Anyway, could you expound here, as a longtime reviewer, on the overall usefulness of the OGL?
I know it wasn't directed at me Mark but since I run long at the mouth anyway...
The OGL, especially when combined with the D20 license, allowed a huge volume of material to be published and created jobs, settings, new game engines, great licensed adaptations and more.
It also lead to some of those who were already in official capacity at WoTC, after leaving, to make a living doing products for game engines that they helped to design and push those envelopes further. Note that in some aspects that is fairly important because if these individuals had not had the opportunity to earn a living wage through these games and publications, not to mention help push out the rise of electronic publishing through PDF, they may not have been in position to go back to the official capacity.
Anyone remember Roger Moore of Dragon fame? He was a great writer and very imaginative but has pretty much fallen out of gaming or the gaming publishing aspect.
In addition, it lead to those who were completely unknown to rise to the top not through art, packaging and design, but through growing word of mouth and high end output working for numerous companies until they are right now working in an official capacity.
Those are 'real' benefits. A training ground for new blood that doesn't have to be paid for by the company in addition to a retention ground for those that can be called back on later.
The long range impact of the OGL is not over as Pathfinder is still using it and in my opinion, as a gaming company, using it in a manner that leverages their brand far better than WoTC ever did. By providing spot light information, by selling the products, by continuing to add to the overall pool of OGL rules, Pathfinder keeps things moving forward.
WoTC has tried to 'go it alone' and let's be honest, no one outside of WoTC knows how that's worked for them. But from an outsider's persepctive, no matter how much more I enjoy monster design and NPC creation in 4e, 4e does not appear to have met WoTC needs or we can expect a huge amount of chrun between editions in the future and were lucky to have 3.0-3.5 as long as we did.