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WotC halts PDF sales


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Yup, because the main source of Paizo's income is selling Spelljammer PDFs. I knew it all along !

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

veector wrote:

Just saw this comment over on the WotC thread...

Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.
LOL!

Now this is funny.

Does this guy honestly believe that WotC is generating all this ill will, and free press for other companies, just to 'cut the purse strings'?

Wow, we've found someone dumber than WotC suits.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
veector wrote:

Just saw this comment over on the WotC thread...

Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.
LOL!

Veector, in Texas, we have polite ways of speaking of such lesser endowed individuals. "Why bless his heart, the poor ijit." I won't tell you the impolite ways, since they're already well-known in the NE...

;)

What an ijit...bless his poor little pointy head. So laughable.


taig wrote:

I'd say it's something in the water, but how does Paizo, also based in the same general area, keep from doing the same thing? :)

Bottled water imported from France?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Bardsandsages wrote:
taig wrote:

I'd say it's something in the water, but how does Paizo, also based in the same general area, keep from doing the same thing? :)

Bottled water imported from France?

Nah, if that was true, they'd have surrendered to WotC some time ago.

Scarab Sages

Lanx wrote:
taig wrote:


I have a feeling that it's someone who doesn't know Paizo and saw their name prominently featured on the "cease and desist" list. The unnatural conclusion being that Paizo, a competitor, encouraged the illegal file sharing. Since RPGNow/DriveThruRPG isn't a direct competitor, then they can't be blamed.
No, it seems to be raw, pure hatred of Paizo for daring to compete with WotC. There are three posters who take every opportunity to throw dirt at Paizo with hate speech. The moderators already warned the crowd a few times that everyone should honor the CoC and be respectful, but why these three posters which are the epitome of unrespectfulness are not already banned is beyond me.

That would be because the vile isn't being directed at WotC and they're probably happy for any diversion away from their own idiocy.

I wouldn't be surprised if the above-mentioned rowdy few weren't plants. (And I don't mean in the punny way, Mairkurion ;)


Matthew Morris wrote:
Nah, if that was true, they'd have surrendered to WotC some time ago.

Hey ! That's not fair...

Some of us don't surrender, they hide in the mountains.


Mikaze wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Sad how that whole thread has become an "it's all paizo's fault " thread really sad

Zombieneighbors and ??????? are holding their own though.

Good on you ZN. It's like two Razz's threadcrapping over there. Only, y'know, for different editions.

I haven't even attempted to read the whole thing, but I know that at least one person at one time was saying they used "Paizo" because it was the shortest name of the various pdf sellers and that their comments were about all the pdf sellers not just Paizo. I would say that seems like a kind of stupid decision, because people "passing through" may get the wrong impression, but I am not sure if at least for that person at that time there was any specific focus on Paizo.

I also saw a more recent post by ZN which basically looked like an anti-4e post, and didn't really have anything to do with the current situation.

RPG Superstar 2012

veector wrote:

Just saw this comment over on the WotC thread...

Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.
LOL!

Wow. That shows an insane lack of knowledge. Or...maybe I'm naive and Paizo's main source of revenue is 3.0/3.5 PDFs.

Scarab Sages

I wonder if WOTC considered what those PDFs were good for before deciding to foreclose the operation of offering them for sale by 3rd parties?

Many of the points on inventory and comparative advantage have already been laid out so I won't rehash them.

Another key point that has been pointed out is the anti-piracy effect of offering an affordable option for customers to obtain pdfs. When you prohibit product purchase you encourage criminality because demand doesn't evaporate just because you prohibit supply.

The third point, that maybe hasn't been expressed so clearly, is what the pdfs do for building demand for the book trade. More than two decades of pdf existence has shown that a hard cover book is better in the eyes of customers than a pdf for most purposes. The information may be in the pdf, it may be portable and transferrable, but it is not as much fun. The desire to hold a thing, see one page flow into the next and to let your five senses be engaged by a creation instead of just your eyes is hard-wired into us. When you consider the fact that most of the pdfs avaiable for sale were for books that were out-of-print and for scenarios WOTC was not planning on revisiting in print distribution (Glory of Rome and other historical settings, Basic D&D and the world of Mystara, Spelljammer, etc.) all the pdfs could represent is a spur to imagination, a jolt of extra information to drive one to the store to purchasing the new books and rules and benefiting from the progress in development of the game.

