"Human beings like variety, and they also like partnership. These are scientific values we can point to."
— Susie Bright
Sometimes, the coolest partnerships come out of worlds that don't typically mesh. The melding of luscious peanut butter and milk chocolate in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, the engaging world of Pokémon and historically-loose Nobunaga's Ambition in Pokémon Conquest, and that one episode where Batman and Robin team up with Scooby and the gang to capture the Joker and the Penguin are all perfect examples. While I'm mostly known around the hallowed halls of RPGamer for my role as a budding editorialist, on a day-to-day basis I work with labour market information and the statistical trending of census data. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but breaking down large chunks of data to find the "hidden stories" is kinda cool in my weird world.
About two months ago, while having an industry conversation with our own Michael Cunningham, I was hit by a weird partnership revelation: instead of assuming I know what's happening in the RPG landscape, I could use the same statistical analysis process I use on a daily basis in order to see if any noticeable trends existed.
What follows is an analysis of RPG release trends from 2002 to 2012. Hopefully, you'll find the information as interesting as I did.
Author's note: As an aside, I'd like to take this time to thank the RPGamer staff for pointing me towards numerous video game databases and cross checking my data pool, Sarah McGarr for designing the beautiful banner, Alex Fuller for his incredible support with formatting, and Michael Cunningham for all his help with this feature's direction.
The Process »