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  1. #61
    Dracolich (Lvl 29)

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    Jan 2002
    There's some vitriol creeping into some of these posts. Please remember where you are. Disagree politely and address the argument, not the character of the poster.

  2. #62
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

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    Jul 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    A very well written and thoughtful article.

    There are two points that I agree with Mr. Dancey and wanted to highlight:

    1) Dnd's strength lies in the social network of its players. The more unified the player base, ultimately the stronger the RPG market becomes.

    2) MMOs are attracting kids/teenagers before they are hitting RPG age, and so is pulling their attention away from those avenues.

    With those in mind, I see two major issues for the future of DND:

    1) Moving away from the new edition model to generate revenue. Even 2nd edition designers noted the difficulty in selling a new edition without fragmenting the base into 1st and 2nd editioners.

    Each edition has showed an initial period of strong revenue followed by diminishing returns as players buy less and less of the "non-core books".

    A new edition counters this by introducing new core books and results in increased sales, but also generates fragmentation in the industry which hinders long term prospects. Taken to the extreme, it could result in a market where the majority of players play an old "favorite edition", and a new edition is only sellable to a much smaller group, a phenomena that I think we are already starting to see now.

    Ultimately, the business model has to change to prevent that. And I think WOTC answer to that is the DDI. While I don't always agree with how WOTC implements the DDI, I think its a good business direction to take.

    When you look at products like the characters builder and monster builder, players aren't so much buying "product" as they are buying "services". We are buying tools to enhance our RPG experience.

    While I may only pay a single fee for a product, I will pay much longer to maintain a service that I enjoy, which is done correctly provides WOTC a continuing revenue stream without the need to generate constant new product, and ultimately new editions.

    2) DND has to continue to try and market outside of its market. This to me is a two fold process: You have to market to kids before they get into MMOs and other competing products, and you have to market to them in a way that can pull them away from competing products.

    Someone mentioned a new DND video game as a great marketing tool, and I completely agree. As a video game, it hits the MMO style markets, but its just DND enough to perhaps expose them to more traditional roleplaying.

    I think this is DND greatest remaining strength as a brand. Even people who have never played RPGs have at least heard of DND. Used correctly, it might provide the influx of new players the industry needs to grow.

    Now, all of that gives me a bit of hope. But when looked at from a big picture standpoint, this is a TOUGH PROBLEM, one that has not been solved yet. I would like to credit Mr. Dancey for highlighting the problem in a very elegant way.

  3. #63
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

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    Vermont, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Cergorach View Post
    Oh your talking about the 'classic' VTTs and a specific VTT like this:
    RPG Virtual Tabletop

    It's still in beta and I don't know what the development status is for this thing, but it's certainly a extensive product and isn't done in a 'few weeks' by a 'couple developers'. $71.40 a year for DDI subscription (includes more tools and content)

    There's already Fantasy Grounds II out, should work for 4E. Although quite pricey at $150 for the a DM client and unlimited players, but if you use it a lot, more then worth the money.

    There are of course free options, MapTool seems popular and TTopRPG seems promising.

    But I wouldn't call those commercial successes, more like labors of love (except the official 4E version that is still in beta after more then a year). Look at the hourly wage of a freelance programmer, you need a project leader, you need testers and test managers (and I don't mean gamers trying the software in beta), database specialist, graphical designer, servers, folks that act as sysadmins for those servers, etc.

    It's a shame that most of the workable solutions are either dedicated Windows/MacOS clients or require JAVA (like the official 4E app) ack! I would love to see a html5 version that works in most if not all html5 capable browsers.

    As for the basement comment, when I give advice or troubleshoot on some computer or gaming forum, I don't charge a thing. When I give advice or troubleshoot for a paying business I charge $62.50 (excl. VAT) an hour and I'm no programmer (I can program, but not at a speed that would make it a viable profession). I do both in my attic, the same place I'm typing this comment, behind two 30" monitors, connected to a powerful workstation, at my business/hobby desk.

