Another GenCon has come and gone – it seems in only the blink of an eye. While the show was good for ProFantasy, it wasn’t quite the spectacular success we’ve had in some previous years – sales declined about 10% from a very high base, and we are still one of the few companies which makes a modest profit from GenCon. While the fact that we didn’t have a finished new product this year (FT3 is only in beta) is part of the reason, selling software which can also quite easily be downloaded from the website gets just a bit harder each year, as broadband gets more and more common and people increasingly prefer the electronic-only version of software. Our website sales reflect this. We also get a post-Con blip as people who have seen the demo make their decision.
Interest in ProFantasy’s software and individual sales at the booth remains very steady, with almost exactly the same from last year. What was down a bit, was people buying larger bundles in one go. Last year we repeatedly applied our 4 for 3 bundle multiple times to a single sale. That was less frequent this year.
The FT3 beta couldn’t quite pick up the slack of last year’s new release: Cosmographer 3, which on the other hand continued to sell very well on its own. I think this is because it has such beautiful artwork and effects, and this bodes well for the forthcming Perspectives, Dioramas and Character Artist version 3s. I’m very happy to see that it has almost the same popularity of our two “big” add-ons City Designer 3 and Dungeon Designer 3. Interest in the Tome of Ultimate Mapping remains high, and I just wish we already had a version for CC3 to sell.
Personally I am especially pleased that the Cartographer’s Annual continues to sell steadily at the show (despite us originally envisioning it as a download-only product). Even the current subscription, for which obviously have no physical product to show was very popular. It was the beautiful example maps from these Annuals which attracted the most attention.
The general reaction to CC3 and ProFantasy from the audience was very good. There are always a few who complain about a steep learning curve, but those comments are getting rare. I even had several people recommend the software to their friends on account of its “ease of use”.
Generally new customers are most impressed by the splendid look of the example maps on the wall, the speed with which you can create a basic map, and powerful functions like the Floorplan command in CD3, or the hull drawing tool in Cosmographer 3.
Sadly (and I do mean that) I noticed that our map-making competitors Dundjinni and Fractal Mapper seem to be virtually non-existent at the show. Dundjinni seems basically dead with not being commercially available at the moment. NBOS (the publishers of Fractal Mapper) have been at GenCon in the past, but not this year (and I don’t think last year either, correct me if I’m wrong). Hexographer is around now, and Joe Wetzel (its author) had a booth at GenCon for the first time in the entrepreneurial area. He stopped by our booth and Simon and I at his, having a good chat about the business and GenCon.
Thanks go out to our tireless US helpers Steve Mulhern and Tom Evans, for bringing all the material and stock and doing almost non-stop demoing and selling at the booth. I was glad to be able to spare an evening of gaming with them and their friends. Thanks for the Castle Ravenloft game – even if that bloody Howling Hag got us in the end!
See you next year, GenCon and Indianapolis.