Indeed, though a more customer-friendly outlook during the 90s would doubtless have mitigated this at least a bit.I agree that it certainly didn't help matters, but what directly drove them under was owing tens of millions of dollars to Random House and other creditors because TSR was printing books they couldn't sell in order to secure advance money. As well, they had a terrible financing arrangement that locked up their money right at the start of the fiscal year, making them unable to cope with contingencies. From its beginning, TSR practiced the "kicking the can" method of financial management, which was inevitably going to bite it in the butt.
The OGL predates Hasbro's involvement.I don't see it this way at all. Corporate greed is a given for every successful company in a capitalist system, in the sense that maximizing profit/growth is a survival imperative. WotC, both before and under Hasbro, has also undertaken some unusually non-greedy actions. For example, one of WotC's first actions after purchasing TSR was to settle its debts, even going beyond contractual obligations (e.g. returning original artwork to the artists for resale). Under Hasbro, the OGL and Roll20 may have been strategic (and thus arguably greedy) in inspiration, but certainly stand out as usual as far as large corporations go; you're not going to see Disney or Sony dump a huge amount of their core content into the Creative Commons any time soon.
WotC in its original 1990s form was largely a company run by and for gamers, and as such they did do some very non-greedy things.
One example is that they had an amazing set-up over three (or four? I forget) stories of a building in Seattle's U-District. There was a huge card-gaming area in the basement (they held some of their flagship M:tG tournaments there) plus some dedicated tables* for RPG play, the main floor was a retail store plus display area, with an attached gaming-themed restaurant. And a bit of the main floor and all of the public-accessible upper area was the video arcade to end all video arcades. All of this was remote from WotC's corporate HQ, which was (and still is) 20-ish miles to the south.
Hasbro bought WotC in 2003. By 2005 (maybe even 2004) that whole gaming complex - which wasn't exactly a money-maker - was gone.
* - these tables were custom-designed for RPG play, probably cost a few thousand bucks each, and I've never seen anything like them since.
True.I also think blunders are not necessarily less forgivable. A lot of people lost jobs and were taken advantage of through TSR's mismanagement, and after awhile the line between "blunder" and "greed" becomes pretty blurred. It wasn't a blunder that TSR tried to remove Arneson's name from AD&D, for example.