    There's a big difference between a business and a hobby, sometimes folks have a dream and want to build their dream for themselves. Often such small operations burnout after a while, RolePlayingMaster is a good example of this. A program with great potential, but was eventually abandoned by the developer (2001-2006), a shame because I spent a lot of time working with/on it (and the developer) hunting bugs.

    It is of course ridiculous that after 3.5 years after the 4E release the 4E VTT is still in beta, something like that should have been available at launch.
    Yeah, on the subject of VTTs, I do actually run a business writing both client and server applications and web apps for line of business applications. I've also talked a bit with the MapTool people and looked at the source code. It is a huge complex piece of software which has easily consumed quite a few man-years of programming effort. Having played with it I'd say it is still in many ways far from ideal as something you would base a product on. It certainly COULD become that product, but it would require yet more man-years of work. I'd say as a 'back of the envelope' estimate on what something like that would take as a project starting from scratch, probably 10 man-years, which means you're talking something in the 1-2 million range for development. I think this is probably FAR beyond the range of any game company besides possibly WotC, and even then it would be a pretty large investment and I strongly doubt they would be able to pitch that to their management.

    Now, eventually these things might become reasonably inexpensive, say basically if MapTool 2.0 (which will probably take a couple more years to complete) had full plug-in capability and a much improved macro language and other improvements. Even then, running games requires the DM to do a lot of work. I found running 4e on MapTool required 2-3 times more prep work than running at the table. It does get somewhat easier with time, but at a bare minimum you've got to assemble large libraries of artwork, master a complex macro framework, write macros for each new monster, test them, etc. Being able to share with the rest of the community and having a more professionally designed framework, etc could bring that down to a more reasonable level, but it is overall going to be a few more years before we get there.

    However, I think I agree with people who say this COULD eventually be a really serious way forward. I could see a DDI with a REALLY polished VTT, packaged adventures you can run, easy sharing and categorizing of user content, and even features to allow cooperatively developed settings and etc. There could even be 'pay events' or at least special online promo games and whatnot with popular DMs, etc. I think a community like that which was really advanced COULD compete with MMOs etc. There's no way that the sort of generic automated content that exists in MMOs can ever give you the same sort of game that a custom made human DMed game can. There are trade-offs of course, but then if a game like D&D had such a VTT, an MMO, and a CRPG and the ability to move content from one to another, then you start to see a future that would be pretty cool.

    The real question is does anyone actually have the money to make it happen and can they make a good enough business case for it to get it done? Maybe, maybe not. Again, WotC is probably the only organization that is even close to plausibly doing that. Even if they could get the funding one has to ask if they could actually execute. It wouldn't be an easy project, and more projects fail than succeed. We can dream though!

  4. #64

    Many replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cergorach View Post
    What would you designate as an "acquisition engine" besides a starter box?
    The brand team under my leadership from 98-2000 developed a comprehensive plan to bring new players in the hobby. This plan was backed by data we received in consultation with a specialist in child developmental psychology. It had 4 main components.

    The first was a series of simple games for kids 6-8 years old to introduce them to the idea of RPGs. The only game that was ever produced was the Pokemon Jr. Adventure Game, which has the distinction of being the best-selling TRPG of all time (on release).

    The second was a series of games for kids 9-12 years old that were to be based on various popular brands. We had a Pokemon game in development (essentially finished) and a Harry Potter RPG in development (partially finished) before terminating this project due to licensing issues.

    The third was a more traditional boxed introductory product for both D&D and Star Wars. The goal was something that could be sold in mass market toystores, targeted kids 12-14 years of age, and would cost less than $20. The 3rd Edition Intro box was the first of these products, though never got more evolution over time as was intended.

    The fourth were a series of one and two book RPG series linked to popular licenses like Wheel of Time (which got produced) and Dune (which didn't). The plan was to have a very broad, but shallow net of RPGs that we could use to target selected groups of fans with a tailored offering. None of the expected development was done on these products either.

    While we left behind a very detailed 10 year plan for the RPG business, those who followed after our team chose not to use that plan.

