...from a business and investor perspective. From a moral standpoint? I think we all agree it's wrong what they are doing. From a legal standpoint? The jury is still out (no pun intended) and split, but the important thing is who has the money to fight them in court to find that out.
But what I've seen is a whole lot of emotional reactions to this. I've been one of them. As a 3PP, this impacts me directly. But I think if we set aside emotion and look at factual data, Hasbro has already won. There is no war. Sure, Paizo sold out, but that's not sustainable. Sure, it made the news, but so did the Magic the Gathering debacle, and that was forgotten about after a couple weeks. And Magic has a lot more revenue weight than D&D does.
So what are the facts?
- Folks talking about this on social media do not represent the majority of gamers (never have, never will). The outrage ratio on social media is not matched by the outrage ratio of gamers in general.
- The most recent revenue reporting we have is from 3rd quarter. In that report, for 3qtr, Hasbro has revenue of $1.676 Billion. Out of that WotC accounted for roughly $300 million.
- We have heard WotC brass say their goal was to get D&D to $150 million per year. That means it isn't there yet. But for sake of argument let's assume it is. That's roughly $37.5 million per quarter. That's what? 2.2% of total Hasbro revenue?
- The biggest losses in Hasbro are in the Entertainment division (-34%)
What does that mean?
Let's say for sake of argument that this OGL mess causes a 10% drop in D&D sales (I very much doubt it will be anywhere close to that. FLGS owners I've talked to all say D&D is still selling as normal, even if the new people in charge of distribution are jacking things up). But let's say it's 10%. That's a $3.7 million loss per quarter. Or 0.2%. That's not even going to make the radar to investors. I've seen a lot of folks say the OGL is driving the Hasbro stock down. No it's not. Not even close. Firstly, there's no correlation between the OGL and the stock of Hasbro on a daily basis going back two months. Secondly, it's 0.2% or less. Thirdly, by looking at the revenue reports, we can see what it is. It's those other divisions that are taking bigger hits.
The OGL debacle won't significantly impact Hasbro's value and they know it. That's why they aren't backing down on that part. The costs to get control of their IP is insignificant to the overall value of the company.
What can we do about it?
I can't fight Hasbro in court, and and I don't want to because I don't trust them. We can move away from the OGL completely. Or we can adopt the new version. Those are our realistic choices, and the sooner we accept it, the better. It sucks. It's not fair. But business isn't fair. It's inherently corrupt that rewards the lawful evil among us (to use a D&D term). This mess will die down as we move to something else to be outraged about, and we'll be in the same boat.
I hope I'm wrong. But looking at the actual facts (financials), and I don't see the incentive for Hasbro to back off completely and keep the old OGL unless a judge forces them to. All of the 3PP who used the OGL combined is just a few million.