Roll20 & DTRPG Are Teaming Up

Last month, Roll20 and the Drive-Thru-RPG-powered DM's Guild announced that they were teaming up to bring DMs Guild content to the Roll20 virtual tabletop platform. This week, the two companies have announced that Roll20 and the whole of DTRPG are joining forces. The two companies combine the world's largest VTT platform with the world's largest TTRPG digital storefront. The announcement...

Last month, Roll20 and the Drive-Thru-RPG-powered DM's Guild announced that they were teaming up to bring DMs Guild content to the Roll20 virtual tabletop platform. This week, the two companies have announced that Roll20 and the whole of DTRPG are joining forces.

Roll20DriveThruRPG-Banner_1920x1080.jpg


The two companies combine the world's largest VTT platform with the world's largest TTRPG digital storefront. The announcement refers to a 'new entity' which will be adding PDF support to Roll20 which allows users to access any PDF in the platform, with a longer term goal of making DTRPG's PDF libraries available from within Roll20 itself.

You can see a mockup of how this will look below.

VTT-DMsGuild-Mockup.jpg


PDFLibraryDesignPreview.png

DTRPG-DMG-Roll20-mockup.png




Today, Roll20 and OneBookShelf announced their plans to join forces, bringing together two of the world’s leading digital tabletop roleplaying (TTRPG) content platforms. Roll20 is already the world’s most popular virtual tabletop platform for roleplaying games, providing a digital space for over 10 million users to play TTRPGs daily. OneBookShelf manages eleven ecommerce marketplaces, most notably DriveThruRPG and Dungeon Masters Guild, and is the premier online vendor for the TTRPG industry. The deal empowers players to manage content across platforms for nearly any tabletop game, connect more easily with other players, and step into games immediately, all in one place.

This change forges an unprecedented alliance of industry experience in the TTRPG space, fusing more than a century of combined executive leadership with publisher and community relationships to create the best tabletop platform experience. TTRPG publishers and creators can now easily reach audiences in the virtual game space where they most often play, allowing customers to seamlessly find, share, and play their favorite games.

The joint venture brings together a party of 40 technical wizards dedicated to improving product, code, and user experience. In the coming weeks, the new entity will add PDF support to Roll20’s virtual tabletop (VTT), giving GMs and players the ability to upload, read, share, and immediately play using any PDF in the VTT. At a later date, the companies will make OneBookShelf PDF libraries accessible within the Roll20 virtual tabletop experience, and are committing to ensure that OneBookShelf PDFs will not count toward Roll20 storage quotas.

“Joining forces with OneBookShelf creates the best place to purchase, peruse, and play TTRPGs online, period,” said Ankit Lal, CEO of Roll20. “Since 2012, Roll20 has been the industry leader in virtual tabletop gaming, hosting content from some of the biggest publishers in the space, including Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, and Chaosium. With this deal, we gain significant progress on several of our user promises that dramatically improve the VTT, and will work together to continue adding new and exciting features to our already industry-leading platform.”

“Our mission from the get-go has always been to make it easier for publishers and creators to reach a wider audience of roleplaying fans,” said Steve Wieck, CEO of OneBookShelf. “By combining forces with Roll20, we empower game makers to present content across a wider variety of formats, whether character creators, virtual tabletop, digital editions, or print. Customers will be able to support their favorite games, in any format they desire, with one economical purchase, and they will be able to use their content on roleplaying’s most trusted platform.”

Following the closure of the deal, Ankit Lal will continue as CEO, having been promoted from President of Roll20 in January 2022. He brings 14 years of experience leading strategy, product, analytics, and marketing teams across several industries, most recently at Google and ClassPass. OneBookShelf CEO Steve Wieck will join the Roll20 governing board and executive team, bringing 35 years of experience across the TTRPG industry. Wieck’s credits are numerous: he co-founded White Wolf Publishing, producers of Vampire: the Masquerade and other World of Darkness properties, founded DriveThruRPG in 2004 (which later combined with RPGNow to form OneBookShelf, Inc), and later served on the CCP Games Board of Directors following the company’s White Wolf acquisition. Together, the two combine a wealth of product development and industry-specific knowledge.

Roll20 partnering with OneBookShelf is the latest move under Ankit Lal’s leadership to help realize a new vision for the platform. Since Lal assumed the CEO position, Roll20 has added features highly demanded from fans including Dark Mode, one-way barriers with Dynamic Lighting, and updated compendium sharing. The platform’s performance-improving initiative, Operation Fire Bolt, has reduced in-game load times by 57% and boosted launch speeds by up to 50% for almost all games. Over the rest of 2022, Roll20 users can look forward to continued VTT improvements, faster dice results, more Dynamic Lighting updates, improved character creation and character sheets, and more.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
Interesting...


Is the Roll20 Marketplace or any OneBookShelf Marketplace going to shut down?​

No. Both Roll20 and OneBookShelf were doing great prior to this, and now we’re even stronger. There is no risk of anything shutting down.



Do we need to sign a new contract?​

At some point in the coming months, when you log into your OneBookShelf site publisher account, you’ll be prompted with an update to your publisher agreement. There’s no material change to any terms of business; it’s just an update to account for legal formalities of the agreement.

Similarly, there will be no change to the Roll20 Marketplace Creator agreement.



Will there be any changes to my fees or royalties?​

Your fees and costs associated with either organization will stay the same.



Will there be any changes to any OneBookShelf sites?​

All OneBookShelf marketplaces (including DMsGuild, Wargame Vault, DriveThruComics, etc.) will continue to operate without change as part of this amalgamation.