    This was in 2000. I would not use this plan now. My plan now would be a series of iOS apps that were interactive and could be used solo as well as in groups. I would never plan on selling these kids physical products but would instead get them into a microtransaction based, repeat purchase model business that would scale with their interest levels and age and eventually lead to a whole ecosystem of RPG products driven via digital technology (not VTT, not MMO).

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeGKushner View Post
    IN terms of collapse of retailers (hell, I thought Borders was finished), where does Amazon fall? How many retail stores is one Amazon worth?
    It's effectively worth nothing in terms of opportunity to grow the market. Every sale earned at Amazon could be earned instead by Wizards if they chose to do more direct marketing (and probably more than that since they'd be doing much more than Amazon does). Amazon is primarily a convenience reseller of hobby gaming products for those who lack other access or who wish to obtain the discounts offered. While Amazon tries mightily to induce you to buy things other than that which brought you to the site in the first place, I strongly doubt that it works well for lines like RPGs. At best, it may induce someone to notice a niche RPG that they were not otherwise aware of and give it a chance, but I can't see many people being shown D&D as an offer and suddenly deciding to buy it without prior intent.

    In terms of volume, it's probably 10-20 quality FLGS worth of product.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeGKushner View Post
    How does that handle things like the DDI with a constant stream of revenue that allows instant data mining on an unprecedented scale for WoTC or the subscription model that Paizo is using with the free PDF for those who subscribe?
    DDI is a great way to monetize D&D fans, especially those who don't intend to buy any physical product. I'm certain that Wizards is reasonably pleased with the income, but I'm also reasonably sure its far less than forecast when it was pitched to Hasbro. Not having DDI up and running with the release of 4e and not directly tying 4e to DDI were both strategic mistakes that I'm sure they recognize and would have addressed if at all possible.

    Paizo's situation is a bit different, since they're not (yet) adding a lot of added value to the books they sell via the subscription process, they're just offering a tremendous amount of convenience and a great community. Still, having that revenue flow direct to the publisher without all the middlemen makes those books vastly more profitable on a per-unit basis than anything Paizo sells through the distribution channels. It's a great system for both buyer and seller and from what I can tell, people really like it. I'm certain Paizo will keep adding bells and whistles so that eventually the value proposition will be very hard to ignore.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFindus View Post
    I am not sure, though, that this was such a wise business decision for WotC back then, because I think it is bad for a company that wants to keep selling stuff in the future to create a product that can go on forever.
    It was already obvious in 1999 that eBay and Craigslist meant that the genie was already out of that bottle. Easy access to 1e and 2e product was going to be a mass-market phenomenon, no matter what Wizards did.

    I believed then, and believe now, that the only thing uniquely valuable in a go-forward basis to Wizards of the Coast is the Dungeons & Dragons brand. Wizards is the only company that can put that brand on a book and sell it. And if managed correctly, that brand alone should allow Wizards to charge a price premium -- even against people selling the exact same content under a (lesser) brand identity.

    The game rules aren't valuable. The brand equity is the value, connected to the huge social network of folks who want to tap that equity.

    Let me give you an example. You could easily make your own cola. You could make it taste exactly like Coke (the "secret recipe" isn't that hard to find, just Google it). You can't sell it in any meaningful commercial volume. The reason isn't the contents inside the can, it's the memories and emotions conjured up by someone drinking something they know as "coke" (which is why the "New Coke" thing failed too - it was too new and didn't trigger those memories and emotions). The ability to use that red & white can and call the product "Coke" or "Coca-Cola" is all the value in the whole product.

    That's what D&D is. And just like New Coke, if you put something in a book and call it D&D, and it doesn't generate those emotions and memories in your target audience, they won't buy it (or at least they won't buy enough of it to hit your sales goals). (Please don't take me as saying 4e is New Coke either -- that's extending this analogy past the point I want to take it.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG View Post
    May I ask how this info was gathered, please?
    (in response to my citation of the number of FLGS left in the North American market).

