4E WotC, DDI, 4E, and Hasbro: Some History - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    Thanks for posting this!

    Mike

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by OpsKT View Post
    If Pathfinder 'wins' and D&D goes down as a game, it's not that Paizo will be able to buy the rights and re-publish D&D 'the right way' like people keep hoping, it's that there will be NO D&D RPG.
    Is there any rational reason why we should care about that? If Coke starts selling licorice water in their Coke cans, my nostalgia for what Coke used to taste like isn't going to make me keep buying the brand because otherwise there will be "NO COKE SODA".

    As I have told many people, Hasbro did not really buy D&D for D&D, they bought it for Drizzit, and Elminister, and the like.
    Hasbro didn't buy D&D. They bought WotC. And they bought WotC for Magic and Pokemon.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    The <ACRONYM title="Dungeons & Dragons Insider">DDI</ACRONYM> pitch was that the 4th Edition would be designed so that it would work best when played with <ACRONYM title="Dungeons & Dragons Insider">DDI</ACRONYM>. <ACRONYM title="Dungeons & Dragons Insider">DDI</ACRONYM> had a big VTT component of its design that would be the driver of this move to get folks to hybridize their tabletop game with digital tools. Unfortunately, a tragedy struck the <ACRONYM title="Dungeons & Dragons Insider">DDI</ACRONYM> team and it never really recovered. The VTT wasn't ready when <ACRONYM title="D&D 4th Edition">4e</ACRONYM> launched, and the explicit link between <ACRONYM title="D&D 4th Edition">4e</ACRONYM> and <ACRONYM title="Dungeons & Dragons Insider">DDI</ACRONYM> that had been proposed to Hasbro's execs never materialized. The team did a yoeman's effort to make <ACRONYM title="D&D 4th Edition">4e</ACRONYM> work anyway while the VTT evolved, but they simply couldn't hit the numbers they'd promised selling books alone. The marketplace backlash to <ACRONYM title="D&D 4th Edition">4e</ACRONYM> didn't help either.
    First, I want to be very clear...the murder/suicide was a horrible thing. I don't wish to diminish the importance of this impact on the D&DI team (I'm sure it was devastating to them emotionally, as well as a major hit the project to lose the leader of their team).

    However, I believe the quoted paragraph is a bit misleading (still true, but misleading), and I'd like to point out some facts.


    The VTT wasn't ready when 4e launched (which was June 6th). The tradgedy occurred on July 28th. That's nearly 2 months after 4e was released.

    D&DI was being developed by another company (a software company), they failed to produce it, and the tools were brought back in house. I've looked for the company's name and a timeline for when this occurred, and haven't been able to find one. (Maybe someone else remembers, or has better google-fu).


    I can imagine that without the tragedy, WotC may have been able to pick up the pieces of D&DI...however, it was not this event that caused it to be in pieces in the first place.


    Just one more time, to close...it was a terrible tragedy, but I don't think it's fair to blame it for the state of D&DI (especially at launch).

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Agent View Post
    Is there any rational reason why we should care about that? If Coke starts selling licorice water in their Coke cans, my nostalgia for what Coke used to taste like isn't going to make me keep buying the brand because otherwise there will be "NO COKE SODA".
    Yes, there is a rational reason. Let's think of the RPG market as the concert from Sting's Bring on the Night DVD. It's Sting's first major outing after the Police breakup, right after Dream of the Blue Turtles is released. It's him and a bunch of mostly jazz musicians like Kenny Kirkland and Branford Marsalis (years before he raised his public profile and took over for Doc Severinsen on the Tonight Show). While they were reasonably well known in jazz circles, most people know Sting way more than they know any of the rest of the band. If Sting pulls out of the concert, how much exposure does it get? How much mindshare among the public at large will a tour without him but including the others have? How many ticket holders get refunds?

    Sting represents D&D. Widely known by people even outside the normal community. He draws attention. He's an easily accessible entry point to the music represented at the concert, on the album, and on tour. There's plenty of quality musicians in the band, but they all have much smaller niche appeal (like the non-D&D RPGs in the market). People who were attracted by Sting will likely enjoy Kirkland's piano playng, Marsalis's saxophone playing, Omar Hakim's drumming (particularly on "I Burn for You"). They may even become fans... but they came for Sting.

