Categories Focus: Traditional Games
Hobby game enthusiasts like to think that “better,” more “modern” games are replacing some of the old traditional games. As we saw with Economic games, the traditional game Monopoly has been a significant portion of the releases over the years. Is there evidence that Monopoly and other traditional games are losing their foothold in the games market? Let’s see.
At a Glance
As we looked at economic games, we noticed that there may be something interesting related to the grandfather of economic games, Monopoly. We will use Monopoly and the Roll/Spin and Move mechanic as representatives of “traditional” games.
First, let’s look at total Monopoly releases. The number of Monopoly releases peaked in 2006-2007 and has dropped significantly since.
When we limit the releases to those in the Study Games group, the total number of releases drops about 10%, but there isn’t a significant difference to the trend. So from here on we’ll concentrate on games within the Study Games.
Representing the Monopoly releases as a percent of the Study Games, then we get an expected decline, but even over a longer period since overall games releases have been increasing.
As we noted in the previous article, the overall number of economic games had also declined, but not as precipitously. So looking at Monopoly releases as a percent of Economic games within the Study Games, we see a very similar decline.
Now, let’s take a look at the Roll/Spin and Move mechanic. Since Monopoly is a major title in this group, it will impact the overall trend. First, let’s take a look at the total games with the mechanic, then we’ll exclude Monopoly.
As we might expect from the decline in total releases, the decline in releases as a percent of all releases, which is increasing, is an even bleaker picture for the traditional Roll/Spin and Move mechanic.
As stated earlier, Monopoly is expected to have a significant impact on this trend (representing 20-25% of Roll/Spin and Move releases), so to be certain that we aren’t just seeing the Monopoly effect, let’s look at Roll/Spin and Move without Monopoly. Note: As before, this is a difficult number to reach due to the nature of the data that can be queried. ([Roll & Move that is not Monopoly] = [Roll & Move] – [Monopoly] + [Monopoly that is not Roll & Move]).
We see a very similar, though slightly slower decline for Roll/Spin and Move excluding Monopoly; a drop from ~14.9% to ~2.6% compared to the overall drop (including Monopoly) from ~18.6% to ~2.8%.
It is obvious that the number of releases of traditional games (as represented by the specific game Monopoly and the Roll/Spin and Move mechanic) is in decline. I don’t want to be too quick to declare Monopoly dead, though. This year, 2015, is the 80th anniversary of Monopoly and a year in which we will certainly see a surge in Monopoly releases. Looking back to 2005-2006, which was the game’s 70th anniversary, there was a small surge in releases, so we might expect the same this year. While there is likely only one specific 80th anniversary edition release, there will likely be releases in other languages and other themes intended to capitalize on the anniversary.
A cursory look ahead at 2015 also indicated that there may be a matter of accounting impacting the extreme decline in 2014. It appears that hobby games releases are announced in advance so they appear on BGG before release. While traditional games like Monopoly are reported after release. This difference could mean that the 2014 release totals are essentially complete for hobby games, but for Monopoly, they will continue to rise over the next year or so as BGG users report those releases. With the small number of total releases, a small number of additions can have a significant effect.