    Yes, certainly. I was paid by a client while I ran my consulting business to reach out to as many such stores as could be located. To build the necessary database I compiled information from SIC codes and from on-line yellow pages and by doing state by state searches of business licenses. I added in the retail lists I had been keeping for years for my own businesses, as well as contacts screen scraped from many publisher sites. I think GAMA may have distributed a retailer list after one of the GTS shows (but I honestly don't remember at this point). Then I hired an outsourced firm overseas to call all of the phone numbers we were able to generate and we had our outsourcers ask the people who answered a series of simple questions to see if they were brick & mortar stores and if they sold hobby game products beyond just D&D and Magic. Given the time that has passed since that work was performed (more than 5 years) I'm saying the number is likely 750 FLGS +/- 250.

    Quote Originally Posted by _NewbieDM_ View Post
    There is a market out there for kids and rpg's... Parents that roleplay *want* to teach their kids about the hobby and play with them, but complex games with 160 pages worth of rules isn't the way.

    I dont get why the "industry" doesnt see this. Boggles my mind.
    It's hard to write for new players. Most people in the industry have never done it. They write for players assumed to know a lot about RPGs (even when they think they're writing for new players.) They also have never written for kids. Wanna see something interesting? Find a kid who hasn't played many games and ask them to "draw a hand of cards". If there's paper and pencil nearby, you'll likely get a funny illustration. We take so much terminology for granted.

    It's also not career enhancing. For the most part, nobody wins an Orgins award or gets noticed by other publishers for working on intro products. By and large, its the flashy top-end game stuff that builds your industry cred. Most people in the industry, if given the choice, will work on something "fun" rather than an intro box.

    They usually don't make much money. At best, your intro product is going to have a lower margin than your core books. Especially if you sell it in a box, and sell it at a price that's competitive with the other stuff its on the toy store shelves with - like $9.99 Monopoly. At worst, you might actually lose money on each unit, which means that people who don't understand it are likely to cancel it because viewed in isolation, it's a loser.

    Quote Originally Posted by OpsKT View Post
    Much stuff edited for brevity
    Not gonna go into all that in detail - not constructive. Some quick summary responses: The senior leadership at White Wolf decided to transition to the MMO field partly because of what they observed when they did nWoD. That was long before I came to the company. They looked for the best partner, had many offers, and chose the company they felt was the best cultural fit and had the right tech and vision to do what they wanted to accomplish with the World of Darkness MMO.

    "Flight to Quality" isn't something publishers do. It's something consumers do. And it's an emergent behavior, not a planned or scripted thing. It just happens because most people are rational, and in a shrinking market, the rational thing is to go where most of the other people are going. Once it starts, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. In Pathfinder's case, it's well past the starting point.

    You've got a twisted and mistaken idea about the people who make RPGs (D&D, Pathfinder, etc.) if you think they're driven by automatic response to market research and focus groups. By and large they're ad hocing it just like they always have. In fact, I'd bet that by far there's more tension as the market research folks try to convince designers not to do something than there is effort expended trying to get them to do something based on research. It's a hair pulling experience to convince a designer who knows they're right about something that the data shows they aren't.

    By and large these are creative folks (intelligent, creative folks) who are trying their best to make stuff that will sell. They rarely, if ever, make something just because they're told to do it - and even when they do, they usually have enough pride in their work to try and make it awesome. Behind 99.99% of every RPG product you've ever purchased is one or more people who had a burning passion about the product and got it through all stages of approvals and development before it landed on your bookshelf.

    Quote Originally Posted by OpsKT View Post
    Perhaps you have forgotten things like White Wolf's poor taste attempt to market Exalted 2nd edition with the 'Graduate your Game' promotion, done during Mr. Dancey's time at White Wolf/CCP no less?
    Fair enough - it was done by my marketing department. It's only fair that I take the shot for it. It was in bad taste, I wish it hadn't been done, and if I had the chance to do it over again, I'd have intervened to stop it if I had the chance to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    The one thing that OGL supporters have never been able to answer though is how you can have a 4e OGL and a DDI subscription base exist side by side.
    What? That's easy!

    The DDI should not be a hypertext version of the rules. That should be free anyway. DDI should be tools to help you manage your game and your characters. It should be editorial content to help you enjoy your game session more. It should be lore and backstory for campaign settings. It should be a library of content not published in books that you can access for a small fee - stuff that's got too small an audience to be worth printing, but that YOU might find really helpful (like for example a few dozen more Fey creatures).

