasn't
been from RPGs.

> >game.  Indeed, to date WotC has produced *no* roleplaying materials so
> >which have made enough of a profit for WotC to continue producing them
> Again untrue. The CAP system (most neoteably Primal order) did very well
> initially. It was killed by TSR's strong arm pseudo-legal atctics before
> WotC had the monetary pwoer to fight back.

Hmm... could be, though I never heard about it.  Where are you getting
your information from?  I was one of the people working with WotC on
TPO and the Envoy system, and I never heard about any lawsuit from TSR...
although Palladium did sue them, if I remember right.  As I recall, 
though, all that suit wound up doing was requiring WotC to put stickers 
on later copies of TPO that were shipped, saying that Palladium was a
trademark of ..., etc.  The only CAP products that ever got produced,
to my knowledge, were TPO and TPO: Pawns.  TPO: Bishops was being worked
on, and might have been published... I wasn't one of the people involved
with that one, so I don't know for sure.

As I remember things, the overwhelming success of MTG killed the CAP
products... they could make a lot more money by making new MTG cards
than by making more CAP products, so the CAP line was killed (more like
it was stillborn, but oh well...)  That's what I meant by them "not
making enough of a profit" -- they did make a profit, but not nearly as
much as WotC was able to make with the non-roleplaying MTG.

> >though this may change now that they've acquired TSR.  The primary
> >designers
> >of most of the popular paper RPGs still have to keep day jobs to make
> >meet.
> Tell that to the multiple hundred people TSR emplotyed at its height. In
> fact, almsot ALL game designers (or modern writers) need 'day jobs to
> ends meet". Certain lucky companies or bets sellign authors of either
> or games where theyw ere lucky enough to have royalty particpation can
> escape this. Most can not.

That's my point... RPGs aren't profitable enough for most designers of
them to make a living doing them and nothing else.  Only a very few
manage that.

> >> MUDs are directly descended 9though distantly at thei point) form the
> >> original single user adventure games whichw ere, belive it or not, an
> >> attenmpt to capture the feelingof D&D games on a computer.
> >
> >Well, actually, no.  The first single-user computer adventure games were
> >created in the 1960's, before D&D even existed.  They have spiritual
> First oen I knwo of was Adventrue on the main frame which was well after
> the 1977 publishign of D&D (early 80s I believe in fact.)

Checking back on things, the earliest firm date for an adventure game
I've found is Zork in 1977... and it was based on earlier text adventure 
games.  I couldn't find anything more specific than "early 70's" for the 
first text adventure games, so it looks like I was off a bit by putting 
them in the 60's.  D&D, though, was first distributed in 1973, not 1977, 
which is also "early 70's."  It looks like I got my mistaken impression 
from Steven Levy's _Hackers_... checking back, he doesn't actually give a 
time frame about when Adventure was being written, but in a later section 
in the chapter, he talks about things that took place in the 60's.  He was 
probably jumping around in time a bit while describing things, but it gave 
a wrong impression.  :-(

> My brother knew the guys at MIT who did DUNGEON (later republished as
> Zorkin parts on micros) as he was there at the same time, playign D&D on
> campus in afct.  According to him at teh time, when he amde me aware of
> game, this was precisely their goal.

If I remember right, "Colossal Cave Adventure" was the first Adventure-
style game.  The "early 70's" reference I found was regarding it.

I say we call it a draw... I can't tell if D&D inspired the Adventure
games or not, but the early ones definitely didn't have too much in
common with D&D other than a fantasy setting.  As for profitability, it's
obvious that RPGs *can* be profitable... all I was trying to point out is
that very few people get rich off of them.

As you said, this is off-topic for the list... if you'd like to continue
talking about it, I'd suggest we do it off the list unless others show
interest in the topic.
       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'        rec.games.design FAQ:  
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)      http://www.io.com/~efindel/design.html

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