Been thinking about this issue lately, what has happened to Yu-Gi-Oh! in Singapore that allowed Vanguard players to exceed the number of Yu-Gi-Oh! players?
Actually, it doesn't take a genius to figure this out but I still feel like pointing out the factors that contributed to this problem.
First and foremost, advertisment issues. Bushiroad has been promoting Vanguard tremendously, MRTs, buses etc. The younger generation will tend to look out for these advertisments because it looks outstanding amongst the other advertisments that look boring to them. And as we know, parents dote on their children a lot nowadays, and with a few constant whining, Vanguard gets a large number of young players. Yu-Gi-Oh! on the other hand, has become relatively unknown to new entrants of the card gaming society because there are no indications of the existence of this card game to the younger players.
Secondly, the anime. Well, I'm not saying that the Vanguard anime is better than the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, in fact, I still find the storyline of Yu-Gi-Oh! much better than that of Vanguard (although it has recently became rather ridiculous in Zexal). The main issue with the anime is that Vanguard is now showing on TV here, which appeals to the younger generation. They watch the anime, and majority of them will be inclined to try out the card game themselves IRL. Furthermore, the anime itself teaches them how to play the game, which makes it easier for them to play amongst their friends, enabling them to sustain their interest in this game. Yu-Gi-Oh! anime has not been showing on Singapore TV for quite a number of years now, and I feel that without the anime, the card game itself does not have the ability to draw in new players.
Thirdly, booster packs. A common trend in card game players is that if they start at a young age, they tend to play the english language of the game first. Then, when the years passed, and they still play the game, then they will be more likely to cross over to the language that is official for the region (i.e japanese language). And as we know, Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG packs are twice as costly as their OCG counterparts, while Vanguard english packs, on the other hand, cost the same as their Japanese counterpart. Although Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG packs has more cards in it, honestly, it doesn't matter much to the younger generation because they will always see it as buying one Yu-Gi-Oh! pack cost as much as buying two Vanguard packs, double the chance of them pulling the RRR and SP that they desire.
That is why when CRMS-AE was released, I thought it was a good way of pulling the younger players back into the game again, because the packs cost the same as OCG packs and the cards are actually legal for tournament use. However, apparently, the plan to bring back AE cards was abolished and in my opinion, its a great loss because it deters younger players from joining this game permanently and they will move on to other card games.
Fourthly, public events. I remember a couple of months ago, there was a Vanguard centre set up at plaza singapura that lasted for about a week. I thought that was actually pretty good as having a public event that teaches new players how to play the card game actually pulls more players into the game. Definitely when children goes to shopping mall with their parents, this will be the kind of things that capture their atttention, and playing the same game at the demo centre with other kids of similar ages is going to help sustain their interest. Yu-Gi-Oh!, on the other hand has not have any public events for quite a couple of years now. The last one I remembered was 8 years ago which was organised by Co-Co! magazine. Other than that, public events for Yu-Gi-Oh! has ceased to occur over the years.
Fifthly, tournament restrictions. As we all know, joining a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament requires the player to have a duelist ID as well as using OCG-only cards (in Singapore). With these conditions in place, many young players are just not willing to go through the hassle for it. Although a duelist ID can be easily applied through convenient methods, it will always be extra effort + a waste of time to new entrants. Language as stated above, is also a detrimental factor. Two weeks ago, there was a Vanguard tournament at a local shopping mall (I forgot which shopping mall it is), and apart from the lack of conditions of joining unlike Yu-Gi-Oh!, the venue itself is helpful to luring new players to join as discussed above in public events. For Yu-Gi-Oh! the tournaments over these last couple of years seem to be isolating itself from the public (SMU, Scape warehouse etc) These venues, though cheap to rent, isn't attracting the attention of younger players like Vanguard does.
Although the lessening of new players to Yu-Gi-Oh! isn't affecting the game right now, lets not forget that a card game survives by its younger players playing the game continously till they grow older, and then younger players coming in again, in a cycle form. Card games like MTG is dimishing in popularity now because only the older players are playing right now, you don't see a lot of new entrants into this game, as the years pass, when the older players stop playing as well, and there are no new young players to replace them, the game is as good as dead. If Yu-Gi-Oh! continously fail to attract new players, I'm afraid that the same situation as MTG might also occur for Yu-Gi-Oh!