    DDI should also be a community organizing tool that helps you find groups, form groups, and gather groups into larger groups so that folks have a sense of a real-world social network.

    DDI should also be a place for playtesting and feedback, where the designers can get immediate and real-world input on the work they're doing.

    And obviously it should be a portal to content: All the content that TSR/Wizards has ever published (and that they have rights to) should be available for a reasonable fee.

    Why can't I browse a list of monsters (thousands and thousands), select any number I wish, and have a POD version of a Monster Manual custom built to my specifications sent to me (electronically or in print)? Why can't I build my own spell books for my campaign from a list of spells (thousands and thousands) and do the same?

    Wizards has all the data necessary to enable a whole new way of formatting the game - customized directly for YOU, as opposed to generically. DDI could be the portal to that.

    The material released as Open Game Content is just the tip of the iceberg of value that Wizards controls.

  5. #65
    Superhero (Lvl 15)

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    Dec 2007
    not sure if this will add anything, but just a thought....

    I completely credit the Dragonlance novels with getting me into roleplaying games. At the time, I had no concept of what D&D or rpgs were. At the time, I was a kid who saw some cool looking books on a teacher's shelf. I asked to borrow them and loved them. At the back of the book I found an advertisement for D&D.

    Unfortunately, I never did get to buy D&D (I think it would have been 2nd edition at the time) because the same day I saved enough money from mowing lawns and doing choirs to buy the game was the same day Toys'R'Us told me they could no longer carry D&D due to complaints from parents. It would be years later when I played Rifts as my first rpg experience, and a year or so after that until I played D&D for the first time, but the fact is that I would have never made any effort to seek the game out had it not been for those books sparking my interest.

    While the mediums may have changed, I think there are still probably kids somewhere today who have seen a book or a tv show or something else and have their interests sparked. I wouldn't be surprised to find there are people playing WoW thinking,"wouldn't it be cool if there was more to the game than DPS, raids, and collecting squirrel skins?" There might be someone playing Skyrim for the first time and being amazed at how in depth you can get involved with the world and some of the customization options to make your character your own; enjoying a non-linear experience.

    As I've said elsewhere, I believe society as a whole today is more open to rpg elements than they have been in a long time. Many modern video games have character customization utilities, Facebook has plenty of games based around the idea of building your own unique farm or virtual apartment; things such as Harry Potter, the movies based on Tolkien's works, and the plethora of comic book movies are fresh in the collective minds of the world we live in. Story telling is one of the oldest human traditions; even cave men painted on walls and told stories around the camp fire.

    So why is the industry doomed? I don't understand the mindset of the industry and the hobby dying. Not only does the rpg hobby hold dear some of the ideals which one of humanity's oldest traditions is based around, but it also has ties to many of the forms of entertainment which are popular today. I think too often we fall into the mindset of being afraid to introduce people to the game because we think others will find it strange or call us dorks or whatever. You'd be surprised how open people are to playing if approached the right way.

    Likewise, I see a lot of posts which seem to indicate new players having an inability to understand things. I myself at times buy into the idea of certain games being too complex. However, I find myself being proven wrong quite often when I do buy into the idea. I was pretty surprised to find that my 3 old (he'll be 4 in February) has a pretty good idea about how the games I play work from watching when I have people over to game.

    He's still learning to count and read, so -obviously- he does not have the understanding that would come with reading the books and being able to do some of the more complex math, but, at the same time, I was amazed at how well he understood the concept of what a rpg was. His terminology is different than what mine is due to his age, but he seems to get it. (After he had shown interest, I have used dice and other game related things to help teach him to count and do some basic math.)

    I'm not really sure where I was going with any of this. I suppose part of what I'm getting at is the rpg community seems to want to attract people to the hobby so as to maintain the health of the hobby. However, quite often, I find that we create assumptions and/or barriers to keep people away.

