I think the real concern people have but have a hard time putting into words is that it is hard to support every clone (ish) game that is coming out or will come out. Many many more will come out, I have no doubt. I think what people are feeling is “support fatigue.” How many more of these should we high-five before we say screw it, who cares? That’s a legit question, and I don’t have an answer. Honesty I don’t think any of us should feel an obligation to support every new retro game that comes out.Dan's comment resonates strongly with me, as I've occasionally felt that there was "too much" old school product being produced -- too much in the sense that there was no way I could possibly keep up with it all, let alone buy it and use it in the course of my weekly OD&D game. In fact, Victor Raymond regularly points out to me that, through a mere seven issues of Fight On! alone, the old school renaissance has produced more material (in terms of word count) than was ever produced for OD&D by TSR or through the pre-AD&D issues of Dragon. That's staggering, when you think about it, and it's a testament to the enthusiasm old school gamers have for their favorite games.
As the months have worn on, though, and as I've had more time to think about it, my opinion has changed considerably. I don't think it's possible for there to be "too much" old school product. There might be too much for me personally, but what does that mean? I'm just one gamer and my limited capacity to buy and use everything that comes out shouldn't dissuade anyone from producing more stuff for others, whose capacities for the same are certainly different. More significantly, I think variety is good. What the old school renaissance needs is more variety, not less.
I'm very critical of the way that TSR, with the advent of AD&D, did its best to marginalize and, in some cases, quash the beautiful riot of OD&D and OD&D-derived materials that literally created this hobby we all share. The company's attempts to put the genie back in the bottle and funnel creativity into only officially-sanctioned ways contributed greatly, I think, to the end of the Golden Age and, ultimately, to the decline of the hobby, even as it shored up (for a time) the profits of the industry. I don't want to see a repeat of that and I doubt that very few people in the old school renaissance do either.
That's why I take pleasure in the publication of every new old school game, retro-clone, and simulacrum, even the ones I won't ever buy and play. The more options out there, the less likely it will be that any one of them, whether it be OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, or whatever will become the old school game. We don't need a single standard bearer for our little niche; that way of thinking leads nowhere good, at least from my point of view. Some will no doubt say that the existence of so many retro-clones will make old school gaming confusing to newcomers and make it difficult for them to gain much traction with "mainstream" gamers. To that, I say: "So what?" The old school renaissance, while real, was never going to reignite the 80s RPG craze, which was (probably) a perfect cultural storm whose like we cannot simply bring into existence by uniting behind a single banner. Moreover, while there has been a noticeable increase in interest in old school gaming, it's no more than a drop in the bucket compared to the oceans of gamers who play video games, MMOs, and D&D IV.
And I'm OK with that. The old school renaissance, in my opinion, exists to support existing old school gamers and interested outsiders who possess the wherewithal to navigate the chaos of our little corner of the hobby. This is a good thing and it's important to bear in mind. History shows pretty clearly that the industry has rarely done old school gaming any favors -- the Open Game License being a rare example to the contrary -- so why would we want to imitate its methods? What distinguishes old school gaming is, among other things, its open-armed embrace house rules, variants, kit bashing, and wacky ideas, the kind of stuff that led Gary Gygax to famously declare that OD&D, the first RPG, was "a non-game." What Gary saw as a vice, old schoolers see as a virtue.
May it ever remain so.