Home News OGL controversy has pushed Big sales of Pathfinder and non-D&D games

OGL controversy has pushed Big sales of Pathfinder and non-D&D games

OGL controversy has pushed Big sales of Pathfinder and non-D&D games

Dungeons & Dragons is suffering as sales of competing tabletop RPGs soar, despite the fact that the OGL dispute has subsided.

Dungeons & Dragons is still suffering because of the OGL 1.1 and 1.2 debacle, despite the fact that its rivals in the market for tabletop roleplaying games have seen significant sales as a result.

Dungeons & Dragons is suffering as sales of competing tabletop RPGs soar, despite the fact that the OGL dispute has subsided.

Despite the fact that Dungeons & Dragons was and continues to be the most well-known roleplaying game brand globally, the Open Gaming License (OGL) controversy hurt the brand’s reputation among enthusiasts and independent developers.

Since then, Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro have changed their minds, preserving the OGL 1.0a and publishing the most recent SRD to Creative Commons via the official D&D Beyond website.

Damage has, however, unquestionably already been done. In addition to a potential boycott of the upcoming film Honor Among Thieves, competitors of D&D are seeing a sharp increase in sales.

OGL controversy has pushed Big sales of Pathfinder and non-D&D games

According to a recent announcement from Paizo Publishing, the Pathfinder goods will receive “overwhelming support” on January 28, 2023. Later, the business announced that it had ran out of stock for eight months, needing additional printing runs that would arrive in April. Paizo urges players of tabletop roleplaying games to look into and support RPGS from other gaming studios in the future.

A second TTRPG publisher, Chaosium, called it “a truly gigantic surge” as their books sold out multiple months’ worth of inventory in a matter of weeks, contributing to the bonanza of attracting new players. Runequest, a fantasy role-playing game, and Call of Cthulhu, a traditional horror RPG, are both made by Chaosium.

Surprisingly, in the wake of the D&D OGL revision controversy, Paizo and Chaosium are two of the largest producers of tabletop roleplaying games leading the drive for the establishment of the Open RPG Creative License (aka O.R.C.). Paizo announced the O.R.C. on January 12, 2023, and invited other game companies to support it because it would work with any system. According to the statement made on Paizo’s official website:

Under the legal direction of Azora Law, an intellectual property law firm that represents Paizo and numerous other game publishers, the new Open RPG Creative License will be developed system-neutral for independent game producers. This legal effort will be paid for by Paizo. We extend an invitation to all game publishers to accept this system-neutral licence, which enables all games to offer their own distinctive open rules reference documents and expose their specific game systems to the world.

It’s important to note that Paizo’s rise to popularity in the TTRPG market coincided with another contentious commercial choice made by WoTC.Customers who love to play tabletop roleplay games loudly objected to Wizards of the Coast’s decision to replace the immensely popular 3.5 Edition with the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Until 2007, when WotC decided not to renew the contract, Paizo Publishing was in charge of producing the official Dragon and Dungeon D&D magazines.

Paizo believed there might be a demand for a new TTRPG based on the 3.5 System General Guide since D&D Fourth Edition was introduced with a new and significantly more stringent Games Console License (GSL) than the former OGL 1.0a for Quarter and 3.5 Editions of D&D. (SRD). So, using a modified version of D&D 3.5, Paizo created the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Since the game received overwhelmingly positive reviews and commercial success, fans of the 3.5 Edition have started referring to the original Pathfinder RPG as the 3.75 Edition. Trying to overtake Fourth Edition D&D in sales from 2011 to 2014, Pathfinder was the most popular roleplaying game. Even the Critical Role web series started off with the Pathfinder system. However, Pathfinder’s hegemony was broken by the introduction of Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons in 2014, even if the game is still regarded as the second most well-liked system in most gaming communities. Since then, Paizo has produced a new version of Pathfinder that is independent of the SRD and OGL.

That now Dungeons & Dragons is involved in a similar scandal that is widely disliked by the gaming industry, will lightning strike twice? Will non-D&D tabletop playing games under the O.R.C. licence experience a new, sustained upsurge under the leadership of Paizo, Chaosium, and other TTRPG brands?

Over 1,500 companies that make tabletop roleplaying games have already vowed to support the O.R.C. There are hints that Dungeons & Dragons itself could join the O.R.C. in order to bounce back from the negative press fallout following the OGL 1.1 and OGL 1.2 backlash and to have a say in its development. These rumours have been made by insiders and industry experts, including Ryan Dancey, the original designer of the OGL.

If WoTC does intend to join the O.R.C., it might do so before Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is released in order to give the live-action movie a favourable marketing angle.


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