WotC With 5E now under Community Commons, WotC is now "just" another 5E publisher -- here's how they can still dominate

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think it undermines the basis of the thread: WotC is still the only D&D publisher and will be until such time as they sell it off. I don't think 5E rules on their own are enough to produce a significant challenge to D&D as a brand.
No, thattrue: that's why they put it into Creative Commons. Ryan Dancey argued that 20 years ago fairly convincingly.
 

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Jer

Legend
Supporter
I was listening to the Lazy RPG Podcast (@SlyFlourish's renamed Lazy DM Podcast) and Mike pointed out that, in light of 5E being added to Creative Commons, Wizards of the Coast is "just" another 5E publisher and will have to compete in the marketplace against other such publishers.

Obviously, this was effectively true before, but the changes in the licensing mean that a large portion of the competitive advantage WotC enjoyed is gone.
Can someone please explain to me how having the srd under a cc-by license makes things any different for Wizards from a competition angle than having it under the ogl did? I don't see it.

Putting things under a cc does remove the restrictions wizards had on pi from the ogl. But beyond that they're in the same position as before - the only source for officially branded Dungeons and Dragons content, the biggest company making ttrpg products, and the company every game store already deals with for Magic the Gathering.

So as far as I can tell nothing has really changed except the alienated some portion if their customer base for no reason. But I might be missing something so if anyone can tell me what that is I'd appreciate it.
 

Reynard

Legend
No, thattrue: that's why they put it into Creative Commons. Ryan Dancey argued that 20 years ago fairly convincingly.
Ryan Dancey put the SRD under the OGL 20 years ago because there was no creative commons at the time, and he wanted people to support D&D. That it would save D&D in case of bad management was also important, but the primary goal was to make people reach first for D&D because of network externalities. I don't see how using CC now changes that much. The actual "D&D-ness" of D&D isn't in the SRD.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Can someone please explain to me how having the srd under a cc-by license makes things any different for Wizards from a competition angle than having it under the ogl did? I don't see it.
Because 5E will be the "current" edition as long as any publisher finds it profitable to produce new content for it. Previously, WotC had the power to change the conversation for everyone -- see the apocalypse that happened to 3E products when 3.5 was announced.
 

Reynard

Legend
Because 5E will be the "current" edition as long as any publisher finds it profitable to produce new content for it. Previously, WotC had the power to change the conversation for everyone -- see the apocalypse that happened to 3E products when 3.5 was announced.
People could have continued to support 3.0. The rules were out there. There could have been a 3.0 "Pathfinder." There wasn't. What is the current official supported edition of D&D is D&D. Even Pathfinder did not "eclipse" 4E as many like to claim around here -- although it got close sometimes. I think when 6E comes out the market for 5E-alikes is going to effectively disappear. The games that will survive will be the games that differentiate themselves.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
People could have continued to support 3.0. The rules were out there. There could have been a 3.0 "Pathfinder." There wasn't. What is the current official supported edition of D&D is D&D. Even Pathfinder did not "eclipse" 4E as many like to claim around here -- although it got close sometimes. I think when 6E comes out the market for 5E-alikes is going to effectively disappear. The games that will survive will be the games that differentiate themselves.
I'm not convinced. Only because of the tsunami of new players that came in with 5E. This is their first edition change. There are already a half-dozen 5E alternatives and with the 5.1 SRD being released under the CC-BY, there will be dozens more. And there's such a heap of material out there that most groups could run the game for several lifetimes and not run out of available material. There was a lot of 3X support at the time WotC switched to 4E. There are orders of magnitude more players and support now. This is the downside of 5E's success for WotC. It's even easier for people to stay with 5E. If 6E is nearly identical to 5E, then it will be trivial for people to bring in cool 6E stuff they like as house rules to 5E. Especially if WotC goes ahead with their "walled garden" of 6E and the VTT. You already have shelves filled with 5E books that you could play for the rest of your life...or you could scrap all that and drop $30/month for this new but somehow nearly identical thing. So why switch? Beyond fear of missing out.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Because 5E will be the "current" edition as long as any publisher finds it profitable to produce new content for it. Previously, WotC had the power to change the conversation for everyone -- see the apocalypse that happened to 3E products when 3.5 was announced.
But that was already true under the OGL? Like, if Wizards went and released a new incompatible edition tomorrow and we were still where we were in November (i.e. SRD under the OGL, no claim that the OGL was able to be revoked or deauthorized), then people could still release 5e stuff. And 3e stuff.

But also - Wizards STILL has the power to change the conversation for everyone in the same way they did a month ago before this all happened. The CC-BY license doesn't change the fact that they own the brand Dungeons and Dragons and to a large degree they get to define what D&D is as far as what gets sold with the D&D logo on it. I personally don't think they will for "OneD&D/6e" or whatever it ends up being because we're far too late to make radical changes and get it out the door for the 50th anniversary next year (and rushing 4e out the door before it was done was one of the many mistakes made around 4th edition. I would hope they learned at least one lesson from their bumbling around 4e, even if they didn't seem to learn the "don't make the community mad because you need them to buy your stuff" lesson).

But 5 years from now they could release TwoD&D and have it be completely incompatible with 5e and not under an open license. And that will impact the conversation. Just like it did when they did the same thing with 4e. Either it will be massively successful and players will flock to it and they'll finally have shut down the concept of open gaming around D&D, or it'll be moderately successful but not nearly as successful as they need it to be to justify the amount of money they're spending on it, repeating the mistakes of 4th edition all over again. And people will keep playing and supporting 5e.
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
But that was already true under the OGL?
The market would move on. Now, between Black Flag and the other 5E-compatible systems coming, there's going to be an alternative available to 1D&D before 1D&D ever hits the streets. Publishers other than WotC can put out material with confidence, without worrying that everything they're making will suddenly be for an obsolete system. People who don't like 1D&D will have off-ramps they can choose before 1D&D ever comes out and will be able to have confidence that Kobold and others will continue to produce content they want to consume.
 

Haplo781

Legend
4) Leverage that IP! Not only does WotC have the sole rights to slap "Dungeons & Dragons" on their cover, they have the sole rights to the Forgotten Realms, the World of Greyhawk, Dark Sun and Gamma World. I think Friday's decision means they will be more likely to release these as products in the coming years, as player-facing splatbooks and bestiaries put them on the same playing fields with Kobold Press and the like, and they're not a playing field where they always win, to put it mildly. (And yeah, Gamma World can and should be a D&D setting. Most versions of the game, going back to the very beginning, have been fairly easy to combine with D&D, and creating a post-apocalyptic setting, possibly with more fantasy elements than previously, seems like a no-brainer product, either as a single book or as a slipcase set.)
Dear baby Jesus,

Please make WotC bring Gamma World back under a revamped 7e/D&D 4e ruleset. It can pay lip service to 5e/1DD compatibility but I want my at-will/encounter/daily powers and my zany robot cockroaches.
 

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