Speaking for myself, I have spent most of the last two years running a campaign that is totally based off of pdfs of classic AD&D adventures but use PFRPG rules obtained from a hard copy beta test book. I did this because the feel of the adventure is something I wanted but I couldn't get (at least until recently, Pathfinder is coming close now with their adventure paths. Yay!). I have brought new players into the game by giving them the chance to read some of the pdfs I purchased and participate in a game I have loved for more than 25 years.

Now, when they want to get some of these out-of-print products where will they turn? file sharing sites that convince them that its all free now, turning them into pirates instead of developing their appreciation for the value of the work that went into creating these products.

No, this is a no-winners plan by WOTC and I am sorry to see it come to pass.

Liberty's Edge

veector wrote:

Just saw this comment over on the WotC thread...

Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.
LOL!

Ayy carumba. There's a dick born every minute.

Liberty's Edge

bugleyman wrote:
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Bugleyman has returned, the rift is healed. All is well. Welcome back, Bugley.

Thank you. Forgive me if I lurk a bit; I still don't know if Pathfinder is ever going to be the game for me, but after months of virtual wandering in the wilderness it is nice to see some familiar faces.

And to everyone I've accused of hyperbole for saying WotC was a poor steward of D&D: You were right. Now I'm off to start silently praying that Hasbro gets it over with and sells the D&D brand so I can just forget the last 12 months ever happened.

I salute your zeal.


Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.

The way I see it is that most D&D player groups that play 3.5/Pathfinder have at the least multiple PHs, a DMG or two and a MM. There are a good number that have the PFRPG beta both in PDF and dead tree versions.

This may put a small crimp into drawing a brand new player to the fold that doesnt have access to any former 3.5 materials only if he is looking to start a brand new group with brand new players. If the new person joins a group, the odds are they already have the core books and will carry him/her to the summer when the PFRPG HC comes calling.

Ultimately WotC does more harm than good again to an already fractured niche hobby market.

My only hope is that WotC continues these antics and eventually Hasbro will break them up and/or sell off the brand.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The situation there is even more ludicrous: One of the three had staunchly argued that Dragon and Dungeon when they were licensed by Paizo were not D&D. Of course, many disagreed, but he did not yield. Then a mod came in, and, after warning everybody to remain respectful, confirmed that Dragon and Dungeon, when licensed by Paizo, were official material for D&D; they had to be even proof-read by WotC before they were published. At this said guy only answered (basically): Yeah, but only when they actually published some articles for D&D.

°-.-

Liberty's Edge

Heathansson wrote:
veector wrote:

Just saw this comment over on the WotC thread...

Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.
LOL!
Ayy carumba. There's a dick born every minute.

Yeah....check the "top ten sellers" thingy.......is B2 Keep on the Borderlands PDF there? No?

As they say on Family Feud,
"Survey Says....."
"XXXXXXXXXXX."

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Seldriss wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Nah, if that was true, they'd have surrendered to WotC some time ago.

Hey ! That's not fair...

Some of us don't surrender, they hide in the mountains.

I more or less thought of Paizo as the underground resistance for over a year now.


Welcome to the maquis.

Scarab Sages

Lanx wrote:

The situation there is even more ludicrous: One of the three had staunchly argued that Dragon and Dungeon when they were licensed by Paizo were not D&D. Of course, many disagreed, but he did not yield. Then a mod came in, and, after warning everybody to remain respectful, confirmed that Dragon and Dungeon, when licensed by Paizo, were official material for D&D; they had to be even proof-read by WotC before they were published. At this said guy only answered (basically): Yeah, but only when they actually published some articles for D&D.

