Do I think solo will sink back into obscurity? No I don’t.
Do I think the sector will continue to grow at the rate it is? Probably not.
How fast is the sector growing is a good question. If we take DriveThruRPG and Itch as a snapshot of the solo world, both have really strong solo offerings. Itch has its feet firmly in the video game community and solo play is incredibly common in video games. Itch also feels like the spiritual home of the journaling game, it is certainly the place I would go to look for one, and the only place I have ever released any.
DriveThruRPG feels more traditional but even they ran a solo/duo sale in 2020, and a strange kind of solo/duo event this year (think of it as a sale but only discounting old titles, nothing new). There have been a fistful of solo Deals of the Day, mostly ran by me, but Motif was one, and I am sure I remember another non-me solo deal of the day as well.
It is a pity that the solo titles are burried several levels down in their catalogue, you need to look for Non-core books, then Adventures and then Solo/Gamebooks. This is not the most logical place to look for solo tools.
The biggest brand ambassador for solo is Shawn Tomkin. Ironsworn is massive, Delve was very successful and he current kickstarter, Ironsworn: Starforged, is a great success. I have backed it and I don’t even play Ironsworn.
Shawn’s titles have been hugely successful before the pandemic and by the very nature of success breeding success, or brand awareness breeding success, Starforged is almost guaranteed to be a winner.
The second-biggest name in the solo world has to be Tana Pigeon. Tana is Word Mill Press, publisher of Mythic. Mythic 2nd Edition is on the horizon and I understand that it is eagerly awaited. There is also the new Mythic Magazine. This is funded by Tana’s very successful Patreon.
Then you have ‘the rest’. This includes me, Ken Wickham, and systems like Motif. Between us I think we release 10+ titles a month. This is putting solo titles all over the homepage of DTRPG and Itch, several times a week. We are earning enough to run deals of the day, and we regularly feature on the DTRPG site-wide sales and individual sales. Everything we do raises the profile of solo. Much of this will be ignored, but I am sure that new people discover solo every day.
I think the solo audience is growing, and familiarity with the concept is growing even faster.
I think solo is definitely here to stay.