It wasn't too long ago when roleplaying = playing Dungeons and Dragons. That clearly wasn't enough, and was too limiting, and roleplayers everywhere jumped for joy, and bought up different games that came out.
But has it gone too far?
Roleplayers are a very small portion of the population, and the number of games is staggering. What this means is that the gamers are being spread thin over the games.
The results of this are easy to see. Whereas the first edition of AD&D had a relatively small number of books, considering the number of years the game was out for, most games now have dozens of extra source books soon after issue, and a new edition every couple of years.
This is necessary for the game company -- as fewer gamers buy any individual books (as opposed to the 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook, owned by everybody who is old enough to have played the game), the books themselves need to be put out more often at a higher price.
This, in turn, means that the base set of rules that any two players are playing with don't quite match, making it increasingly difficult to play a game with someone new, and creates funny arguments in a forum such as this, where everybody has a different subset of the rules to any given game.
Is the growth rate of the gaming industry too large for the gaming population? Can players continue to pay increasing amounts of money for the same product re-packaged?
Or am I just inventing things, because nobody's making any posts to LJ today?