This morning I received an email from Paizo indicating that the core rulebook of their upcoming Pathfinder RPG has sold out in pre-order. I think that's great, since, while I'm not really the target audience for Pathfinder's rules -- they're still too fiddly and complex for my liking -- I have a healthy dose of respect and affection for the guys and gals at Paizo, particularly Erik Mona, whose love for pulp fantasy exceeds my own. I keep my eye on what the company produces and am glad to see them succeed. I hope that, one day, they might dip their toes into the old school waters, because I have little doubt they understand what made the original editions of D&D so great.
Still, press releases like this all raise my skepticism. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to hear that a product in this industry has sold out before release, but, without solid figures on how many copies have been sold, what does it all mean? Erik Mona is quoted as saying, "To sell out a hugely ambitious print run before the release date just goes to show what an immense audience this game will enjoy in the years to come." How many books are in "a hugely ambitious print run?" Is it 10,000 copies? More? I doubt we'll ever really know and, on some level, I'm not sure it matters. So long as it's enough to make Paizo some money and keep Pathfinder profitable, the numbers are probably immaterial. I just wish more gaming companies were more forthcoming with sales figures, since they'd go a long way toward putting the current state of the hobby in context, particularly to those of us who remember its faddishness -- and ridiculous sales figures -- from the 1980s.
In any case, my congratulations to the Paizo crew. However you slice it, this is good news for them and I wish them every success in the world.