Saturday, December 8, 2012

Companies: State of the Mongoose

So Mongoose Publishing have just posted their State of the Mongoose for 2012. They publish it every year to let people in on what is going on at Mongoose, and I believe it's modelled after what Steve Jackson Games has been doing for a while now. The full text can be found here if you like.

It's nice to see companies post these sort of items as they offer a little seen insight into what actually goes on inside the RPG industry. You know that industry that everyone dooms and glooms about constantly "it's dying" is a constant refrain. Well posts like these are our only really insight into what is actually happening and they are very welcome.

The highlights of this years address, as they pertain to the RPG section of the business, are.

  • They've stopped announcing releases until they are in layout in order to try and prevent the massive delays seen in release dates over the last couple of years
  • Mongoose has moved, like most RPG companies, to relying on freelance writers now rather than in house staff
  • RPG sales are miserable for Mongoose and they have talked with other unnamed companies who report similar, at least in the print realms
  • Digital sales are definitely taking over. The tipping point for print vs digital has come and digital is becoming the distribution choice of the consumer
  • The number of books coming is is slowing down
  • They are wrapping up most of the business with third parties as distributors
Upcoming RPG releases
  • For Traveller
    • Trillion Credit Squadron adventure for Traveller
    • Solo Traveller. Does exactly what it says on the tin
    • Pirates of Drinax campaign for Traveller
    • More PDF only Traveller Minor Alien releases, just like the very popular Luriani module (review coming soon)
    • Third Imperium Handbook. Finally, someone who gets that Traveller needs a master setting book. I've been telling anyone who would listen for years that they needed a Third Imperium setting book (I even tried writing one myself but never got far enough into the project to try and sell it to one of the publishers)
  • 2300AD
    • The French Arm for 2300AD
  • Armageddon 2089. A reworking of one of Mongoose's earlier attempts at their own setting, brought into the Traveller ruleset
  • For Legend
    • Gladiators of Legend
    • Monsters of Legend
    • Cities of Legend
    • Arcania of Legend
  • Elric and Corum setting books
  • Deus Vult books
  • Some titles for Lone Wolf
So what does all this mean? It means that it seems Mongoose is getting smaller from an RPG perspective. They've been through a lot over the last decade and a bit, from being a powerhouse during the D20 boom to trying licensed games for almost every license they could get their hands on from Starship Troopers to Judge Dredd. If the other big companies weren't already losing ground I'd have said they're dropping out of the big three, but since White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast aren't exactly pushing new product everyone is racing to buy there's not as much competition. 

So time will tell, Traveller remains Mongoose's big ticket item in the RPG space these days.

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