°-.-

.meht pots t'nac uoY .dia-look eht knird taht elpoep eb syawla lliw ehehT


Heathansson wrote:

I checked out the wizards forum; there's a 29 page gripefest; mostly people griping, and one or two Defenders of the Faith trying to fight back the tide. Now I'm predicting something along the lines of...

"WE LISTENED TO YOU!!!! WE'RE BRINGING THE PDF'S BACK ON OUR WEBSITE!!! HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY! AREN'T WE A LOT OF COOL GUYS?"

Now I'm going to go pick some lottery numbers. My powers make me independently wealthy.

I've heard some folks arguing that Wotsy will make all the pre-4th edition stuff available only through them, and not as downloads but as something you can only access through that DDI-whatever thing. So you'll have to make monthly payments to have access. That's if that is true, which is debatable.

Another rumor I erad is that Wotsy means to stop any and all sale of their books through online stores. No more D&D on Amazon, Noble Knight, etc. Can anyone verify this rumor? It sounds nuts to me, even for Wotsy.


pres man wrote:

Anybody else feel like thinking that older editions are competing with the current one, is kind of like this ad.

I like that last sentence from the wave. Call me a bastard, but that should happen to the guys responsible for this decision, as well as a number of other decisions wizards made in the last year or two.

*goes and makes rocks plummet towards earth to harness the wishing power of shooting stars*

Mikaze wrote:
Happened across some lovely wallbangers throughout the day concerning yesterday's shenanigans. A few(read: few) people are actually blaming the stores for this, as if they were accomplices in all the piracy going on. *headdesk*

Oh yeah. My local gaming store, for example. If you go in there, wearing a black scarf and asking for the "early bird special" while blinking with your left eye (never the right eye. NEVER. Oh god, you do not know what you'll get when you blink with the right eye), they give you a pirated copy of whatever book you want, with hardcover and unmarked pdf. I'm not sure where the pirated copies come from, but I suspect they raid other stores. That's why so many stores close. It's not about the economy or crap like that. It's because everyone who worked there has been cut up with a cutlass by a comicshop pirate and all their booty has been taken!

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Just saw this thread (Busy the past 2 days, but I did get the warning).
Forgive me if this has already been said (Don't have time to read all messages).

On the WOTC Retailer license it says that if you want to sell PDFs, you must have a physical store that sells Magic Cards and you must buy them direct form WOTC or from one of WOTC's authorized distributers. You can not buy them from a third source. It also states you can not sell outside your territory. How does this affect Paizo? Will you still be able to sell and ship minis? I hope so as this is the only way I can get complete sets without spending a fortune.

Paizo Employee Developer

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Another rumor I read is that Wotsy means to stop any and all sale of their books through online stores. No more D&D on Amazon, Noble Knight, etc. Can anyone verify this rumor? It sounds nuts to me, even for Wotsy.

There is some confusion about the wording of their new Online Retailer Policy which seems to restrict sales of WotC material to online distributors which also have brick & mortar gaming stores. The only specific products listed in the contract are MTG cards, but it repeatedly refers to "Wizards' products" so it might apply to more than just Magic. I can't imagine them restricting sales of their books through Amazon, but I also couldn't conceive of them stopping sales of all pdfs before two days ago, so take it for what it's worth. The fact that their decision to pull pdfs from online retailers happened on the same date (4/6) as their Online Retailer policy went into effect doesn't help alleviate any of the confusion, and of course there's no clarification from anyone at WotC. We'll just have to wait and see.

Dark Archive

Matthew Morris wrote:
veector wrote:

Just saw this comment over on the WotC thread...

Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.
LOL!

Now this is funny.

Does this guy honestly believe that WotC is generating all this ill will, and free press for other companies, just to 'cut the purse strings'?

Wow, we've found someone dumber than WotC suits.

Link please. I want to see the firestorm, but i don't have time to wade through all the boards to find it.


noretoc wrote:


Is this an episode of the twilight zone or something?

Nah. I think Crowley got into wotc. Damn, he knows how to proselytise.

