"Not as Bad as it Looks" is Still Bad
So Pathfinder has apparently tied with D&D
for sales to hobby stores.
On the one hand, this information is pretty dubious. Its almost certain that WoTC doesn't sell most of its product via traditional hobby markets anymore, and you know, its highly possible even Pathfinder doesn't. If anything, these stats say a lot about the irrelevance of the hobby shop as a vehicle these days.
On the other hand, it STILL means that in polled areas, people who came in to buy RPG books still bought as much Pathfinder as they did D&D, and that has to be a scary-as-shit reality for WoTC, even if it isn't a real tie in the bigger scheme of things.
And yes the "tie" is only in the increasingly-small increasingly-irrelevant area of "Hobby Stores", but that doesn't matter! What does matter is that D&D was never tied there before. That it represents a still-significant area, in which D&D is now failing.
Its like if you were to say that Ma Kettle's Burger Shack has tied McDonalds for sales, but only in New York and Miami. While by no means signifying "game over", as some would like it to seem here, it DOES in fact mean McDonald's is facing a serious problem and have clearly fucked up in some big ways to get even to that point.
Likewise WoTC: if Pathfinder really has tied them in the hobby stores, it means that they're having some serious problems. They can still have overwhelming superiority of sales in the rest of the market and yet be facing serious problems. For starters, that nothing like this would ever have happened back in the 3e glory days.
Because, let's face it: if D&D 4e was a better game and WoTC a better company, there's no way that anyone would get even close to them. The mere fact of that closeness is a sign that WoTC is doing things wrong.
Currently Smoking: Stanwell shell deluxe + Planta's Image Latakia