WotC Announces OGL 1.1 -- Revised Terms, Royalties, and Annual Revenue Reporting

There has been a lot of speculation recently about WotC's plans regarding the Open Gaming License and the upcoming One D&D. Today, WotC shared some information.

In short, they will be producing a new Open Gaming License (note that the previous OGL 1.0a will still exist, and can still be used). However, for those who use the new OGL 1.1, which will be released in early 2023, there will be some limitations added with regards the type of product which can use it, and -- possibly controversially -- reporting to WotC your annual OGL-related revenue.

They are also adding a royalty for those third party publishers who make more than $750K per year.

Interestingly, only books and 'static electronic files' like ebooks and PDFs will be compatible with the new OGL, meaning that apps, web pages, and the like will need to stick to the old OGL 1.0a.

There will, of course, be a lot of debate and speculation over what this actually means for third party creators, and how it will affect them. Some publishers like Paizo (for Pathfinder) and others will likely simply continue to use the old OGL. The OGL 1.0a allows WotC to update the license, but allows licensees to continue to use previous versions "to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License".


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1. Will One D&D include an SRD/be covered by an OGL?

Yes. First, we’re designing One D&D with fifth edition backwards compatibility, so all existing creator content that is compatible with fifth edition will also be compatible with One D&D. Second, we will update the SRD for One D&D as we complete its development—development that is informed by the results of playtests that we’re conducting with hundreds of thousands of D&D players now.

2. Will the OGL terms change?

Yes. We will release version 1.1 of the OGL in early 2023.

The OGL needs an update to ensure that it keeps doing what it was intended to do—allow the D&D community’s independent creators to build and play and grow the game we all love—without allowing things like third-parties to mint D&D NFTs and large businesses to exploit our intellectual property.

So, what’s changing?

First, we’re making sure that OGL 1.1 is clear about what it covers and what it doesn’t. OGL 1.1 makes clear it only covers material created for use in or as TTRPGs, and those materials are only ever permitted as printed media or static electronic files (like epubs and PDFs). Other types of content, like videos and video games, are only possible through the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy or a custom agreement with us. To clarify: Outside of printed media and static electronic files, the OGL doesn’t cover it.

Will this affect the D&D content and services players use today? It shouldn’t. The top VTT platforms already have custom agreements with Wizards to do what they do. D&D merchandise, like minis and novels, were never intended to be part of the OGL and OGL 1.1 won’t change that. Creators wishing to leverage D&D for those forms of expression will need, as they always have needed, custom agreements between us.

Second, we’re updating the OGL to offer different terms to creators who choose to make free, share-alike content and creators who want to sell their products.

What does this mean for you as a creator? If you’re making share-alike content, very little is going to change from what you’re already used to.

If you’re making commercial content, relatively little is going to change for most creators. For most of you who are selling custom content, here are the new things you’ll need to do:
  1. Accept the license terms and let us know what you’re offering for sale
  2. Report OGL-related revenue annually (if you make more than $50,000 in a year)
  3. Include a Creator Product badge on your work
When we roll out OGL 1.1, we will also provide explanatory videos, FAQs, and a web portal for registration to make navigating these requirements as easy and intuitive as possible. We’ll also have help available to creators to navigate the new process.

For the fewer than 20 creators worldwide who make more than $750,000 in income in a year, we will add a royalty starting in 2024. So, even for the creators making significant money selling D&D supplements and games, no royalties will be due for 2023 and all revenue below $750,000 in future years will be royalty-free.

Bottom line: The OGL is not going away. You will still be able to create new D&D content, publish it anywhere, and game with your friends and followers in all the ways that make this game and community so great. The thousands of creators publishing across Kickstarter, DMsGuild, and more are a critical part of the D&D experience, and we will continue to support and encourage them to do that through One D&D and beyond.
 
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rcade

Hero
As someone who was on the OGF-L mailing list when Ryan Dancey announced the original release of the Open Gaming License and System Reference Document in 2000, I can't believe Hasbro thinks it has the power to remove the right to publish a quarter century of works released under OGL 1.0.

Thousands of works were created under OGL 1.0 by people and companies who relied on it being valid forever. Many of those works inspired derivative works of their own. This interpretation was actively encouraged by Dancey and WOTC for decades.

The idea that Wizards could do a Thanos finger snap and deauthorize the entire corpus of OGL 1.0-licensed work is obscene.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
A couple of things: People keep saying that if there is enough backlash Hasbro will relent. But what does that get you? The issue is - unless this leak is 100% false - that they THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA. So if they make a PR move and back off, then a hundred small companies will leap in, make a bunch of great content, and whenever they want to Hasbro can take it all, or change the rules again. The fact that they even consider this okay should make everyone immediately seek other games. The other interesting thing for me is that even if we somehow accept that by the CONTRACT language they can de-authorize the OGL1.0 and 1.0a, they have spent 20 years, through official reps like Dancey, telling people this would NEVER happen, and many individuals and businesses in good faith took these statements and made investments. All provisions of the OGL aside, it sure sounds like consumer fraud - a company making false statements to impact decisions by others.
Yeah. Regardless of how this turns out, if the leak isn't 100% fake (which seems very unlikely), WotC has lost all credibility with me.
 


G

Guest 7034872

Guest
Yeah. Regardless of how this turns out, if the leak isn't 100% fake (which seems very unlikely), WotC has lost all credibility with me.
That's where I suspect the real damage to the brand might occur. I mean, I'm not in any of the rooms relevant to these decisions, so my suspicion really is nothing better than a hunch/suspicion, but the P.R. issue is the one where I see the heavy internet noise since this leaked. My further suspicion is the really serious closed-door conversations right now are about this, not about the legalities.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Basically everyone who was building in their ecosystem and feeding the impression that the 5e system was the only game in town is now sent scrambling to forge their D&D killer even if in the short term they might take the deal. And it's not like 5e was exactly a Halo in the first place. Excellent planning!
 





Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
That's where I suspect the real damage to the brand might occur. I mean, I'm not in any of the rooms relevant to these decisions, so my suspicion really is nothing better than a hunch/suspicion, but the P.R. issue is the one where I see the heavy internet noise since this leaked. My further suspicion is the really serious closed-door conversations right now are about this, not about the legalities.
I wonder if the people who took the decisions behind OGL 1.1 were so oblivious as not to expect the reactions from the community.
 

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