WotC Hasbro CEO Chris Cox, "I would say that the underlying thesis of our D&D business is all about digital,”

Ondath

Hero
These points are spot-on.

Digital is great to support D&D, but unless we're expecting COVID 2.0 very soon (in which case I may simply travel to Florida and offer myself to the alligators), but this push seems like it's going too far - and the wild investment in the 3D VTT is just extremely surprising when D&D itself doesn't seem to be getting much investment.
My hunch is that the money you can make from investing in books and book-based RPG content isn't that much, but online? Oh, you can make hand over fist with microtransactions. MTG Arena is already a microtransaction and season pass infested hell where the devs' priority is clearly over monetisation and not implementing quality of life features (or popular formats like Commander or Pioneer, for that matter), and I don't think the D&D VTT will be any different.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
... but this push seems like it's going too far

Well, "this push" seems more to me to be a figment of our collective imagined fears than anything real. The playtest stuff for OneD&D does not show a push for stuff that will really only work online.

...and the wild investment in the 3D VTT is just extremely surprising when D&D itself doesn't seem to be getting much investment.

Possible reasoning - the RPG proper doesn't need and cannot use such investment. Huge investment in the RPG proper implies a lot of things that have, in past times, been shown to produce glut in the market and decline in quality leading to loss of popularity of the game.

For the game proper, slow and steady does seem to be the way to go. In the context of the question, "Where else could we invest in a way others cannot?" the VTT starts looking like a more reasonable choice.
 

But, the world of possible digital offerings is so much larger than the RPG proper, that it does not follow that trying to force the RPG itself into an online-only format is really the best business strategy.
I haven't stayed up with this whole thread, but curious (to all, not just Umbran);
Is anyone actually suggesting that a "Digital Strategy" is akin to an "online only" strategy?

I mean first, digital is not equal to online. MP3 are digital, but I can still listen to them offline. But even then, does a strategy that focuses on or even enables digital saying that they are abandoning print products? It seems more to me that WoTC might be saying that they see their future revenue growth opportunities in the digital gaming realm (computer games, digital services, etc), not in printing and selling more hardcopy products (books and mini's and physical tangibles).

Isn't that easy to see? Just look at the markets for print products versus digital products. Then refine those and look at just the entertainment sectors of those two distribution means. Then Gaming, then RPGs. Digital is what 100 or a 1000 times larger?
 
Last edited:

darjr

I crit!
I ask again, if everyone is still working there, and everyone has the same title, and the output of the business appears to be the same as before, did a tree fall in the forest?

Spoken like someone who hasn't played BG3 - reinstall it and get playing Mr "I played it Early Access, I swear I did!".

That is true, but it doesn't really excuse anything.

Define "the D&D team". Most of the reports I saw suggested that it was actually the 3D VTT people behind a lot of this, weirdly enough.
There have been people against the OGL from the very beginning of its creation, for instance.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I ask again, if everyone is still working there, and everyone has the same title, and the output of the business appears to be the same as before, did a tree fall in the forest?
To offer some clarity, the power struggles as I've heard them described are not for who has control of the company (e.g. no one is trying to rally board members in order to assume an executive position so that someone else can be pushed out, etc.). Rather, they're struggles over the vision, design, and direction of the game. The pro-OGL and anti-OGL factions are one of the clearest examples of that, but as I've heard (most notably from Ben Riggs' recent seminar) there are others.
 


My hunch is that the money you can make from investing in books and book-based RPG content isn't that much, but online? Oh, you can make hand over fist with microtransactions. MTG Arena is already a microtransaction and season pass infested hell where the devs' priority is clearly over monetisation and not implementing quality of life features (or popular formats like Commander or Pioneer, for that matter), and I don't think the D&D VTT will be any different.
Oh we know that's the strategy, it's not even a question. WotC were pretty open about it when their whole introduction to the 3D VTT in the original "One D&D" video was basically "Oh we're going to microtransact the HELL out of you! We'll sell you minis, we'll sell you tiles, we'll sell you adventures!".

And there's no way they'd have got 250 freakin' employees for the 3D VTT (again, compared to like 30 in the D&D team, IIRC) if you Corporate Executive #1224 hadn't given a presentation that was basically Microtransactions = [Animated Gif of cash machine dumping out $100 bills].
Possible reasoning - the RPG proper doesn't need and cannot use such investment. Huge investment in the RPG proper implies a lot of things that have, in past times, been shown to produce glut in the market and decline in quality leading to loss of popularity of the game.
There's truth that there's a limit to how much you can invest but... I feel like you could invest a lot more in better artists, designers, and writers. MtG still has better artists than D&D, and that's a ridiculous position to be in. I will say there has been some limited improvement and they did get DiTerlizzi for Planescape at least but 5E is still not strong artistically, compared to previous editions. Also, they could better writers and game designers, but that's definitely not going to happen. Everyone working at the top of (small) D&D team is basically a WotC lifer at his point.
I mean first, digital is not equal to online.
It's 2023 not 1997.

Digital is online.

Your example of MP3s is incredibly telling and dated. No tech company would willing sell MP3s if the technology was just coming in now. Rather they'd offer music streaming subscriptions.

So if you expect some lovely 1990s-style "digital but not online" stuff, then I don't think you're being remotely realistic.
 
Last edited:

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I haven't stayed up with this whole thread, but curious (to all, not just Umbran);
Is anyone actually suggesting that a "Digital Strategy" is akin to an "online only" strategy?

There are some, yes. Maybe not in this thread, but on these boards, I countered the suggestion that D&D is going online-only within the past couple of days, and I have seen folks saying the same in other social media. It's a line of thought out there.

It seems more to me that WoTC might be saying that they see their future revenue growth opportunities in the digital gaming realm (computer games, digital services, etc), not in printing and selling more hardcopy products (books and mini's and physical tangibles).

Yep, that's my expectation as well. Maintaining the RPG property, while expanding the brand (which is not the game itself) into digital spaces seems a pretty reasonable, conservative business move.

Indeed, I expect the money isn't really in digitizing the RPG proper. The money is probably in BG3 and its successors
 


It's 2023 not 1997.

Digital is online.

Your example of MP3s is incredibly telling and dated. No tech company would willing selling MP3s if the technology was just coming in now. Rather they'd offer music streaming subscriptions.

So if you expect some lovely 1990s-style "digital but not online" stuff, then I don't think you're being remotely realistic.
Bad example on my part. And digital vs online definitions is not central to my question. They are not the same, we can go off on that tangent if it's really of value to the discussion.

(poorly stated, ignore this)
My point being, just because a company sees "digital" as the future, does not mean they are abandoning traditional distribution. Why does it seem some argue that is the case?
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top