OGL Gizmodo Reveals OGL v1.1's 'Term Sheet' Carrots For Selected Publishers

In December, WotC arranged meetings under NDA with a number of prominent third party 5E OGL creators in order to persuade them to sign up to the new Open Game License v1.1. before it was revealed to the world.

Part of this approach included 'Term Sheets'. According to Gizmodo, which has sources at Wizards of the Coast, these term sheets offered:
  • A 15% instead of 25% royalty
  • Marketing on D&D Beyond (but not at times when WotC had its own releases)
It's not clear whether any publishers actually signed the contract at the time.

WotC has since walked back some of the terms in the upcoming OGL v1.1, but the OGL v1.0a still remains slated for 'de-authorization'.

According to an anonymous source who was in the room, in late 2022 Wizards of the Coast gave a presentation to a group of about 20 third-party creators that outlined the new OGL 1.1. These creators were also offered deals that would supersede the publicly available OGL 1.1; Gizmodo has received a copy of that document, called a “Term Sheet,” that would be used to outline specific custom contracts within the OGL.

These “sweetheart” deals would entitle signatories to lower royalty payments—15 percent instead of 25 percent on excess revenue over $750,000, as stated in the OGL 1.1—and a commitment from Wizards of the Coast to market these third-party products on various D&D Beyond channels and platforms, except during “blackout periods” around WotC’s own releases.

It was expected that third parties would sign these Term Sheets. Noah Downs, a lawyer in the table-top RPG space who was consulted on the conditions of one of these contracts, stated that even though the sheets included language suggesting negotiation was possible, he got the impression there wasn’t much room for change.

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

dbolack

Adventurer
D&D Beyond claimed almost 10 million users last spring before the purchase and Wizards of the Coast stated...crap I can't remember and can't find the EN World article right now but it was either 14 million or 16 million back around October (give or take a month) during a shareholder presentation. I think it was the one before the infamous "undermonetized" one.
Thank you. That's something I have been wondering about but not quite enough to research. I think the exact number doesn't matter other than the number of digits is more than adequate.
 

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Tazawa

Adventurer
If they'd moved quickly enough to completely reverse direction they could have saved their jobs before things hit the tipping point that they have, all attempts at saving the new OGL is making it worse, to the point every day this crisis continues the likely hood CEO Chris Cocks, WotC President Cynthia Williams and VP of D&D end up fired and looking for new jobs goes up exponentially.

Hasbro’s next earnings call will be soon. Expect this and MTG to be raised as questions. I’ve got to think they want it resolved before any uncertainty has an impact on the stock price.

If they don’t have clear answers, they could be in trouble with the market. Any time a company makes it to the mainstream media for screwing up (and they have), short sellers take notice.
 


Ranger REG

Explorer
Hasbro’s next earnings call will be soon. Expect this and MTG to be raised as questions. I’ve got to think they want it resolved before any uncertainty has an impact on the stock price.

If they don’t have clear answers, they could be in trouble with the market. Any time a company makes it to the mainstream media for screwing up (and they have), short sellers take notice.
I wonder if shareholders are aware of the backlash and not through just the mainstream media but througn those devoted to Open Gaming movement.
 


Scribe

Legend
I should ask if there's any way to tell what my RRSP or my son's RESP portfolio has. If our funds include Hasbro stock, mebbe I should reach out to the fund manager or something.
Depends on your provider, but yes, it should I think be possible to see this.
 

Staffan

Legend
The DMs Guild has two fees built in. I can't remember if it's 25% to DriveThru/OneBookShelf and 25% to WotC or if it's 30% to OBS and 20% to WotC off the top of my head. Either way, it's part licensing fee to access WotC IP that isn't covered by the OGL and part distribution fee to OBS.
OBS normally takes 35%, or 30% if your product is OBS-exclusive. DM's Guild takes 50%, but I don't think it specifies what goes where (and it's not really any of our business). It's definitely a possibility that OBS gets a smaller percentage.
 

