"The Future of D&D is International" (Inverse article)

This article is about a month old, so pardon me if it has already been discussed. It brings up a point that I haven't really considered all that much, that "the future of D&D is international." Chris Perkins said they're looking at South America and Asia, with Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese languages a focus. Considering that there are almost 900 million native Mandarin speakers (and over a billion speakers overall), 350 million native Spanish speakers (about the same as native English), and 200 million native Portuguese speakers, that's a lot of room for growth.

Another thing I found interesting in the article: "Turns out there's millions of people who really like books, adds Stewart. "They like the tactile feel and the art and craft of it. We don't do PDFs because it's a bad experience. That's why we're not there."

I mean, I suspected this was a factor in D&D's popularity, that people crave something less digital, something more tacticle and--I would add--imaginative, versus the simulative environments of video games. D&D is a far more human experience than video games are, both in terms of social interaction, but also in terms of physical embodiment and imaginative experience.

Anyhow, it is a very positive outlook that holds numerous avenues for discussion. One thought that came to mind is that if D&D does continue to grow, and if Wizards is successful in at least carving out strong markets in Asia and South America, there likely won't be a whiff of anything close to a "6E" anytime soon - not for years, at least, and maybe never, at least nothing more than minor revisions. The game is successful as is, and still growing - wildly more popular than anyone hoped or expected. Whereas five years ago the hope was probably a return to 3E's heyday, now they are probably entertaining dreams of a global player base of even a hundred million or more.

I know no one is expecting a 6E anytime soon, certainly not in this upward trajectory; but the focus on growth and international markets makes that all the more certain. It would be foolish to change the game's rules as millions of new players learn it every year. That said, let's say the player base continues to grow and blossoms to over 50 million over the next few years. Imagine the sales possibilities of a new set of core rulebooks. I imagine that they're already planning to come out with a new set in 2024 for the 50th anniversary that would involve new art, minor tweaks, rules cleanups, and maybe a few new bits and baubles - but nothing more than a "5.1." But in that international environment, the Player's Handbook could be a global best-seller.

A few years ago one thought that was going around was that Wizards of the Coast was leveraging D&D to be the stepping off of a media franchise; that it would eventually be the symbolic heart of a much larger media franchise, but the focus--the big money--would be on video games, movies, TV shows. What is heartening about the article is that it implies that this is no longer case, that the heart and money-maker remain the same: the pen and paper game itself.

This increasing popularity is also why whatever movie or TV show they do, they must do very well, as there could be some risk to the game's popularity and reputation if they put out a crappy film.

Anyhow, good times.
 

Mistwell

Hero
"Turns out there's millions of people who really like books, adds Stewart. "They like the tactile feel and the art and craft of it. We don't do PDFs because it's a bad experience. That's why we're not there."
That is a very interesting comment.

I agree with it, but it's a very controversial thing to say. At least around here :)
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
That is a very interesting comment.

I agree with it, but it's a very controversial thing to say. At least around here :)
Stewart's quote seems a tad disingenuous and a bit disrespectful to their business partners. They are licensing content to D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. So they are allowing for digital options. They don't like PDFs because it makes piracy easier. Also, yes, PDFs are not a great experience IMHO, but DriveThru RPG and the many publishers who offer PDF versions of their print products seem to contradict Stewart's claims that people don't like PDFs.
 

S'mon

Legend
Well I agree that the tactile elements of D&D are a big draw for me. Nothing like a pint of warm beer, good company, a nice pub room, a colourful battlemat covered in minis, dozens of dice, pencils and weighty hardback tomes. :)
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Lots of people certainly like books. No doubt about that.

Lots of people also like PDFs, as evidenced by the DMs Guild (which WotC created); and they also like other digital options, like DDB, FG, and Roll20.

It's not a binary choice.
 
