TTRPGs and Board Games are currently growing in popularity, and AR/VR is a rapidly expanding and developing market. Both of these markets have surprisingly little overlap, but they seem built for each other. I believe that Project Familiar can bridge the gap between the two.
Project Familiar falls into both the Board Game market and the AR/VR Development market. The Board Game market is expected to grow to a size of $12B by 2023. The AR/VR market was worth $8.9B in 2018, and is projected to be worth $160B by 2023.
Some major players in the Board Games market include:
Wizards of the Coast is a giant in tabletop and card games, being the developers of both D&D and Magic the Gathering. D&D is the most popular TTRPG on the market right now, and Wizards is constantly pumping out new content for it, having just released an adventure module, Descent into Avernus, yesterday (9/17/19) and with the next release, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, due out on November 19th.
Wizards of the Coast is estimated to be worth $313.3M with 930 employees.
Games Workshop is a British developer of tabletop and board games, best known for developing and publishing the Warhammer franchise of tabletop war games. They also sell miniatures and miniature paint for players who want to really get into it.
Paizo is an American publishing company known for publishing homebrew content for D&D, as well as their own spinoff TTRPG, Pathfinder. Pathfinder is a spin-off of the revised D&D 3rd Edition by Wizards, and just released its second edition in August 2019.
Paizo is estimated to be worth $9.5M and has 99 employees.
In the AR/VR market, we have:
Google, one of the largest tech firms in the world, is also known for their contributions to AR/VR. Google developed Google Play Services for AR (formerly ARCore), a highly-used AR API available on both Android and iOS that is known for its motion tracking and environmental understanding.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., earned $136.82B in 2018, and employs over 103,000 employees.
Apple, the largest tech firm in the world, provides a good mirror to Google in the AR space. Apple developed the ARKit API exclusively for iOS, offering similar functionality as ARCore but often with improved results thanks to fixed hardware specs.
Most of my main competition falls primarily into the Board Game industry, so I specifically went with apps and software that attempt to digitize aspects of TTRPGs.
D&D Beyond by Fandom, Inc.
D&D Beyond is the official D&D 5th Edition companion app, produced by Fandom, Inc. D&D Beyond carries digital versions of every official D&D book release, as well as offers digital characters sheets and the ability to home brew content. They also allow for a dungeon master to administer their party entirely digital, granting them access to everyone’s character sheets. While D&D Beyond is certainly convenient, it does not, however, do much to actively assist play mid-game, and has no AR components.
Game Master 5th Edition by Lion’s Den
Another D&D 5th Edition companion app, Game Master 5th Edition is an unofficial app that contains a combat tracker for mid-game assistance as well as a dice roller, a compendium of freely-available content, and several tools for dungeon masters. Again, though, it lacks much to speed up the grindier aspects of combat besides state tracking, and has no AR components.
Table Top AR by Southern Transatlantic Gaming
Table Top AR is a marker-based AR app that allows the user to print out markers and augment them with models of environments and monsters. While this is a neat tool for visualization and may help with immersion in some cases, it offers few tools that assist in running the game in other ways.
Tabletop Simulator by Berserk Games
Tabletop Simulator is a popular sandbox game set on a digital tabletop. While it is not specifically meant for TTRPGs, Tabletop Simulator works well for it, allowing players who aren’t physically near each other to engage in games that otherwise require players to be in the same room. Tabletop also has VR functionality, allowing players to experience improved immersion. However, Tabletop is a generalist platform, being able to be used for something like coloring on a table in VR instead of TTRPGs as well, and while it recreates physical systems in a digital environment, it doesn’t recreate the same feeling when you use them, meaning some of that is lost.
Roll20 by The Orr Group
Roll20 is a digital tabletop platform available with free aspects. It features character sheets, dice rolling, DM tools, a shared map, and a compendium of free content for D&D and other TTRPGs. Roll20 also features voice and video chat, which helps fix the proximity issue to some extent. However, it’s an entirely 2D platform that almost completely loses the tangibility or physicality of playing these games in real life, and has no AR aspects.