The blogosphere and assorted forums are swarming with talk of WotC's decision to drop their randomized collectible miniatures line and the cancelation of some of the D&D Essentials line that was scheduled for later this year. Then again, there is the talk of the new but trying to look old Red Box that they released last year.
If one didn't know any better, you would think their budget had been slashed by Hasbro. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't, but one thing is for sure, some is worried about WotC's bottom line right at this moment. Not the future, but now.
Amazingly enough, I haven't logged into the D&D Virtual Table Top since the one time I did right after I was notified I had landed a spot in the Beta. It just doesn't compare to the flexibility of what is already out there. Fantasy Grounds, Map Tools, Battlegrounds RPG - those are your big boys, with another half dozen or so right behind them. The D&D VTT is playing catch-up with all of them.
As others have already said, what is 4e these days? Is it the core books that were released previously, the Red Box, the new trade paperbacks... does WotC even know? They seem to want to get away from physical products and take their toys to the electronic media side, but they don't want their material distributed in PDF format. Every Pathfinder product that I buy direct from Paizo includes a PDF copy. It doesn't seem to be hurting their sales any.
WotC no longer sees their customers as gamers first, but as consumers of a product that they want to turn into a self generating cash cow. Some folks say they are trying to follow thew World Of Warcraft method of making money, but only WoW is making that kind of money in the sphere of MMORPGs... no one else comes close. The same used to be said of the Dungeons & Dragons brand... sadly, that's no longer true.
I hope that WotC can find their way before the D&D brand is fully drained of value and relevance.
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