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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merchantsteve

Explorer
If this OGL 1.1 goes into effect, Expect a large number of Brick and Mortar Game Stores to become insolvent.
Plain and simple, most likely, over 50% of their RPG inventory will become illegal to sell. An owner will lose all the money paid to fill the shelves.
To make matters worse, loss of revenue will make it near-impossible to restock when a publisher prints new product without the OGL.
So... Hasbro will drastically reduce the number of stores that would order their product which will backfire on their revenue because they decided to remove competition.
 

MGibster

Legend
If this OGL 1.1 goes into effect, Expect a large number of Brick and Mortar Game Stores to become insolvent.
Plain and simple, most likely, over 50% of their RPG inventory will become illegal to sell. An owner will lose all the money paid to fill the shelves.
How many brick & mortar strores rely on third party D&D compatable sales? Most of the games stores I've been to over the last few decades have very, very small RPG sections that's mostly made of D&D, followed by Pathfinder, and then add in a few miscellaneous titles. It hasn't been since the 3rd edition days when I've seen a game store flooded with a bunch of d20 or OGL material.
 

merchantsteve

Explorer
I read it as that way too, but since the OGL is irrevocable by design and you can just shrug and use v1.0a indefinitely instead. Why would anyone use version 1.1? I don't really see how that changes things in Wizard's favor.
The 1.1 OGL has language that specifically de-authorizes 1.0a. And since the 1.0a did not stipulate it is irrevocable, but only authorized and perpetual (a very specific legal term that is only effective will the license is in force - or authorized), the 1.1 OGL kills the earlier license.

I can imagine that a fair chunk of Brick and Mortar stores are gonna face severe financial issues when nearly all their RPG inventory becomes illegal to sell.
 

JEB

Legend
How many brick & mortar strores rely on third party D&D compatable sales? Most of the games stores I've been to over the last few decades have very, very small RPG sections that's mostly made of D&D, followed by Pathfinder, and then add in a few miscellaneous titles. It hasn't been since the 3rd edition days when I've seen a game store flooded with a bunch of d20 or OGL material.
My preferred FLGS has a massive amount of OGL D&D material for sale, up to and including Level Up. The next-nearest big game store I go to similarly stocks lots of OGL D&D titles, at least as much as they do their non-D&D games. There is one very close to me that has a tiny RPG section like yours, but they're very new and in a small space.

Point being, YMM very much V.
 

Scribe

Legend
If this OGL 1.1 goes into effect, Expect a large number of Brick and Mortar Game Stores to become insolvent.
Plain and simple, most likely, over 50% of their RPG inventory will become illegal to sell. An owner will lose all the money paid to fill the shelves.
To make matters worse, loss of revenue will make it near-impossible to restock when a publisher prints new product without the OGL.
So... Hasbro will drastically reduce the number of stores that would order their product which will backfire on their revenue because they decided to remove competition.
Wizards has already been cutting out LGS distribution with direct and Amazon mtg sales.

This company is showing everyone who they are and what they value.

Will people believe them?
 

merchantsteve

Explorer
How many brick & mortar strores rely on third party D&D compatable sales? Most of the games stores I've been to over the last few decades have very, very small RPG sections that's mostly made of D&D, followed by Pathfinder, and then add in a few miscellaneous titles. It hasn't been since the 3rd edition days when I've seen a game store flooded with a bunch of d20 or OGL material.
Starfinder, Pathfinder, Runequest, Traveller (Mongoose) - all use the 1.0a....
Those will be illegal
I live in Austin, Texas and the Rogue's Gallery store has a large amount of OGL product.
And face it, --any-- loss of product in a store is a serious blow to the bottom line. I ran a hobby store and the margins are thin. Maybe not all shops will be hard-pressed, but there will be ripples.
 

JEB

Legend
If this OGL 1.1 goes into effect, Expect a large number of Brick and Mortar Game Stores to become insolvent.
I imagine game stores would be able to sell off existing stocks of OGL game books, even under the harshest possible interpretation of 1.1's legal effect. But after that, yeah, there may be problems, depending on how heavily they depend on OGL product sales.

The fate of OGL 1.0 material on OneBookShelf, on the other hand, could be... interesting.
 


MGibster

Legend
Starfinder, Pathfinder, Runequest, Traveller (Mongoose) - all use the 1.0a....
Those will be illegal
I don't think I've seen Runequest anywhere since B. Dalton Booksellers in the 1990s. The last time I saw Traveller in the wild was in the early 2000s with Traveller d20. But my point is, I don't think many brick & mortar stores are so reliant on RPG sales other than D&D, and this isn't a recent phenomenon. And stores are going to be able to sell off their remaining stock. They're not the ones responsible for the license.
 

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