A lot is being made of whether or not the OSR is having any kind of economic impact on the industry as a whole. Many think it to be a niche market in a niche market. That the majors are where all the purchasing is going on and that the OSR has no financial future.
I will submit only one comment on that statement:
Do you think that Wizards would take the time and effort to issue what they have described as a 'retro' product, placed that product in a red box and put the original cover to that red box on its front if they didn't feel they were losing market share to the OSR and independent gaming in general?
Each OSR publisher on its own may be only selling a few hundred copies of any given item, but add all that up and you find numbers that are enough to scare the CEO in his sleep.
Keep in mind the heyday of selling 150,000 units are long past in the industry. Now 5,000-15,000 is more realistic. And added together the OSR / Independent scene starts to look awfully close in the rear view mirror.
The OSR represents the hydra to me. There are many games, using different systems to accomplish the same thing-to bring back a form of gaming that doesn't feel like you have signed up for a calculus class that plays like wargame light.
Don't get me wrong. I have no burning desire to destroy any particular version of any game. But when I think role playing I think AD&D. That was my game and the one played the most with my friends. Sure, some Ringworld and Twilight:2000 and others slipped in. But it was AD&D where we spent our time, money and imaginations. It's different for everyone, but it unites a seemingly disconnected group.
Myself, I'm becoming a bigger Microlite fan by the day. The sheer variety of materials and what can be done with it is astonishing. Look at a M20 compilation sometime and see what I mean. And the system isn't foreign to younger players while allowing the flexibility to create anything for the older players. 2 pages of basic rules. Now THAT is tight design. A fully fleshed out game built on the system can easily fit in 32 pages and that includes everything and details. That's impressive. Others are doing fine work too and I look forward to spotlighting all of the work over at The Dragon's Eye as I wind my way through the multi-layered path of Old School and OSR gaming.
So pick a rule set, grab some dice, a few friends and have fun. Because if you're not having fun you're not doing it right. :)