In general, games of all and every kind are not known as money makers.
For the niche of roleplaying games, it is paramount you know how to price your RPG if ever to even get the game played, let alone see a cent.
To those ends, I did the research so you don’t have to 😉
Dollar values from here on refer to the price-per-page (ppp) of RPGs. These RPGs include some if not extensive artwork that can serve to boost page counts and perceived value.
TLDR; In general, RPGs undervalue themselves. OSR (old-school revival) games – more concise (i.e. fewer) rules, less pre-generated content – can increase ppp by 25% vs. the broad market (super-sellers like Dungeons & Dragons not included here). The most ‘lucrative’ publications are game extensions – extra rules, adventures, tools, artwork, or features – that can run at or 30% more than OSR games.
If you price your RPG and related content between $.08 and $.10 per page, you are being reasonable. $.30 per page is really stretching it, but no product is sold for less than $.04 per page.
The Data Collection
I ran data for general games, OSR games, extensions / modules / add-on content, and my personal favorites. See The Collection Method section next for what the thoughts behind here:
|Group||Average PPP||Median PPP|
Dropping the edges, it would seem that a price-per-page range of $.08 and $.10 is the best option for pricing an RPG PDF.
Tangentially, the data for average and median page counts and prices:
|Group||Average Page Count||Median Page Count|
Conclusions here say page count for a primary product ranges from 200 to 300 pages. Extensions should be about half the page count (give or take) of the primary product.
|Group||Average Price||Median Price|
As for price, expect to price between $15 and $20 for the most well-received products.
The Collection Method
To gather the data, I referenced Drive Thru RPG, “the largest RPG download store,” for highly rated (>80% positive reviews) page counts and price (rounded to the nearest 50-cents). All prices reflect the PDF versions of games, as those are required by Drive Thru – physical copies are not.
Numbers came from the “hottest” of: core-rulebooks, OSR games, game extensions / modules, and my own favorite games. Collection was made in chunks of the first ~30 and ~50 of the “hottest” lists to sanity-check the calculations were accurate.
I completely avoided the hottest game of them all: Dungeons & Dragons. I know that its price and page count and rating may be skewed for the sheer popularity of this godfather of RPGs.
Like D&D, some other data was excluded. Any price-per-page that far exceeded other ppp was excluded, though a comment has been left on the excluded page and price.
The ranges of prices are taken as the difference of the average and the median, pivoting around the average. The average was always less than the median, indicating that many games undervalue what they could sell themselves for reasons of market ignorance (this is speculation only).
Now you know how to price your RPG! This has certainly helped me determine what pricing and lengths I should be looking at.
Bonus observation: While going through content, I noticed that ppp was increased for creators who had a dedicated following, their “1000 True Fans.” Examples include Runehammer Games (YouTube, Drive Thru RPG) and Dungeon Craft/University (YouTube, Drive Thru RPG). Might be something to keep in mind for your own popularity ~
And cheers to that! Price your RPGs right and we will catch up next week.