The PDF thing is one tiny aspect of the article and not really a very interesting one, but oh well - let's fixate on that and ignore the rest.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I wish WotC hired someone to do translation of the core material in-house instead of giving this task to a third party. The cost of translated material is absolutely insane. I wouldnt mind a few buck more, like 10 or 15 CAD more, but the the French PHB I found on the web are between 89 cad and 108 cad while the regular English one is like 32 cad on Amazon. Good can more or less function with English with a little help, because the hobby would be to pricey if not. Same thing for the spell cards from Gale Force 9, they cost twice the price.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
That quote might be a bit out of context:

The article talks about the romance of having books, then it goes on to talk about the problems of books and other such props:

“We take for granted sometimes in the US getting people around a table with enough room for minis and stuff like that,” explains Stewart. “In lots of other countries, that’s not very practical.”
And to be honest, it's rapidly becoming non-practical for urban US games, due to the reality of apartments, and other cramped living conditions.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The PDF thing is one tiny aspect of the article and not really a very interesting one, but oh well - let's fixate on that and ignore the rest.
I think we can decide for ourselves what we find interesting.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
And to be honest, it's rapidly becoming non-practical for urban US games, due to the reality of apartments, and other cramped living conditions.
So true!

I mean, the recent invention of cities and apartments has likely obsoloted the book.

Um, wait .... ;)
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
You can't have a personal library if you don't have a room to put it in~
It's a question of priorities, isn't it?

I mean, I somehow managed to live in tiny urban apartments (and tinier dorm rooms) and had a large number of books.

People throughout history have had books ...

To me, the amazing thing isn't that people can't fit in the books ... it's putting in their 60" + TV screens. Like I wrote- priorities.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


(I mean, I went for the easy joke! The easier joke would have been, "No one has ever confused Sacramento with a city.")
 

Mistwell

Hero
The PDF thing is one tiny aspect of the article and not really a very interesting one, but oh well - let's fixate on that and ignore the rest.
I find it very interesting. I'm fine you don't. But, I am not ignoring the rest as opposed to just focusing on the thing I found interesting.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Here is the full quote about digital and PDF vs Hardcopy (I skip parts between about the international aspects):

According to Wizards, the future doesn’t lie in virtual reality...Adam Bradford, general manager of D&D Beyond — a digital toolkit for players — says “the biggest roadblock” to D&D augmented and virtual reality is “availability of the technology.” “That’s not a tree we’re barking up right away, but it’s something we’ll pay attention to,” he says. Rather than see technology as a replacement for paper and pencils, Bradford says Wizards is aiming to use technology to “help mitigate the worst part” of gaming, i.e. “taking too long to look up things or whatever else.”

Apparently, people still like paper and pencils. “If you asked me five years ago, I might have said we’d transition to an all-digital product,” says Schuh. “But when you’re at home, dreaming of your next campaign curled up in a chair, it’s a different use case than digital. You’ll bring your character on your phone because it’s convenient. Both still have a place in people’s hearts and homes.” “Turns out there’s millions of people who really like books,” adds Stewart. “They like the tactile feel and the art and craft of it. We don’t do PDFs because it’s a bad experience. That’s why we’re not there.”

[further down the article] ...Ironically, it’s overseas where digital tools may play a bigger role than it does in the US. “We take for granted sometimes in the US getting people around a table with enough room for minis and stuff like that,” explains Stewart. “In lots of other countries, that’s not very practical.”
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I much prefer books. I find it easier to find things and flip through them. But I'm old. I have friends who much prefer digital. Heathens...
 

Parmandur

Legend
Stewart's quote seems a tad disingenuous and a bit disrespectful to their business partners. They are licensing content to D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. So they are allowing for digital options. They don't like PDFs because it makes piracy easier. Also, yes, PDFs are not a great experience IMHO, but DriveThru RPG and the many publishers who offer PDF versions of their print products seem to contradict Stewart's claims that people don't like PDFs.
The scale of sales for DriveThruRPG products and printed 5E books is wildly different, though: the Fantasy ground, Roll20 and D&D Beyond experiences are notably different from a PDF reader. Stewart isn't claiming that nobody likes PDFs, he seems to be talking on the broad market level, which is WotC focus.
 

