2016 in Review
With little over a week left in the year, I thought I would do some analysis on the company. How’d we do? Well, we released a total of 11 new products this year (plus 4 d66 lists, but we’ll talk about that later). In previous years, we tried to release one product every two weeks but sometime during the year that changed to one per month. We feel that that is a more sustainable release rate for us, especially considering we are trying to release larger products.
So what did we produce? What I could consider to be JBE’s key releases for the have been finishing up the the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Series and the Book of Magic: Patron Hexes for Pathfinder and the start of the Prelude to War Adventure Path and the D66 Compendium 2 for Traveller. Why were these so key? Because fans like you requested them. I’ve been hearing requests for the D66 Compendium 2 since the release of its predecessor. Patron Hexes started off as a forum thread where fans of the Pathfinder witch requested more hexes. And the Prelude to War Adventure Path and Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Series is the request of me just posting a thread asking people what they wanted. So if there is something you want us to tackle, please ask. We listen.
What was the result (click on the pie charts for larger images)? Well, as you can see from the graph, Pathfinder represented 55% of the company while Traveller made up about 30%. Oddly enough, our single best seller was Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 for D&D 5e. That’s right, that red area is almost entirely one book, and that was released last year. I hate to admit it but we did not do nearly enough with 5e this past year. We will be doing much more for D&D next year.
Traveller was a major comeback this year. Aside from d66 lists we released 1 (yes, one) product for it last year. This year, this year it was 4 and even then, we didn’t finish up a 5th by the end of the year or there would have been one more. We have two more adventures in the Prelude to War Adventure Path we are finishing up. Then we will probably do a few stand alone adventures for those that like to make their own campaigns. We’re also working on ships, space stations, and some more locations. Oh and we still have a sector to finish detailing. Look for these in the coming year. 2017 is going to a massive year for Traveller from us. Strap in!
It is kind of hard for Pathfinder to not dominate our sales considering how many books we have written for it in the past. Unfortunately, our individual Pathfinder releases have slowed to where few products actually make back their cost to produce them. Having said that, we are still creating Pathfinder material because some of our ideas are just too damn cool not to do!!! Like one Deadly Delve adventure we have coming up next year has the players into the heart of a volcano. The best part is that 5e and 13th Age fans can look forward to seeing this converted to their game systems at some point as well. And that is how we are targeting Pathfinder products these days when you don’t ask explicitly ask for them: what can we convert over to another system. Because if we just want to do it bad enough, we’ll find a way to make it work.
As you can see from the chart, Pathfinder is pretty evenly split between Paizo and the OpenGamingStore for the whole year. However, this is far from representative for the year. Throughout the year, OGS has gained ground on Paizo and has overtaken Paizo in recent months as our #1 Pathfinder retailer. DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, on the other hand, has stayed a constant #3 and has never been a great retailer for Pathfinder for us. Will OGS continue to increase over Paizo in terms of Pathfinder sales? We shall see.
That last chart is only for Pathfinder. For all of our sales, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow dominates but that is mostly because our D&D 5e and 13th Age sales do not sell nearly as much as outside of DriveThruRPG, and Second Edition of Mongoose Traveller is exclusive to that same site.
All of these leaves a number of questions for us. Chief among them is: how is Starfinder going to shake this up? What kind of releases do we have in mind for Starfinder? Well for the time being, here is everything I can say about Starfinder: I am under a Non-Disclosure Agreement concerning Starfinder as part of the closed Playtest. Any more than that and one of the Paizo team will have me summoned to Seattle where lawyers will … lets just say … do this to me. Expect me to talk more when I am allowed to talk more, not before.
So aside from that, what can you expect to see us do in 2017? Well I mentioned the volcano adventure. It is written by Joel Flank. He turned it in a month ago. I am still reading it over and damn does it look fun. I can’t wait to hand it off to the editors and start working on the 5e conversion. The Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium will be out early next year and you can expect to see more races from that in 5e soon after hopefully in 13th Age not long after that. We have a product that has been top secret for over a year at this point and we hope to have ready next year.
All in all JBE is doing great. We have had a great year and we expect 2017 to be even better.
EDIT: On Dec 27, I updated the graphs and some of the text after discovering an error in my spreadsheet.