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This past weekend I emailed the following to all registered users of RPG Seeker:

I’m shutting down RPG Seeker on March 23rd, 2024. I’ve had a great time building and operating this site, but doing so costs me time & money on a project that frankly hasn’t found traction.

To provide some context, the site has been running for two years but this email is going to fewer than a hundred people. Of that small group, I’m guessing most people reading this are thinking “Wait, I have an account at whatever this site is?” :)

Regardless, whether you’re a power user or signed up in a long-forgotten drunken stupor, please accept my sincere gratitude for using the site. I had a blast and you have made it a joy to get this far on this project. Thanks for going on this journey with me.

I want to be clear to any users reading this - as it exists today is indeed over. It will be gone in a month’s time.

But I want to talk further about the bigger picture and my hopes & dreams for the roleplaying market.

The state of online RPG shopping

Finding and buying roleplaying games digitally is just as frustrating in 2024 as it was when I started RPG Seeker in 2020.

  • DriveThruRPG is the leading option. It has received a fresh coat of paint recently but underneath it’s still an antiquated, difficult experience. It has an enormous userbase though, and many of them are comfortable enough with the experience to browse DTRPG for new titles. This creates light network effects that DTRPG uses to justify an enormous take rate from RPG creators unless they agree to sell exclusively on DTRPG.
  • is the second-most popular option. It’s far kinder to creators and allows an unrivaled level of personalization. However, creators are on their own – almost no one is browsing Itch to find new roleplaying games. Furthermore, their catalog of RPGs is so much smaller than the rest of their inventory that it seems destined to remain an afterthought to Itch.
  • Some creators turn to running their own storefronts. Shopify, LeanPub, Gumroad, and similar platforms are all popular options but carry very similar pros & cons to Itch. They can be great experiences but creators get very little to help boost discovery.

Most creators end up begrudgingly listing their games on both DTRPG and Itch, pushing Itch to their fanbase but relying on DTRPG for discovery.

There have been a few attempts at creating a competing RPG-focused marketplace, notably Indie Press Revolution, but they’ve remained niche and difficult to use.

We deserve better. I want better experiences as a player, creators deserve a better option for their livelihoods, and the community as a whole would benefit from another choice.

Okay, but what does this have to do with RPG Seeker and the future?

I hoped RPG Seeker would appeal to gamers who wanted a better search experience and improved sale notifications.

But that was just step one in my previously unannounced secret plan. This is from my personal journal, written in early 2021:

  1. Get a critical mass of users by helping them find good sales on great games
  2. Use that critical mass to solve one of the classic problems of bootstrapping a new marketplace: you won’t get sellers offering their products without users, but you won’t get users without sellers.
  3. Turn RPG Seeker into a better marketplace for buying RPGs

I couldn’t talk about this dream openly as RPG Seeker existed only through the good graces of the awesome DriveThruRPG marketing & engineering teams. We spoke every so often, they are lovely people, and if they had decided to shut down my access then I would have pulled the plug on RPG Seeker much earlier.

So if there’s an upside to calling it quits on this incarnation of RPG Seeker, it’s that I can finally talk openly about how much I’d love to build a better marketplace for roleplayers that directly competes with the existing players.

And here’s the main point I want to make:

Building a platform for finding sales across Itch & DTRPG was not the right way to attract users. However, I’m not abandoning my goal to build a better marketplace someday.1

In the meantime, if you’re a creator or publisher reading this and have thoughts, get in touch - scott at or on BlueSky. I’d love to connect with folks in the industry to get more perspectives on this.

Until next time.

  1. I am taking an extended break from pursuing that goal, however. My life has changed from when I started RPG Seeker – notably, I enjoy what I’m doing professionally unlike ever before in my career. Choosing to do something means choosing not to do 10,000 other things. 

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