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Brock Savage

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There is no generation alive that is completely unfamiliar with edition treadmills if only because of video games. Even my 6 yr old knows about edition changes for Minecraft.
Reactions to video games, particularly DLC, is specifically what I had in mind when I wrote my post. People go apeshit over paid DLC that they believe addresses problems or provides content that should have been provided gratis in the original game.
 

Bunch

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Reactions to video games, particularly DLC, is specifically what I had in mind when I wrote my post. People go apeshit over paid DLC that they believe addresses problems or provides content that should have been provided gratis in the original game.
I'm not sure it will be as severe with regards to a printed product. It's not like you can push in print updates
 

chuckdee

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But those years weren't competing against the official VTT of D&D, which will also be the sole official source of official content (In my hellscape prophecy).
But there are a lot of other games that I'm not sure the D&D VTT will support. And if you already have your game in another VTT, then why wouldn't you just use it for D&D?
 

deflagratio

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But there are a lot of other games that I'm not sure the D&D VTT will support. And if you already have your game in another VTT, then why wouldn't you just use it for D&D?
Because I'm speaking from a business perspective. If D&D is only easily available from one source, that is where the bulk of the market will go. So other VTT's lose revenue to the point where it isn't profitable to keep operating.
 

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Because I'm speaking from a business perspective. If D&D is only easily available from one source, that is where the bulk of the market will go. So other VTT's lose revenue to the point where it isn't profitable to keep operating.
Except they don't actually have an exclusive license to the rules. That's the trick with games. Yes it would pull official support but it won't pull 5e from the competitors. They all existed making money prior to d&d supporting anyone. The market will probably shrink but i suspect at least one of the three top three will stay around. Probably two.
Even if the "premium" D&D 5e content was exclusive to one VTT wouldn't all the others still be able to implement the basic SRD?
Yes. Yes they would.
 

chuckdee

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Because I'm speaking from a business perspective. If D&D is only easily available from one source, that is where the bulk of the market will go. So other VTT's lose revenue to the point where it isn't profitable to keep operating.
I'm just not seeing that. So take D&D Beyond. It is out there and many use it. Lone Wolf is still alive with Hero Lab, and quite a few others. So taking that over to VTT, I can't see it being any different.
 

EOTB

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DMs move to the new edition and incorporate splats because that's where the players are. DMs who want to run online latest-edition D&D will use the official D&D VTT tool because that's where the players are. Roll20 has no technical reason to exist other than inertia of that being where most of the players are, because its free and well known. WOTC knows DMs follow the player base, and so will focus on ensuring its attractive for non-DMs first and foremost while in parallel reducing the switch-cost for DMs to the greatest degree.

Since the % of those using VTTs for only pre-packaged module content is very high, and homebrew VTT play % correspondingly low, WOTC can catch online DMs in a double by also making their VTT pre-eminent in availability of easy-to-use D&D modules. DMs will pay the $50-$75 again because that cost pales in comparison to the hassle of using another VTT.

(This of course all presumes pulling off the rollout of their VTT in top end fashion)

Those of us who don't care for the latest edition of D&D will still use other VTTs. And there will be a distinct minority of DMs willing to use other VTTs for the latest edition of D&D even with the hassle because they're loyal and contrarian. But those are accounted for as acceptable losses.
 

chuckdee

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DMs move to the new edition and incorporate splats because that's where the players are. DMs who want to run online latest-edition D&D will use the official D&D VTT tool because that's where the players are. Roll20 has no technical reason to exist other than inertia of that being where most of the players are, because its free and well known. WOTC knows DMs follow the player base, and so will focus on ensuring its attractive for non-DMs first and foremost while in parallel reducing the switch-cost for DMs to the greatest degree.

Since the % of those using VTTs for only pre-packaged module content is very high, and homebrew VTT play % correspondingly low, WOTC can catch online DMs in a double by also making their VTT pre-eminent in availability of easy-to-use D&D modules. DMs will pay the $50-$75 again because that cost pales in comparison to the hassle of using another VTT.

