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D&D 5E Could D&D Die Again?

Zardnaar

Legend
D&D, like all other franchises before, will go through it's up and downs. Currently it's ridding a wave of all-time high, eventually it will fall back down into absolute niche.

Like Power Ranger, Ghostbusters, Masters of the Universe, TMNT, ........

It will never completely die, but very well go back down to the small level from where it once came. And then maybe rise again at some point in the future.

More importantly my favorite German poster had been stalking me online for 20 years since the 3.0 boards.

o7.

Seriously I'll shut up now.
 

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Hussar

Legend
I don't think so. If D&D stopped publishing suddenly (for whatever reason) it would be dead in the broad casual community in 2 years and dead in the gamer community in 5. Of course a handful of people would keep playing even if it was dead, but not many. Continued support keeps RPGs alive. I can't think of an example to the contrary.
Lots and lots of games continue on without new versions of the games coming out.

Take virtually any card game. Sports would be another example. Even evergreen games like Monopoly or Diplomacy - while getting refreshed versions from time to time, have basically been printed unchanged for decades.

While sure, individual board games go out of print and vanish (where's my Stop Thief game?) - board games as a hobby certainly haven't.

Hell, people still play AD&D and it hasn't had a new book (outside of OSR) for decades. So on and so forth. The constant churn of new support doesn't really matter to the vast majority of gamers. It matters to the companies, of course, but the gamers themselves? Meh.
 

The constant churn of new support doesn't really matter to the vast majority of gamers. It matters to the companies, of course, but the gamers themselves? Meh.
I think this is a very small subset of the group that is playing the game now. Being a part of a subset like this, as you seem to be, subscribes you to the illusion that there are more of you than there actually are. Especially since the advent of the internet which spawned forums and other social media... this advancement lended substance to that illusion.

So when you say: "doesn't really matter to the vast majority of gamers", I would suggest you are speaking to the small subset to which you belong. The one you might be thinking is larger than it actually is.
 

JEB

Legend
Lots and lots of games continue on without new versions of the games coming out.

Take virtually any card game. Sports would be another example. Even evergreen games like Monopoly or Diplomacy - while getting refreshed versions from time to time, have basically been printed unchanged for decades.

While sure, individual board games go out of print and vanish (where's my Stop Thief game?) - board games as a hobby certainly haven't.

Hell, people still play AD&D and it hasn't had a new book (outside of OSR) for decades. So on and so forth. The constant churn of new support doesn't really matter to the vast majority of gamers. It matters to the companies, of course, but the gamers themselves? Meh.
You're correct that games like Monopoly and Diplomacy do just fine without getting serious overhauls, but they still remain in print, and therefore still have a presence on store shelves that makes it easier for new fans to be introduced to them (either directly, or through others who can conveniently buy copies for friends and family).

Communities for out-of-print games can be surprisingly vital for years or decades after a game goes out of print, but growing or even maintaining such communities becomes tougher as new fans have more and more difficulty finding copies of the game. (Retroclones, FWIW, represent a clever workaround to this problem - although I can only think of a single example, Pathfinder, that's ever managed success on the level of the source game. And some would debate if Pathfinder really counts as a retroclone.)

That all said, I would expect that if D&D was no longer considered worth supporting in its current form (with core rulebooks, adventures, sourcebooks, etc.), we'd see some kind of truly evergreen, Monopoly-type D&D game replace it. Something like the current Starter Set, perhaps with an occasional update or expansion set. The brand likely has enough value to keep product on the shelves indefinitely in some form... but not necessarily the form many current fans would prefer.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think this is a very small subset of the group that is playing the game now. Being a part of a subset like this, as you seem to be, subscribes you to the illusion that there are more of you than there actually are. Especially since the advent of the internet which spawned forums and other social media... this advancement lended substance to that illusion.

So when you say: "doesn't really matter to the vast majority of gamers", I would suggest you are speaking to the small subset to which you belong. The one you might be thinking is larger than it actually is.
You figure that the majority of gamers out there are buying the new book every time it comes out to use? The sales certainly don't support that idea. The current player base is measured in the millions, but, I really don't think that WotC is banging out millions of copies of every single book they publish. Hundreds of thousands, maybe, but many millions? That would put them in Harry Potter level book sales.

So, no, I don't believe that. I strongly believe that most groups buy a small number of books, play with those for years, and maybe pick up a book here or there. And, that's the group, not the individual. There's already more material for 5e than most groups will use for the foreseeable future. If you start counting in 3rd party stuff, you couldn't put a tiny dent in the total amount of 5e (never minding all of D&D) material out there unless you were playing pretty much daily.

I see no evidence that the hobby needs a constant stream of new books. I understand that publishers need that. Fair enough. And, I understand that people like new books. Heck, I do too. But, I'm not really convinced that a majority (or even a really significant minority) of gamers actually pays much attention to the newest releases.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
It depends on what you
As the title says. D&D has almost died 3 times but could it happen a 4th time?

For purposes if this question I'm going to ignore events that are highly unlikely and would really mess things up. This means WW3, Supervolcanoes, great depression etc basically things completely beyond WotC control. Could they botch things that badly purely on their own merits?

Also an edition flopping by itself won't kill D&D. Nor am I talking about no more D&D ever but something similar to the other near collapses/TSR going under.

So in what somewhat plausible scenario could D&D die again?
yest but
Here's my scenario.

1. The D&D movie flops (for whatever reason). A flop here means it loses money roughly speaking it needs to make around double it's production+marketing costs not if it makes hundreds of millions of box office or the quality of the movie or if you liked it. $200 million box office could still be a flop. Does the movie make money yes/no is the only criteria.

2. One D&D flops for whatever reason. Bit harder to know but if it's 4E 2.0 and it goes out of print in a few years it's probably a flop.

