One of the blogs I follow is hosting the RPG Blog Carnival, with the subject of 'Growing the Hobby'. A timely subject when one hears of falling sales and hard times. People have been predicting doom for a while now, with even the former head of D&D claiming that the end of PnP RPG era is approaching.
Maybe they're right. Maybe they're not. Time will tell. I know I'll be playing them for a good while longer because nothing else does what they do for me.
Back to original question. Reduced to its basics, 'Growing the Hobby' means gaining new RPG players. While regaining older lapsed players add numbers to the current pool, its not new ground and does little for the long term. So, yes new players...
Not really a subject I care about much. Not when phrased that way.
Now I have introduced many new players to the hobby, but never considered it as anything beyond growing my own group. In fact, I'm rather certain it didn't grow the 'hobby' because I doubt they'll ever play in a campaign outside the ones we do ourselves.
Yes, we're that good. And yes, the play style we have is going out of fashion when viewed with respect to the hobby as a whole (if the current games being produced actually reflect that hobby). So much so on that last point that I really don't care of the 'hobby' dies, because it hasn't been supporting me for a while now anyway.
If I had a larger ego, I'd claim at this point that if the industry made games I'd like to use, the hobby would grow on its own. Beh, maybe it would. Maybe it wouldn't. I couldn't say either way.
I can say that all anyone who isn't one of the big gaming companies (and maybe that's only WotC, and maybe this is beyond even them) can do is grow one's own group. Anything more is wishful thinking. And the hobby's wishful thinking has brought us to where we currently are...
...given that track record, it may be best to work on those things we actually have our hands on.
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