4E WotC, DDI, 4E, and Hasbro: Some History - Page 5
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  1. #41
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    WotC has the computer game licence again. I wonder what they can do with that.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kzach View Post
    This has been the strategy used by TSR and WotC since D&D's inception. Do you honestly believe that 1e didn't have a board of directors saying, "We must earn X amount of money in Y amount of time,"?
    Actually, yes.

    TSR was a pretty badly run business, running into serious problems on at least two occasions. The first of these was the mid-80s, due to some truly mind-bogglingly bad acquisitions. The result of that was the rushed production of some products, notably "Unearthed Arcana". The second time, of course, was the tail end of 2nd Edition, and we all know how that turned out.

    Basically, the guys at TSR were pretty good at that 'game' stuff, but they sucked at the 'business' side.

    So, yeah, there's a distinct possibility that there wasn't anyone doing the "$X by date Y" calculation. Not that that's a good thing, of course.

    It seems to me that people operate on this romantic notion that D&D existed in a vacuum, untouched by corporate realities until the big, bad, meanie-heads at Hasbro summoned the Dark Forces of Accounting & Liability to destroy the dreams and ambitions of True Geeks everywhere.
    For me, the problem is not that Hasbro have somehow set out to kill D&D. Of course they haven't - they just don't care.

    But the problem is that Hasbro have certain requirements of their brands (the $50M number), or they're just not worth their while. And they essentially never release IP once they own it, even though the only reason they own D&D is that WotC owned it (basically, "buy two CCGs, and get an RPG free!").

    The problem is that D&D can't make those numbers. And so, sooner or later, it's going to get killed. Not because it's not profitable, and not because it's a bad product, but because the giant just doesn't care.

    The 4e designers talked about "fixing the math". Sadly, it looks like the math had a big brother, and doesn't believe in level-appropriate challenges.

  3. #43
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    What I find really weird about this plan is that if I was in charge of making my game into a U$50M brand, I wouldn't start by alienating a huge part of my current market share through a new edition dramatically different from the one being played at the time. A new edition? Sure, you have to sell core books and maybe grab those who lost their faith in the game, but I wouldn't trade the safety of a revised game for the uncertainty of one built from the ground with other premises. If Paizo did show us something, is that there was still some good money to be made with 3E D&D.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Kzach View Post
    Do you honestly believe that 1e didn't have a board of directors saying, "We must earn X amount of money in Y amount of time,"?
    My feeling is that whatever business goals they had were set by company insiders and were reasonable, as opposed to being imposed by an external force that isn't especially interested in D&D. There's a difference.

    It's also important that those goals be used for post hoc analysis, not to drive everyday work. Some retail outlets set hard quotas for individual sales and fire low performers. Others pay by comission. Others track individual sales, and give bonuses to high performers but don't penalize the low ones except maybe for extra training.

    Having worked under various conditions like that, I know that performance depends on how much the workers care about it. In some businesses, no one cares and you have to pay them by performance to incentivize them to work. In other businesses, people do care, and that kind of pay structure or hard goal creates unwarranted stress and pressure and reduces performance.

    D&D is one of the latter. People in rpgs are usually pretty passionate about them.
    Quote Originally Posted by delericho
    TSR was a pretty badly run business, running into serious problems on at least two occasions. The first of these was the mid-80s, due to some truly mind-bogglingly bad acquisitions. The result of that was the rushed production of some products, notably "Unearthed Arcana". The second time, of course, was the tail end of 2nd Edition, and we all know how that turned out.

    Basically, the guys at TSR were pretty good at that 'game' stuff, but they sucked at the 'business' side.

    So, yeah, there's a distinct possibility that there wasn't anyone doing the " by date Y" calculation. Not that that's a good thing, of course.
    That's true. Wizards, on the other hand, was arguably very good at the business stuff-for a while.

    D&D was ALWAYS a business. And the facts of the matter are that D&D has NEVER been bigger than it is RIGHT NOW. Whether that translates into financial success is another matter entirely. I know that doesn't fit with the dreamy unreality of Real Roleplayers, but at some point everyone has to join the real world.
    Even big business can still be conducted well or conducted poorly. Good business involves setting realistic goals based on previous experience and creating high-quality work to meet them, as opposed to setting unrealistic goals and trying to find any means necessary to achieve them.