Abstruse

Legend
OBS normally takes 35%, or 30% if your product is OBS-exclusive. DM's Guild takes 50%, but I don't think it specifies what goes where (and it's not really any of our business). It's definitely a possibility that OBS gets a smaller percentage.
The information's out there somewhere. There was controversy a year or two ago where a big charity bundle where OBS stated they've given up their share of the royalties but WotC wasn't because WotC hadn't approved it yet. It was a big deal because it looked like WotC was skimming off the top of a charity fundraising effort when they just hadn't been asked about it yet. Either way, it came out then who was getting how much of the 50%.
 




guachi

Hero
Exactly why I prefer printed books over PDFs and subscriptions plans.

And exactly why Hasbro hired two software executives. Hasbro hates PDFs and printed books. They want D&D-as-a-service you pay $5/mo for. When D&Done comes out it'll be $10/mo. DDB will receive new classes/feats/adventures in dribs and drabs to keep you paying. They'll be available months before the books arrive in stores. Many will be online exclusives.

Hasbro wants to eliminate competition and drive a majority of revenue through DDB. Hasbro does not want you to own their product, they only want to rent it to you. Forever.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
And exactly why Hasbro hired two software executives. Hasbro hates PDFs and printed books. They want D&D-as-a-service you pay $5/mo for. When D&Done comes out it'll be $10/mo. DDB will receive new classes/feats/adventures in dribs and drabs to keep you paying. They'll be available months before the books arrive in stores. Many will be online exclusives.

Hasbro wants to eliminate competition and drive a majority of revenue through DDB. Hasbro does not want you to own their product, they only want to rent it to you. Forever.
Good for them. While they’re making silly demands they might as well ask for a pony, too.
 

Dr. Bull

Explorer
Here's my solution: I've been a fan of Savage Worlds for a long time now. The game system is independent of the OGL and they have an ethical business model. They recently produced a version for Pathfinder (and an excellent reincarnation of Rise of the Runelords), that feels very much like 3.5 or PF1. I think I will convert to Pinnacle Entertainment's excellent system and stop worrying about WOTC's latest dumpster fire.

On the other hand, it's a bit like a train wreck... It's hard not to watch.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I think HASBRO really missed an opportunity here. If one of their issues was companies making nearly seven figures and the little guy getting overlooked, all they had to do was highlight a small publisher on their site, preferably with a product that ties into one of their recent products as a way to cross promote, and just take a flat rate from their we store. Like a publisher of the month sort of thing. I don’t think folks would get upset if they limited 1 DnD stuff to their own storefront (kinda like DMsGuild but theirs), and a lot of publishers would sign up for the chance of being able to be promoted on WoTC site. They could have left the OGL as is for 5e.

That would be an opportunity to help small time publishers get support while also getting a bigger cut of one DnD 3PP material.
 

Clint_L

Hero
What does "marketing on DnDBeyond" mean? Because that would make or break the offer. Like if all it means is you can put ads there or something, that would suck.

But if it meant you could sell your products through DnDBeyond's store, that would probably be pretty tempting. That's an outlet with millions of users.

And if you could sell your products through DnDBeyond and they were added to the interface the same as WotC products, a 15% royalty would be a bargain and a half.

Anyone know what "marketing" means in this context?
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
What does "marketing on DnDBeyond" mean? Because that would make or break the offer. Like if all it means is you can put ads there or something, that would suck.

But if it meant you could sell your products through DnDBeyond's store, that would probably be pretty tempting. That's an outlet with millions of users.

And if you could sell your products through DnDBeyond and they were added to the interface the same as WotC products, a 15% royalty would be a bargain and a half.

Anyone know what "marketing" means in this context?
The former. They're talking about using the DDB blog and social channels to hype your game.
 

And exactly why Hasbro hired two software executives. Hasbro hates PDFs and printed books. They want D&D-as-a-service you pay $5/mo for. When D&Done comes out it'll be $10/mo. DDB will receive new classes/feats/adventures in dribs and drabs to keep you paying. They'll be available months before the books arrive in stores. Many will be online exclusives.
This is exactly right. There's pretty much no way it doesn't happen at this point.

What's dumb is they could probably have gotten away with it with relatively little scrutiny/bitterness if they hadn't tried this whole insane debacle.

Now I'm sure they'll try it anyway, but they'll be subject to a lot more scrutiny and bitterness.
 

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