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Pathfinder 2nd edition officially hit gaming tables almost a full year ago. Since then, I've noticed quite a lack of questions on this site with the tag compared to other systems, and I doubt it's because of a corresponding lack of rules ambiguity.

I know that 5th edition is Dungeons & Dragons' most successful edition yet; has Paizo released any information about the financial or popular reception of 2nd edition?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, Pathfinder 1e has had about four times as many questions here as 2e in the past six months or so. Perhaps the most dedicated Pathfinder fans tend to ask their questions on the Paizo community forums. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8 '20 at 1:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm wondering about the popularity and player reception of the game. The title of my question was changed by someone with a lot more rep than me, so I didn't question it. I added the bit about "how is the company doing" as a measure of the game's popularity-- I don't frankly care about dollars in their pockets, but since there's no possible way to determine how many tables of a given game are being played on any given day, I figured sales would be the best measure. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 9 '20 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can imagine player reception being based on positive reviews, but I don't know how else to get that data. However, there's data available from game-matching services and online gaming platforms that may provide some insight as to a game's popularity. That makes a question like How can I assess the popularity of an RPG system? a possibly reasonable ask, especially if you're considering running something one thinks may have few players… like Pathfinder 2. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 9 '20 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah I would think online game patterns (Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Paizo forums, etc) would be a much better gauge of popularity than sales numbers. Sales don't account for material shared between groups, nor people who bought the material and have not gotten around to trying it yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jul 12 '20 at 0:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I thought of another reason to consider when looking at the context of this question. The content amount compared to Pathfinder 1e (and even D&D 5e) is significantly less; there are far fewer opportunities for confusing writing and questionable interactions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jul 24 '20 at 22:21
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It's not a sales statistic, but the Roll20 Orr Group Industry Report for the first quarter of 2020 lists that 1.23% of campaigns are Pathfinder 2e campaigns (compared to, say, 50.40% being 5e campaigns). For reference, here are the Q4 2019 (1.13% of campaigns) and Q3 2019 (0.57% of campaigns; Pathfinder 2e launched halfway through this quarter).

This ICv2 chart shows that Pathfinder (presumably both 1e and 2e) was the second most popular RPG in the summer of 2019 (beyond Dungeons and Dragons). Notably, though, it is based upon interviews with retailers, and not upon sales numbers. We may not have official sales tallies, but this does give us a decent picture of the state of Pathfinder.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for data, but I think we'd want multiple reports of each type for it to really be meaningful (e.g. Orr Group Industry Report for last 5 quarters not just most recent one). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8 '20 at 17:38
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Paizo is a private company which is not obliged to publish their sales data, and they have never done so. Neither, for that matter, has Wizards of the Coast, though you can (and people have) dig through Hasbro’s reporting (Hasbro is a publicly-traded company and thus is obliged to publish some sales information) to try to suss out hints at how Wizards of the Coast is doing.

Anyway, Paizo hasn’t said how much they have made on PF2e, and they are very unlikely to ever do so.

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TL/DR Unless we get a defector high up in the Paizo hierarchy all answers will lack hard numbers for sales.

+1 to what @KRyan says but also you can do some sleuthing on your own.

Besides comparing usage stats at places like RPG SE, GitP, Rolld20, FG and scraping data from Amazon and so forth you can look at credits given in the masthead of official Paizo publications and compare that to their website over time and count the number of employees listed.

This can be confusing at first since freelance authors are often involved but you can also compare to the total number of publications per unit time. A falloff in the rate of actual product publication will be delayed about 6 months from the time they decide to scale back, if they do, so you're looking into the past with this method.

You can ask a local RPG retailer what message they're getting from their distributors. Are Pathfinder 2e items moving or stagnant? This will be a local to regional answer as well since we know there are pockets of secondary game popularity which don't reflect the sales of an entire product line.

Finally remember that the COVID-19 situation scrambles any answer. At least short term.

My personal opinion is that Pathfinder 2e is doing at least as well as 1e though groups playing 1e are sticking with that system more so than did D&D 4e players when 5e came out. My read on Pathfinder 1e players not moving to 2e yet 2e still doing good is because D&D 5e has grown the space for all RPGs and Pathfinder 2e is moving into that space. That is 2e is growing without transitioning all 1e players over because of RPG popularity in general. Further if you look at the link of all Pathfinder book publications you can see a hundred years or more of playing material there and there may be little incentive to move from 1e to 2e when your GM is sitting on a backlog of four decades of adventure potential.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi DefaultOption, welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center for more information. Thanks for contributing and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Sep 22 '20 at 1:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Anecdotally, you’re right as far as this 1e player is concerned. 1e has all the content you’d ever need. 2e would have had to have vastly improved the game to make me drop my 1e investment and spend that money al over again. It was not vastly improved. Most of it was changing “puppy” to “young dog.” \$\endgroup\$
    – ruffdove
    Sep 22 '20 at 15:02

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