JB over at the fantastic B/X Blackrazor asked an Honest Question:
I wanted to answer his questions, but got off track and took a while to get to my point. But in any case here it is.
What do you think is going to be the longevity of 4th edition D&D?
Well there are a few factors to consider.
First, those older editions have appeal because they were the first editions we played. Just like the guy ten years younger than me who cut his teeth on a game that I own and played and very likely will never play again (AD&D 2nd ed). That is not a slam on AD&D 2nd ed or it's relative value or merits but rather a commentary that I have many games that fill the same void.
I play 4e now. I enjoy it. It is really fun.
Will I be playing it 20 years from (when I am 60?) no idea. Most likely not. Maybe I'll go back to Chill or maybe I'll finally convince my kids that the games I wrote are just as fun as D&D.
Plus there are other factors. D&D4 does not live in the same world as AD&D/OD&D, they left a significant cultural stamp on our collective awareness. D&D4 has to fight against MMORPGs, the Internet, other games AND it's own legacy. It had an uphill battle from the start. I doubt that even the great AD&D1 (of which I am huge fan) could have fared any better.
The truth is it is not 1 single edition of D&D that will endure as time moves on, it is D&D has a higher order concept that will. Whether the details are called "D&D4", "Basic D&D" or "Pathfinder" will only matter when you get down to the details.
Things to consider though, D&D4 is played by a lot of people. A lot more than the Old School community I think likes to admit. Yes there are sanctioned events (like MtG) but there are also plenty of us older gamers that are introducing the hobby to our kids and doing it with D&D4 cause that is what other kids their age are also playing.
So I guess I am saying, "don't ask us, we are old and set in our ways and will give you the answer you want to hear cause we all read the same blogs" and "ask the kids that are new to the hobby what they will be playing in 20 years."
Will D&D4 be around in 20 years? I am surprised that people are still playing some of the games they are playing now. But D&D4 as a system has enough going for it, and enough material, to last for 20 years. Though I bet support for it will end when D&D5 comes out (though you can still find material for D&D 3.5 on WotC's site).
Hell I have enough games for the next 50 years and I am not even sure what we will be playing at my next game session. It could be Traveller, it could be Pathfinder, it could even be something our GM bought the night before.
I agree with the Grumpy Celt, we will most likely see a new D&D around 2016.