WotC Rethinking Open Gaming Update

So it’s the work week now.  Discussion rages on ENWorld, the Wizards forum, and other places (e.g. Chris Pramas’ blog).  Response from WotC?  Jack!  I guess their attitude is “you can suck it!”

If any of the links go bad it’s because the ENworld mods are trying to bury the discussion by moving them to disused forums.  (Vote here to ask them to quit it.)  Update: 90% of voters say they should move the discussion back into the main forums, but no action has been taken yet.  I assume it’ll just get delayed until WotC finally puts the nails in the coffin of the GSL to save them some embarassment.

Go and let your opinion be known, pro or con!  In this day and age, companies ignore their customers at their own risk.

One response to “WotC Rethinking Open Gaming Update

  1. I’ve been saying for a long time that d20 was too generous and the OGL made absolutely no sense for WotC.

    I should say before I continue that *I*, as a gamer, love the concept. But from WotC’s perspective, the OGL is a blank check handed to gamers. As for d20, one has to think they could have charged a fee to companies wanting to benefit from it.

    My predictions were that these licenses would prove not to be beneficial to WotC if not downright counter-productive.

    My more recent predictions were that 4th edition would tighten the grip on the license and that 5th edition will do without any free license whatsoever. In fact, I predict specific mechanics in 5th edition will even prevent retro-cloning (special dice with trademarks and the like) and will not use anything remotely like the d20 core engine.

    I like that Ryan Dancey offered us the OGL forever but it seems like an unwise move from a business perspective. I want to address a few points:

    “My main point is that the OGL quite clearly helped revitalize the RPG industry outside D&D 3e itself”

    I have seen no evidence that the OGL clearly revitalized the roleplaying industry. What is this evidence? In fact, roleplaying sales and the renewal of the roleplaying fanbase is dwindling, with stores closing and fewer hits with a lasting, classic impact.. The last of those was probably Deadlands in the 90s.

    “Yes, this is a cycle – but the previous open->closed cycle seems to have ended with TSR in the shitter and needing to get bailed out by the people that built it back into a force to be reckoned with on the back of 3e and the OGL, right?”

    Prior to d20, D&D’s core had never been opened. TSR went down the drain due to mismanagement. A complicated history when various figures (including Gary Gygax, Lorraine Williams and the Blumes) wrestled for control and made various ill-conceived decisions. None of this seem related to open gaming.

    “I don’t remember anyone claiming that without the OGL there woudn’t be any game designers – but there would be fewer and less experienced, just because the industry would be smaller and less profitable.”

    Why would the industry be smaller and less profitable? We know for a fact the industry would be different. How do we know it would be smaller, though?

    Anyway, just my 2 cents on this debate. As Chris Pramas said, there’s probably not enough data to clearly establish the full effects of the OGL but it seemed a very unwise move then and I’m not surprised they are slowly tightening the grip.

    When you clearly dominate the field (even in the sloppy days of 2nd edition) and have the most valuable IP around, you don’t need to open things up.

    Take care and thanks for writing on these topics. These are interesting times for gaming 🙂

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