2/17/98 By Lisa Goins, Dwarven Tavern Cyberzine, http://home.fuse.net/dwarven_tavern
Since the interview with Andon Unlimited and Steve Jackson Games I was able to get response from Palladium and Ral Partha in regards to questions and how they feel about GENCON.
The first is the e-mail interview request response from Palladium Books, Inc.
DTC* Most people are wondering if this is strictly a business decision or a political one, since Palladium and WoTC have clashed in the past.
>>Palladium's decision not to attend Gen Con was purely a business decision, for reasons I've noted on the PalladiumWeb Page (www.palladiumbooks.com). Whatever issues Palladium has had with WoTC in the past, they have been resolved and left in the past. Both companies have moved on. If there are any "political" overtones, it's that we feel the price increase is unjustified, will hurt the smaller companies, and Palladium will not support such a move.
DTC* Since Palladium makes a good profit margin at Gen Con, will not attending cause a dip in profits, or do you have plans to attend or release a new product to cover this?
>>No. Gen Con sales represent only a tiny fraction of our annual sales, and it's not like people aren't going to buy the products because we aren't there. Gamers will just have to go to their favorite store and get them. Besides, I believe theArmory Booth will be offering a fair selection of Palladium products at Gen Con. Palladium already has a very ambitious schedule of releases for 1998. We're shooting for approximately 20 new sourcebooks for virtually every one of our RPG lines, so we don't have to add anything to our current line up to boost sales.
DTC* With the changes in the Gaming Industry buy outs, how do you see Palladium positioning itself in the industry?
>>One of the catch sayings at the Palladium offices is that we don't want to be the biggest, just the best. And the best, to me, is doing games that are fun and tantalize the imagination.
For my wife, Maryann, and I, after a certain point, making money is no longer an issue -- you can only spend so much, so fast, and Maryann and I just don't have caviar tastes (except, maybe, when it comes to collecting artwork and Maryanns traveling). Consequently, we would rather see Palladium Books produce 12-20 high quality and truly exciting and fun products a year, than 40 that miss the mark.
It has been our ability to produce quality, fun RPG products that enable us to sell in large quantities and keep our prices low. I'll be working to keep that practice for years to come.Unlike some companies with aspirations in other markets like film and computers, the Palladium madmen really do love role-playing and that's what we all want to do. Please don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a movie or TVseries based on several of Palladium's role-playing games, along with novels, comic books, action figures, computer and Nintendo games, and all that jazz. That's why we have a licensing agent. ButPalladium itself, will probably stay focused on producing role-playing games. It's what we know, love and do best.
DTC* What direction would you like to see the industry take?
>>I think many companies need to settle down, relax and concentrate on producing good product. They need to get back to basics, listen to their fans, and give them what they want. It's been my experience that the cream rises tothe top, and a good, exciting product will be found by the fans, especially in a niche market like role-playing. Substantial over flashy but empty and unsatisfying style.As for trends, I think you'll see role-playing making a strong recovery. Despite all the other types of cool games on the market, there really isn't anything like role-playing. It's here to stay!
DTC* What goals in the next several years do you see Palladium wishing to
>>I'd love to see Palladium get product out on time! We're working on it. I'd also like to see us cultivate a half dozen or so regular, reliable, freelance writers -- something I think we're building right now. Like I said before, we really just want to continue to produce fun RPGs that people love to play. I'd also like to see us double in size, but I don't think I'd want to expand beyond that. I fear getting too big might take away that personal touch at Palladium and cause us to lose sight of what the fans want.If the business isn't fun, it's not worth running -- at least for me. That having been said, we hope to license Rifts® and other Palladium properties to other markets like electronic games, comics and film. This is something we're working on now and have several exciting prospects under discussion.
DTC* Looking at your web site, you supply convention support. Will you change this now regarding the latest developments? Do you feel conventions, in general, are a good way to reach your target market?
>>We love to support conventions with give-aways like posters, catalogs, and prizes. That will never change. The latest developments with regard to Gen Con are limited entirely to Gen Con and has no negative impact on our participation with other game conventions. Conventions are a great way for like minded people who share the same hobby to get together, talk, goof around, and have fun. I've been a comic book convention goer since I was a teenager. Going to those Comic-Cons when I was a kid are among the most memorable and fun experiences of my life. Gee, I hope that doesn't sound pathetic, but I had fantastic times at them.
DTC* Do you feel that conventions have gotten pricey as well as low profit makers?
>>The value and cost of a convention varies dramatically from show to show. Yes, I think some shows, like Gen Con, have gotten pricey, not just for the Exhibitors, but more importantly, for the gamers who attend.
DTC** This completes the end of my e-mail interview with Palladium. Following are Ral Partha's comments via e-mail onGENCON