4E WotC's D&D Virtual Table Cancelled - Page 6
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  1. #51
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    San Jose, CA
    I'm curious what this means long-term about their sales strategy- like how will DDI work once 5e is out, are they still counting on subscriptions for revenue, etc.

    I can easily see one of three things happening for the 'online tabletop' segment for 5e:

    1) There are already too many 3rd party options for WotC to make much money out of it, and the existing VTT was too tied to 4e to be worth continuing development on. They'll make minimal noise about supporting online play, and let the 3rd party market hash things out. Making a great online play platform is a big development investment, and it isn't clear how much revenue it could actually bring. This means Hasbro/WotC doesn't see much actual growth coming to the brand by putting money behind a dev effort.

    2) WotC buys or invests in one of the current 3rd part products and makes it the 'official' online platform of 5e. WotC isn't a software company; why should they try and build one from scratch when they can let someone else do 95% of the work to the point that they know it works, and then acquire them? Doing this would indicate that Hasbro is still willing to put some significant money behind D&D, and is still trying to grow the product rather than just curating the brand so they can license it for movies and lunchboxes.

    3) VTT was meant for 4e, and practically speaking, 4e is nearly done. They'll take what they have, refocus on 5e, and release a new 5e VTT somewhere down the road. The product isn't ready for prime time, and there is no reason to rush it out the door if the edition that it was built to support is moving into the background anyway.

    The question is, is this Wizards leaving this area entirely (which to me would indicate that D&D is going to be a bit more back burnered than before), or is this Google canceling Google Video in favor of YouTube? (yes, slightly weird analogy since they kept it around for several years after aquiring YouTube, but you know what I mean).

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I think WotC was behind the curve from the start with the VTT. There are tons of good VTT's available at prices ranging from reasonable to free. I had tried three different VTT's and looked at one or two others back when 4E launched. I think the market for VTT's in general is pretty small, and I don't think the product WotC was offering could compete.
    It's what I thought immediately after WotC's first announcement: Why don't they just license one of the existing, proven VTT solutions?

    I'm not particularly bothered by the cancellation, though. I just feel their money and effort could have been spent so much more effectively elsewhere (like finally fixing the Monster Builder!).

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Livingston, Scotland
    Quote Originally Posted by Dannager View Post
    I imagine it's getting a lot harder to justify support of the VTT with a number of other groups working on similar projects (Roll20, Tabletop Forge, Maptool, etc.) and the D&D VTT's primary draws (4e tool integration) with an uncertain lifespan due to the edition transition.
    If that's what they thought was the primary draw of the VTT, then they were mistaken. The great advantage they had, and that they should have leveraged, was that installer base of 80k+ DDI subscribers. Using that, the VTT, and good software to put people in touch, it should have been possible for them to get to a point that any person could go online at any time, and within 30 minutes have a group assembled to play D&D.

    And, the great benefit of that is that it becomes ever-more valuable as the DDI subscriber base increases - the more people join, the more incentive there is to join, because the easier it makes it to assemble that group.

    4e integration should absolutely have been one of the features of the 'official' VTT. But it's the community that was the competitive edge.

    They're probably consolidating what they have in order to focus on starting fresh with 5e - all the other tools are established; the VTT is the only one that wasn't finalized.
    Ironically, the VTT is also the one that was easy to repurpose for 5e. If character design is significantly different (as it appears to be), the Character Builder will need redone. If monster design is significantly different (again, as it appears to be), the Monster Builder will need redone. The Compedium will be easier to repurpose, but there will still be a massive data-entry task to be done.

    I'm now waiting for the other shoe to drop: WotC's announcement that there will be no 5e version of the DDI. I would expect the magazines to go "free to view" (but also a shadow of even their current selves), that the 4e tools will continue unchanged (but receive only minimal ongoing support... and only for as long as the existing DDI base remains large enough for them to be profitable), but that there will not be any further tool development.

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Brighton, UK
    What VTT? Was there really a VTT? That's a surprise...

