After a day of searching Amazon I have one question for gamers and publishers of games, why are roleplaying books so damn expensive?
There are few things I understand:
- Prices of materials have increased
- If a product is licensed then the cost of that license is passed onto the consumer
- Companies have to pay for the writers, artists, and other personnel
- All of the above is passed onto the consumer
Here is what I know and have experienced over the past 30 years of gaming
- The writing has not gotten that much better
- The editing and layout have not changed or gotten that much better
- Systems are being reused and new systems that have value are rare
- The art has gotten better
- The licensing has improved
- Page counts and paper quality is about the same
Is this simply an economic issue, in that game companies have a “captive” audience without many options or other avenues of recourse and feel that since they can charge 40 to 50 dollars a book–often books with limited value within the game and definitely limited outside of the game–they will charge that amount?
Is there something deeper at work here? Of course I do not know that, but would love to learn. I would love to see the cost breakdown for one book and then the markup.
Because right now, I feel I am getting screwed over by many game companies. Product has not increased in value since the early days of gaming. From my perspective there is not much difference between when I first started gaming and today. There is plenty of cosmetic differences, but when boiled down to what the consumer gets for their money, you would have to defend your argument well to convince me. Not saying that cannot happen, but after shelling out 50 dollars for a core book to “discover” that while it does look pretty (new art), the layout is similar to books of 20 years ago, the writing is sophomoric (this is a problem for the game industry overall in my opinion-to many people who can write and not enough people who know how to write), and in the end for the 50 bucks I have a game.
The last non-game book I paid 50 dollars for came with enough recipes and lessons on cooking that I could make one recipe a day and be cooking new stuff for a year. That is value to me. A game is fun. A game is a shared experience. A game means a lot to me, but…of late I do not feel I am getting the same value out of a roleplaying game as I get out of a board, card, or dice game.
Core book 40 to 50 bucks and then tack on 20 to 30 dollar expansion books which often in addition to suffering from the same problems of a core book come with even less value. I enjoy good world building and stories, when they are written well and contain newish ideas-fleshing out material from the core book feels like a rip-off and the writing…well as I said previously, many game writers can write that does not make them writers or people who can write well.
So, if anyone out there can explain why roleplaying game books are so expensive I am all ears and would love to discuss the issue of cost and the value of roleplaying games in general.