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Thread: RPGs go mainstream in the west

  1. #41
    ServBot (Level 11) TonyTheTiger's Avatar
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    Most of EA's releases, though, are within long running series, which dodges the issue since most RPGs within long running series also sell extremely well. And why wouldn't they? That's kind of the reason a series lasts so long to begin with. Just because EA releases their football games at a faster rate than Square Enix releases Final Fantasies is effectively a non-issue since we're talking essentially repeat customers and name recognition at that point, not genre devotion. When I think of "niche" or "fringe" I'm not thinking entries into a series that number into the double digits. What if Square Enix releases 25 Final Fantasy games tomorrow? Well whaddayaknow, all a sudden the RPG genre just became the most mainstream evar! What if EA scales back and Madden and NCAA come out once every three years with updates in off years distributed through DLC? I guess football just magically became less mainstream?

    My original point was merely that if you're going to say that a fairly large number of million selling titles (FF, Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, etc.) doesn't make a genre mainstream because there's a last gen system and a handheld spending their twilight years getting bombarded with middling, budget, and often nameless RPGs then you could just as easily turn it around and say that for all of EA's success it doesn't really make sports games mainstream because all of the sales are heavily localized in a single location, distributed among very few series just the same. If you want me to change the genre then I have no problem doing that. I'm pretty sure every single genre has the same story. A handful of extremely successful franchises and a bunch of other games that are either modest successes or utter failures. That is, except for the genuinely niche genres like dating sims or Mahjong or something.

    But all this doesn't even matter because, like I said, the simple fact that there are so many modest RPGs proves the genre has mainstream clout. Otherwise these games wouldn't be published.
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 02-14-2012 at 11:05 PM.

  2. #42
    Kirby (Level 13) Leo_A's Avatar
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    I don't disagree with you. See post #15.

  3. #43
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    We have a bit of "Definition of is" problem I guess?

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    ServBot (Level 11) TonyTheTiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokimemofan View Post
    We have a bit of "Definition of is" problem I guess?
    Yeah, that's why there's not much of an argument to be had. Everybody is starting from different places. What's mainstream, right? I'm satisfied just saying that the genre has systematically grown alongside gaming as a whole, sharing in the successes over the past 20+ years. I don't really think anybody can ask for much more than that.
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 02-15-2012 at 12:32 AM.

  5. #45
    Cherry (Level 1) Retronick's Avatar
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    Wow! Sorry it took me a bit to get back to this. I knew this conversation would be a point of contention for many but I had no idea.

    I think the most interesting thing I've seen in this thread is the confusion over what counts as "mainstream entertainment". For me, Mario is considerably mainstream because he is not only popular within the gaming community, but with your average "consumer" as well. I also must apologize for not defining the specific sub-genre within the genre I was talking about. I was really interested to see which turn-based RPG really got people to take notice. Honestly, looking back you could trace this back to Phantasy Star 1, but again, that game received praise from a still fledgling (when compared with the mid-90s or today), gaming community.

    As far as I know (and again, I'm no analyst), FFVII was the first turn-based JRPG to reach an excess of over 9 million sales. Much more than Diablo's 2.5 million. I'm also not doubting the success of western influences like Richard Garriott who lives in a castle and (last I heard), went to space as a tourist on account of his astronaut pedigree. I'm just saying that the people who were buying into what was considered "popular" in the mid-late 90s, we're not playing a ton of RPGs before FFVII came out.

    Thanks to everyone who's added to this. It's made for incredibly interesting reading.

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