(This of course all presumes pulling off the rollout of their VTT in top end fashion)

Those of us who don't care for the latest edition of D&D will still use other VTTs. And there will be a distinct minority of DMs willing to use other VTTs for the latest edition of D&D even with the hassle because they're loyal and contrarian. But those are accounted for as acceptable losses.
But D&D is not the be all and end all. I don't think others VTTs will have trouble surviving for that reason.
 

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DMs move to the new edition and incorporate splats because that's where the players are. DMs who want to run online latest-edition D&D will use the official D&D VTT tool because that's where the players are. Roll20 has no technical reason to exist other than inertia of that being where most of the players are, because its free and well known. WOTC knows DMs follow the player base, and so will focus on ensuring its attractive for non-DMs first and foremost while in parallel reducing the switch-cost for DMs to the greatest degree.

Since the % of those using VTTs for only pre-packaged module content is very high, and homebrew VTT play % correspondingly low, WOTC can catch online DMs in a double by also making their VTT pre-eminent in availability of easy-to-use D&D modules. DMs will pay the $50-$75 again because that cost pales in comparison to the hassle of using another VTT.

(This of course all presumes pulling off the rollout of their VTT in top end fashion)

Those of us who don't care for the latest edition of D&D will still use other VTTs. And there will be a distinct minority of DMs willing to use other VTTs for the latest edition of D&D even with the hassle because they're loyal and contrarian. But those are accounted for as acceptable losses.
It's not just loyal and contraction. I use FG because nothing does as much automation as their better rulesets.

Here's the other reason I'll stay with FG. It is a VTT company that supports D&D. WotC is a D&D company that is going to try running a VTT. At the moment it is in no way a tech company. It has Microsoft execs so I think it can do the tech just fine but maybe not. I also don't know how committed they'll be to it. I think FG has been around for over 15+ years.

My guess is WotC will shoot for a very platform expansive solution to get people playing D&D on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. They only need to care about 5e(ish) D&D. That's not cheap of easy to keep going. The desktop side isn't too bad. I'll guess they do something web based like Roll20 so there's no download. But the mobile end will be a more constant churn. Will WotC want to keep that up once they see a dip in usage? Will they keep supporting it? I dunno. Depends on if it is a side business or becomes the main revenue driver.

I'm guessing new and newer DM's and players will use the WotC VTT by default. I bet it will work great for them. But if you've been around the block on VTTs and are considering where to put your money platform longevity is something to consider.
 

EOTB

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But D&D is not the be all and end all. I don't think others VTTs will have trouble surviving for that reason.
If I put on a business hat and look at the % of games that are not D&D being ran on VTT (these stats are regularly published for Roll20 and, IIRC FG), I think they'll have trouble maintaining current scale and internal investment off of non-D&D games.
 

Bunch

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If I put on a business hat and look at the % of games that are not D&D being ran on VTT (these stats are regularly published for Roll20 and, IIRC FG), I think they'll have trouble maintaining current scale and internal investment off of non-D&D games.
They'll scale back I'm assuming.
 

Bunch

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If I put on a business hat and look at the % of games that are not D&D being ran on VTT (these stats are regularly published for Roll20 and, IIRC FG), I think they'll have trouble maintaining current scale and internal investment off of non-D&D games.
And it's not like they will lose all those D&D games. It's not going to be 100 loss to d&d official.
 

Stan

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And it's not like they will lose all those D&D games. It's not going to be 100 loss to d&d official.
I'm guessing the loss could be anywhere from 75% to 25%. Sure, D&D will have an 'official' vtt that should work smoothly with Beyond, but they're coming in late. People have lots of assets purchased and have figured out the quirks of their current vtt, which will make them hesitant to switch. It'll come down to how good the official one actually is. It wouldn't be the first time WOTC struck out on a soft pitch when it comes to software.
 