    I'm still not quite sure what my point with the books was though. I guess that I was introduced to D&D and rpgs in a way that did not require me being in a game store, and in a way which did not require me to already be part of the target audience. That was at a time when society was actively trying to ban the game. Today, there are indications that society has embraced some of the concepts of rpgs and the immersive entertainment experience. So why does it seem as though there's such a willingness to throw in the towel now?

    I don't buy the doomsday scenario. If it happens, I do not believe it will be because the market is not there. I believe it will be because of the currently established industry leaders not engaging the market with enough proficiency to survive.

  6. #66
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    Jan 2002
    Decatur, GA
    Excellent stuff, Mr. Dancey. You have plenty of ideas that I think ought to be tried. But if the will does exist to try it, does WotC have the money and manpower?

  7. #67
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

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    Quote Originally Posted by kunadam View Post
    GregoryOatmeal I will check out HeroQuest, albeit it is a boardgame.

    I'm searching for an RPG where my daughter can play a princess, or my son a mechanic that can fix any car. Or they can be both bay dragons who are looking for a magical fruit. Whatever can be the basis of a good story. And it don't have to involve combat or slaying of monsters.
    It is technically a board game and features no rping, but if you've played RPGs it's really intuitive to use dungeon tiles/gaming mats/incorporate miniatures/have NPCs and monsters negotiate and talk with the PCs. So while it technically includes a board I just threw it out and played it like D&D. It would probably be really hard to play without some form of minis and a grid.

    I can't help you with a game for being a mechanic or a princess...best of luck to you.

  8. #68
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)

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    Quote Originally Posted by _NewbieDM_ View Post
    You know, if the rpg industry is having troubles getting newer players, well, i blame them for it. How many are truly trying to cater to kids, for example? Not many, if any.
    There is clearly a demographic of parents bringing up their kids on D&D, but it is relatively new. Gen Con has been catering to it for two years (with their Kids Alley or whatever they call it in the dealer's room, as well as programming) and you can see the success. You also see schools bringing scores of kids in for mini painting competitions outside Sagamore, parents in Sagamore doing learn to play, D&D board games, and Red Box.

    But, realistically, it is because there is very little experience with selling to young children. You also have the 80's mothers against D&D issue that highlights how there can be legal ramifications if you get it wrong. The column by Uri that was canceled is further indication of the cost of getting it wrong. Rpgkids is great (it really is!), but to fully publish a D&D for kids by a major company... that takes planning and resources that takes away from other areas. Worth it? I think so, but it isn't a no-brainer... there really are issues to consider and reasons to focus on a slightly less young demographic.

    Along those lines, Encounters has done very well with kids that are 9 and up. I've seen real success there from the program by being accessible to all casual players. They don't lose anything (other than the hardcore, but the program isn't for them) and aren't just creating something for kids. Again, I'm all for D&D for kids (I created a version myself), but there are valid reasons for WotC and other RPGs to be cautious and aim for older players.

    All of that said, I disagree with Ryan Dancey that our demographic is forever aging. I felt that way back in 2008, but 4E really has brought in diversity. I see much greater gender and age diversity at tables. I also see much more recognition. These are geek times and we are in a great position to bring increasingly young audiences to D&D. Sure, MMOs are huge, but both parents and kids want other alternatives. I question the idea that we have to abandon or shrink the tabletop, especially in an era where board games have recently been strong. Yes, there are challenges, but there are many reasons why RPGs can grow.
    Last edited by Alphastream; Monday, 2nd January, 2012 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Clarification about RPGKids, that I really dig it.

  9. #69
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

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    I believed then, and believe now, that the only thing uniquely valuable in a go-forward basis to Wizards of the Coast is the Dungeons & Dragons brand. Wizards is the only company that can put that brand on a book and sell it. And if managed correctly, that brand alone should allow Wizards to charge a price premium -- even against people selling the exact same content under a (lesser) brand identity.

    The game rules aren't valuable. The brand equity is the value, connected to the huge social network of folks who want to tap that equity.
    I disagree. Take for example your Coke idea...well another company DOES sell coke products and has been rather successful...even with Coca Cola still the best selling drink out there. Pepsi does pretty darn well...and though Americans and a few others will swear about the difference of taste between Pepsi and Cola (and there are slight differences) to those who don't drink them regularly...they sure taste very similar. The same could go for differences between Mug rootbeer, A&W Rootbeer, or Big K rootbeer. How about Sprite and 7-Up.