    For me, the problem is not that Hasbro have somehow set out to kill D&D. Of course they haven't - they just don't care.
    And this is what I was getting it. TSR cared about D&D both because the people did and because it was how they made money. They may not have always been competent, but they cared. Wizards cared. Paizo cared. Hasbro doesn't. Thus the effects of Hasbro are striking.
    Last edited by Ahnehnois; Friday, 6th January, 2012 at 04:08 PM.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giltonio_Santos View Post
    What I find really weird about this plan is that if I was in charge of making my game into a U$50M brand, I wouldn't start by alienating a huge part of my current market share through a new edition dramatically different from the one being played at the time.
    I would most certainly have gone for a significantly different new edition. I applauded their decision to take the game apart, fix what was broken, and then build up from a new foundation. Despite not liking the 4e that we have, I still believe that that was the right way to go.

    But I sure as hell would have marketed it very differently. (I also wouldn't have pulled the magazine license in-house, and would have worked very hard to keep Paizo, in particular, on-side. Plus, I wouldn't have walked away from the OGL.) IMO, it was that marketing, plus the ready availability of an alternative, that did most of the work of alienating people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    That's true. Wizards, on the other hand, was arguably very good at the business stuff-for a while.
    They probably still are. Remove that absurd $50M requirement, and I bet D&D under Wizards would thrive. But working under that requirement is killing them.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagabundo View Post
    WotC has the computer game licence again. I wonder what they can do with that.
    If it's true that they do not get credit from Hasbro for licensing, there's no real drive to do so unless they think it will drive book sales.

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by delericho View Post
    They probably still are. Remove that absurd $50M requirement, and I bet D&D under Wizards would thrive. But working under that requirement is killing them.
    That may be true, though I think Mr. Dancey has a good point about the rise of MMO's, which have also created a serious external problem for WotC.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talaeden_Denthiir View Post
    I believe u DB, and here's why:

    even 'stickers' u could bake in the oven, what were those things called? Pretty much everything that could have the D&d name on it back then did, and it sold like hotcakes!
    Shrinky Dinks I believe. The 80's were great for D&D branding. Seems like a missed opportunity perhaps for a toy company. Maybe we will see a bit of that kind of marketing going forward.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    That may be true, though I think Mr. Dancey has a good point about the rise of MMO's, which have also created a serious external problem for WotC.
    As a WoW player myself, I'm inclined to disagree. From the point of view of roleplayers willing to bring new blood to the hobby, MMOs can be seen either as enemies or allies, and everybody seems to be seeing them as enemies nowadays, which I believe is a terrible mistake.

    Take WoW for an example, with its 10.3 million subscribers. That is just a lot of people learning about and playing a fantasy game. From my own experience, people don't stop playing D&D because there is WoW (I do know some who play WoW for their fantasy gaming fix because there's no D&D group available, but that's a different thing), but they do start playing D&D because their friends on WoW are doing it.

    If I was working on the industry, I wouldn't be losing my sleep thinking of ways to take people from MMOs to TRPG, but in ways to make MMO players who are also TRPG players assume the acquisition, because they have everything in hand to make the difference.

    Cheers,

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Giltonio_Santos View Post
    As a WoW player myself, I'm inclined to disagree. From the point of view of roleplayers willing to bring new blood to the hobby, MMOs can be seen either as enemies or allies, and everybody seems to be seeing them as enemies nowadays, which I believe is a terrible mistake.

    Take WoW for an example, with its 10.3 million subscribers. That is just a lot of people learning about and playing a fantasy game. From my own experience, people don't stop playing D&D because there is WoW (I do know some who play WoW for their fantasy gaming fix because there's no D&D group available, but that's a different thing), but they do start playing D&D because their friends on WoW are doing it.

    If I was working on the industry, I wouldn't be losing my sleep thinking of ways to take people from MMOs to TRPG, but in ways to make MMO players who are also TRPG players assume the acquisition, because they have everything in hand to make the difference.
    That would be the synergy I alluded to in one of the other threads on this topic. I agree that MMOs and TRPGs could have a positive relationship, but that doesn't seem to be the goal of WotC (at least, not unless it's their MMO).

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