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chuckdee

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If I put on a business hat and look at the % of games that are not D&D being ran on VTT (these stats are regularly published for Roll20 and, IIRC FG), I think they'll have trouble maintaining current scale and internal investment off of non-D&D games.
It really depends on the approach and pricing. For example, one reason I started using Foundry (and though I use others, it's my main one) is the fact that you own it, and the variety of ways to host it. There's also the way that D&D VTT is delivered- I never got on board with Roll20 (and I think many share this) because of the fact that it doesn't have a client, and the web based nature of it affects the performance.

It's not a simple calculus that is going to determine how it is received.
 

Bunch

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I'm guessing the loss could be anywhere from 75% to 25%. Sure, D&D will have an 'official' vtt that should work smoothly with Beyond, but they're coming in late. People have lots of assets purchased and have figured out the quirks of their current vtt, which will make them hesitant to switch. It'll come down to how good the official one actually is. It wouldn't be the first time WOTC struck out on a soft pitch when it comes to software.
WotC has such dominance that they can boost the initial join rate buy offering a substantial discount on digital assets with proof of book purchase. To me that's how they supercharge book sales and their VTT adoption.
If they try no legit sale for other VTTs it's just suggesting I should not upgrade to the latest edition. If the latest edition isn't sooo different than the last when I run a d&d game for someone with the new books on an outdated VTT it likely not going to be noticable. So that doesn't seem to hurt existing VTTs.

They don't dominate the VTT market so right now they have to do something to up their number of users. If they go with an exclusion strategy they give a leg up to all the existing players initially as people go online to look for games and find more at existing platforms vs their exclusive one.
 

Mankcam

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I'm getting the impression that a new edition will be more of a 5.1 than a full rewrite so very little (beyond the phb and mm) will be obsolete.
Yeah if It follows what has happened historically with D&D, they usually do a revised version that is more or less comparable with the previous version, just to keep edition sales etc. TSR did this, naming their second versions as revised versions - AD&D(R) and AD&D 2E(R).

WotC followed suit, except wanted to feel all ’modern/exact’ with their naming convention, so they did D&D 3.5E.
I guess D&D 4E would of had the same treatment, except sales indicated that WotC were better off marketing a brand new edition rather than extending the life of a poorly received one.

Given the versatility and popularity of D&D 5E, I agree that WotC will likely aim for reasonable capability with the current 5E library (including the VTT stuff on Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Foundary, etc), and this will probably be a revised version rather than a brand new edition, which they will probably name it D&D 5.5E for consistency.

WotC remember how 4E distanced a fan base, so they will definitely test the waters before doing a complete revamp again. Doesn’t mean they won’t do it, I actually think they will, but not just yet. My money is on a 5.5E coming out next.

However I would not be surprised that once an actual D&D 6E is published a few years down the track that WotC don’t announce their own exclusive VTT with it, maybe an extension of D&D Beyond, but it’s something they would do rather than be part of a wider trpg community. Gygax viewed other trpgs as ‘imitators’, and I think with the current popularity and product identity of D&D that WotC are more than welcoming blotting out the sun in this regard.

So I feel we are in for a D&D 5.5E next, which may be relatively short lived, and then the big game changer will be D&D 6E, with rebranding and whatnot, and I can see that edition having an impact on the VTT industry . One would hope that D&D 6E is compatible to some extent with the 5E opponent stat block, just so the 5E back catalogue doesn’t need rebooting.

However by then WotC may have decided the fan base will follow them into the exclusivity of another edition. They miscalculated this with 4E, but since then the D&D brand name recovered significantly so the corporate execs may try this move again, except with success this time.

So I don’t think that’s imminent with a 5.5E, but it’s certainly something that could happen with a 6E, and if they go exclusive with a D&D Beyond VTT, that will have a major impact on the VTT industry, and on the wider trpg hobby as well.
 
