“The hobby is far from being dead!”

This time, the quote is by me. If you ask me, all those doomsayers that think the pen & paper roleplaying hobby will vanish in a few years are wrong. At first, we have to see things in a perspective. RPGs were never a mainstream phenomenon like computer games are today. And the size of the market has been shrinking since the golden days of TSR but the hobby is still very much alive and well.

The hobby is held alive by dedicated people in the industry and by countless fans who continue to enjoy the game. And if you ask me, the current economical crisis may even help bring a few people back to the table. Pulling out your old D&D books and sitting down around a table with a couple of friends is much cheaper than buying that fancy new video game. And while the hobby will change (as it already has changed), I don’t believe it will ever be dead. Just like TV and the cinema did not kill the theater or books.

In my opinion, the hobby will move more to the digital realm, because it’s easier to “meet” people on the internet than to schedule a session in your own home. A lot of roleplayers already play using software like Fantasy Grounds II and Skype or participate in play-by-post games. Basically the game is still the same, but instead of meeting in real life, people play in “cyberspace”. That’s not the same thing as playing a MMO. And better technology will probably make it even easier to play roleplaying games over the ‘net without it turning into a game like “World of WarCraft“.

I still have a lot of hope in our hobby. Our own RPG Bloggers Network clearly shows that there are a lot of talented and dedicated people who still enjoy games like D&D, Savage Worlds and others. And especially when I read blog posts from parents who introduce their children and their friends to the hobby, I am sure, that pen & paper roleplaying games will not die! So, let’s stop conjuring up doomsday scenarios! Stop worrying and enjoy the game!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

6 thoughts on ““The hobby is far from being dead!””

  1. It depends on what "the hobby" is to you. If it's simply Roleplaying, then you could be right and the digital realm might be a good option for you.

    If it's tabletop gaming (sometimes RPGs, Boardgames, Wargames, CCGs, etc) then online play really isn't the same thing at all. 🙂

  2. Hmm, you've got a point there. For me it's mostly tabletop roleplaying, too, but I wouldn't mind playing over the net using Skype for example. And I don't think that necessarily everyone will or should move to the digital realm. I think even tabletop roleplaying (without any digital aspect) will survive. Why shouldn't it?

  3. The doom and gloom are about the industry. I haven't heard anybody complain about the death of RPGs as hobby.

    @Stuart – Virtual Table Top software like Fantasy Grounds II in conjunction with VoIP software like Skype replicates 90% of the tabletop experience. In terms of gameplay there is little difference in the two.

    The big factor is being in the presence of friends, being able to see their faces and talking. VTTs can't replicate that of course.

    The remaining 10% are a wash some things VTTs do that are better (logging sessions, fog of war) somethings are worse (the need to scan in anything you want to show place, poor drawing tools, the inability to gesture or point with your hands is annoying, etc).

    If VTTs grow in popularity it will only add gamers to the hobby instead of taking them away like MMORPGs.
    .-= rob conley´s last blog ..Some AD&D House Rules =-.

    1. The doom and gloom are about the industry. I haven’t heard anybody complain about the death of RPGs as hobby.

      I agree that the "doom and gloom" are mostly about the industry but recently a lot of people believe that our hobby as a whole will die out and be replaced by MMORPGs and the like. Check out the comments on my last post, and you know what I refer to.

  4. As technology becomes more integrated and old barriers (speed/bandwith/accessibility) are broken down, I see virtual environments being able to give everything a real tabletop does, even down to tactile and olfactory senses (however, even with advanced technologies, hygiene may still be an issue, so you might want to turn off the smell sense).

    How far is that away, who knows. But I have no doubts that technology will get there.

    The technology is already available to easily bring the aural and visual parts to the virtual table through streaming conference apps. Wouldn't be cool to combine streaming video conferencing with augmented reality bits on a virtual table top? Hmm, sounds like a new blog post in the making…
    .-= Mad Brew´s last blog ..GenCon: IUPUI Events =-.

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