Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lifestyle Gamers?

As a company, we will continue to be the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. Re-aligning resources ensures we achieve this goal for our most powerful brands.
What the heck is a "lifestyle gamer?"

More to the point, have I become some kind of granola-eating, tree-hugging hippie while I wasn't looking? I ask, because -- and I'm being completely serious here -- I find that quote reeks of everything I fear about the future of our hobby. The reduction of D&D to a "powerful brand" disturbs me on many levels.

I don't so much fear what RPG R&D might do to Dungeons & Dragons if they had their own way. That's not to say they'd do what I would; clearly, they wouldn't. But I think, in the final analysis, they're not out to destroy the game or trample on the memory of Gygax. The problem is that I don't think they're the guys calling the shots anymore. They have to conform to a business plan handed down from on high and how much does Greg Leeds know about the hobby beyond what he sees in a ledger? His words above are very telling and not in a good way.


  1. As I sit here, looking out my cubicle window at the black, mirrored finish of the WotC building, I find myself wondering what the heck has been going on in there.

    Unlike some, I was actually happy to see the anouncement of the Third Edition, lo these many years ago. Sadly, that emotion has burned away, leaving nothing but an ashen taste in my mouth. As it is, I find myself hunting for the more obcsure products, produced by gamers, rather than corporate think-tanks. Partially due to taste, partially due to a desire to avoid the brand of a "lifestyle gamer" upon my posterior.

    Not that, unfortunately, I know what that is supposed to mean, but it can't be something good... I suspect it's a fancy way of saying, "loyal commodity... er, customer"...

  2. So Mr James, how often do you eat granola, and do you sneak out at nights and hug trees?

    lol..probably one of the funnier things I have read....

    PS...I suspect that you add granola to your yogart!


  3. On a more serious note, this is corporate speak for, "we are not happy with the way things are looking, so we want to make some changes."

    There is good and bad about having Harbro owning the hobby. The good is that there is lots of money avialable for funding, and we do not have to worry about Hasbro suddenly going bankrupt (which was a problem with TSR). However, the downside is, we have suits running the show. To the suits, D&D means P&L, and it better perform, otherwise action will be taken!

  4. Anyone I could reasonably call a 'lifestyle gamer' long ago gave up on Hasbro/WOTC in utter disgust. Saying they want to appeal to this demographic now is similar to MTV saying they want to attract intelligent music fans. It says more about their own disconnect from reality than it does about gamers. I'd watch for WOTC trying to court some bloggers in the hopes of finding a shill.

  5. I'd watch for WOTC trying to court some bloggers in the hopes of finding a shill.

    Alas, they won't be coming to me. I'm about as far from the kind of blogger they'd want as almost anyone.

  6. >What's a lifestyle gamer?

    Don't ask, don't tell?

  7. Perhaps a lifestyle gamer avoids mere hobbyist gamers and forges tight bonds with platonic life partners (ewww).

  8. lifestyle gamer = lifeless basement-dweller LOL!

    Its just like Wizbros to name each type of gamer. Remember the Timmy, Johnny, and Spike labels from Magic? I think they really like their marketing strategies. All of this marketing stuff and micro-management of their own brands is really bad of business.

    When will they learn that you just cant handle a role-playing game like a collectible card/miniature game!

  9. I encountered many, many lifestyle gamers during my tenure working at a very nice, very friendly LGS.

    They're the guys who you can always count on to buy at least one set of each new dice set from Crystal Caste, Chessex, etc.

    They're the guys who'll grumble about D&D 4e -- and then buy all three books the first weekend.

    They're the guys who have to own every single Cthulhu plush variant under the sun.

    In short, they're quintessential consumers with loads of expendable income. Gaming is their lifestyle, and WOTC wants their cut.

  10. I've ALWAYS hated labels, but I understand them. I work in a field where you're constantly trying to figure out the needs of an always changing user base. (See, that's a label.) One of the tools we use is to create personas (aka labels) in order to understand commonalities between sub-segments of the larger whole.

    Marketing is very much the same way. So yeah, I see what they're doing. Do I like it? Well, I wouldn't mind it nearly so much if the game they were promoting wasn't the antithesis to the one I grew up with.

    The one thing that I take solace in though is that there's this burgeoning movement around the "game" I love, that guys like James M., Jeff Reints and many others are crusading for.

    Oh and btw James, if one were to place labels, I'd certainly fall squarely under that granola-eating, tree-hugging hippie segment...And gladly so. ;-)

  11. I'd watch for WOTC trying to court some bloggers in the hopes of finding a shill.

    Ha! I thought they already had. I'm not gonna name names though, but the shills are out there.


  12. Ha! I thought they already had. I'm not gonna name names though, but the shills are out there.

    There's at least one out there I could imagine WotC might court, but it's hard to say. They don't really seem to be on the ball when it comes to traditional marketing and guerrilla marketing is probably like rocket science to them.

    But we shall see.

  13. Good luck to those let go. Being laid off sucks.

  14. Not a treehugger? Ents need love too, you know.

    I suspect I used to be a lifestyle gamer in the past - I've sunk money into dozens of games I've never gotten a chance to play...

    Which is why I'm no longer a lifestyle gamer - I want to sink money into games I will actually use now.

  15. “The reduction of D&D to a ‘powerful brand’ disturbs me on many levels.”

    Are the current owners any worse than Ms. Williams? It’s hard for me to be disturbed by this anymore.

    It bothers me more that nigh the entire toy industry has been assimilated by Hasbro.

  16. Are the current owners any worse than Ms. Williams? It’s hard for me to be disturbed by this anymore.

    It's a tough call. In both cases, you're dealing with people who aren't hobbyists and don't seem to understand the hobby trying to make business decisions that will affect the hobby in profound ways.