Matt Colville weighs in.


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Pedantic Grognard
Even a bad WoW is going to make them more money than the best version of a TTRPG ever could.
If that were true, it would already be true of D&D Online, and nobody at Hasbro would be paying any attention to the TTRPG. Making money from MMOs is trickier than the big successes make it look.

(Similarly, having the first graphical MMO -- predating WoW by thirteen years, and the release of the World Wide Web to the public by several months -- be a D&D/Forgotten Realms license didn't remotely stop TSR from going bankrupt and D&D having to be bought out by the Wizards of Cardboard Crack.)

Which is why I also think Colville is blowing hot air. There looks like there's potential profit in the subscription online game services space, sure, but it is not remotely certain that Wizbro's model or execution will actually out-profit the happy TTRPG community they've had the last few years. After all, the last Wizbro attempt to do the online services thing with D&D failed pretty hard (at least based on the massive reduction in staff and the radical change in direction that followed a handful of years later). That they won't necessarily hit all the same pitfalls (they've already repeated the GSL mistake) doesn't mean they'll actually manage to succeed.
 
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Here Hasbro isn't who has got the last word.

Let's imagine Hasbro gets its way and they start to make a lot of money with their exclusive VTT. Could you guess what was going to happen? Then other heavyweights from the entertaiment industry would think "if Hasbro can with their VTT then we could also with our own VTT". Then this wouldn't be Hasbro's lawyers against 3PPs but against bigger megacorporations. And these with some licences Hasbro would wish. Let's imagine Disney wanted to create a VTT for Star Wars and Marvel Superheroes. Hasbro here would be silent as a tombstone because they wanted the licence for the toys. Or if Hasbro was talking with Embracer Group for a merger, then they couldn't touch a hair about Fantasy Flight Games.

Hasbro has to forget the idea they could enjoy the monopoly of the VTTs. If the videogame studios want to follow the same steps, then Hasbro can do nothing to avoid it.

Here my good is Hasbro should to try a better relationship with the 3PPs. If these create interesting new IPs then they could become target, a relatively easy prey for entertaiment megacorporations. Then Hasbro offer some "help" so the 3PPs could stay independient. Here the D&D Beyond could work as a streaming service for the 3PPs. And if later some 3PP can survive more time and it has to be closed, WotC could buy its IPs.

If you aren't polite then you can't hope to be invited into more parties. Even if we have got the money and the wish to buy those products, we don't want to feel we are being cheated and paying more really necessary. We are geek, but not stupid, we have got our own pride. They have to forget the idea we are compulsive-consumer zombies.

Other suggestion is D&D VTT to can be used with different game styles. For example a town in Ravenloft could be used for a survival horror , arcade style as Resident Evil or Evil Within or graphic adventure as Alone in the Dark or Silent Hill. Some gamers would be enjoying creating quests and adventures as if D&D Beyond was a game creator (Little Big Planet, Sony's Dreams, Roblox, Manticore's Core, Fortnite Creative Mode..).

We aren't manchines, and in the business your strategy needs enough flexibility to adapt to upcoming changes.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Here Hasbro isn't who has got the last word.

Let's imagine Hasbro gets its way and they start to make a lot of money with their exclusive VTT. Could you guess what was going to happen? Then other heavyweights from the entertaiment industry would think "if Hasbro can with their VTT then we could also with our own VTT". Then this wouldn't be Hasbro's lawyers against 3PPs but against bigger megacorporations. And these with some licences Hasbro would wish. Let's imagine Disney wanted to create a VTT for Star Wars and Marvel Superheroes. Hasbro here would be silent as a tombstone because they wanted the licence for the toys. Or if Hasbro was talking with Embracer Group for a merger, then they couldn't touch a hair about Fantasy Flight Games.

Hasbro has to forget the idea they could enjoy the monopoly of the VTTs. If the videogame studios want to follow the same steps, then Hasbro can do nothing to avoid it.

Here my good is Hasbro should to try a better relationship with the 3PPs. If these create interesting new IPs then they could become target, a relatively easy prey for entertaiment megacorporations. Then Hasbro offer some "help" so the 3PPs could stay independient. Here the D&D Beyond could work as a streaming service for the 3PPs. And if later some 3PP can survive more time and it has to be closed, WotC could buy its IPs.

If you aren't polite then you can't hope to be invited into more parties. Even if we have got the money and the wish to buy those products, we don't want to feel we are being cheated and paying more really necessary. We are geek, but not stupid, we have got our own pride. They have to forget the idea we are compulsive-consumer zombies.

Other suggestion is D&D VTT to can be used with different game styles. For example a town in Ravenloft could be used for a survival horror , arcade style as Resident Evil or Evil Within or graphic adventure as Alone in the Dark or Silent Hill. Some gamers would be enjoying creating quests and adventures as if D&D Beyond was a game creator (Little Big Planet, Sony's Dreams, Roblox, Manticore's Core, Fortnite Creative Mode..).

We aren't manchines, and in the business your strategy needs enough flexibility to adapt to upcoming changes.
I don't think that hasbro can unring the bell this whole OGL thing set off. Paizo Kobold Press & MCDM aren't going to walk away from ORC blackflag & this while similar holds true for the many other 3PP already acting in self defense.
 

If you are a 13 year old wanting to play D&D you either join a game by someone already experienced in it, who is often older and in many cases will not be getting you plugged into the digi-D&D experience, or you buy the materials hoping to get a group together, during which time, if you have that sort of engagement, you probably watch some liveplays or something with people modeling some facsimile of what D&D has traditionally been, or you join your school's D&D club run by some teacher whose super into the game and unlikely to steer students towards expensive digital habits.

I'm not saying digital services aren't going to capture a disproportionate number of the young, but I think the Colville scenario of "and all the kids just grow up believing D&D is X" is basically nonsense.

The underlying bit of truth is that WotC may well go ahead and kill their brand as the monolithic center of tabletop gaming in order to build a hybrid digital-tabletop MMO monstrosity we barely recognize but that bleeds the cash from the substantially smaller user base it retains much more effeciently than D&D historically has the bulk of its customers. But without the nonsense myth that they also somehow kill all knowledge of ttrpgs in the era where what such things actually are is much more familiar to the general public than it ever has been before, what we actually see in this scenario is a giant opening for non-D&D ttrpgs to make up some ground.

It's a tremendous and lamentable waste, and I will certainly be upset with WotC if they so stupidly destroy a brand that matters to me. But I think I went through the various stages of grief over the last few months as I came to accept that 5.5 was not going to be a game for me, and at this point I am just excited that my comfort-zone of 5e will probably get a minor stay of execution as everyone's enthusiasm to immediately jump ship to 5.5 shrivels up, that there will be a panoply of other games catering to 5e refugees like me on the near horizon, and that the ttrpg hobby in general has a golden opportunity to break one would-be-monopolist's stranglehold.
 

ValamirCleaver

Ein Jäger aus Kurpfalz
They see that as the goal, the promise. Oh they see us as WoW! Winning.
Even a bad WoW is going to make them more money than the best version of a TTRPG ever could.
Aren't there already 2 D&D MMOs? In comparison to WoW how are they doing? Do they charge anything close to $30/month? Since 2000 how well has D&D digital initiatives fared?
 



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