Yesterday RPGNow announced that WotC has notified them that they no longer are allowed to sell or distribute WotC’s PDF products. That means even if you have purchased WotC PDF products over RPGNow you can’t download them again after April 7th. Today I received an email from Paizo informing me that Wizards has asked them to stop distribution of their PDF products, too.
There was some discussion on Twitter tonight about the reasons why Wizards of the Coast should cease all sales of PDF products until Fred Hicks provided us with an interesting link. And obviously they played the piracy card again. I think I’ve must have heard that somewhere before…
And I am pretty sure that’s not the real reason. Over 20% of all legal PDF sales are WotC products! Over 20%, that’s a lot. So what’s the problem with that. You’ll always have piracy even if you don’t sell the books in digital format. There are a lot of illegal scanned books floatng around on the net. So you don’t need a digital version of the book in order to distribute it over a P2P network. And I am pretty sure that this announcement will not end piracy of D&D products.
So, what’s the real reason? There may be several reasons, why Wizards slaps into the face of the customer again:
- Killing the competition
They want to create their own online distribution shop, and before they do so, they want to make sure noone else sells their stuff. And even if that’s the case, they dropped the ball again!
- Removing all older edition material from the shops
Perhaps they are less then happy with the fact that some of those pesky customers prefer older editions instead of buying their shiny new 4th edition. Books are aleady out-of-print, but PDFs were still available… until now!
Whatever the real reason is, it has nothing to do with piracy. Period! This excuse didn’t work for the music industry, the movie industry or the computer game industry. But it’s easy to tell the public that the evil software/music/pdf pirates are responsible when you just want to kick your customers into the proverbial nuts!
Today’s Penny Arcade comic is about the cosmology of D&D 4th Edition and if you ask me this version is much more accessible and less confusing than the cosmology we had before. But of course that doesn’t keep Tycho from adding his special touch to it.
So, what are your thoughts on the 4th edition cosmology? Do you like it, or do you prefer the old Great Wheel cosmology?
Recently a lot of bloggers all over the network started to write about old-school gaming and how it differs from newer gaming styles. And although I got the impression that the discussion that arose was friendly and quite enlightening, some people misunderstood it as another occurence of the “edition war”. But I believe we should have reached a point where we don’t argue about how the game is meant to be played.
In the end it’s all about personal preferences. If somebody loves the old-school way with rulings more important than rules and challenging the player not the character, that’s ok with me. And if someone prefers the more new-school approach, which favors clearly defined rules for all situations and a more character (not player) focussed gameplay that’s ok with me, too. And I don’t believe it makes much sense to argue about which mindset is more right.
If you ask me there is no inherently way roleplaying games are meant to be played. A lot of how you play it depends on the gamemaster’s and players preferences. In my gaming groups I tend to favor roleplaying over rolls. If someone roleplays a situation convincingly I let him succeed without the need for a roll. But that’s not necessarily the only way, it could be done. Other gaming groups do it by the rules and a roll (or even a skill challenge like in D&D) is needed. That’s not exactly my cup of tea but I will not tell them how to play their game.
So, when there are discussions about gaming styles remember that there is no right and wrong. Everything is allowed as long as it’s fun for the people participating in that particular game. If you don’t like the way the other guy plays the game, just try to find your own style.
Just my two cents.