Fans and Game Creators Express Concern Over WoTC’s New OGL Policy

Before we begin, I would like to thank Wolfgang for reaching out and clarifying a new policy update from Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons & Dragons OGL.

Recently, I reported on a new update regarding Wizards of the Coast’s Open Game License for Dungeons & Dragons. Today, we’re following up with the thoughts and concerns of fans and game creators on this new policy change.

After a Fireside Chat that featured Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks and WoTC and Digital Gaming President Cynthia Williams described the D&D Brand as under-monetized (which was a fancy way for Hasbro to say “We’re not making enough money off of it”, even though WoTC’s nearly $1 Billion Dollar Revenue). This led to speculation that Wizards of The Coast would seek to increase revenues by changing OGL or eliminating it to cut off third-party creators. According to Gizmodo’s Linda Godega, the new OGL would address new technologies like Blockchains, and NFTs, while taking a stance on bigoted content, explicitly stating the company may terminate the agreement if third-party creators publish material that is “blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, bigoted or otherwise discriminatory.”

Overall, the biggest change would have to be that the previously available OGL 1.0 state it is “no longer an authorized license agreement.” By ending the original OGL, many licensed publishers will have to completely overhaul their products and distribution to comply with the updated rules. The change causes larger publishers who focus exclusively on products based on the OGL would be under pressure to quickly update their business model.

This issue has weighed heavily on Game Creators, and players alike are concerned with OGL’s future. Also, facing the possibility that the new OGL is more of a trap, meaning there would be a chance of your rights to the original license being nullified.

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It has brought in a lot of different opinions and a lot of misinformation about it in most cases. Unfortunately, the future is unknown for third-party publishers at this time. It has brought fear and negativity, but it has also brought out solidarity and support on social media through a hashtag simply titled #OPENDND.

Noah Downs, who is also known as MyLawyerFriend, is a licensed attorney who has a focus on business and intellectual property issues in the tabletop and digital gaming industries offered a full detailed breakdown, and answered questions about the new OGL. You can read it over on Medium today.

In conclusion, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast’s approach to the new Open Game License are worrisome for Third-Party Creators and players. It has put many of its game creators’ businesses in jeopardy with its newest policy, with a way to exploit (or allow others to exploit) their hard work.

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