3. Hasbro/WotC themselves get into trouble due to whatever reasons. This means no MtG money to bail out D&D.

So that's roughly the scenario that's somewhat plausible.
Not a plausible scenario in my opinion. It is unlikely that the failure of the movie will impact the D&D brand or market in any significant way as D&D has got to where it is independently of the movie. A success, on the other hand could have an impact.

This is not a prediction, projection, want desire etc.

Why plausible? For those of you who don't know is Magic is not in the best condition right now and Hasbros stock price is falling.

Due to various decisions made by WotC there's a lot of angry MtG players out there. It's probably worse than 4E comparatively. Espicially to WotC bottom line.

There's also multiple reasons but overprinting sets, to much product and to expensive with deluxe products aimed at whales seems to be big issues.

How bad is it? They're dumping MtG product for sale on Amazon cheaper than distributors can get it. And they're asking people why they're no longer playing standard. And Bank of America has commented on what's happening. How it plays out in the future no idea.

And that's basically how D&D could tank again a simultaneous collapse of D&D and MtG. Probably won't happen but it's a somewhat plausible scenario.
The collapse of Hasbro/WoTC would not kill D&D, not immediately or not at least in the broader context. One question, is Critical Role D&D?
or EnWorld's Level Up? if the answer is yes then D&D will survive even in the absence of the original TSR IP.

What would most likely happen is that, in the absence of the D&D IP holder publishing official content some third party (with a 5e clone) would take over that part of the market that does not go to Pathfinder or Level Up or some OSR title.

Another alternative is that the current IP holder continues to publish WoTC rule books as is, with no innovation until they become unprofitable to sell. In which case, the popular setting and lore will move to some third-party setting. Probably more than one, Exandria would be a contender.
D&D will die when some other thing services that thing that TTRPGs fulfil but I have no idea of what that thing will be.
 

Catolias

Explorer
Simply, no matter how much you might not think, yes D&D could die again and it’s probably quite likely.

How? Here are my possible scenarios
  • Hasbro/Wotc could make bad business decisions in other or new areas that could cascade into it’s D&D section. Alternatively, it might make a questionable announcement in D&D (for instance the recurring issue it faces of racism in characters and fantasy design). It could also face exposure for having racist or sexist hiring practices, or having production lines being created by modern slave labour. Think of this as a BLM / me-too issue mark 2. Ethics and reputational damage is a serious problem. There are only so many times people will accept “thoughts and prayers” over real action.
  • Hasbro/work make a decision in the D&D area that just doesn’t work because they misunderstood / misread what they needed to do to make it work. Call this the Google Stadia scenario where a company’s attempt to create an online gaming platform on a subscription basis does not work (and is costly to maintain too). D&D beyond +vtt?
  • Hasbro/wotc could be hit by unforeseen circumstances. This might be debts or an outlier event such as massive fraud perpetrated against the company. This is not impossible in light of current economic problems worldwide, especially if they have debt repayment to service new lines or develop D&D but impact their profit margins.Think of this type of scenario as an Enron-like disaster.
  • Hasbro and WotC success could be its downfall in the form of a corporate takeover. This might involve someone seeking taking control or improving the chance of control of the company board. Such decisions might seem distant to D&D success, but there might be significant impacts in situations where decisions are made to alter or refocus the company’s direction. This is especially when the decisions are poorly communicated. This scenario is similar to what is occurring currently with the Elon Musk and Twitter.
  • Updating D&D is calculated risk of wanting everyone to get on board and buy new products but without creating new or enhancing existing splintered groups of earlier gaming systems (eg pathfinder). Mismanaging that risk is significant and splintering seems likely given the outpouring of support and popularity of 5e. This is a scenario of killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
 
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Catolias

Explorer
I see no evidence that the hobby needs a constant stream of new books. I understand that publishers need that. Fair enough. And, I understand that people like new books. Heck, I do too. But, I'm not really convinced that a majority (or even a really significant minority) of gamers actually pays much attention to the newest releases.
At the end of the day, Hasbro/wotc has to return a profit on the investment on D&D. If they don’t, then D&D will cease and only survive as long as their hobbyists. In the long term, that is a slow death. People die out, and with them the culture of ttrpg gaming. If you’re looking for an example, think of human cultures that have died out or cease to live - for example, latin, Aztec, Maya or the Safavid Empire.
 


delericho

Legend
As the title says. D&D has almost died 3 times but could it happen a 4th time?

Sure. It doesn't seem likely right now, but then the current levels of success didn't seem likely a decade ago.

Here's my scenario.

1. The D&D movie flops (for whatever reason).

I don't actually think a simple flop affects the game all that much. However, if it is a spectacular failure, and ends up regarded as an offence to cinema (alongside such wonders as "Highlander 2", "Star Trek 5", and "Dungeons & Dragons"), that might have the effect of tainting the wider brand.

2. One D&D flops for whatever reason.

This is a tricky one, since failure is relative, and we don't know Hasbro's expectations. Given how well D&D has been doing in recent years, though, those could well be quite high.

3. Hasbro/WotC themselves get into trouble due to whatever reasons. This means no MtG money to bail out D&D.

Funnily enough, we're probably here already. But it's just a bad time; this too shall pass.

But you're right that the combination of D&D doing really badly at the same time as Hasbro doing really badly could see it getting shelved. When things look bad, big companies have a strong tendency to pull back to focus on their "core brands". Right now, D&D is almost certainly one of those, so will be fine. But if the wheels did come off at just the wrong time...

Even then, all that refers to D&D as an ongoing concern, and D&D by name. Because of the OGL, there will always be near-D&D games (including a 5e clone if the worst happened), so the spirit would live on. And, anyway, it's not like D&D stopped being played even when it was achingly uncool.
 

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