Much has been said about James Mishler's recent decision to close up shop at Adventure Games Publishing. I think that I agree with everyone when I say that it is a sad thing whenever any gaming company decides to close its doors. It is obvious from his announcement that he has given it a lot of thought and is doing the right thing for himself--as he most certainly must. I wish him luck in his future endeavors and look forward to seeing his name on gaming material in the future.
As I've been pondering this development over the past few days, I've reread his post several times. On the fourth or fifth reading, something jumped out at me that I hadn't noticed previously. He writes:
Were this simply a sideline to a full-time job, that would truly be a nice result. As this is supposed to be my "day job," that result is, as we call it, a "reason to quit."
I have to admit that those two sentences shocked me. Much has been written all over the internet about the feasibility of making a living solely based on rpg-related income. I believe that the general consensus is that, outside of employees of a few of the larger gaming companies and a few invididuals (who can probably be counted on two hands), no one makes a living solely from rpg work. I know that there are artists who derive a good bit of their income from their gaming work, but I believe that most of them also do art work for other industries.
I might be wrong on this count, but I have always viewed AGP as an OSR entity. The idea that one could even conceive of making a living from our "niche within a niche" completely blew me away. Perhaps this has been a topic across the blogosphere and, new to the OSR as I am, I missed it, but does anyone think that this is possible? Is it?
Is there anyone out there who produces mostly "old-school" material who is making a full time living from it? I would love to know.