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

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The problem all the clones are going to find is that for a huge swathe of the population, it ain't the game rules they care about, it's the name 'Dungeons & Dragons'.
Yup. It's all about the branding budget. The actual game doesn't matter. In theory Apple or Disney or somebody could do it (but why would they? they operate on a scale an order of magnitude higher), but not any company in the TTRPG space right now. That's the sad reality: the branding is what matters, not the game quality. That said, it helps that 5E is a good game.

Branding is hard and it's expensive.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I don't think any of the companies have even suggested they're coming for WotC's crown. This is something that fans/customers keep raising, but yeah, it's goofy.
True. But they will also have to be completely honest with themselves about their own game too. They will get eyes and wallets on their initial handbook and bring in the cash to make them believe they are okay as a company for a while. But every single other book they produce in support of their handbook is going to bring in less and less cash, as a bunch of their handbook sales were to curious customers, but who never actually embraced or used the book past that.

So they have to make sure their financials are set up to weather the smaller and smaller sales each subsequent book brings in. Otherwise they will have to go back to the route of producing versions of the book specifically called out as "compatible with Dungeons & Dragons" (because that's where a lot of the money is).

When even someone like Monte Cook Games ends up making 5E versions of their Cypher System products, it tells us that having your own "game system" isn't necessarily enough to keep you solvent. You still have to keep your wagon hitched to WotC and their game because that's where a lot of the audience is.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
True. But they will also have to be completely honest with themselves about their own game too. They will get eyes and wallets on their initial handbook and bring in the cash to make them believe they are okay as a company for a while. But every single other book they produce in support of their handbook is going to bring in less and less cash, as a bunch of their handbook sales were to curious customers, but who never actually embraced or used the book past that.

So they have to make sure their financials are set up to weather the smaller and smaller sales each subsequent book brings in. Otherwise they will have to go back to the route of producing versions of the book specifically called out as "compatible with Dungeons & Dragons" (because that's where a lot of the money is).

When even someone like Monte Cook Games ends up making 5E versions of their Cypher System products, it tells us that having your own "game system" isn't necessarily enough to keep you solvent. You still have to keep your wagon hitched to WotC and their game because that's where a lot of the audience is.
I think that Kobold Press wants their base game compatible with base 5e, like Level Up and thus their game support books are now dual use.
Threading that needle is another matter, we will see.
 


mamba

Legend
True. But they will also have to be completely honest with themselves about their own game too. They will get eyes and wallets on their initial handbook and bring in the cash to make them believe they are okay as a company for a while. But every single other book they produce in support of their handbook is going to bring in less and less cash, as a bunch of their handbook sales were to curious customers, but who never actually embraced or used the book past that.

So they have to make sure their financials are set up to weather the smaller and smaller sales each subsequent book brings in. Otherwise they will have to go back to the route of producing versions of the book specifically called out as "compatible with Dungeons & Dragons" (because that's where a lot of the money is).
If the rules are 5e compatible, then so are the modules for it, so the potential customer base is both the Black Flag players and the 5e players.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
True. But they will also have to be completely honest with themselves about their own game too. They will get eyes and wallets on their initial handbook and bring in the cash to make them believe they are okay as a company for a while. But every single other book they produce in support of their handbook is going to bring in less and less cash, as a bunch of their handbook sales were to curious customers, but who never actually embraced or used the book past that.
Black Flag and C7d20 are explicitly meant to be core books they control and can keep in print, no matter what WotC is going to do.

These books are meant to keep all their other 5E compatible material they have and will publish viable.

There's no reason to believe they have any ambitions beyond that. There is no reason to believe that they're going to try and each build a separate empire, rather than thriving within the existing one.

Heck, they could just do these books as PDFs until such time as WotC pulls another 4E and stops making 5E corebooks available. (I don't subscribe to 1D&D being sufficiently different to be an issue, as that goes explicitly against what Kyle Brink has said in the last few weeks, as well as long-standing statements on the issue.)
 



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