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

Oh 5E is not going away by any stretch, but what they accomplished with the OGL fiasco is to take those competitors in the D&D publishing biz who were previously content to just ride the coattails and give MANY of them a purpose and a passion to blow WotC right out of the water with NON-D&D-dependent systems. I wouldn't put a huge stock in the popularity of D&D Beyond right now either. People were flocking to cancel those subscriptions. They're NOT going to just rush back singing kumbayah. One of the best things that Paizo could probably do for themselves right now (aside from the ORC license), is serious work on a website directly competing with Beyond, including full incorporation into a VTT. Had Wizards let the OGL be they could have likely built up Beyond and a VTT at their own pace because nobody FELT like they were going to need to compete. In just a few weeks they were shown that a higher level of competition was going to be needed and given motivation to BE that fully-engaged competition.

Or, maybe everyone will just calm down like WotC would prefer, so they can re-engage their "Dominate and destroy by any means necessary," approach, rather than, "We'll just make stuff that people like better, or that they can't afford to do."
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
5e in some form is here to stay for a long, long time. It has a massive install base and is a nostalgic touchstone for a massive number of people who came into the hobby during the 5e age. The SRD being released to creative commons (and other editions not getting such treatment) makes in the version of D&D that can actually belong to everybody (legally, not just in their hearts), and the soil upon which D&D as folk tradition (or what have you) can most readily flower.

It had occurred to me before that in the coming 5e clone age "5e compatible" will certainly be more abstracted from its historical relationship with the particular brand of 5e compatible games called "D&D". In that hypothetical clone market of broadly compatible game materials, the compatibility-oriented OneD&D is more like a comparable competing product to, say, Level Up, or the little heartbreakers many of us are hard at work on right now, than it was without this Creative Commons-ing of the SRD. In some ways, WotC is just another cloner now (so long as they try to make editions that are broadly 5e compatible).

I got in a tiff with someone in another thread over whether one could call their 5e compatible product "compatible with D&D" rather than just "5e compatible", and whether I was right or wrong on my interpretation of trademark law in saying it was risky to do so, I stand by my core point: in the coming clone age, it is likely you won't particularly want to. "5e compatible" will tell customers everything they need to know (within the market of people interested in 5e-derived products). Mentioning "Dungeons and Dragons" on your product is just giving a competitor free advertising.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
Oh 5E is not going away by any stretch, but what they accomplished with the OGL fiasco is to take those competitors in the D&D publishing biz who were previously content to just ride the coattails and give MANY of them a purpose and a passion to blow WotC right out of the water with NON-D&D-dependent systems.
No publisher has these dreams. Paizo is paying accountants 50k. Just D&D made 150 million last year.
 

Saracenus

Always In School Gamer
Oh 5E is not going away by any stretch, but what they accomplished with the OGL fiasco is to take those competitors in the D&D publishing biz who were previously content to just ride the coattails and give MANY of them a purpose and a passion to blow WotC right out of the water with NON-D&D-dependent systems. I wouldn't put a huge stock in the popularity of D&D Beyond right now either. People were flocking to cancel those subscriptions. They're NOT going to just rush back singing kumbayah. One of the best things that Paizo could probably do for themselves right now (aside from the ORC license), is serious work on a website directly competing with Beyond, including full incorporation into a VTT. Had Wizards let the OGL be they could have likely built up Beyond and a VTT at their own pace because nobody FELT like they were going to need to compete. In just a few weeks they were shown that a higher level of competition was going to be needed and given motivation to BE that fully-engaged competition.

Or, maybe everyone will just calm down like WotC would prefer, so they can re-engage their "Dominate and destroy by any means necessary," approach, rather than, "We'll just make stuff that people like better, or that they can't afford to do."
I have doubts that Paizo will want to get involved with a VTT in house. Right now Pathfinder 1E (I haven't played PF 2E, but I am sure there is a module for it) has Lonewolf's Hero Forge to keep track of characters, there is your Paizo version of D&D Beyond (DDB). It is not flashy as DDB but it get's the job done. If Lonewolf could/would update the UI/UX of Hero Forge, Paizo and Chaosium (and host of other 3PPs) that have modules for this character creator/tracker, would be more than halfway there to compete with DDB.
As for a VTT, why build it when you already have Roll20 and all the other VTTs out there.

Think of the market like this. WotC's digital presence is like Apple. They have a curated ecosystem of direct licensees that are able to use the Dungeon & Dragons brand, are promoted by WotC, and their UI/UX is pretty clean. They are investing heavily in expanding the digital ecosystem for themselves and a select group content producers/licensees (Critical Role comes to mind). There is a power in that as well as some limitations.

All the 3PP, including Paizo, are like Android the ecosystem. A bit chaotic but functional with all sorts of companies putting out their version of the "Not D&D, but like it" OS. They are pretty late to the digital party but could still be relevant. What they lack is a central focus and a bit of central control on the UI/UX to make entrance into this digital world a little easier for the consumer. However what they lack in that department they have a hotbed of ideas that can innovate and go after narrower audience that WotC's offerings serve. If something rises up WotC will just clone it on their "OS" because what's out there in the 3PP ecosystem is not radically different from D&D.

I am not going to lie WotC stands to mint money if they play their D&D IP correctly. The folks that hang out here (this includes me) are passionate, but a drop in the ocean in terms of the full customer base. The D&D brand has the power to draw more people into the TTRPG space. The only company that even remotely challenges WotC on branding is Critical Role because they have broken out into the very lucrative media space. I will bet that WotC is doing everything in their power keep them close.
 
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Reynard

Legend
Again, I think the most important piece of information we will get will be the next playtest packet. If it just continues on what was happening before, that's the nail in the coffin of any 6E theory.
 



Saracenus

Always In School Gamer
No publisher has these dreams. Paizo is paying accountants 50k. Just D&D made 150 million last year.
Paizo has an in house CPA making only 50K? Um, they must love their job because they could be making way more money working for themselves. I am not sure the an employee's pay has anything to do with the gross revenue of the D&D brand.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Too bad those numbers aren't public. It would be super interesting.
It was definitely enough to worry decision makers!

What we knownfrom wotC leaked NDA communications: D&D Beyond has 15 million users. That's a big fat number, but that includes a lot of people.like me or my wife who don't pay squat (and I only use it to access freebies). Still, impressive, probavly bigger than the old Dragon & Dungeon subscription lists that formed the backbone of Paizo's business.

What the leaders claimed was that 40,000+ had cancelled their subscriptions as part of the #dndbegone initiative, which is pretty similar to the number of people signing big petitions (I myself sogned all the petitiona, but didn'tbother cancelling my free account, so I know there isn't 1:1 correlation). Small percentage, but the question is: how big a percentage is that of monthly paid subscribers? And surely that's enough for the higher ups to want to get those customers back and stop the spread of the anger.
 

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