How well do you predict non-OGL/CC games will do?

Sacrosanct

Legend
Based on the other discussion prompted by Ben Riggs. I never posted in the thread here, but I did respond to him and James Lowder directly on the FB post they other day. The discussion was around how the OGL impacted non-d20 publishes. Ben said that the OGL helped 3PP but that wasn't really the issue James said. He said (and I agree) that the OGL hurt non-d20 publishers/games because it was designed to take out the competition.

Ben mentioned Free League and the One Ring being successful, which ironically supported what James and I were saying. I.e., Free League moved to the OGL and for a good reason. Publishers started making D&D compatible products if they wanted any sales. That certainly aligns with my own publishing experiences over the past 25 years of doing this. Unless you're already well established (Matt Colville, ex-WoTC corporate execs starting new games), creating your own system most likely will never have been successful over the past few decades. I don't want to rehash the staying power of Matt's game here because that was done in the other thread.

Instead, I want to offer a more general poll. IF (and while possible, it's still speculation) WoTC's direction is to go digital behind paywalls with a much more limited license for the new version of D&D, which results in other companies putting out their own systems, how well do you think they will do? How willing are you to learn and play a new system outside of D&D. How willing are casual players or new players to do that?

Will big companies like Paizo, MCDM, and Kobold Press succeed with their own system? Will it be as big as 3PP were in the late 80s with White Wolf, or are those days of non-D&D games being popular gone?

Do smaller companies have a chance of more than a dozen people or so people play their games (that's a bit hyperbole, but you get the point)?

I remember those days in the 80s and 90s where trying out new systems was pretty common. We'd switch between D&D, Palladium, Traveller, Twilight 2000, Top Secret, and other games. It seems to me (and I admit my experience is probably limited), everything is D&D. So part of me is skeptical that 3PP will see any success going forward. I say this as I'm finishing up my own homebrew system lol.

I see 2 main challenges for 3PP, especially small indie publishers:
  • D&D with the OGL has succeeded in dominating the market with D&D or D&D-esque games and companies like Palladium and WW will never again reach the level of popularity
  • AI is going to flood the market with ChatGPT written and Midjourney illustrated products, so finding a 3PP game is going to be harder than ever before, especially since most FLGS don't carry 3rd party systems
 

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Ben mentioned Free League and the One Ring being successful, which ironically supported what James and I were saying. I.e., Free League moved to the OGL and for a good reason. Publishers started making D&D compatible products if they wanted any sales.
The original One Ring 2e Kickstarter did not have a 5e version - that came only later. And if we look at the Moria Kickstarter, the number of backers for the versions featuring the original system is notably greater than the number of backers for the 5e version. In addition, if we look at Free League's other games based on their house system, they were doing well, too. And I'd argue that we have more examples with Chaosium, Modiphius and the like.
However, it is certainly true that anything they do it only a fraction of what D&D become in the 5e years. And if we look at the million dollar crowdfundings, there's quite a bit of 5e stuff there, too. So it's probably a lot harder to establish a new system in the market than to tap into the 5e market - and the difficulty is further increased if you do not have a well-known IP that you can use to market your system. But I don't think it's impossible.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Instead, I want to offer a more general poll. IF (and while possible, it's still speculation) WoTC's direction is to go digital behind paywalls with a much more limited license for the new version of D&D, which results in other companies putting out their own systems, how well do you think they will do?
In general or specifically? I think generally it will be very difficult for most. The ones to succeed I think will have the best presence in mind of community and develop products that build that community.
How willing are you to learn and play a new system outside of D&D.
Very. I have been doing it for decades.
How willing are casual players or new players to do that?
In my experience they are reluctant to do so, but are willing if they have a motivated GM or gamer in their group.
Will big companies like Paizo, MCDM, and Kobold Press succeed with their own system? Will it be as big as 3PP were in the late 80s with White Wolf, or are those days of non-D&D games being popular gone?
Id argue that Paizo and Pathfinder are already there. It speaks volumes that Paizo is in position to release their own OGL in the ORC.
Do smaller companies have a chance of more than a dozen people or so people play their games (that's a bit hyperbole, but you get the point)?

I remember those days in the 80s and 90s where trying out new systems was pretty common. We'd switch between D&D, Palladium, Traveller, Twilight 2000, Top Secret, and other games. It seems to me (and I admit my experience is probably limited), everything is D&D. So part of me is skeptical that 3PP will see any success going forward. I say this as I'm finishing up my own homebrew system lol.