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Kzach View Post
    Sigh.

    Do you not understand that 3.5 wasn't making enough money to sustain the company? Ie. it was a dead edition. Like or loathe it, WotC wouldn't exist at all without 4e.
    D&D, not WotC - WotC would continue, just being limited to Magic and the like.

    But, yeah, being marginalized was not going to be a good thing for D&D. I may think that they fumbled the ball, but they needed to do something.

    Sounds like there was some panic there, as well as all the craziness.

    The Auld Grump

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Therise View Post
    Yikes, a murder-suicide was at the crux of this? How incredibly horrible and sad.

    I appreciate finally knowing the details, may those poor people rest in peace.
    Yikes is right - I had not realized that she was involved with the DDI.

    That... explains a lot.

    May she rest in peace.

    The Auld Grump

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    However, I believe the quoted paragraph is a bit misleading (still true, but misleading), and I'd like to point out some facts.


    The VTT wasn't ready when 4e launched (which was June 6th). The tradgedy occurred on July 28th. That's nearly 2 months after 4e was released.

    D&DI was being developed by another company (a software company), they failed to produce it, and the tools were brought back in house. I've looked for the company's name and a timeline for when this occurred, and haven't been able to find one. (Maybe someone else remembers, or has better google-fu).
    Radiant Machine was the name of the company. When WotC brought everything back in house, the in-house team was given a 6 month timeline. They restarted on everything, the previous quasi-3d VTT was scrapped along with the 3d character viewer, and only the compendium and offline-character builder were ready for (late) release, missing the launch date originally given.

    Only recently did WotC release a VTT that was purchased from another company and adapted to their needs.

    The outsourcing problems, and other problems with management in-house didn't seem to have been caused by the murder/suicide (though as a contributing factor it was a horrible one), since that was never mentioned as a major factor by one of the developers of the character builder when I spoke with him later that year. But they'd dropped double digit millions and didn't have anything to show for it close to launch.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemeska View Post
    But they'd dropped double digit millions and didn't have anything to show for it close to launch.
    I wonder where these money ended.

    Can someone that has experience with this kind of business present us with a plausible scenario?

  9. #59
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    So, here's the D&DI timeline I've been able to hammer out (corrections or additions welcome):


    August 17, 2007 Announcement of Radiant Machine Entertainment (their existence).

    October 10, 2007 Gleemax Alpha

    June 6, 2008 RELEASE DATE OF 4e. (along with only Dungeon and Dragon available)

    July 28, 2008 The tragedy.<TRAGEDY>
    July 28, 2008 The announcement that Gleemax would be shut down.

    October 1, 2008 Gleemax shut down.

    January 10, 2009 Article on how people can't cancel their D&DI subscriptions.

    April 6, 2009 WotC stops selling pdfs (via RPGnow)

    November 3, 2010 WotC announces Silverlight Character Builder
    November 22, 2010 Virtual tabletop initial, closed beta



    Other dates I'd like to add but can't find at the moment:
    -The date they added "coming soon" to the D&D insider launch page (it was after June 6th, but not sure when).
    -The date each component came out (original character builder, the compedium, etc)
    -The date they announced officially that the components would be piecemeal.
    -The date WotC pulled the products in house from Radiant Machine.
    -The date WotC fixed the problem with recurring subscriptions and made it easier to cancel subs.

    Sources:
    http://www.wizards.com/company/downl...ertainment.pdf
    Gleemax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Hasbro Casts Spell Of Greater Invisibility Over D&D Cancellation Page - The Consumerist
    Is D&D Insider's move to Silverlight for Character Builder too little, too late?
    Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Table Beta FAQ

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    TSR cared about D&D both because the people did and because it was how they made money.
    I think you need to brush up on your corporate history; TSR was a complete mess of individuals vying for personal power in order to take advantage of a hot property. Few, if any, had any passion for the game at all.

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