Catalyst Game Labs > Errata

Updating The Books?

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Iím new to Shadowrun. Iíve been playing a few months. I purchased several PDFs. I downloaded the PDF that claimed to be the errata that is almost 5 years old. I use the books I have to make characters and play the game. It bothered me a lot to discover there is a tremendous amount of core book errataólargely over a year oldóthat exists only here in forum posts. Why donít the developers spend the resources to at least make updates to the PDFs that are sold so people playing the game can have them available. Forum posts are fine for short term posting of errata but they shouldnít be the long term solution.

I donít work for CGL and wonít pretend to have any first-hand knowledge of their business, but having worked in or around similar industries (and having been a roleplaying hobbyist for decades) I think I can make an educated guess: Thereís just no money in it.

Margins in the publishing industry are thin, margins in the specialty genre industry are razor thin, and margins in the roleplaying hobby are monomolecular.

Updating the book (even the PDFs) isnít as always as simple as doing a cut-n-paste for an errant word or a misplaced comma. Adding a sentence or three to clarify a rule could bump half a paragraph onto the next page. That will bump a chart onto a new page, which means you need to move some art... And so forth. It all snowballs quite quickly and youíll need to re-layout the whole book. Sure, itís not as long a process as the original layout, but itís not nothing.

And the people doing it will want to be paid: They got rent to pay, cats to feed, and children who need their HMHVV vaccinations.

CGLís time and financial resources are finite, they get much better return if they spend them developing new products versus revamping old ones.

I agree its annoying, but Ajax is probably pretty close to the mark.

I did some research into Catalyst and In Media Res (their parent company) a few years ago. Contrary to what many people seem to think, they are a TINY company!

Due to the fact they are an LLC and not publicly traded, there is a limit to what I could find, but everything I found point to a company with MAYBE a half dozen employees.
Most of the books are created (written) by a team of freelancers (which means they are not actually employees, but people paid on contract for services rendered... which errata and product support would not be part of)

As much as I love SR, and role playing games in general, we have to admit its a small industry with small returns, and that doesn't leave the resources for all the things we would love to have, like constant updated errata.

I know that updating the actual book isnít always easy, but the errata PDF hasnít been touched since 2014. To me that level of neglect sends the message ďwe donít care.Ē


--- Quote from: Werlynn on ---I know that updating the actual book isnít always easy, but the errata PDF hasnít been touched since 2014. To me that level of neglect sends the message ďwe donít care.Ē

--- End quote ---

I have two theories for why CGL might not have updated the Errata document in that time. Neither of these is official, just educated guesswork...

First, it might not be that CGL doesn't care so much as the player base that doesn't. I know, I know, if you're reader/commenter  on these or other Shadowrun-related online communities, regularly play at Missions events, and are otherwise "active" in the hobby it seems like Errata is very important and much in demand... But, well, here's the thing: players like that are a minority of the actual customer base. For every hardcore nerd that's here on the official forum, there's twenty that don't even know there's a forum. For every supplicant geek who makes the Holy Pilgrimage to play D&D GenCon, there's a thousand that wouldn't dream of going to Indianapolis. For every neckbeard that's exploded into NERDRAEG! during your FLGS's Friday Night Magic night, there's ten-thousand ten year olds who bought a Magic the Gathering starter set at Wal-Mart and enjoy fireball'ing their brother's tree-men.

In short, Errata ain't all that important for a large swathe of the people buying Shadowrun books. If they even notice the errors, they just shrug and let their GM make up a ruling.

Now, my second theory is far more speculative and far more unsubstantiated. This is where I move from "educated guess" to "wild ass speculation," but not completely without merit... I think that a Shadowrun Sixth Edition is in the works and due for release sometime before the end of 2020. Sound crazy, I know, but hear me out: the average lifespan of any edition for most roleplaying games is five or six years. SR5 was released in 2013 and is getting a little long in the tooth.

Shadowrun: First Edition, 3 years; Second Edition, 6 years; Third Edition, 7 years; Fourth Edition, 7 years; Fifth Edition, 6 years and counting...
(Advanced) Dungeons & Dragons: Original Edition, 3 years; AD&D First Edition, 3 years; AD&D Second Edition, 11 years; Third Edition (3.0 and 3.5), 8 years; Fourth Edition, 6 years; Fifth Edition, 5 years and counting...
Warhammer Fantasy Battle First Edition, 1 year; Second Edition, 3 years; Third Edition, 4 years; Fourth Edition, 4 years; Fifth Edition, 4 years; Sixth Edition, 6 years; Seventh Edition, 4 years; Eighth Edition, 5 years; Age of Sigmar First Edition, 3 years; AoS Second Edition, 2 years and counting...
Pathfinder First Edition, 9 years; Second Edition, 1 year and counting...


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