Russ Morrissey is the head honcho of two important RPG entities, ENWorld, the single largest d20 fan sit on the web and ENPublishing, one of the largest PDF companies. As such, he might have his finger more on the pulse of the game community than any other single person. For that reason I am delighted to have him as my third guest here at 10 Questions. In fact, since he wears so many hats, he gets 11 questions!
1. What do you see as the “next big thing” in gaming?
4E, I guess, whenever that appears - assuming you mean RPGs.
2. RPGNow and Drivethru recently merged. What do you think this means for the PDF market?
I don't think it's nearly as dramatic as it has been made out to be. Those two sites merged, ENGS closed, a couple of other sites opened. Some publishers moved from one site to another, in both directions.
EN Publishing has seen a sales increase at RPGNow/DTRPG over the past 3 months; I hear that experiences have varied from one publisher to the next. In the long run, though, it's business as usual.
3. Related to question #2, where do you see PDFs specifically headed in the next year.
I'm not sure I understand the question. I don't anticipate any *major* changes in the nature of PDF publishing. ENP is trying to promote the subscription model heavily throughout 2007 - I know a couple of companies have done this already, but we'll be interested in seeing how things work out with it. So far, pre-orders of the subscription have been very high indeed.
4. Now look further into the future. Where do you see PDFs five years from now?
Lots of varied smaller shopfronts; possibly some specialization amongst them. Electronic product as a whole will increase its market share - heck, even WotC is gearing up its new subscriber-based online resources.
5. How did you get into the RPG business? What was your first job in the industry?
My first "experience" in the industry was EN World. My first "job" was launching EN Publishing (then called Natural 20 Press) with "Wild Spellcraft".
6. If you were just starting out today and were ready to try and break into the RPG business, what would be your first step?
I don't think I'd bother! There are easier ways to make a living. But PDF publishing, rather than being the "hobbyist" end of things, is becoming more and more accepted, and is a good first step.
7. What was the first RPG you ever played?
It was a wargame which I thought was an RPG - the Warhammer black & white boxed set. I was 11 or 12, and misinterpreted the rules and ended up playing it as what I later learned was an "RPG".
8. What are you playing right now?
D&D. Age of Worms Adventure Path. To be followed by EN Publishing's War of the Burning Sky Campaign Saga.
9. If you could snag any licensed property for an RPG, what would it be?
Eh.. ummm. It would have to be DC Comics!
10. What’s coming up for you? Sell me something damnit!
ENP has two major lines for 2007:
WAR OF THE BURNING SKY - hopefully you've heard about this! If you haven't, I haven't been doing my job very well. It's a massive Campaign Saga. 12 adventures, available individually or as a subscription, plus a Players Guide and a DM Campaign Overview (the last two will be free). We're also thinking along the lines of art books and stuff for the saga. It's going to be REALLY good. More info here.
The other major line deals with organizations. Each book will detail a specific organization, such as a thieves guild, a magic school, a town guard, an evil cult, a clerical order, a knightly order and so forth. Each will detail the organization, with maps, NPCs, an adventure involving them, etc.
11. Bonus Question: Before I broke into the business, I read about being involved in RPGs at ENWorld, which I first heard of in Polyhedron Magazine of all places. Could you tell me what it’s like to run THE d20 fan site?
A mix of pleasure and pain! At times it's a lot of hassle, but at other times it's a joy to do. It gives me the chance to be involved in a wonderful community, to do things and branch out with things I'd not be able to do otherwise. On balance, it's a very positive experience - I can't imagine not doing it.
Thanks again Russ! And you gentle reader, stay tuned, 10 questions isn't quite out of volunteers yet, with Joe Browning and Gareth Michael Skarka up next.