Hasbro released their 4th quarter report and it looks like WOTC made tons of cash. I’m sure many will be saying. That’s great. The hobby is growing. But is it really?
I’m going to throw out a lot of wild theories here and I ain’t that smart so bear with me. First, we’ve got the new leadership with a strong connection to online and mobile gaming. We’ve got the upcoming 5.5 or revised or whatever you want to call it edition coming out in 2024. IMHO, this means there’s going to lots of changes coming up. My first theory goes with how long is that agreement between WOTC and One Bookshelf for DM’s Guild. We’re already pretty that WOTC is looking at doing their own VTT which will probably tied to D&D Beyond. If they are doing something that complex, adding in a PDF store where they don’t have to share with a third party shouldn’t be that hard. Plus it give them more control over and moderation over the produced content. They could even raise the bar and require the formatting etc be up loadable/compatible with D&D Beyond. Plus they are saying right now that the revised edition will be backward compatible but how much? And what could it mean for the OGL as far as 5E content goes?
I understand WOTC and Hasbro want to make money. Got no problem with that. Although, it is bit sketchy double charging for content. That is if buy the book and use D&D Beyond, you still need to basically buy it again. But here’s where I’ll probably ruffle some feathers. Most will be saying that the popularity is a good thing for the hobby over all and it is. And WOTC is attempting to D&D approachable for the masses. That’s good too. But in the little gamer’s mind, WOTC is doing everything they can to divest themselves from the rest of the RPG community. Sure they don’t attend GenCon. I guess that’s sort of like Harley Davidson not attending Sturgis. They are pushing their products to the big box stores and big online retailers like Amazon. So much for the Mom & Pop FLGS.
As far as the future tone of the game with the watered down “adventures”. Sure they’ve got tons of marketing data. So, how much marketing data does Facebook and Google have on you? And how often has a WTF ad popped because of that? Data is as only as good as the interpretation of it. Plus, there’s all those surveys they do that only the most ravenous of fans bother with. I just have this gut feeling that WOTC will do for RPG’s, what McDonald’s has done for hamburgers. Corporate cookie-cutter safe products and slapping a D&D logo on any thing and selling it.
Like I said. I ain’t that smart. I ain’t cool. So you can say and think that I’m being silly but when 5E first came out, it felt like the edition to bring together all editions and gamers. Now, I feel like they are abandoning all the people and business who supported the brand over decades.