“Wait, do video games count?”
“Not in this room baby”
–Question and Response to, “How long has everyone been playing roleplaying games?”
Jonathan Tweet —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Tweet
Ryan Macklin — Evil Hat.
Wolfgang Bauer — Kobold Quarterly magazine
Eric Mona — Former Editor in Chief of Dungeon Magazine and Dragon magazine, now with Paizo Publishing.
Stan — The Guy with the Question Point. Super-genius games.
In an average time, those who are at all knowledgeable about the world of tabletop roll-playing games (RPGs) would love nothing more than to sit in quiet awe of the luminaries so arrayed, worshipfully chanting “we are not worthy,” and receiving any crumbs of industry knowledge that may fall from the exalted heights.
These, however are not ordinary times, for the great high factory of dice and geekiness (Also known as Wizards of the Coast or WotC, pronounced “What-See”) hath decreed that, a fifth generation of Dungeons and Dragons are upon us, and it shall be named… “D&D Next.” Instantly, a swirling charybdis of controversy, rumor and unfounded opinion came into being and has occupied the minds of those who claim “tabletop gamer” as their hobby of choice.
This panel was to have resolved some of that confusion, but for reasons best described as “proprietary” the originally planned panel did not appear. The replacement panelists, although of equal status in the RPG community, tended toward small and independent companies. Organizations traditionally in opposition to RPG companies owned by… Hasbro, just as one possible for-instance.
This became evident in the discussion about the future of the hobby itself.
“The Gaming scene is different now because it is so easy to find like minded individuals, and publish small print runs for them.” –Jonathan Tweet
“You can set up your own IP and not lose your house if you only sell a few hundred copies.” –Wolfgang Baur
“The new gamers don’t make as much distinction between tabletop, video or other types of gaming. They just want to have fun.” –Eric Mona
“I was hired by Harper-Collins to develop a roleplaying game for 10 year old girls (Based on the Warriors series about feral cats) … Gamification is a word I hear more and more in the regular business world.” –Stan.
These quotes where typical of the panel’s view of the immediate future. They also consistently mentioned the centrality of Kickstarter and other community funding strategies for RPG products. The web, social media, and E-readers are transforming gaming from a mass media to a narrow-casting media. Communities as small as a thousand or a few hundred players world-wide can be supported by small companies or single designers working directly with the fans they support.
At the same time, larger companies have seen that talents honed in RPG design make for engaging “extra” content for traditional media. Examples are found in the Lost artificial reality game, or the above mentioned Warriors series of books. These products act as “gateways” to the wider world of indie and mainstream RPGing, while simultaneously altering those familiar RPGs into new forms, further removed from their wargaming roots. The RPGs of the future will be less about square counting and more about story, according to Tweet.