Will we be dealing with new representatives now?​

No one previously with Roll20 or OneBookShelf is leaving as a result of these changes. Your contacts remain the same as before. In the longer term, the publisher-facing teams from both sides will gradually be working more closely together to serve you better.



How does this move help publishers?​

This consolidation is a good strategic move for both parties that’s been years in the making, and it puts us all collectively closer to the user experience we want to deliver.

This move should bring you better sales because it provides a superior opportunity to meet current customer demands: You will be able to sell content to people where they are actually playing games online. With Roll20 launching PDF support on the virtual tabletop, there’s new value to PDF content for tabletop RPG players, with minimal conversion investment.

The overlap of Roll20 customers and OneBookShelf customers is surprisingly small, which means this is a large cross-selling opportunity, bringing content from each platform to the other platform’s audience – thus bringing more customers and driving more sales for you.

You will also be able to present and sell your content in all available formats, and in whatever combinations and pricing schemes you prefer (while we provide data on what we find to be best practices for maximizing revenue).



Will we need to manage two separate accounts now?​

For the moment, yes, but in the longer term, we expect you may have a single publisher account that allows you to manage titles across all marketplaces.



Are the marketplaces going to be joining together too?​

As far as we know at this juncture, they will remain separate.



What do the changes look like in the shorter term?​

First, content accessibility. Millions of users maintain significant libraries of content they’ve purchased on OneBookShelf sites; with a little teamwork, we’ll be able to link those libraries directly into user accounts on the Roll20 platform. That means a customer will be able to pull up PDFs they bought on DriveThruRPG and access them directly inside of their Roll20 game.

Next, file size and storage limits. We believe users should be able to access files hosted in a DriveThruRPG library without affecting their storage limits on Roll20.



And what is the long-term plan?​

As the new DriveThruRPG marketplace (now being previewed) and the Roll20 platform become more closely integrated, we will be able to offer users all of the advantages of the biggest VTT platform out there, which is improving constantly, plus all the quality-of-life benefits that a new marketplace design, industry-veteran staff, and our huge collective catalog of content can provide.

These integrated features should appeal to publishers and content creators, since improved store functionality embedded seamlessly into the Roll20 VTT environment means their content will gain better exposure to a wider audience of potential customers, right in the game space where they are already playing those games.

Beyond those things, we will need time for our teams to work more closely together and develop a roadmap based on our current and expected capabilities.



Can we sell PDFs on the Roll20 store?​

Soon, yes. We will make it possible, pending technical teams reviewing and assessing that implementation.

Increasing your ability to make sales via the Roll20 platform is a high priority.



Will we be able to sell print-on-demand titles via the Roll20 store?​

No. For now, nothing changes regarding POD books or cards on OneBookShelf sites. You’ll still set them up and sell them, as ever, via the OneBookShelf/DriveThru interface.



What if we are working on VTT content now or we already sell VTT assets?​

That’s great. If you already sell on both Roll20 and on DriveThruRPG, then not much changes for you. If anything, more people will see your content, buy it, and be able to use it right away.

Eventually, your single account may connect you to both platforms, so it should simplify some things in your process.



Will there be an opportunity for “Hybrid PDF” packaged content?​

Hybrid PDF content refers to maps and tokens semi-converted to VTT content (as opposed to a full compendium conversion), to be used on Roll20 together in conjunction with PDF content.

This is still a viable option that would allow us to take advantage of both DTRPG’s and Roll20’s respective strengths in the short term, yes. As PDF integration is unlocked on the Roll20 Marketplace, that content can be complemented by Addons, Modules, or Compendiums that pull out some of the PDF titles’ most VTT-friendly features, making for a fast conversion project with immediate added value for customers.



What if we don’t care about VTTs or other digital platforms?​

That’s fine too! But if you are open to it, then this new arrangement might help you move into a space where a lot of people play games, giving your content much greater exposure.

However, you can keep on making and selling PDFs just as you do now.



Is DriveThruRPG still working with other VTTs like Fantasy Grounds?​

We aren’t planning any changes to how Fantasy Grounds or Foundry content is sold on OneBookShelf marketplaces. We still want to maintain friendly relationships with other VTT platforms, but some of those details and plans are still under consideration.

But in short, if they are still willing to work with us, then we feel the same way.



What about Astral: Will we shut it down?​

Yes, we will be closing the Astral VTT platform in August. We will be making an announcement regarding this within the next week, and we’ll offer some new options to users there.



OneBookShelf community programs: Do they all need to be renegotiated?​

We have already spoken with some of our biggest licensors, and we plan to speak with other publishers who have community programs with us in the coming days.

It is our hope and our intent that we’ll eventually be able to open up all of our existing and future community programs to Roll20 content.



How does this change affect my exclusivity?​

Any exclusivity you had selling on OneBookShelf sites, with the exception of DMsGuild content, or on Roll20 now opens to selling across both marketplaces.
 

Also just read it. I'm not sure how I feel about it - I'm not the biggest Roll20 fan and I feel the friendliness towards other VTTs might be reduced over time.
 





Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Can someone explain to me -- who is a FG user -- what "PDF integration" on Roll20 looks like and means? Like, is it intended to eliminate having to buy the same thing twice (or 3 times if I want print, too)?
 

darjr

I crit!
Can someone explain to me -- who is a FG user -- what "PDF integration" on Roll20 looks like and means? Like, is it intended to eliminate having to buy the same thing twice (or 3 times if I want print, too)?
Look at Lisa’s article I linked.

FG user is Fantasy Grounds user, the vtt they generally had things for, I think.
 


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