This time, the quote is by me. If you ask me, all those doomsayers that think the pen & paper roleplaying hobby will vanish in a few years are wrong. At first, we have to see things in a perspective. RPGs were never a mainstream phenomenon like computer games are today. And the size of the market has been shrinking since the golden days of TSR but the hobby is still very much alive and well.
The hobby is held alive by dedicated people in the industry and by countless fans who continue to enjoy the game. And if you ask me, the current economical crisis may even help bring a few people back to the table. Pulling out your old D&D books and sitting down around a table with a couple of friends is much cheaper than buying that fancy new video game. And while the hobby will change (as it already has changed), I don’t believe it will ever be dead. Just like TV and the cinema did not kill the theater or books.
In my opinion, the hobby will move more to the digital realm, because it’s easier to “meet” people on the internet than to schedule a session in your own home. A lot of roleplayers already play using software like Fantasy Grounds II and Skype or participate in play-by-post games. Basically the game is still the same, but instead of meeting in real life, people play in “cyberspace”. That’s not the same thing as playing a MMO. And better technology will probably make it even easier to play roleplaying games over the ‘net without it turning into a game like “World of WarCraft“.
I still have a lot of hope in our hobby. Our own RPG Bloggers Network clearly shows that there are a lot of talented and dedicated people who still enjoy games like D&D, Savage Worlds and others. And especially when I read blog posts from parents who introduce their children and their friends to the hobby, I am sure, that pen & paper roleplaying games will not die! So, let’s stop conjuring up doomsday scenarios! Stop worrying and enjoy the game!