Only Sly Flourish could say with certainty what he meant, but if I could take a crack at it: he noted that he had floated the idea that Wizards was one of many "5e publishers" (in lieu of saying "third party publishers) before the whole OGL kerfluffle started. Historically, the perception has been that third-party publishers have been creating content in support of WotC's 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. (I.e., the first party (WotC) creates the game to sell to the second party (the customers), but a third-party creates adventures/supplements.) But now we have 5e-compatible, yet separate and complete, game systems (Level Up! is one example, and presumably Black Flag). And when an adventure or supplement is published for one of these systems, it will be usable by any of them. And when WotC releases 1D&D, that will in effect be the same kind of entity: one of many forks of the 5e system.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.
His point in his recent podcast was that the release on CC has thrown this into stark relief. Now, the "third party" publishers are not even going to WotC for the license, but going to Creative Commons. And no matter what WotC may ultimately do with D&D, these and other publishers will be able to continue making their 5e products. So it seems only right to refer to these publishers as "5e publishers" rather than "third party publishers," and if you do that, then WotC is just another 5e publisher, rather than the first party of some consumer triangle.
One might look at from the perspective of the OSR (and this is me, not Mike Shea saying this). One might technically call Necrotic Gnome a "third-party publisher", since they use Wizards' (first party) OGL, but since they make products for the OSR market (not Wizards' typical second party!), and are not even compatible with fifth edition D&D, it makes more sense to call them an OSR publisher.