I see 2 main challenges for 3PP, especially small indie publishers:
  • D&D with the OGL has succeeded in dominating the market with D&D or D&D-esque games and companies like Palladium and WW will never again reach the level of popularity
  • AI is going to flood the market with ChatGPT written and Midjourney illustrated products, so finding a 3PP game is going to be harder than ever before, especially since most FLGS don't carry 3rd party systems
I think the key is to continue out of D&D shadow will be to lean on the internet. For example, I dont think what the FLGS carries matters much anymore. VTT accessibility and quality. Active community, etc...
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
The original One Ring 2e Kickstarter did not have a 5e version - that came only later. And if we look at the Moria Kickstarter, the number of backers for the versions featuring the original system is notably greater than the number of backers for the 5e version.
I'll say the same thing I said to Ben when he brought up the One Ring. You can't discount the IP. A Middle Earth RPG is going to do exponentially better than any other IP regardless of system.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Id argue that Paizo and Pathfinder are already there. It speaks volumes that Paizo is in position to release their own OGL in the ORC.
In hindsight I should have excluded Paizo since it's basically D&D. Wouldn't exist without the original OGL. I don't really count Pathfinder as a "non-d20/D&D" game.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
In hindsight I should have excluded Paizo since it's basically D&D. Wouldn't exist without the original OGL. I don't really count Pathfinder as a "non-d20/D&D" game.
In 2009 Id agree with you. Though, I think its very different since 2019. A D20 game yes, but it plays very differently than D&D now.
 

cranberry

Adventurer
The ultimate factor that will determine if a non D&D TTRPG will be successful is if people can find other people to play with.

It may be a great game, but if your circle of friends isn't interested, or if you don't have a reliable way of recruiting non local folks online, the game will not make it.
 


mamba

Legend
Ben mentioned Free League and the One Ring being successful, which ironically supported what James and I were saying. I.e., Free League moved to the OGL and for a good reason.
The One Ring is not 5e compatible, they have a second RPG that is.

IF (and while possible, it's still speculation) WoTC's direction is to go digital behind paywalls with a much more limited license for the new version of D&D, which results in other companies putting out their own systems, how well do you think they will do? How willing are you to learn and play a new system outside of D&D. How willing are casual players or new players to do that?
good question, let me start by saying I do not expect this to happen anytime soon. WotC will not stop supporting other VTTs or offering printed books now, in 5-7 years, maybe. They first need to get people to buy into the VTT, before they can build a wall around them. With 2024 looming on the horizon and the VTT not out, this is the worst possible time to attempt this.

Let's assume they tried this now anyway, then I expect many people to resist this and not move onto the WotC VTT. This helps the 5e-likes that are available on other VTTs, probably ToV the most, as it should offer broad support for other VTTs and is similar enough. That might turn ToV into the new Pathfinder.

I don't think games that are significantly different from 5e will benefit as much as those that are very similar, because if you are willing to not stick to the 5e-likes, then there is a huge world of games out there, so even if as many people leave 5e altogether, they spread out much wider.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Based on the other discussion prompted by Ben Riggs. I never posted in the thread here, but I did respond to him and James Lowder directly on the FB post they other day. The discussion was around how the OGL impacted non-d20 publishes. Ben said that the OGL helped 3PP but that wasn't really the issue James said. He said (and I agree) that the OGL hurt non-d20 publishers/games because it was designed to take out the competition.

Ben mentioned Free League and the One Ring being successful, which ironically supported what James and I were saying. I.e., Free League moved to the OGL and for a good reason. Publishers started making D&D compatible products if they wanted any sales. That certainly aligns with my own publishing experiences over the past 25 years of doing this. Unless you're already well established (Matt Colville, ex-WoTC corporate execs starting new games), creating your own system most likely will never have been successful over the past few decades. I don't want to rehash the staying power of Matt's game here because that was done in the other thread.

Instead, I want to offer a more general poll. IF (and while possible, it's still speculation) WoTC's direction is to go digital behind paywalls with a much more limited license for the new version of D&D, which results in other companies putting out their own systems, how well do you think they will do? How willing are you to learn and play a new system outside of D&D. How willing are casual players or new players to do that?

Will big companies like Paizo, MCDM, and Kobold Press succeed with their own system? Will it be as big as 3PP were in the late 80s with White Wolf, or are those days of non-D&D games being popular gone?

Do smaller companies have a chance of more than a dozen people or so people play their games (that's a bit hyperbole, but you get the point)?

I remember those days in the 80s and 90s where trying out new systems was pretty common. We'd switch between D&D, Palladium, Traveller, Twilight 2000, Top Secret, and other games. It seems to me (and I admit my experience is probably limited), everything is D&D. So part of me is skeptical that 3PP will see any success going forward. I say this as I'm finishing up my own homebrew system lol.

I see 2 main challenges for 3PP, especially small indie publishers:
  • D&D with the OGL has succeeded in dominating the market with D&D or D&D-esque games and companies like Palladium and WW will never again reach the level of popularity
  • AI is going to flood the market with ChatGPT written and Midjourney illustrated products, so finding a 3PP game is going to be harder than ever before, especially since most FLGS don't carry 3rd party systems
AIUI, MCDM is not built on the OGL/CC on purpose

I think Kobold's Tales of the Valiant will struggle the most.

Personally I look forward to MCDM game busting into other genres, cyberpunk specifically

Paizo isn't going anywhere, although with the proliferation of these other tier 2 games, I think Paizo is actually the brand/game that will suffer the most attrition over the next 12-18 months. Especially with 13A 2e coming too

OR, 1D&D's tide raises all boats, and everyone AND their mother is in a ttrpg game all across the world - some of which will be not-D&D
 

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