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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: visioNationstudios on April 08, 2009, 07:51:29 AM

Title: WotC Pulls PDFs
Post by: visioNationstudios on April 08, 2009, 07:51:29 AM
Sorry if this has been brought up elsewhere on the Forge and I missed it.  Just wondering two things:

1) Have any details come to light regarding the decision by Wizards to pull any and all D&D PDFs from the various publishing markets (Paizo, OBS, etc)?  We don't do anything with d20 products ourselves, but it seems this is an important development and I'm curious what people know about it.

2) Which leads to the second part.  What, if anything, will/should be done by the indie market in the wake of this situation?  I can't imagine something this wide-scale not having some large ripple effects across the market.  But I also don't know if the decision will prove detrimental to the digital rpg market or beneficial.


Title: Re: WotC Pulls PDFs
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on April 08, 2009, 09:53:40 AM
The chances are that we'll get to find out what there is to know by reading other forums. Seems that this has brought out lots of interested people.

As for impact, I can't say that this sort of thing has any real effect on my own life. I imagine that this is the case for the majority of different sorts of indie designers (by head count, not necessarily by sales); we're mostly so specialized and small that the WotC market is almost a secondary one for us. All the more so with how D&D gamers tend to isolate into an exclusive hobby click; people affected by what WotC does are on average less likely to ever even notice my existence, after all.

Do you yourself have some ideas of what should be done about this? I don't off-hand see anything here, but perhaps I'm just missing it.

Title: Re: WotC Pulls PDFs
Post by: visioNationstudios on April 08, 2009, 11:52:21 AM
I'm not entirely certain what, if anything, we could do, but what I do know is that this is irking a number of D&D fans, from the casual to the grognards.  It may be a good opportunity for the "little companies" to step up and take more of a central role in the industry.  Or, if nothing else, to get a little extra exposure for a time, as the gut reaction for many will be to look elsewhere.  It may be a permanent departure, or it may last a few months before they trudge back to their old "tried and true", but I guess I just see this as an opening for many on this and other forums.  However, I don't really know specifically how to handle the rat now that it's backed into the corner, per se.

Title: Re: WotC Pulls PDFs
Post by: greyorm on April 08, 2009, 01:18:06 PM
1) Yes. They announced the pull was due to piracy lawsuits they were slapping on eight people, as they felt their IP was in danger and wanted to re-evaluate other methods of electronic distribution in order to protect their property. Which means WotC is about as dumb as the RIAA and MPAA at this point and clearly hasn't been paying attention to...well, nothing over the last decade regarding the actual impact of piracy or the viability or cost (in terms of customers) of DRM or other electronic safeguarding.

2) Many companies are using this to boost visibility by holding "We aren't going anywhere!" sales and product give-aways (because the 800-lb gorilla just left the market!). White Wolf is even giving away free PDF copies of the 2nd Edition Exalted core book. I've actually been considering a sale on my PDFs with a "pirate this fucker all you want!" clause to help boost exposure of WHS, since I will also shortly be releasing two new 3E products.

Title: Re: WotC Pulls PDFs
Post by: Josh Gertz on April 10, 2009, 09:53:58 AM
Hi everyone,

I would be curious to know if the availability of WotC products on the web malls actually increased the exposure and sales of the smaller products that were also available at the same place.

Anyone have any ideas?

I could make the argument that the exclusion of the large profile products might actually hurt the sales of the smaller products that rely on the mall as the main source of exposure and sales.Those one or two extra items in the cart along with the WotC products could hurt the long tail of the online publisher.


Title: Re: WotC Pulls PDFs
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on April 14, 2009, 07:36:27 AM
I am speculating that it may slow the revenue of primarily d20 sellers, and make it a bit more important for them to promote and manage things from their own sites. One thing I find interesting is that Palladium has stepped up to the plate and started pushing their products in digital form finally. I am curious if it has to do with seeing the void that wotc left in the market.
Regards, Seth

Title: Re: WotC Pulls PDFs
Post by: David C on May 03, 2009, 09:37:04 PM
 I want to make a few comments about this decision.

1)  This definitely slowed down the time it took for the latest book, Arcane Power, to being pirated (took 2 weeks instead of release day.)

2)  The quality of the pirated book is lower.

3)  This didn't save WotC any sales, but probably very negatively hurt consumer relations.

They didn't save any sales, because Arcane Power was sold out the entire time it was unavailable through pirated means.  So if pirates were desperate enough to pay for it (I doubt many were) they were unable to.

I'm very skeptical that pirates account for lost (physical book) sales in the RPG market.  The people who are too cheap to pay for a book will just borrow their friends if given no other choice.  I know one guy who does this, or pirates all of his books.  He's never bought a single book in his entire life, despite having a $100k+ income. He's not a lost sale, because he'll never buy under any circumstances.   Either a person is too cheap to pay for it at all, or the value of having a physical book is worth the price to them. 

As for PDFs, I can definitely see piracy resulting in lost sales - a pirated copy is identical to a non-pirated copy.  (minus the moral issues, which isn't really something you can count on.)  Unfortunately, for a small publisher, your options are to 1) live with it 2) something draconian and ineffective.  I would try and remember though, not every pirated copy is a lost sale.  For example, I know lots of IT guys who download Windows XP off of the pirate bay all the time.  These aren't lost sales (they own the OS.)  But the copy they download has all the latest security patches.

For my last points, I want to address what this move has offered Indy developers.

1) A chance to foster good will, off of the bad will created by WotC (in fact, White Wolf did just this by offering Exalted as a free download.)

2) A glimpse at WotC's sales (they've sold less than 600,000 copies of 4th edition, which is a far cry short of 3.5's boasted 2 million+). 

Everything I've discussed I've either learned from Slashdot, or as far as RPG piracy, I learned from RPG forum boards I visit.