One thing the hobby game industry has never been very good at is tracking sales. Oh, people try, but most companies are privately held and they don’t want to share sales numbers. Many retailers still don’t have POS systems either, which only adds to the problem. So, industry folks talk amongst themselves and try to build a picture based on what they know (their own sales) and what intelligence they can gather by talking to distributors and clueful retailers. The closest thing we have to actual data is what’s gathered by Comics and Games Retailer. The trouble with their numbers is that they’re based on the retailers who chose to participate each month. Since sales can be weirdly regional and the pool is self-selected, what we get is an echo of what’s going on. Sometimes it’s right, but sometimes it’s very wrong.
I got the latest issue today and checked the Top 20 chart for RPGs. Green Ronin once again has two spots, one for miscellaneous d20 and one for Mutants & Masterminds. No surprises there. There is one thing that is glaringly absent though: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I know from both internal and external souces that the game is selling like crazy. It outsold Mutants & Masterminds in this period by a wide margin (and M&M; is a very successful game) and it just keeps chugging along. Yet if you look at C&GR;, you’d never know it existed. Interestingly, I also got the latest ICV2 Guide to Games today. What was the headline of their RPG section? “Warhammer Fantasy Soars to Number 3!” It then goes on to talk about how WFRP left most of its competition in the dust and how after only a few months of release it only ranks behind D&D; and World of Darkness. WFRP has been the RPG success story of the past year and I was glad to see that someone got it right.