D&D 4E Ben Riggs' "What the Heck Happened with 4th Edition?" seminar at Gen Con 2023

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Unsustainable for WotC. Like how 4e sales were unsustainable for WotC even though for most of it they were selling more than Paizo.
Im always curious about this. As far as I know, we have no idea what Paizo's web sales were. The subs, the PDFs, etc. ICV2 had no insight into that.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Unsustainable for WotC.
Right, but why? Why could Paizo make that model work – getting over a decades' worth of additional life out of 3.X – where WotC couldn't?

I can only think of two possible reasons:

One is the subscription model was of paramount importance and WotC couldn't/wouldn't make use of such a sales mode. Which isn't surprising, since that's why they offloaded the magazines to Paizo back in 2002. I'm still curious if it was a lack of means or a lack of will, but those are really the same thing, since you need both to make something work.

The second possibility (and, I think, the much stronger one) is that the revenue brought in wasn't sufficient for what WotC wanted. The salient point here is that there was still enough money to be had to keep the lights on and everyone paid, at least for a company Paizo's size (which then leads us to ask whether or not the D&D part of WotC is comparable to Paizo in terms of employees, space, resources, etc. that they need to pay for). Rather, the revenue issue is less about solvency than it is with hitting Hasbro's target numbers; remember that according to Ryan Dancey, this is back during the era of "Core brands" that Hasbro wanted to earn at least $50M, and preferably $100M+, per year. Earning less than that doesn't mean that a venture isn't profitable (i.e. makes more money than it spends), but rather means that it isn't profitable enough.

All of which is to say, the idea that a Paizo-style subscription model for 3.X was "unsustainable for WotC" means (as I see it) that it likely never would have been able to meet Hasbro's demands. Whether or not it could have been sustainable in terms of keeping the D&D section of WotC in the proverbial black strikes me as a very different consideration.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
A little while ago, someone mentioned in a different thread that the 3.5 release schedule was "unsustainable." I tried to point out that we had evidence to the contrary, since Paizo kept up a similar (if not even more aggressive) release schedule of 3.5 (for two years) and PF1 (for ten years) products, which hasn't slowed down much (if at all) since they went to PF2 and Starfinder. Hence, it quite clearly is sustainable to print so many products so fast, even if you have to adjust how you're releasing them (i.e. have a subscription option) and what your target sales are (i.e. if you need to be making nine figures' worth of sales per year).

But for some reason, there was major pushback on that idea, and I'm still not clear why.
Perhaps the people in question prefer a slower release schedule, and dislike evidence that a non-preferred release model is viable.
 

darjr

I crit!
Right, but why? Why could Paizo make that model work – getting over a decades' worth of additional life out of 3.X – where WotC couldn't?

I can only think of two possible reasons:

One is the subscription model was of paramount importance and WotC couldn't/wouldn't make use of such a sales mode. Which isn't surprising, since that's why they offloaded the magazines to Paizo back in 2002. I'm still curious if it was a lack of means or a lack of will, but those are really the same thing, since you need both to make something work.

The second possibility (and, I think, the much stronger one) is that the revenue brought in wasn't sufficient for what WotC wanted. The salient point here is that there was still enough money to be had to keep the lights on and everyone paid, at least for a company Paizo's size (which then leads us to ask whether or not the D&D part of WotC is comparable to Paizo in terms of employees, space, resources, etc. that they need to pay for). Rather, the revenue issue is less about solvency than it is with hitting Hasbro's target numbers; remember that according to Ryan Dancey, this is back during the era of "Core brands" that Hasbro wanted to earn at least $50M, and preferably $100M+, per year. Earning less than that doesn't mean that a venture isn't profitable (i.e. makes more money than it spends), but rather means that it isn't profitable enough.

All of which is to say, the idea that a Paizo-style subscription model for 3.X was "unsustainable for WotC" means (as I see it) that it likely never would have been able to meet Hasbro's demands. Whether or not it could have been sustainable in terms of keeping the D&D section of WotC in the proverbial black strikes me as a very different consideration.
Oof. I dint have time to read all that at the moment. Apologies.

Diminishing returns and sales. For Paizo it is THE product for WotC it’s competing with Magic.

And before 5e most of Hasbro too.

Compared to Magic it’s still tiny, even now, but at least sells enough for the higher ups to be happy with its return.

Note the above is just my speculation.

In blunt terms Paizo HAS to find a way, WotC needs justification to keep it as a live product.

Sort of. I also think it would be bad for the general hobby too. But that’s another discussion.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I've actually been planning to do a longer post on this subject for a while, but I need to complete my Iron DM entry at some point.

So instead, I'll just briefly say that arguing what must work, and what cannot work, for someone else when it comes to suspension of disbelief is never a winning card to play. At all.

To put it in the simplest terms, you can't go to a Star Wars fan and say, "Look, the ships go 'pew pew pew' in space. Because of that, you have to accept every other thing. Because there are no sounds in space."

You're welcome to do that, but ... good luck with that. People can (and will) accept different things, in different contexts, for different reasons. But telling people that they must accept everything because they are willing to suspend disbelief over one thing should never be acceptable.
And yet that argument keeps coming up. It's everything or nothing.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The original "Starter Set" was Keep on the Shadowfell. It contained quickstart rules for players, the adventure book for DMs, pregens, and battlemaps. What did it not have? Dice or tokens. And the quickstart rules devoted half a page (1 column) to discussing what a RPG was before then diving into 15 pages of rule explanations. I'm not saying that one couldn't pick this up without any RPG experience and get into D&D. I'm sure there are some who did. But they didn't make it easy. KotS and the quickstart rules are rather obviously intended to get already active D&D players quickly up and playing 4e.
That the KotS adventure itself was poorly designed and written didn't help things very much.
 

Hussar

Legend
You're welcome to do that, but ... good luck with that. People can (and will) accept different things, in different contexts, for different reasons. But telling people that they must accept everything because they are willing to suspend disbelief over one thing should never be acceptable.

But does not the reverse also hold true? Should we not be allowed to accept something without constantly being told we’re wrong for accepting it?

IOW, why is it acceptable to hold the game hostage to one set of tastes?
 


Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top