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Mankcam

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Ok I came to this thread a bit late, I see all this has been already discussed…
 

deflagratio

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It's not just loyal and contraction. I use FG because nothing does as much automation as their better rulesets.

Here's the other reason I'll stay with FG. It is a VTT company that supports D&D. WotC is a D&D company that is going to try running a VTT. At the moment it is in no way a tech company. It has Microsoft execs so I think it can do the tech just fine but maybe not. I also don't know how committed they'll be to it. I think FG has been around for over 15+ years.

My guess is WotC will shoot for a very platform expansive solution to get people playing D&D on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. They only need to care about 5e(ish) D&D. That's not cheap of easy to keep going. The desktop side isn't too bad. I'll guess they do something web based like Roll20 so there's no download. But the mobile end will be a more constant churn. Will WotC want to keep that up once they see a dip in usage? Will they keep supporting it? I dunno. Depends on if it is a side business or becomes the main revenue driver.

I'm guessing new and newer DM's and players will use the WotC VTT by default. I bet it will work great for them. But if you've been around the block on VTTs and are considering where to put your money platform longevity is something to consider.

Except that WoTC bought D&D Beyond, so they have a mature tech team that is already working on automated experiences that will work for both online play and in person play. They are very far along in developing an encounter management system. After that it's just maps and movement to hit full MVP with the best Character creation tool online.
 

Bunch

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Except that WoTC bought D&D Beyond, so they have a mature tech team that is already working on automated experiences that will work for both online play and in person play. They are very far along in developing an encounter management system. After that it's just maps and movement to hit full MVP with the best Character creation tool online.
That may work out. But it's a software company acquisition by a toy/game/book company. Aquisitions are notorious for not going very smoothly even when both companies are of similar nature so we'll see how well the two company styles merge. I'm hopeful but it's not guarenteed at all that everything will work out fine.

It also doesn't change my questions about long term dedication to the software space, existing buy in to other VTTs and how significant rules changes will be, or how much untappedarket there is in the VTT space. The pandemic substantially boosted uptake of VTTs just like it did for things like teleconferencing and collaboration tools. It did so by moving future sales to now. Will existing customers move over to a new VTT? If it's mostly D&D Beyond rolling over to D&D VTT I dunno how much that will change the landscape.
 

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That may work out. But it's a software company acquisition by a toy/game/book company. Aquisitions are notorious for not going very smoothly even when both companies are of similar nature so we'll see how well the two company styles merge. I'm hopeful but it's not guarenteed at all that everything will work out fine.

It also doesn't change my questions about long term dedication to the software space, existing buy in to other VTTs and how significant rules changes will be, or how much untappedarket there is in the VTT space. The pandemic substantially boosted uptake of VTTs just like it did for things like teleconferencing and collaboration tools. It did so by moving future sales to now. Will existing customers move over to a new VTT? If it's mostly D&D Beyond rolling over to D&D VTT I dunno how much that will change the landscape.
You mean the Toy/Game/Book Company with a CEO from this very cost center which he staffed up with former software company folks, many from the game side of things. There's a lot more synergy than you are giving them credit for. However, it is totally possible that they mess up the merger or expect greater returns than can really be experienced by VTT.
100% that if WoTC continues to provide official support to the other VTT that people aren't likely to change or will be really slow to change. Why move when you have to rebuy all of your stuff. That's why I suspect you'll see official support drop off once WoTC has their own market competitor. Yes 5.5 should have minimal impacts, but they will still be there. A lot of people think short rests are going away, which will fundamentally change how multiple classes work. Minor tweaks to calculations will mean there's a lot of homemade macros that will need to be re-written.
 

