GURPS, the OSR, and a game survey

As always, surveys represent a self-selecting crowd. A survey purporting to look at “the OSR” may get skipped by a GURPS player or someone that only plays Savage Worlds. In any case, the link takes you to an OSR-focused game survey. The results, anyway.

Even so: this is really interesting. Based on number of games in the survey:

Adding up all the flavors of OSR, you have TWO OSR games for every one 5E game. For just under every five 5E games, someone’s playing Pathfinder. And for every three Pathfinder games, two people are playing GURPS.

That doesn’t sound right to me . . . for several reasons. But it’s an interesting and surprising data set.

We’ve frequently discussed sales data and market share, and this survey is a very different take. The last ICv2 numbers I saw put the Tabletop RPG market size at about $55 million, and my general feeling was that it was 80-90% D&D and variations, and everyone else was fighting for the last $5-10M. I’d assumed that it was 50% 5E, 30% PFRPG, 10% OSR combined, and 10% “everyone else.” Those numbers are supported a bit by “who’s playing what on Fantasy Grounds and Roll20.”

Good numbers are hard to find.

2 thoughts on “GURPS, the OSR, and a game survey

  1. Yes, I would say that the population is more representative of people who discuss RPGs online than it is of RPG players as a whole. I would not generalize the results beyond this population.

    The the table of contents on that post has a link to a post about the participation, which describes the population surveyed in more detail. I think it is worth keeping in mind that OSR is a phenomenon heavily driven by online participation, so people online seem like a reasonable population to ask. You don’t go to China to investigate how people speak English, after all, at least as the first excursion.

    (Strictly speaking, survey populations are the intersection of who you ask and who decides to participate, meaning participation is only partly self-selecting. People who don’t see the survey but might otherwise participate are unrepresented.)

  2. I attend a physical gaming club.

    Every advertised game is logged on Facebook. There are non advertised games, I have no idea how many.

    I also surveyed games being run, but it wasnt a rigorous survey process.

    There is one GURPS game with seven potential players presently, fortnightly.
    I track everyone who attends, ever.

    There were more than twenty D&D5E games last time I checked. Even at one player plus GM thats 40 to 8 or 5 to 1.

    At five including GM its 100 to 7. Call that 10 to 1.

    If I stopped running GURPS there would be zero games.

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