    I always thought that it was cancelled from the start, when they realized they couldn't publish it with th realease of 4E and just channeled those resources to everywhere else they needed them.

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Gainesville, FL
    The reason this is such a colossal failure is that the VTT could have been something that was used by D&D fans of *any* edition.

    Think of all the traffic WotC could have drawn to their site. Heck - make a free version supported by advertisements. Stick a picture of the D&D board games in everyone's face every time they log on. Thousands upon thousands of views!

    Since 4E was announced, I've had nothing but doubt about WotC's ability to run the D&D brand. However, the VTT (after it was to leave beta) *was* something I was keeping an eye on. If it was done right, I probably would have at least tried it.

    However, once again, it looks like Paizo will swoop in with their own alternative and one-up WotC. (Or is it "10-up" by now?) Of course, Paizo's is not out yet, so it could fail to materialize, but I have *way* more confidence in Paizo's ability than WotC.

    It's amazing that something that could have united all D&D players is botched so completely.
    Last edited by DaveMage; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 01:44 PM.

  6. #56
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    A Nation's Capitol
    I get all the mocking and decrying..."not again wotc!"

    But, except for the apparently small numbers actually using this, is it a big deal? As noted, there lots of options, including simple things like google docs.

  7. #57
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Fredericton, NB, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Aberzanzorax View Post
    Don't need it.
    That's right, we don't need it to enjoy 5E. Whether it's the VTT or a bunch of things, I'm not going to let a company's previous product affect my judgement of their current product. Instead, I will let their current product do that.

    I don't care about WotC. I care about the games.

  8. #58
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Brooklyn, NY
    All I wanted was a chatroom with a dice roller and the abiliy to put in a map and move tokens around on it without it being excessively complicated. Strange how hard that seems to be.

  9. #59
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Hayward, CA
    Well, this kind of news makes me sad. Game companies should realize that technology is going to be a big part of their table-top lines and that if they are going to survive, players need to be able to connect regardless of the distance.

    One has to look at this video

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38]A Day Made of Glass... Made possible by Corning. - YouTube[/ame]

    and realize that the physical presence of players will become less important as the technology will eventually emulate and make the interactions with each other better. Roll20 is an example that is heading in a good direction of a VTT.

    The next step is apps to connect the VTT with your tablets and mobile devices. You carry your rule books, dice and character sheets on your device. You go home and connect to the VTT. A camera brings all your friends into view. Maps are loaded up by the GM and they pick up where they left off.

    Additional features will then make everything manipulative via touch similar to what we see from surface computing tables.

    The time to invest in VTT and improve it is now as opposed to killing it.
    Last edited by kitsune9; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 10:00 PM.

  10. #60
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Gatineau, Quebec
    Quote Originally Posted by delericho View Post
    If that's what they thought was the primary draw of the VTT, then they were mistaken. The great advantage they had, and that they should have leveraged, was that installer base of 80k+ DDI subscribers. Using that, the VTT, and good software to put people in touch, it should have been possible for them to get to a point that any person could go online at any time, and within 30 minutes have a group assembled to play D&D.
    They had this. It was freely available to *everyone* with a DDI account, and you could import your characters from the CB and, if you are the DM, import monsters from the Monster Builder.

    I think what was causing problems is that WotC, with their first attempt at a VT that got cancelled and then was left in purgatory for a number of years before being brought out again, ended up souring a lot of people that would otherwise be excited about the VT. In addition, WotCs work on the VT, as mentioned above, brought a big spotlight on VTs, and there are a lot more of them available now, and at a higher level (see the Tableforge Google + hangout tool that just got Kick Startered to the tune of $44k+ (edited to correct amount) for example) of quality.

    The question is now, when D&D Next comes out (and I believe that there will be DDI tools for Next*), will they provide a standard export format so that 3PPs can create import tools to bring them into a 3PP VT of choice.

    * I am doing this based on no inside information.
    Last edited by mudbunny; Tuesday, 10th July, 2012 at 04:10 PM.

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