Saturday, June 20, 2009

Really Funny Comment on Joe Goodman's Post

I take no credit for this post, though I wish I could. :) Alzrius over at ENWorld (Alzrius AT aol DOT com) posted this on ENWorld, but since it might possibly offend someone's sensibilities, the mods felt free to delete it. (That's me speaking critically about its deletion, not Alzrius, who later apologized like a gentleman to anyone who may have been offended by the post.)

Being nothing remotely resembling a gentleman myself, I asked his permission to post it here, and he agreed.

For point of reference, the original Goodman post is here. Read it first, if you haven't already.

Then read Alzrius's comments below:

He goes straight from telling us what materials he's gathered, without saying what data they actually provide, and then gives us his interpretation of them.

His post was interesting, but if you break it down it reads like so:

I am Joe Goodman. I usually don't post about the business side of the industry, but I'm breaking my silence now, so you know it must be important.

To me, Goodman Games is merely an amusing diversion which I have, unsurprisingly, succeeded wildly at. My real job is at a Fortune 500 company, overseeing a staff like an army in a billion-dollar division. I started writing and publishing RPGs as a teenager. I was a staff writer for RPGs since I was 21. FEAR ME!

Brick-and-mortar stores are the lifeblood of RPGs. I know this because this is where I - a god among men - was introduced to RPGs. Ergo, no mere online retail service can match this. They are also centers of community, with their paper bulletin boards and conventions. The internet has nothing like these powerhouses of social networking. Finally, hobby stores are still larger retailers than PDF vendors, though the latter are growing faster. This is just one of the reasons why WotC thought nothing of purging their PDF sales in a single evening, leaving none to be spared.

Thus, I set the course for the massive engine that is Goodman Games to help support these retailers; it was I lent my support to Free RPG Day; it was I who not only created the month of May, but said that it would have an annual sale for my products; it was I sent spinner racks by the hundreds to stores across this land, and watched as the retailers sent me tribute about how they brought salvation.

No other company has achieved what I have. There are no others who have my experience, my success, or my vision. I alone have massive third-party sales figures, and I alone have spoken with hundreds of retailers, weaving my magic to see through their eyes and use them as my senses. I am not some lowly imprint that publishes the works of others. I am not a miniscule internet subscription service. Goodman Games - and it's high overlord, Joseph Goodman - am the voice of the 3pp industry.

And now I shall say unto you, 4E is a success.

Do not believe the lies of those who say otherwise, for they have been deceived by illusions three-fold:

1) Those who compare sales of a 4E book to a 3E book are making a false comparison. For despite my having said that the internet market is less than nothing, the DDI has changed all aspects of 4E in ways that you, with your limited senses, cannot understand. I shall not endeavor to explain it to you further.

2) Those who say that distributors do support 4E are fools, for those same distributors have ordered my products in numbers unlike anything the world has ever seen. Know this, and despair!

3) Likewise, those who say retailers do not support 4E are living in a microcosm. Remember, I am the only one who has spoken to legions of such stores, and only I see the whole picture. This is true because Joe Goodman says so, and I know more about game stores than any mere mortal.

Now that I have lifted the veil of ignorance from your eyes, I shall grace you with divine knowledge. Once, at the dawn of time, I planned to pen a tome of wisdom. In researching this, I looked at the histories of many of the early companies in this industry, and though I shall not impart unto you specifics, I looked at many records of Games Workshop, TSR, and Dave Arneson, and thus do you know that I speak Truth.

And this Truth is thus: D&D only becomes truly successful once per generation, and that time for this generation has passed. You CANNOT state that 4E is not doing well now, as it falls within the ebb of time when such products are popular among the masses. The only valid comparison is to other such ebbs in the history of the game, and compared to them, it sells well indeed.

Those who ask if 4E will do as well as 3E are unenlightened. They do not understand that such questions are meaningless, because they do not take into account the scope of history that only I can fathom. Know only that I have deigned to speak to you directly, and have imparted you with the knowledge that 4E is a success. And more importantly, so am I.

And now I return to my silence, for another eight years hence.


  1. Simply hilarious

  2. I'm glad someone had the chutzpah to rail against Goodman's post, instead of just continue to throw feeble accolades at it. The whole "believe what I say because I am Joe goodman, not because I support it with valid data" tone of the post rally ticked me off. And Goodman's challenge of "unless you've done the things I've done, don't call me on this" was just a total cop out. /sigh

    Anyhoo, I won't be posting my personal opinion on this latest teacup tempest on my own blog (I try to avoid engaging in these sorts of things), but I will certainly be pointing people to this. Thanks, JoeTheLawyer, for posting this - and be sure to thank Alzrius for being the (perfectly sarcastic) voice of dissent. (He risks The One True Joe Goodman's wrath - surely that makes him a hero.)

  3. Thanks for re-posting that. Somewhere between the original post and Alzruis' parody is a teeny bit of data that suggests 4e is doing okay. But I sure wish Joe Goodman would actually release his market research book. Sell it as a pdf. I'm sure a lot of people would buy it. Otherwise, he's got no real evidence and his dismissal of the pdf market and complete avoidance of the sadly increasing irrelevance of the FLGS demonstrates his own bias rather than any market reality.

  4. That was tremendous.

    I like Joe Goodman, but that was a weak post from him.

  5. The edition wars.

    Joe goes out on a limb and posts his well informed opinion and the long knives come out and carve him up good.

    I'm really sick of this.

  6. Hilarious. i read it aloud to my wife, she had to sit down she was laughing so hard. Stumbled!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. While I agree with Goodman's sentiment, 4e is probably doing well when considering the state of the economy, but saying you can't compare the sales to past editions, except at specific dates, is kind of lame. I asked my old economics professor about this and was told that if you want to make the information skew in your direction then this approach is valid, but for actual sales comparisons it was kind of odd.
    As for the whole pdf issue, doesn't Goodman sell their products as pdfs? I will have to look through my files but I think the only Goodman product I have ever bought was pdf. Supporting WotC's anti pdf move and stating that digital sales are inconsequential seemed completely wrong to me... I don't have any proof to back it up and I also support real books over pdf versions, but the claim that digital sales don't matter just feels wrong.

    Over all, while I respect anyone's opinion as a valid POV, I thought Goodman's post came off sounding just as pompous as the sarcastic response made it out to be. I only wish I had thought up that much good material to post in response.

  9. Hi Joe! You don´t know me, but I know you from ENWorld. I understand ENWorld has moderation issues these days. There are several other venues, be informed that there is one that´s 100% modertation free (barring illegal activity). Check it out if you like.

  10. Joe, I saw your "I am taking my toys and going home" post at EnWorld.

    All I can say is I really hope you are not going to change your mind on this one.

    I for one think EnWorld would be better without you, and frankly I think you would be happier without EnWorld.

    Hope you find some other place to post that will make you happy.


    -Mark "Mistwell" Cronan

  11. You can't claim that the internet doesn't matter, and then turn around and claim the digital initiative changes things so much.

    And I do doubt Goodman's business acumen if he really thinks WotC could purge their pdf sales in one day without any trouble - the negative publicity they got is an important factor by itself.

  12. That was very interesting. I've also heard that Arneson claimed to have invented May ;)

    Seriously, though, I've never heard of Goodman's book on the history of FRPGs before. Has anyone seen it?

  13. "Seriously, though, I've never heard of Goodman's book on the history of FRPGs before. Has anyone seen it?"

    Who's Goodman?


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