WotC Third party, DNDBeyond and potential bad side effects.

mamba

Legend
As the hobby shifts towards VTTs and online tools suites like DDB, the barriers to entry are rising again. They can make a book, but no small 3PP has the resources to make something even approximating a $160M platform like DDB.
agreed, I expect a consolidation both in the VTT market and among 3pps. Making all the different modules of the same book for different VTTs is cost prohibitive, that is where a common / open format would come in - and VTTs that get no support from publishers will have a hard time sticking around.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
It is, ask local bookshops or other types of stores.

I can't be sure, but I expect your definition of "anti-competitive" is so broad that it becomes inoperable in a practical sense.

My local bookstores do not offer electronic delivery of books. You figure that, until they do, Amazon can't offer them to me on whatever device I want to read them on? I, as a reader, can't use new technology because a local business only sells dead trees?

That's like saying that Spotify has to die, because it undercuts BASF's audio-cassette business. Or Ford can't sell cars built on an assembly line, because it'll put buggy-whip manufacturers out of business.

Amazon has beaically killed department stores.

So, I can totally understand having a beef with Amazon over a lot of things. But, just because some of what they do is problematic, does not mean everything they do is anti-competitive. The advance of technology makes new types of products available. If you make it "anti-competitive" for others to enter those businesses, we don't get new products.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I can't be sure, but I expect your definition of "anti-competitive" is so broad that it becomes inoperable in a practical sense.

My local bookstores do not offer electronic delivery of books. You figure that, until they do, Amazon can't offer them to me on whatever device I want to read them on? I, as a reader, can't use new technology because a local business only sells dead trees?

That's like saying that Spotify has to die, because it undercuts BASF's audio-cassette business. Or Ford can't sell cars built on an assembly line, because it'll put buggy-whip manufacturers out of business.



So, I can totally understand having a beef with Amazon over a lot of things. But, just because some of what they do is problematic, does not mean everything they do is anti-competitive. The advance of technology makes new types of products available. If you make it "anti-competitive" for others to enter those businesses, we don't get new products.
I will admit I am being a little expansive on the anti-competitive rhetoric but operations that have enough scale to drive out competition by practices like predatory pricing or simply buying out rising competitors and burying their product, something that has often happened in the technology sector.
I have personally benefited from the existence of Amazon due to living in an underserviced rural location. I am likely to personally benefit from WoTC publishing third party material but I just pushing back that some things bandied about as a solution like an open API may not be an unmitigated good.
 


Oofta

Legend
I tried to get all my thoughts in a single cohesive segment of my weekly RPG Talk Show. You can find it here:

Roll for Combat's stream on the new VTT mentioned that the plans for 3PP is for there to be an open marketplace for 3PP on DDB.

It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it mention, but if accurate it makes sense. They're testing things out with a couple of products as kind of a beta test. They'll slowly open up to anyone who wants to publish. The one thing they would have to do, I think, is figure out how to subdivide 3PP from "official" product. Tools similar to what DmsGuild has for search and sorting along with a rating and review system would be nice as well.

This kind of stuff sounds simple, but there's a fair amount of work you have to set this stuff up so you don't have people griefing the system or publishing objectionable material. Does this make them the Steam of 3PP for D&D? I suppose. But since 95% of the games I play on my PC come from Steam because it's convenient and it simply works better than the alternatives, I've already bought into that concept.
 



Clint_L

Hero
My theory is Hasbro's goal is D&DB to become the favorite online distributor of 3PPs, working as Steam or Epic Games launcher, or a streaming service. It could be bad if it worked as a cartel or oligopoly agreeing on prices, but D&D after years of experience surviving astute and mercyless DMs shouldn't be so easy to be tricked. D&D as online distributor of 3PPs' content shouldn't be bad if these could choose other options in the industry when it was necessary.
I actually think that’s Demiplane’s strategy, to counter DDB through force of numbers. I think WotC wants DDB to be more like the Nintendo of TTRPGs.

Edit: in fact, haven’t Demiplane specifically framed themselves as a counter to DDB? I’ll be using both!

Edit 2: Changed "Apple" to "Nintendo" - I think it's a more apt comparison. Ultimately, I think what WotC are interested in is maintaining control over the D&D brand. And I think a lot of this discussion is really ideological, with one side basically seeing D&D as akin to public domain, and the other seeing it as WotC's IP. What I'm seeing developing is that WotC is making DDB, which I already consider incredible value, so good that it is hard to compete with, and as it attracts more and more customers to digital (which is already the demographic trend) the print industry that supports 3PP gets squeezed.

I think you really have to see this development as a continuation of the OGL situation. WotC stupidly tried to impose control over all of 5e, which was a fool's errand, terrible PR, and probably unenforceable, and took the much more sensible path of using their digital platform to accomplish what they really wanted, which was control over the brand, not the mechanics.
 
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