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I would like to ask the following question...

How has Dungeons and Dragons been able to maintain its dominant position in the RPG market for so long?

The original version of Dungeons and Dragons was published way back in 1974. Since then there have been thousands and thousands of competing systems and settings, but none have been able to dethrone it as the most popular and successful product. What are the factors that have allowed it to maintain its position for 40 years? Have there been any periods where its position was seriously threatened? Good answers to this question will consist of more than fanboyism, and will back up their assertions with solid evidence and citings where appropriate and available.

but have some doubts as to whether it meets site requirements.

I have been made aware of this question, but although some of its answers are relevant, I feel that it is not a duplicate.

Having raised the question in chat, concerns were voiced as to whether it would be more appropriate on a business site. I would argue that this question has a number of different angles that a good answer would cover. One of these would certainly be from the business angle, but there would also be consideration of other aspects such as cultural trends during the time period in question, and psychological reasons why the system has remained dominant. I would also argue that a RPG expert would give a better answer due to their knowledge of the game, its history and cultural background.

One other issue that was raised relates to the previous points, and suggests the question should be split to allow the covering of business, psychological etc as different answers. I would argue that this would certainly be an approach that could be taken, but that there is precedence all over the site for questions that can be answered from different perspectives and using different approaches, so as a result it should be possible to ask this as one question.

Having said all this though, I am torn, and throw things open to meta...

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You should include a link to our chat discussion about it for posterity and all :) \$\endgroup\$ – Inbar Rose May 20 '14 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would if I knew how :o) \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs May 20 '14 at 17:04
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I would have to say this is off topic.

I think this is too broad, primarily, as it calls for a 20 page essay on 40 years of business, psych, pop culture, the game industry, etc. Also, most answers will be unacceptably opinion-based since anyone except those who have worked in a Wizards or closely related RPG marketing department will have anything like facts about what features of D&D have contributed; this will devolve into answers here where everyone lists "the six things I like about D&D" and assumes those are generally applicable.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would think that even experience at WotC wouldn't stop an answer from being mostly subjective guesswork; they clearly don't always know why D&D is(n't) successful at any given time, certainly no more than any business ever understands the forces that go into their own (mis)fortunes. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 20 '14 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ At least it would have some standing, but yes, this is more of a master's thesis than a RPG.SE question. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 20 '14 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I agree with it being too broad (and +1'd already); no implication of disagreement with the rest intended by commenting on that one point. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 20 '14 at 19:27
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I think you can post it but I'm not sure you'll get the quality or type of answers you might be looking for here. I can try to write up a more business-y and/or psych-marketing type answer since I have some knowledge in both of those fields from my grad classes, but there are much better experts in both fields elsewhere. I don't think RPG knowledge or playing RPGs is a requirement to effectively answer this question, anyone with knowledge in the fields I suggested and the care to answer could easily do some internet research and find out what they needed to know before answering.

Maybe drop the fanboyism dig and simply stipulate what you want, that you want factual evidence and not personal opinion or anecdotal/experience-based evidence.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have a problem with a question not getting great answers if it's a question I/the community feels belongs on the site. \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs May 20 '14 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I second this, it's better to simply state that you don't want opinions. You don't want to upset the fanboys :) \$\endgroup\$ – Inbar Rose May 20 '14 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ "expert answers to your questions" is what SE is about... There is a psych-related SE cogsci.stackexchange.com but you might need serious help work-shoping the psychological part of the question to get it to fit their site guidelines. Unfortunately there is no real business/marketing SE besides the Workplace or quantitative finance and the business side of the question seems out of scope on both of them. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith May 20 '14 at 15:02

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