    Entertainment has this all the time. Think about how movie studios copy each other...many times you can see a movie and say...Hey, this is simply a rip off of another movie!

    Sometimes they are competing and the one who has the ripoff brings the movie to the theater sooner then the original, other times the themes of movies are so similar as to be apparant that they are copies of the same theme though different characters and movies (Dante's peak/Volcano, Armageddon/Deep Impact, Rocky/Real Steel).

    In electronics this gets even more nefarious...unless you are an expert into certain electronics...how big are the actual differences in two flat screen T.V.'s with the apparant same additions and conveniences, but two different brands going to appear to you?

    Take Video games as another...how big is the difference between Battlefield 3 for Xbox 360 and Battlefield 3 for Playstation 3?

    People buy rebranding all the time with RPGs in electronica...a recent one that comes to mind would be the Wizardry series...though it has a similar release on the Nintendo DS as Etrian Odyssey and PSP as Class of Heroes. All different games but VERY reminescent of the original.

    Even better, some products (like furniture and sometimes food items) really ARE the same product as predecessors of another brand in some cases, but not by the same company.

    The first problem WotC made I think was tossing away the entire heritage in favor of their OWN game.

    Brand isn't all there is too it. By tossing the older AD&D and releasing WotC's D20 version of D&D, they set a precedence of being able to do away with an old rule system and replace it with something different.

    This was basically almost exactly the same model followed by WotC/Hasbro with the release of 4e. Those who didn't like it need only see the example set less then a decade prior with 3e.

    Of course they didn't have Mr. Dancy (and some particularly notable allies in key places) to keep the manianical money grubbers back, so instead of the OGL and some other items that helped with 3e, it was released to a much starker and sterner control of the system when 4e was released (seen soon after with the taking back of PDFs, the GSL which was a miracle it even saw the light of day, and followed up with the ensuring of the online only DDi).

    At the same time you have the rise of the Retro movement which if they weren't all fighting over the same scraps (D&D and AD&D, even different editions of 1e and 2e AD&D, and multiple D&D editions...were HIGHLY compatible with each other and in that effect could be seen as basically the same game/same audience) probably could be doing some pretty serious financials.

    As it is, most of those financials are hidden as a majority of those transactions and downloads are from ONLINE rather than a more measurable hardcopy offline.

    So I think that in fact, if given a single solitary player that released all of the AD&D/D&D materials from 2e on back...that they COULD be successful.

    In fact, in direct relation to WotC...look at Paizo now...and in effect that's exactly what they are doing with the 3.X game....just with their revision of it.

    Game rules ARE important...and it's not necessarily the brand.

    IMO of course.

    PS: Then again...as long as the business makes money...that's probably whats important in the end.

  10. #70
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    ...if only people educated themselves BEFORE they formed their opinion.
    That's not an attack on you, MR. Oatmeal....but an attack on the phenomenon of "I disagree...therefore it must be so!"
    The only thing I disagreed with was your statement that Pathfinder wouldn't exist. My experiences suggested PF would exist and be doing pretty well (albeit not as well) if 4E supported all of the old settings. But we really can't do much more than speculate.

    "Why doesn't DL/RL material exist for PF?" was a question, not an opinion. Why did you think I was presenting my question trying to obtain information I clearly didn't know as something I was right about? I had no idea WOTC reacquired those brands - I just kept seeing third party logos on those old books and people around me kept saying third parties owned them. I'm not inclined to research facts I don't know that I don't know. And even then if you google "WOTC acquires Dragonlance brand" or "Ravenloft intellectual property owners" you still don't get any press releases or definitive answers, so frankly that's some pretty obscure information to expect someone to know.

    And I know WOTC published some Ravenloft stuff...I was incorrectly told they had a limited license to utilize a few aspects of Dragonlance and recreations of the original Ravenloft module.

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