Dracosuave, the analogies are inaccurate. If someone invented teleportation technology, some people would still drive cars because they enjoy the experience. Let's say that the overwhelming majority of those are Ford enthusiasts. If Ford then packed up, a lot of those people wouldn't bother to adjust to a vintage Honda, they'd just use the teleporter.
And if Blizzard went under, a lot of people would start playing Counterstrike instead!
My argument is that D&D has always been the flagship of RPGs, and that 4E has been designed and marketed to appeal specifically to a new generation of players, which lives and breathes MMORPGs and anime, and for which the fantasy tropes of previous D&D editions are no more relevant or appealing than The Monkees.
Hopefully Hasbro has the brand power and marketing budget to bring in new customers from that demographic. But if 4E dies, those potential players will never know that "people don't always get the same experience from a MMO as they do from a table top RPG", and they certainly won't be tracking Paizo down to see if Pathfinder can do it.
I don't like 4E. I cannot consider it a genuine edition of D&D. But I have a strong interest in seeing it succeed, because for all of the customers it wins, some will drift into other P&P games, which keeps the hobby vibrant and alive.
if blizzard tanks, people would play on a freeshard or try a different mmo. same goes for rpgs. usually people are in it for the face to face rpg, not because it's "dnd or nothing!".
true, dnd is a big brand, just as wow. doesn't mean other games/brands do not attract players. and if 4e lures in the mmorpgers and other people is highly debatable - in the end, people interested in it will try any rpg just by word of mouth.
btw, in todays world teleporting would be so expensive and commercially strangled that driving would always be a option. (and, if you drive around for the experience, you don't care about the brand. only if you are one of the people that can afford the "exclusive" experience of a ferrari or sth. you care about the brand. driving itself wouldn't be devalued ).