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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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Scribe

Legend
Also when it comes to metrics, the news yesterday that Paizo hold sold out of 8 months of Core Rulebook stock in 2 weeks was probably confirmed by distributors to WotC, too.

I expect that sort of metric would not be ignored either. WotC has no desire to re-visit 2009. Customer churn is one thing -- actual mass departures is quite another.

There's a whole bunch of potential takeaways from this entire debacle.

If we actually get the details dumped, it will be truly prime time entertainment reading.
 

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niklinna

satisfied?
Sitting on 8 months of rule books means you overprinted and paid taxes on a lot of books sitting in a warehouse or more than likely…it’s a small number that sold but equates to 8 months of sales….I’m going with the later since Pf2e doesn’t sell like hot cakes at Waffle House at night.
Well if that's true, I bet the waffles at Waffle House feel pretty put out. Was "Pancake House" already taken?
 

Steel_Wind

Legend
Sitting on 8 months of rule books means you overprinted and paid taxes on a lot of books sitting in a warehouse or more than likely…it’s a small number that sold but equates to 8 months of sales….I’m going with the later since Pf2e doesn’t sell like hot cakes at Waffle House at night.
No, it doesn't. It means you order your products printed in a volume sufficient to keep the price down - and low enough that you are confident you will sell them in the same fiscal year.

It sounds like they likely sold through ~20,000 to 30,000 copies in 2 weeks. If you are WotC and seeing DDB cancellations and seeing your WHALE customers go to competition that has LOTS of other products to sell to them? Such that you might not get them back? And fear it is but the thin edge of the wedge? You aren't happy with that result. You reconsider.

As I said, churn is one thing, mass departures is another.
 


Sitting on 8 months of rule books means you overprinted and paid taxes on a lot of books sitting in a warehouse or more than likely…it’s a small number that sold but equates to 8 months of sales….I’m going with the later since Pf2e doesn’t sell like hot cakes at Waffle House at night.
The print run they just ordered will be available in April, so forecasting what you think you'll sell in 8 months seems reasonable given turnaround on printing more.
 



mangamuscle

Explorer
cohum Allow me to play devil's advocate. Now, if I was neutral evil and the responsible executive @hasbro, what would I do next? humm

1) Allow for some time to pass, they say "time heals all wounds", but they also say "out of sight, out of mind"
2) Lay of someone @wotc to be the fall guy/gal, place the Angra Mainyu label and everyone will happily throw a stone and be done with it.
3) After the movie has left theather's, whoever is in now in charge @wotc will try to rebuke ogl 1.0a. Why? Because what corporations hate the most is not their clients (they get their money after all), but rival companies that take money from the same client pool.
This will be a test, if 5e users dont really care for 3e/OSR and there are enough 5e publishers that will continue to do business as usual they can finally get rid of any meaningful rivals. If not, they can know that releasing the 3.x into CC will do the trick of resetting the communities mood into "favorable".
4) Profit!

gives die Now, roll for initiative >:)
 

Xyxox

Hero
Sitting on 8 months of rule books means you overprinted and paid taxes on a lot of books sitting in a warehouse or more than likely…it’s a small number that sold but equates to 8 months of sales….I’m going with the later since Pf2e doesn’t sell like hot cakes at Waffle House at night.
I think that included additional production, not on hand inventory, which is why they still told people ordering of other venues to purchase the items. I am still waiting on my order.
 

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