OGL Hasbro/WotC has crossed the Trust Thermocline


(He, Him)
They managed to weather a storm with 4e by backpedaling to the more open 5e, but they're going to have to do a LOT more work this time around to regain customer trust.
I see this less in terms of a Hasbro-specific process, but as a global transition from selling customers physical products, to offering them a licence to use a digital service or product for a time. Where once a DVD, book or CD was an object that the publisher could not rescind, publishing business models are becoming all about selling transitory access via microtransactions.

On the good side, this can mean that updates are built into the price. The design team is funded (by the success of subscriptions) and has every motive to continuously improve the underlying IP. In many ways this is an improvement over former cycles of invest-recoup-invest, and can benefit both business and customer. In particular, it allows companies to move away from formal editions that are commercially obligated to make previous editions redundant. That is one of the implications contained in "OneD&D".

On the down side, it means that the wealth of customers is not increased by say their collection of rare books or pristine vinyl. They can only enjoy the IP so long as they pay for it, and there is nothing to pass on to their successors. There is no Alpha Black Lotus in MtG Arena, and - in terms of a comparable object that can be exchanged on a secondary market - never will be (barring illicit account transfers.) On the other hand, few customers ever had such objects or collections in their possession, nor do their successors necessarily give a fig for their outdated interests; so the benefits (of permanent ownership) may be overstated.

That isn't something limited to Hasbro and to cast it as a watershed breach of faith by one corporation is blind to the commercial / economic context we live in. If it is a breach of faith, it is a breach of faith by publishing corporations generally. And it rests upon far more extensive and material evils than whatever happens to GLs.

This is not to ignore that in fact, the salient trust lost is with producers. Not customers.
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their damage control has been spraying more oil on the fire from my perspective, so I must admit I don't understand what you mean by handling the damage control nicely. Was it a joke that I failed to understand?
for now it’s the best they can do!
They openly set the conditions and intents of any new process about updating the OGL. We can accuse them of lying and don’t be sincere, but that is still to prove. They tell that they will solicit the input of the community before updating the OGL. Are we against that?


We can accuse them of lying and don’t be sincere, but that is still to prove.
no, that has definitively been proven already.

They sent contracts to be signed by 3pps, yet in their statement they claimed these were early drafts and they wanted community input. If that were true, then no contracts to sign would have been attached.

If all had gone according to WotC’s plan we would have learned about the new OGL by WotC releasing it, without any input whatsoever.

They tell that they will solicit the input of the community before updating the OGL. Are we against that?
no, we just do not believe it


I don't know, this theory basically says there is a slow gradual erosion until it eventually crosses a line. That is not what happened here, they dropped a nuclear bomb without warning, nothing gradual about it.

I do think that within the D&D community WoTC was relatively well trusted until they announced plan to 'de-authorize' the OGL. So it looks more like jumping off a cliff than a gradual descent.

I do think that they could have recovered trust if they had responded immediately to the leaked OGL 1.1 by saying they would not try to revoke OGL 1.0. Their behaviour following the leak cemented the collapse in trust. So perhaps the analogy works well there.

When the leak first happened I commented along the lines that surely WoTC would not want to declare nuclear war on 3PP. The best they could hope for was last man standing in an irradiated wasteland. But their behaviour since seems to confirm that is their intent. And they are now 'under the thermocline' - no one likes them, no one trusts them. Every statement they make now is being analysed for weasel words.
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It has been a serious mistake, almost it looks intentional sabotage to cause a crisis and with this to change some chairs among the CEOs.

In my land we say "César's wife should not only be honored, but also seem it". We can understand they want to make more money, but they can't forget they need the prestige of the brand and the trust by the customers. In all the business and deals nobody wants to feel being tricked paying more really necessary. We aren't little children.

We love the game but they should forget the idea to be unconditional fanatics. We aren't going to tolerate and forgive everything. If they don't take care they kill the romance.

And let's remember the game rules aren't protected by the patent rights. If Disney wanted, the could hire Paizo to publish a new Star Wars d20. Or Epic Games could create a rpg system to can play with a VTT within Fortnite: Creative Mode 2.0. and Hasbro couldn't do anything to avoid it.

We know the megacorporations are ruled by "sharks" but Hasbro needs "good vibes" with the 3PPs, because these risk their own money to add lots of new ideas for crunch and fluff, and besided some 3PP could be acquired by Hasbro later in the future, or their IPs to be sold and added to D&D multiverse contuinity.


(He, Him)
Right now, no one trusts them. But they recognise this and by releasing the 5.1 SRD under CC, there is no longer any need to trust in their beneficence.

It will take several years I'd think for them to potentially rebuild community trust.
A key test might be whether they do/do-not go on to offer an open SRD of 1D&D.

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