[MUD-Dev] Role-Playing Games Are Not Dead

Ryan S. Dancey ryand at organizedplay.com
Thu Nov 22 01:09:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> From: Sellers, Mike [mailto:msellers at origin.ea.com]

> Take a look at their methodology.

First, we used an outside, very reputable firm to gather the data.
The method they used is very widely accepted as accurate.  I
researched both the firm, and the methodology before devoting so
much time to helping craft the survey, then abstract the detailed
results for public release.

Second, there was no self-selection.  The original panel of
interviewees was created according to strict sampling guidelines and
included many people who had no idea what most of the questions
meant.

Third, the extrapolation from the panel to the larger demography was
sampled for accuracy during several hundred follow-up interviews
across a wide spectrum of interviewees; again including those who
weren't gamers.

Fourth, early in 2000, we conducted a smaller, more targeted survey
to track some specific information about D&D in particular (rather
than the much more broadly based original survey).  The results from
that effort correlated very strongly with the original data, and if
anything they indicated that play was increasing (which didn't
surprise us because sales had also been heading up steadily since
'98).

I'm convinced that within a reasonably small margin of error, the
data did represent an accurate snapshot of the gaming player network
as of the date it was conducted.  As the market trend has been
positive since that time, the survey is still valuable as a way to
talk about populations and trends of play.

> You can see how problematic this is by how it doesn't correlate
> with Hasbro/WoTC/TSR's own sales figures, to say nothing of the
> ancillary sales for miniatures, dice, etc.=20

If anything, sales of 3e validate, rather than invalidiate the
figures.  We hypotehsized a given population of active players,
estimated an upgrade pattern for those players, and plotted that
curve out into the future.  Response has been above the curve;
meaning that either 3e is just better than we could hope for, or
there were more people in the potential market than we accounted
for.  In fact, the 2nd printing of the PHB, which by some internal
estimates constituted as much as a five year supply, will be
exhausted by the end of 2001.

Ryan
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