Ten years ago I was asked to write this essay. I regrettably do not recall who it was for. They’ll probably be posting it somewhere. But for us now it is just amazing how true everything here is!
What will the rpg market look like in the year 2016?
In ten years the roleplaying market will be revealed to be the training program for self improvement and/or leaving this miserable planet. Rising water levels, increased warming and massive ecological changes will have provoked a breakthrough in awareness that will make people desperate for a solution. Humanity will have divided itself into three camps: those who are rich and powerful, and are taking everything away for themselves; those who are poor and desperate and are waging war to take back what they need to feed their babies. And the third will be the roleplayers.
The roleplayers will be divided into three camps.
The first group, which will be called the Role Optimists, will be using roleplaying games to train themselves and their friends to survive despite the troubles. It’ll be like this big do-gooder Non Governmental Organization. They will have a couple of the rich guys in the game groups too, some of whom will be thinking that they can help out the disadvantaged, the others of whom will be spies undermining the whole plan. There will be several publishers, with alternative theories and practices that are based on the ideas of their many well known and popular designers.
The second group, which will be called the Roll Outaheres, will be using rpg to train their minds for interdimensional travel. It’ll be like this big new religion. They’re going to have this big fat rulebook that proves how interdimensional travel is possible, but they’ll be insisting that a lot of practice is necessary and so everyone needs to play a lot and keep in character. They will be hoping that the gamemasters will be the first to get through to the other side. The publisher will be rich, but no one will know the name of the game designers.
The third group, which will be called Role Gamers. They will be like this huge game club, but without any central organization. They are going to be meeting weekly and playing games, but for no reason other than to have fun. It will be for pleasure and an opportunity for social interaction. The publishers will be impoverished, and the designers unknown. Only the Gamemasters will be known, but they will be popular with their groups and everyone will have a fun time playing games, even though they go home hungry afterwards.