Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Your Life As A Gamer: Conventional Play After The Collapse, Part Two

There Is No Future For You Here

I have pointed out repeatedly that videogames are superior across the board at solving the problems of Conventional Play.

  • Schedule Your Fun: Videogames have no schedule issues (where the least committed holds the rest hostage); even MMO raids routinely have hot-swapable rosters.
  • Play The Man, Not The Game: Rules Zero turns play into Calvinball, which turns into Mother May I when the Referee figures out the full extent of his power when abused this way and like any other abusive relationship you end up having to learn how to read the Referee to succeed- thus what matters is not Player Skill, but Mindfuckery.
  • The Game Is Not The Game: "Storytelling" is an excuse for abusive behavior in itself, with all of the dysfunctional dynamics that entails, and turns the hobby into the Longhouse.

The Road To The Storm

Videogames solve all of this. You can't ignore the code, so you're forced to Git Gud or fail. You can play when you want, with whom, for as long as you like. There's no one able to just be LOLsorandom because Muh Narrative and Muh Fiction and Muh Drama to play Mean Girl Games. You boot up, show up, get on with it, and and go away when you're done. Performance is measured objectively, and increasingly with user-facing receipts available to analyze to improve performance.

Tabletop cannot compete with this, which is why more and more prospectively Conventional Play people onboard to videogames and more existing hobbyists switch media and don't look back. They want to play a game, and Conventional Play on tabletop has failed and is failing to deliver. That is, and has been, the trend for over a decade now- closer to 20 years.

And, as with Wizards' plan to abandon tabletop for vidya, there is no plan to address this issue. Largely because there is a mass denial that it even exists, a denial that is as much due to incompetence in reading the data as it is in accepting the results.

What there is, aside from the denial, is a lot of bumbling and flailing about trying to address symptoms that get into someone's face and not strike at the root of the issue: that Conventional Play is entirely wrong due to have a premise that is a flat-out lie.

So there is no future here. Anyone with a clue that wants to stay with Conventional Play will follow Wizards' play and become a vidya-based business (and property) with tabletop (at best) an afterthought. BattleTech is best positioned to do this now, as is 40K and Fantasy, with Shadowrun proven to be capable of making that jump; Earthdawn would slay as a videogame property in the mode of Pillars of Eternity and other CRPGs of that style.

Even shitposters can see that this is an obvious move for Conventional Play.

If you want to build your creations into a real fortune, you go into videogames- and you leave tabletop behind.

The Return To A Real Hobby

Or you can choose to surrender all pretense of commercial viability, accept that the #BROSR is right about tabletop, and return to the club-focused hobby scene (The Clubhouse) and earn your fortune elsewhere.

Sure, your publications will (at best) be self-sustaining, and you will have to redesign them to operate in a Clubhouse environment, but they will still be there- and they will still be mostly unplayed because most hobbyists don't want what you offer.

You won't have to worry about onboarding hobbyists because the need for mass numbers will not exist; you need only maintain a local membership sufficient to satisfy local demand.

You won't have to worry about massive operational expenses unless you're operating the Clubhouse itself as a business, and that business model is not that of a retail store pushing product.

You'll instead have the hobby environment of old recreated and with it a need for massive product catalogues, 99% of which you will never use, goes away for good.


Which way?

The next two days will address each option.

Because where you are now? It's going to go away; you won't be able to stay for much longer.

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