WotC Ray Winninger Steps Back From WotC

Former leader of the D&D team Ray Winninger has announced his departure from WotC, having "accomplished the ambitious goals we set". Dan Rawson was announced the new head of D&D earlier this month, leading many to speculate about Winninger's departure.

Ray_Winninger_at_MIX08_(2)_crop.jpg


"Sorry for the radio silence; I'm in the midst of a SORELY needed Long Rest. I have indeed left WotC, having accomplished the ambitious goals we set when I took over the D&D team.

Shepherding D&D was an honor and a privilege, but I'm looking forward to slowing down and getting back to a list of personal design projects. (Gamers, you haven't seen the last of me!) Most of all, I look forward to following D&D as a fan again.

Proud of the team I left behind; D&D is in very good hands: @JeremyECrawford, @ChrisPerkinsDnD, @DroidsForSale, @dtovar77, Liz Schuh, Kate Irwin, Trish Yochum, @aquelajames, @FWesSchneider, @MakenzieLaneDA, @amandahamon, Emi Tanji, Bree Heiss, @doctorcomics. @justicearman

@RPGRonLundeen, @BillBenham2, Rob Hawkey, Ben Petrisor, @Dan_Dillon_1, @EytanBernstein, Adrian Ng, Janica Carter, @chrislindsay, @TrystanFalcone, @mattchucole, Bob Jordan, @christulach, Natalie Egan, Hilary Ross, Carl Sibley. Thanks for being such great adventuring companions."
 
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He didn't actually clarify why, but hey, thats his business.
I mean, given they put a guy whose entire previous major experience is taking people from purchasing to subscribing, and physical to digital in charge of D&D, in a position that would be directly above Winninger, I think it's fairly easy to read between the lines.

Winninger was either not on board with that approach, or was totally unnecessary to it, because having a serious creative (which Winninger is, despite his corporate experience) with a creative vision can actually be a hindrance to your orderly plans to essentially "onboard" everyone to D&D Beyond and get them paying a nice neat subscription.

Cynical, me?
 



I mean, given they put a guy whose entire previous major experience is taking people from purchasing to subscribing, and physical to digital in charge of D&D, in a position that would be directly above Winninger, I think it's fairly easy to read between the lines.

Winninger was either not on board with that approach, or was totally unnecessary to it, because having a serious creative (which Winninger is, despite his corporate experience) with a creative vision can actually be a hindrance to your orderly plans to essentially "onboard" everyone to D&D Beyond and get them paying a nice neat subscription.

Cynical, me?
They still have a stack of creatives, including Nate Stewart
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I mean, given they put a guy whose entire previous major experience is taking people from purchasing to subscribing, and physical to digital in charge of D&D, in a position that would be directly above Winninger, I think it's fairly easy to read between the lines.

Winninger was either not on board with that approach, or was totally unnecessary to it, because having a serious creative (which Winninger is, despite his corporate experience) with a creative vision can actually be a hindrance to your orderly plans to essentially "onboard" everyone to D&D Beyond and get them paying a nice neat subscription.

Cynical, me?

Unfortunately, I think you might be correct.

Without going too far into the questionable territory, similar motives originally drove some of the decisions behind 4e. Of course, the world was very different then.

Hasbro wants to monetize D&D as a brand. And subscription revenue is the "holy grail" for companies now- it's the new "pivot-to-video." All the recent announcements - from the purchase of D&D Beyond, to the arrival of Dan Rawson, to the statements to investors regarding the projections ... they all point to increased monetization of the D&D brand, which speaks to locking people into an on-line subscription model.

As someone who resolutely remains a luddite when it comes to TTRPGs and continues to find them a respite from screen-time, I think that will be the time that I off-board ... but I am probably in the minority.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Unfortunately, I think you might be correct.

Without going too far into the questionable territory, similar motives originally drove some of the decisions behind 4e. Of course, the world was very different then.

Hasbro wants to monetize D&D as a brand. And subscription revenue is the "holy grail" for companies now- it's the new "pivot-to-video." All the recent announcements - from the purchase of D&D Beyond, to the arrival of Dan Rawson, to the statements to investors regarding the projections ... they all point to increased monetization of the D&D brand, which speaks to locking people into an on-line subscription model.

As someone who resolutely remains a luddite when it comes to TTRPGs and continues to find them a respite from screen-time, I think that will be the time that I off-board ... but I am probably in the minority.
Yeah, Dungeon Masterpiece did a piece on this (albeit with regard to the announced VTT) which touched on a lot of the same points.

 



Yeah if you bring 5e to an official VTT you're giving up the flexibility of "just make a ruling at the table" which is basically the chewing gum holding the entire system together.
yeah the more you want to automate it the more you want to nail it down, and I like that idea, but it does seem to be against the 5e motto
 



Yeah if you bring 5e to an official VTT you're giving up the flexibility of "just make a ruling at the table" which is basically the chewing gum holding the entire system together.

This point was brought up in this thread on twitter. Hard to say for sure but interesting if design decisions are taking into account what will work best on a vtt
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Far too early for doom and gloom. But not to early to start watching out for warning signs about subscription models and such. Especially since they have already locked all One D&D content behind having a DnDBeyond account.

The corporate talk about moving D&D to a billion dollar brand made me nervous: D&D is big, but the hobby isn't at a billion a year in the types of things I care about. So it either is going to get more diverse, which I'm fine with, or more expensive*.

Moving to heavily digital and subscription based could be more expensive.

With 4e I went to subscription because it was cheaper than the character-facing-hardcover-of-the-month club, and already had the copious errata. But with the publishing schedule of 5e the amount of character-facing content would be about 1/5 or less, so say I'd be willing to pay 1/5th of the 4e price. But somehow I don't think $2 a month for everything they publish for the 2024 editon is in the cards.

*Heck, I could even be fine with more expensive if eighty cents of every dollar of it was going to the creatives; we've seen the industry underpays. But that's not what has been discussed.
 
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