How The Internet Works

A click bait title. I know. Here’s my thesis. If you get this next bit then you can skip the rest of the post. The internet does an amazing job of making a small group of people seem far more influential and important than they really are off the internet.  The enthusiast is a very small part of the total market and if you ask them, they will believe they are the most influential but, they aren’t.

Pick any hobby or interest. Beer, knitting or old school role-playing games. It doesn’t matter. There are X number of people who consume in a product category (wine, fancy chocolate, craft beer, or games).  Within that group will be the connoisseurs and they will amount to about 10% of the total of X.

X= Total Consumer Market

.1X= The connoisseurs or enthusiasts.

These connoisseurs will be experts. They will know everything about their subject and have very well considered and articulated reasons why they know what the best thing in their interest/hobby is. They care very deeply about their thing, whatever it may be. They are passionate. I love these people. The believe in something. They believe in quality and that the story behind a product really does matter.

Here’s the rub. Those connoisseurs will have very particular tastes that will not line up with the mass of the market.

It is a dirty secret of the craft beer business that the biggest sales are the lightest least flavorful beers. If a brewery sells a “blonde” you can bet that beer will make up more than half the brewery’s total revenue.

If you look at the top rated beers on Beer Advocate what you will see is Imperial Stout, New England IPA and several traditional Belgian beers. These beer styles have several things in common.  First: They are all very bold flavor profiles.  Two: They are typically higher in alcohol than most other beers  Three: They cost more than most other beers.

Most beer consumers just want an unassuming and refreshing vehicle for alcohol. They don’t really care if there is a note of roasted marshmallow with a clean finish and caramel aftertaste. Your average beer drinker isn’t going to pay $180 to go to Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds. If you are a beer nerd living in Indiana, it’s a no brainer.

 

All of that to say this:

Just because the world’s “most popular role playing game” is the one that has the biggest pool of players and game masters doesn’t automatically mean its “the best” game in terms that the enthusiast would use to define “the best” games.

Just because the internet rpg enthusiasts are voting for a particular game at the Ennies doesn’t make it a game that anybody but those people would want to play or pay for.

2 thoughts on “How The Internet Works

  1. Pingback: Dungeons and Dragons Is It’s Own Hobby – Grumpy Wizard

  2. Pingback: Twitter and Me – Grumpy Wizard

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