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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Has WotC Decided to Re-Release Earlier Products and Editions?

(For links and further thoughts on this, go the the Greyhawk Grognard's Blog - It's linked on the right side on this blog - linking from the iPad sucks ;)

Last night both JoeTheLawyer and the Greyhawk Grognard posted links to what is apparently a new fall release of the D&D 3.5e rules (with errata) on the Barnes & Noble website.

Today, the GG has found another product from WotC priced the same as the 3.5 PH and DMG. Codenamed "Provolone", it could be the 3.5e MM. It could also be DnD Next, but I highly doubt it.

Guess What? The GG has also found a new release of the Dungeon! Board Game on Amazon for a fall release.

We know the AD&D 1e reprints are in the works. The Dungeon! Boardgame is a surprise, but seems legit. 3.5 e is a surprise, and may or may not be what it seems to be.

Still, the easy question to answer is why?

4e is withering on the vine. Its a dead system. 5e is 15-20% complete, so it's nowhere near release. When you have already complete products that there is a viable market for, you can save your bottom line for 2012 (and maybe save a few bodies from the annual Christmas purge) by putting out reprints.

The problem then becomes, when 5e is finally released, will WotC have lost part of that market to it's own reprints of previous editions?

Eh, at this point the reprints excite me more than 5e, although the upcoming public beta test for 5e should be interesting.

I do wonder if this reprint bonanza has anything to do with Monte's leaving WotC. Or maybe it's beta testing a game that is only 20% complete. We probably will never know sure.

Hey, maybe they could make Dungeon! into an iPad app!

7 comments:

  1. They've been listening to my comments here on your blog and have decided to scrap 5e and reprint 1e AD&D and 3.5 to satisfy the masses. (And they somehow know I prefer 'Provolone' over 'Swiss' on my sandwhiches, what great guys at WotC, going that extra mile).

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  2. I wonder what Paizo would have to say about WotC reprinting the 3.5 books, eh? I would love to hear them weigh in on that subject. I really don't think the old 3.5 books could really compete with Pathfinder, though, right? Since Pathfinder is supposed to be an improvement on 3.5, correct?

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  3. The most valuable part of D&D is its IP, not the game mechanics.

    Re-releasing old material serves to keep the IP in peoples minds, is fairly cheap and will make money.

    Also Hasbro/WOTC is aware that the market is fragmented, offering some older titles allows them to pull people who they aren't serving into their sphere on influence.

    IMO a smart play.

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  4. On my blog I mentioned that I was concerned that WotC would have very little income during the lead-up to 5E (likely a year away if its properly playtested) and that they might rush 5E out unplaytested. However, it now looks like they will be re-releasing old stuff to try and keep the bottom line solvent.

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  5. Maybe they're using 3.5 as a sort of rosetta stone for their One to Rule Them All, so they need to make it available before the 20% complete playtest drops. Who knows what they're doing? They should move to Area 51 and be done with it.

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  6. I think it's a pretty smart move on their part. They'll have rules for all major customer groups (1E for the Old School, 3.5 for the Pathfinder players, DDI for the 4E crowd) and they have versions of the game in print that allows for playing 3rd party content again. That's good for them, because for at least 4 years, the 3rd party content has been much more interesting than WotC's own offerings.

    They would be really stupid not to follow up with pdfs of their old stuff, but, you know, it's still WotC.

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  7. I don't think any reprints will really compete with new material, especially if they stagger the releases. The aesthetics of the various editions are too different.

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