Friday, 16 August 2013

Tabletop Transition

Throughout time as a gamer I've experienced a lot over negativity aimed at the hobby and the community around it. Most of that is due to the continued stereotyping of geeks as the overweight, socially-challenged male sitting in a basement with friends of a similar ilk playing games.

One of the things that bothers me is how whilst that stereotype continues to be allocated to tabletop gamers; the population that makes up the category of geek has changed over time and doesn't appear to be as tarred with the same brush.

Video Games are recognised by the mainstream media as a product that "normal" people play.  Is it because of the cultural shift of video games away from the "geek in his bedroom" stereotype to "entertainment for everyone"? I'm sure that the transition of video games into that "entertainment for everyone" zone has helped to reduce the negative connotations of the word geek, at least in relation to video games.

Will Tabletop Games undergo a similar cultural transition?  Or is it already happening?

In 2011 Activision Blizzard announced that World Of Warcraft had lost almost 10% of it's player base and as such now only had 10 Million players worldwide.  10 Million!  Yep that's a lot of people.
Interestingly in the same year, Wizards Of The Coast announced that there were now more than 12 Million players of Magic: The Gathering.

So, just think about that for a minute.  There were more Magic players than WoW players in 2011.

Not only that, since 2011 Magic has (according to WotC) continued to increase it's player base whilst WoW has (according to Activision Blizzard) continued to lose players.  So today, there are more than 2 million more Magic players than players who play WoW.

Is there a mainstream transition pending for Tabletop Games and is Magic the trigger for that transition?

Maybe.  I think alongside the growth of board/card games over the last few years and shows like Big Bang Theory covering more tabletop elements maybe that point is getting closure; at the very least they're helping to increase the exposure of the hobby.  This is further developed through online shows like TableTop and the sheer volume of review shows like Shut Up & Sit Down and The Dice Tower.

I'm not looking for the hobby to become mainstream as such, just wanting the barriers of entry to the hobby to be knocked down and have those who currently see it as an obscure pastime to be educated otherwise.