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WotC Backs Down: Original OGL To Be Left Untouched; Whole 5E Rules Released as Creative Commons

Hundreds of game publishers sigh in relief as, after extensive pressure exerted by the entire open gaming community, WotC has agreed to leave the original Open Gaming License untouched and put the whole of the 5E rules into Creative Commons. So, what's happened? The Open Gaming Licence v1.0a which most of the D&D third party industry relies on, will be left untouched for now. The whole of...

Hundreds of game publishers sigh in relief as, after extensive pressure exerted by the entire open gaming community, WotC has agreed to leave the original Open Gaming License untouched and put the whole of the 5E rules into Creative Commons.

So, what's happened?
  • The Open Gaming Licence v1.0a which most of the D&D third party industry relies on, will be left untouched for now.
  • The whole of the D&D 5E SRD (ie the rules of the game less the fluff text) has been released under a Creative Commons license.

WotC has a history of 'disappearing' inconvenient FAQs and stuff, such as those where they themselves state that the OGL is irrevocable, so I'll copy this here for posterity.

When you give us playtest feedback, we take it seriously.

Already more than 15,000 of you have filled out the survey. Here's what you said:
  • 88% do not want to publish TTRPG content under OGL 1.2.
  • 90% would have to change some aspect of their business to accommodate OGL 1.2.
  • 89% are dissatisfied with deauthorizing OGL 1.0a.
  • 86% are dissatisfied with the draft VTT policy.
  • 62% are satisfied with including Systems Reference Document (SRD) content in Creative Commons, and the majority of those who were dissatisfied asked for more SRD content in Creative Commons.
These live survey results are clear. You want OGL 1.0a. You want irrevocability. You like Creative Commons.
The feedback is in such high volume and its direction is so plain that we're acting now.
  1. We are leaving OGL 1.0a in place, as is. Untouched.
  2. We are also making the entire SRD 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license.
  3. You choose which you prefer to use.
This Creative Commons license makes the content freely available for any use. We don't control that license and cannot alter or revoke it. It's open and irrevocable in a way that doesn't require you to take our word for it. And its openness means there's no need for a VTT policy. Placing the SRD under a Creative Commons license is a one-way door. There's no going back.

Our goal here is to deliver on what you wanted.

So, what about the goals that drove us when we started this process?

We wanted to protect the D&D play experience into the future. We still want to do that with your help. We're grateful that this community is passionate and active because we'll need your help protecting the game's inclusive and welcoming nature.

We wanted to limit the OGL to TTRPGs. With this new approach, we are setting that aside and counting on your choices to define the future of play.
Here's a PDF of SRD 5.1 with the Creative Commons license. By simply publishing it, we place it under an irrevocable Creative Commons license. We'll get it hosted in a more convenient place next week. It was important that we take this step now, so there's no question.
We'll be closing the OGL 1.2 survey now.

We'll keep talking with you about how we can better support our players and creators. Thanks as always for continuing to share your thoughts.

Kyle Brink
Executive Producer, Dungeons & Dragons


What does this mean?

The original OGL sounds safe for now, but WotC has not admitted that they cannot revoke it. That's less of an issue now the 5E System Reference Document is now released to Creative Commons (although those using the 3E SRD or any third party SRDs still have issues as WotC still hasn't revoked the incorrect claim that they can revoke access to those at-will).

At this point, if WotC wants anybody to use whatever their new OGL v1.x turns out to be, there needs to be one heck of a carrot. What that might be remains to be seen.

Pathfinder publlsher Paizo has also commented on the latest developments.

We welcome today’s news from Wizards of the Coast regarding their intention not to de-authorize OGL 1.0a. We still believe there is a powerful need for an irrevocable, perpetual independent system-neutral open license that will serve the tabletop community via nonprofit stewardship. Work on the ORC license will continue, with an expected first draft to release for comment to participating publishers in February.


 

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Haplo781

Legend
They might change that plan now that it's apparent that they can't eliminate legacy 5E as a competitor by revoking the OGL. We'll see what happens from now on.
4e:

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Steel_Wind

Legend
Or the person or persons behind the previous initiative and tone is no longer working there.
Or effectively moved off of this aspect of things? Sure, that may well be it, too.

Same metrics, viewed by somebody higher up who said "ENOUGH. Make your damned VTT and sell it on its own merits. Shutting out other web based stuff doesn't sound like a real competitor to what you've show us at [internal product update movie] right? Right. But we don't need negatives in the marketplace right now. You stick to digital -- we are leaving this as a brand policy with the brand manager to assess, answering directly to the Pres on it".

Could be. Sure.

Some day we'll hear about it. Probably.
 

Wait a minute… Wizards of the Coast are evil and hate players right? Why on earth would they do this…

The outrage reached mainstream media, and got large enough the large investors started to notice, and Hasbro's stock price started notably dropping.

This was a damage control measure because the OGL controversy started genuinely hurting the bottom line of Hasbro, more than the actual plans for the OGL would likely help if it went as planned.

They aren't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. . .but they've realized this is a battle they cannot win and continuing to fight it is drawing substantial ire from the top levels at Hasbro.
 

blakesha

Explorer
I don't think this action changes their plans one bit. They release a vtt for 6e. They only release the base game as paper and pdf. All the main content is released through the vtt. 3pp can't release content through the vtt. They have a GSL like license for 3pp. The vtt and library of content has a mobile app. WotC monetise that. "clone+enhancement" ttrpgs are released, but without the marketing power of Hasbro. Hell, even a few big name players (Mcdm, Kobold, etc) get together and make one customisable/moduler core system (the original goal of Next) based on 5e. And true competition is available. Good for us as consumers
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
The outrage reached mainstream media, and got large enough the large investors started to notice, and Hasbro's stock price started notably dropping.

This was a damage control measure because the OGL controversy started genuinely hurting the bottom line of Hasbro, more than the actual plans for the OGL would likely help if it went as planned.

They aren't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. . .but they've realized this is a battle they cannot win and continuing to fight it is drawing substantial ire from the top levels at Hasbro.
Or....

Reports of their evilness and hatred of players were greatly exaggerated.
 





Greg K

Legend
I wonder if Alta Fox's reaction to what was going on also had any influence. Was it last night or within the past few days (?), they were publicily mocking Hasbro/WOTC damaging M:TG and, now, D&D and alienating fans of both. So, who knows what was happening behind the scenes prior with investors. (edit: not Alta Fox, but Connor Haley of Alta Fox)
(go to 4:23)

 
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