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You mean the Toy/Game/Book Company with a CEO from this very cost center which he staffed up with former software company folks, many from the game side of things. There's a lot more synergy than you are giving them credit for. However, it is totally possible that they mess up the merger or expect greater returns than can really be experienced by VTT.
100% that if WoTC continues to provide official support to the other VTT that people aren't likely to change or will be really slow to change. Why move when you have to rebuy all of your stuff. That's why I suspect you'll see official support drop off once WoTC has their own market competitor. Yes 5.5 should have minimal impacts, but they will still be there. A lot of people think short rests are going away, which will fundamentally change how multiple classes work. Minor tweaks to calculations will mean there's a lot of homemade macros that will need to be re-written.
Yeah I know who's now running the show now and that's a good thing. But you still have a large corporate culture to shift. Microsoft was the original dbag bro culture and it took the better part of 20 years for them to shift to a much more inclusive environment you see from them today.

To your second point the rules changes are something the folks at FG at least can and will implement with or without an official license. Legally they can pull it off. They've been doing it for over a decade. They cant slap a trademark logo on it but when someone asks does FG support 5e the answer will be yes with unofficial rulesets that cover the official rules.
 

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Yeah I know who's now running the show now and that's a good thing. But you still have a large corporate culture to shift. Microsoft was the original dbag bro culture and it took the better part of 20 years for them to shift to a much more inclusive environment you see from them today.
As someone who works for a huge company that has gone through 3 huge mergers in the past 7(?) years, I can attest to that. We just had another huge merger, and in the rah-rah meeting, the CEO said we have to not refer to ourselves as xCompany1 and xCompany2. I laughed to myself as we're still referring to ourselves as xCompany3 and xCompany4 and that merger is 5 years in the past, and the corporate culture from that merger is still not stable.
 

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As someone who works for a huge company that has gone through 3 huge mergers in the past 7(?) years, I can attest to that. We just had another huge merger, and in the rah-rah meeting, the CEO said we have to not refer to ourselves as xCompany1 and xCompany2. I laughed to myself as we're still referring to ourselves as xCompany3 and xCompany4 and that merger is 5 years in the past, and the corporate culture from that merger is still not stable.
Yeah I worked for a large tech company brought in through an aquisitions and then watched many more. It is just a random shit show of what might happen. Might be awesome. Might suck. One the plus side you have a two former MSFT leaders at Hasbro and WotC so they should be using similar communication and organization styles between them even if the org itself looks different. No clue how that is going to mesh with D&DBeyond which seems to have lost some of it's leadership a year ago. That could be good or bad.
Then you get into all the HR related transitions. Does WotC allow work from home? What's the vacation, sick time, advancement policies? I'm assuming the new CEO/president looks at growth as coming from digital assets and will align the company to attract people used to that benefit/corp culture.
I used to be in a book club with old HR folks at Hasbro/WotC and it was not a corp culture that matched with the tech world I lived in at the time.

Anyway old Hasbro from those conversations was a stodgy company that followed a Jack Welch fire 10-20% of the bottom performers a d promote 10% style. Worker were commodities who pushed cogs. That's not great for attracting tech talent. Might be very different now


Long story short. I think all of us agree WotC could technically do everything right. Whether they organizationally, politically, operationally pull it off is a bigger what if.
 

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And the one thing we haven't mentioned is loss of talent. No matter how well you do these things, you're going to lose talent because of the nature of the beast. And if you do it badly, you're going to lose a lot more (looks mournfully at hiring freeze after losing 3 developers)
 

EOTB

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To your second point the rules changes are something the folks at FG at least can and will implement with or without an official license. Legally they can pull it off. They've been doing it for over a decade. They cant slap a trademark logo on it but when someone asks does FG support 5e the answer will be yes with unofficial rulesets that cover the official rules.
I suspect what FG can do without a license will be about as satisfying going forward as their existing 3E SRD implementation is to 3E enthusiasts.
 

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I suspect what FG can do without a license will be about as satisfying going forward as their existing 3E SRD implementation is to 3E enthusiasts.
It's been ages since I played FG using 3e but I liked it at the time.
 
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