D&D (2024) How will WOTC monetize One D&D?


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Loren the GM

Adventurer
Publisher
My guesses, from years of working in marketing?

Merchandise and licensing is the big one. Movies, tv, streaming, video games, toys, ancillary products, partnerships, licensing - these are huge untapped or underserved markets that can expand the brand and revenue.

Books will continue being books and sold in traditional ways. There will likely be options (such as the test they did recently with Dragonlance) to purchase a digital version on D&D Beyond at the same time as the book. This might even extend to the VTT when it launches.

D&D Beyond will be the online hub for the brand. This is where the most current version of the rules will live. Errata, free releases (such as the free monster expansions released recently), play tests, and a lot of communication will funnel through this channel. From a functional standpoint, the platform will likely continue pretty much as is - subscriptions that allow you to share content you have purchased with your players and providing expanded access to portions of the site (number of character you can build, number of campaigns you can have, how much homebrew you can build, etc.). They may continue to add new features and refine existing features, but it will likely stay the digital way to read and interact with D&D that is closest to and enhances the book experience. D&D Beyond will expand to allow invited third party publishers to sell their content as well (see rumors about NDA's and all the hullabaloo about the OGL and SRD).

As far the new VTT, I'm guessing there will be some intersection with D&D Beyond, but my best guess is there will be an additional purchase necessary to unlock adventure modules and compendium content. It might be discounted for D&D Beyond owners, but I doubt it will be complete free parity between the platforms. There will likely be a free tier of use that gets you basic functionality, and subscriptions that increase what is available, similar to D&D Beyond (and these subscriptions may tie directly or be extensions to your D&D Beyond subscription). Purchasing official books will unlock the fully built out adventure, plus add all book content to your VTT compendium, allowing you to use it for custom campaign. This will extend to things like skins (Ravenloft theme character skins, Spelljammer character skins, etc), monster stats, tile sets (use all the new tiles built specifically for the adventure - hey, here is jungle stuff from this Chult adventure!), environmental effects (Ravenloft provides lots of fog effects, for instance), dice, UI skins, etc. There will probably be a marketplace where you can buy items à la carte, and the marketplace could potentially allow for third party developers to sell their own items (possibly only invited third party publishers in a more gated environment, or a more open marketplace similar to DM's Guild).

Across books, D&D Beyond, and VTT, I don't expect huge sweeping changes, just adjustments/enhancements to what already exists and expanded offerings that build on the framework already in place. I think for VTT we can already see lots of business models for what works from companies like Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Foundry, and I don't expect huge departures from the WotC VTT other than extensive polish and product integration that can't be achieved by smaller groups who don't own the property.

I'm pretty hopeful, and think this is almost all good for the game and will provide more options and ways to play than ever before.
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I believe they offer a monthly subscription for all D&D One / 5e content. This will be low 5-10 dollars and works out monetarily because they are getting every member of the group to pay instead of just the DM buying the new books. Approximately 1 60 dollar book per year for a group of 5 vs 25/m (assuming 5/m price point) -> 300/y for a group of 5. They would offer a 1 month free trial. This gives new players ease of entry as they have limited investment to start playing with access to all the same content as everyone else. This hopefully helps grow the player base while also increasing revenue per player.

They can still keep their physical book business as the VTT subscription works great as a supplement instead of straight competition/replacement to physical book sales. Some groups may use it as that but they make more off the subscription model than the print model in this scenario so that likely isn't a concern. Also, if the character building and leveling tools work well I can see some players from in person groups subscribing just for the character building options - especially if they make it easy to print a physical character sheet from Beyond.

They can also do microtransactions for skins/mini's/tokens/possibly VTT enhancements/etc.

In short I think this is more likely to be their monetization model rather than what we see on current VTT's where the DM buys the book and shares it with the group.
Not sure that they will as it would encourage account sharing.
If it's like the 4e model, they'd want it per player - but honestly we all shared a DDI account (or at least had the DM print our character sheets).
And just like 4e DDI, it will end as soon as Wizards drops the game, games worthless, and it becomes a dead system.
This account sharing makes the system less valuable for data harvesting. I suspect that there is more value in encouraging all players and DM to register (even for free) to use the system and to encourage player registration by allowing DMs to share accounts that to see a rise of shared accounts by multiple players.

I think this data is very important. A lot of people complain about the survey structure in the UA surveys but I think these complains are only looking at these surveys as if their were the only information available to WoTC. I think they are only used to corroborate or sanity check information they already have.

As for further monetization; there will be merch but I would also expect to see models, skins and may be even 2d customisable portraits and avatars for export to table top or other VTTs.
Personalised character sheets with custom portraits. We already have dice.
 

Retreater

Legend
Marked as pure speculation.
I quoted the CEO's direct line from the investors' meeting. But I guess call it speculation if you want.
Those running Hasbro and WotC are video game people - from that industry. The examples I provided are what video game companies do to achieve "recurrent spending:" subscriptions, microtransactions, etc. Williams stated that this is the plan for achieving monetization. I literally copied and pasted it into this thread.
 

I quoted the CEO's direct line from the investors' meeting. But I guess call it speculation if you want.
Those running Hasbro and WotC are video game people - from that industry. The examples I provided are what video game companies do to achieve "recurrent spending:" subscriptions, microtransactions, etc. Williams stated that this is the plan for achieving monetization. I literally copied and pasted it into this thread.

Noone said, they take away DM's subscription to share books.

So. Even of you think it is not speculation, you have at least one step where you jump to a conclusion:

That, where you say "it suggests".

No: you make an assumption based on nothing.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
WotC has always monetized D&D since they purchased it from TSR. And TSR monetized D&D since they created it.

So the future will be no different than the past-- they will make stuff and I will either spend money to get it or I won't. Worrying about what they may or may not make is a waste of my time.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Not sure that they will as it would encourage account sharing.
Ummm… cannot play on the VTT together and account share. Everyone would need an account for that.

For those solely interested in offline play account sharing could be a thing. But even if one in the group subscribes and buys no physical books the 5/m price equates to one 60 dollar book a year which would is the same price a group would have to spend to get all books on the 1 per year production speed. Add on that margins per user are likely higher for online and I don’t see the problem.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Noone said, they take away DM's subscription to share books.

So. Even of you think it is not speculation, you have at least one step where you jump to a conclusion:

That, where you say "it suggests".

No: you make an assumption based on nothing.
I said they take away Sharing.

Part of this is as he reminded - they want to monetize D&D One like a video game with reoccurring spending.

The other part is they talked about 80% of the player base not being monetized or being under monetized. So they will do something to try to monetize that segment. Eliminating sharing or requiring a paid subscription from players for it and micro transactions are the only real paths to monetize these players.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Ummm… cannot play on the VTT together and account share. Everyone would need an account for that.

For those solely interested in offline play account sharing could be a thing. But even if one in the group subscribes and buys no physical books the 5/m price equates to one 60 dollar book a year which would is the same price a group would have to spend to get all books on the 1 per year production speed. Add on that margins per user are likely higher for online and I don’t see the problem.
True that but not everyone that is using D&DBeyond will be playing on the VTT. Many are tabletop players.
 

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