Parmandur

Legend
This article is about a month old, so pardon me if it has already been discussed. It brings up a point that I haven't really considered all that much, that "the future of D&D is international." Chris Perkins said they're looking at South America and Asia, with Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese languages a focus. Considering that there are almost 900 million native Mandarin speakers (and over a billion speakers overall), 350 million native Spanish speakers (about the same as native English), and 200 million native Portuguese speakers, that's a lot of room for growth.

Another thing I found interesting in the article: "Turns out there's millions of people who really like books, adds Stewart. "They like the tactile feel and the art and craft of it. We don't do PDFs because it's a bad experience. That's why we're not there."

I mean, I suspected this was a factor in D&D's popularity, that people crave something less digital, something more tacticle and--I would add--imaginative, versus the simulative environments of video games. D&D is a far more human experience than video games are, both in terms of social interaction, but also in terms of physical embodiment and imaginative experience.

Anyhow, it is a very positive outlook that holds numerous avenues for discussion. One thought that came to mind is that if D&D does continue to grow, and if Wizards is successful in at least carving out strong markets in Asia and South America, there likely won't be a whiff of anything close to a "6E" anytime soon - not for years, at least, and maybe never, at least nothing more than minor revisions. The game is successful as is, and still growing - wildly more popular than anyone hoped or expected. Whereas five years ago the hope was probably a return to 3E's heyday, now they are probably entertaining dreams of a global player base of even a hundred million or more.

I know no one is expecting a 6E anytime soon, certainly not in this upward trajectory; but the focus on growth and international markets makes that all the more certain. It would be foolish to change the game's rules as millions of new players learn it every year. That said, let's say the player base continues to grow and blossoms to over 50 million over the next few years. Imagine the sales possibilities of a new set of core rulebooks. I imagine that they're already planning to come out with a new set in 2024 for the 50th anniversary that would involve new art, minor tweaks, rules cleanups, and maybe a few new bits and baubles - but nothing more than a "5.1." But in that international environment, the Player's Handbook could be a global best-seller.

A few years ago one thought that was going around was that Wizards of the Coast was leveraging D&D to be the stepping off of a media franchise; that it would eventually be the symbolic heart of a much larger media franchise, but the focus--the big money--would be on video games, movies, TV shows. What is heartening about the article is that it implies that this is no longer case, that the heart and money-maker remain the same: the pen and paper game itself.

This increasing popularity is also why whatever movie or TV show they do, they must do very well, as there could be some risk to the game's popularity and reputation if they put out a crappy film.

Anyhow, good times.
You are right, the focus on International growth does suggest that they have no plans for any edition change in the next few years, as they have consistently stated. While they haven't fully ramped up their media game, they have been quite successful in the comics and casual game scenes so far. They have a promising big video game coming down the tubes, along with a movie and who knows what else. I think we are not even half way through 5E, maybe much less.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
There are millions of Spanish-speakers, but we aren't enough rich to buy all. You can see in many free-to-play online videogames there are translations to different languages but not for Spanish.

China is a great market, but there the future of the industry of the speculative fiction isn't good. Its censorship doesn't like undeads, supernatural elements nor even their own pre-Mao historical past.

Radio killed books, TV killed radio, Videoclubs killed TV, Internet killed cinema and videoclub and video-consoles killed miniatures and boardgames.

The books are for collectors, and the PDFs are by little third party companies.

* I imagine the future of the storytelling "pencil & dices" RPGs like videogames with a creator of quests/missions/stories.

* For new generations of players WotC needs a boardame with simple rules to be easily learnt by preteens, something like the "Hero-Quest" 90's boardgame. ("Endless Quest" as title was copyright by TSR).
 

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