My main interest in the SJG Stakeholders report is GURPS. Let's look at what it says about GURPS:
"Dungeon Fantasy - Our Kickstarter project to create a GURPS introductory box set has run into more troubles and derailments than we would like. A game that was meant to go to the printer before the end of 2016 is still clogging our pipeline and causing constant distractions. The project was not as far along in the process as it should have been, and miscommunication regarding the game components ballooned our costs. At the moment, barring a miracle, what would have been a profitable project is rapidly turning into a loss. This is becoming an ongoing problem for GURPS projects (see Discworld and Mars Attacks, below, under Failures)."
I'm not shocked, based on this Kickstarter update.
I don't really have any secret inside insight - I'm a freelancer, not staff. I do know Sean Punch really well, though, and know he's working himself to the very limit on this project. It's actually pretty upsetting as his friend to read about this kind of problem with the project.
The project will come to fruition, but it's not good for GURPS and no help to RPGs if this gets more and more expensive and costs the company more and more money to do it. Instead of expanding GURPS it could potentially contract it.
Again, no inside knowledge here. I repeat that because sometimes people equate "GURPS book author" with "company insider" and nothing could be further from the truth.
"Discworld and Mars Attacks - We published two new GURPS hardcover books late last year. GURPS fans celebrated, and the books turned out well, but their disappointing performance further supported the unfortunate realization that sales are no longer strong enough to make traditional distribution work for GURPS hardcovers. Today's cluttered market, combined with our insistence on getting it right, made both books expensive experiments that tell us one thing: Do not produce more GURPS hardcovers until we have guaranteed that the sales are there. Does this mean more crowdfunding for GURPS? Maybe! But until we see the retail sales of Dungeon Fantasy, we're holding off on any more printed GURPS releases. PDFs will continue, and we'll revisit the question of "print GURPS?" later this year."
My concern with this is that Discworld and Mars Attacks are interesting GURPS hardcover books, but they're both kind of niche. I'm sure Discworld is beautiful, and what I saw of it in playtest was excellent. But it's Discworld. If you aren't into Discworld, it's not really going to be something you want just because you play GURPS.
Mar Attacks, even more so. I'm interested in it, because I think it's kind of neat. But not enough to pre-order one from a so-called FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store) or a bookstore. I checked my loyalty card for what used to be the most local gaming store to me - one down the block from my MMA school. Last time I went was May 2015. The last time before that was November 2014 (possibly 2013 - when I came in that May they made a point of putting the year on it because we weren't sure.) My FLGS is Amazon.com.
So the conclusion seems to be tha two niche hardbacks didn't sell very well, so GURPS books in general won't sell. It's frustrating. I felt some of that frustration when the call for pre-orders went out; these aren't books I need and I need my money more than books unless they make my immediate game better.
Overall, I'm happy they actually mentioned GURPS in more than in passing. I'm unhappy with the news about the line and the assessment of the line but I am glad to get actual news. I'm glad they'll make sure the DFRPG comes out - I've never had a boxed set with my name in the credits. I'll do what I can to make the DFRPG successful, because DF is the kind of GURPS book I want to how SJG make.