Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Fanboys Don't Give a DA@N

I am somewhat amused at the wave of rage and gnashing of teeth that has been sweeping the Blogosphere and the Twitterverse over the WoTC PDF debacle. Don't the commentators realize that the average fanboy doesn't care? I doubt if 1/10 of 1% of the customers that purchase 4E D&D products from Wizards of the Coast will change their buying habits over this situation.

The fact remains that WoTC is a VERY big fish in a VERY small pond. They can basically do whatever they want and their fans will continue to support them. They sell D AND D and their customers want to play D AND D - no questions asked. For all intents and purposes, Wizards of the Coast IS the 'roleplaying industry'. Everyone else a ripple in the pond.

For a little perspective, point your browser to Google Trends sometime and do a search for terms like 'roleplaying game' or 'dungeons & dragons'. The results are very enlightening. As for me? I could care less. I love roleplaying games and I will continue to play roleplaying games. I made up my mind about (not) continuing to play and support 4E several weeks ago, however, so the decision for me is an easy one...


fodigg said...

Howdy. Can those of us unaware of the "PDF" issue get some context?

AnthonyRoberson said...

Sorry. I should have provided a link. In abridged form, WoTC pulled ALL PDFs of their products from sites like DriveThruRPG and Paizo yesterday without notice and little real explanation. This means that (for the time being at least) there is no legal way to obtain WOTC/TSR PDFs.

Thasmodious said...

What's amusing to me is that with all the noise and crazy conspiracy, wotc is teh_evil nonsense going around, no one seems to be thinking about the simplest explanation - if no one was buying them, why keep offering them? If sales sucked, and the distribution meant that those lovely, high quality .pdf files were getting out, why keep offering them? Of course, the nutosphere won't got for that explanation, nothing to freak out about.

Geek Gazette said...

While I do tend to agree with you, true fanboys won't be influenced by WotC's actions. I like 4e and will probably continue to use the books I currently own, but I'm not sure I will be buying more. Despite my like of 4e, I have had a growing dislike for WotC ever since they lied to us about the existence of 4e. They continue to act like they can do no wrong and that fans are just mindless sheep, which many probably are. Still I will be focusing future support for fantasy games like Pathfinder, 3e D&D or Warriors & Warlocks. I may change my mind if a really great 4e books comes out, I can't say what I'll think in a few months, but I can honestly say I don't think I will be the 4e supporter that I have been.
Will the changes in my buying habits greatly impact D&D sales? NJot likely, but if enough people feel like I do and back it up with how they spend their money, it might make a difference.

Helmsman said...

Personally I think all the people gnashing their teeth should just move onto some of the other great companies that are not only still selling their PDF's but promoting them to show the industry that they're not going to pull them ever.

Donny said...

Just buy from amazon. IT's the same as screwing them, and you don't have to feel all guilty afterwards.

Amazon's required discounts for distribution are brutal.

Otherwise buy secondhand, there is no reason why you can't buy a used copy, the money goes to a real person :)

greywulf said...

I think it's more accurate to say that Wizards is a very small fish in a puddle, but still.

The problem is that the people who are vocal and passionate about this are the selfsame people who are vocal and passionate about D&D itself. They might be in the minority of all the people who play D&D (I doubt that assertion of yours, but have no facts to back up my doubts) but they're the ambassadors of the game. For every one of those who turns away from the game as a result of mismanagement by Wizards, the chances of these advocates drawing new players to the game reduces. That directly impacts future lost revenue in a far more serious way than "piracy" ever could.

Customers matter, and vocal customers doubly so.

Bonemaster said...

Basically, I came to the same conclusion. Most of WotC current consumer-base just don't care about anything. They just want new stuff to buy.

@Thasmodious - You make a good point, but only if Sales Sucked. Since Neither one of us has those sales figures like most of this it is just a guess. BTW, I don't claim WotC is Evil. I just claim that WotC is doing what is it thinks is in it's best interests and it just seems to have forgetten about the consumer.

Jay K. said...

I agree that fanboys may not care, but most of the people who've commented on it are GMs. GMs buy a lot more stuff per capita than the average player. And to paraphrase the comment above, GMs are the ambassadors of the game.

So, if you piss of that crowd, you're pissing off a significant portion of your high paying custmoers.

I include myself in this category, though, as you say, I'll continue to buy 4e material even if I can't get it in PDF format. So, while I attempt to refute it, I suppose I just supported your point. :)

Thasmodious said...

Actually, most of the people commenting on it don't even play 4th edition, they just jump all over any excuse to act like WotC killed their children because they feel the modern incarnations of D&D don't suit them and blame "guys in suits" instead of accepting that it was they who decided to step off that train and stay in one spot.

Just look around at most of the 4e blogs on the network. This just isn't that big of a deal. It's a business responding to the pressures of the market in the way they think is best. It's not an evil plot, there's nothing immoral about it. It may be short sighted, true. Or it may be that those responding are being short sighted, as they can hardly claim to have any real information on what is informing this decision on the part of the company. It's just a bunch of bloviating from the same crowd that would be much better off gathering pitchforks against some of the real corporate evil in this world.

SHARK said...


Well, regardless of the precise details, it does seem to be in-line with WOTC general attitude in recent times--and that is, they continue to make policies and actions that increasingly alienate more of their customers, and fans of D&D in general.

Semper Fidelis,