Skeld wrote:

The WOTC thread were everyone is complaining about them pulling the PDF has been locked by a moderator after 863 posts. Just FYI.

Wow. I'd have thought the thread would be disappeared after 20 posts. Or maybe they were collecting names they can ban from the boards...

bugleyman wrote:


Done. And thanks; it is nice to be remembered!

Didn't we fight all the time?

There's more and more people I remember as those championing 4e, who are now making the swearword filter do overtime.

It sure takes effort to get fervent supporters loathe you.

Anyway, make yourself comfortable, get a welcome-back-cookie from Lillith (I guess she's putting the energy set free by her anger into cooking - either that or a killing spree. And I prefer the cookies!), and start discussing PF :)


Pat Payne wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
heh heh heh...

"authorised" = "has cut tongue out and fingers broken"

LegoTech wrote:


Should I look out for roving bands of WOTC police coming to take away my original D&D box set because I COULD scan it? (I WONT).

Well, I have a number of 3e and OGL books, as well as a +5 anarchic holy wizards-of-the-coast bane naginata here. Let them come. Let them come.

bugleyman wrote:


And to everyone I've accused of hyperbole for saying WotC was a poor steward of D&D: You were right.

Hey, to be honest, I did exaggerate sometimes. Or, rather, I thought I was exaggerating. Turns out I was actually downplaying things.

Andreas Skye wrote:


Compare this to what happened last year, when the whole 3 first core rulebooks "leaked" as final drafts into the internet (something which was discussed about in these forums).

Yeah, I remember. Hilarious: People hear about this, get a fangasm, hunt down and download the books to stop their anciety for their new favourite game - and, after reading it, cancelling their preorders in troves.

I think that's the main reason they hate the evil pirates: if those people had to wait for their actual books to arrive, some/many of them probably wouldn't have returned them, and anyway, they could have still counted them in their statistics.


veector wrote:
No, you're watching the Microsoft of the RPG Industry.

That's a good analogy. Microsoft has a lot of advantages that don't exist for WotC though. New computers, new drivers, and a lack of patches can quickly obsolete an MS OS once it is unsupported.

By comparison, *any* D&D product can still be used with a bag of dice, and this won't change until the dice are. WotC can anger me, but they can't ever make my old-school D&D resources stop working or risky to use. Unlike compiled software, it's dead easy to patch a D&D game - house rules predate the published ones! :)

In my current angry mindset I'm hoping this is a sign that 4E is failing badly. All of the authors I appreciated over the years are retired or fired, so I have no loyalty left. It will be interesting to see what happens next.


You know, I might be upset about this, had I not started to ignore the existence of FWotFC back when they pulled the Dragon/Dungeon licences.

I still pick up interesting old stuff from old book stores when I come across them (reasonably priced), and I have friends who also have a nice selection of hard copies of 1st and 2nd edition stuff (which never fall accidentally on top of operating scanner, of course) but as it is FWotFC has not seen my money for a while now...


Lanx wrote:
The moderators already warned the crowd a few times that everyone should honor the CoC and be respectful, but why these three posters which are the epitome of unrespectfulness are not already banned is beyond me.

One of the racial traits of drones is immunity to banning. If you said the same thing in the other direction, your profile would not just be bunned, but balefired.

Eric Hinkle wrote:


I've heard some folks arguing that Wotsy will make all the pre-4th edition stuff available only through them, and not as downloads but as something you can only access through that DDI-whatever thing. So you'll have to make monthly payments to have access. That's if that is true, which is debatable.

It's not a rumor, but a guess. I was one of them who made that guess, maybe the only one. It was mostly for 4e stuff, though - I doubt that older stuff will ever come back. They fired those customers long agao.

It would be like WoW or other MMORPGS (which they so love, and love to copy): You buy the product, but can only use it as long as you keep paying. They can even argue that they took a concept that is very successful and try it now.

It doesn't matter that it doesn't make any sense for a P&P RPG. Or maybe they let you use the stuff from the pdfs you're renting (and paying twice over for) in their other tools, thus justifying the monthly payment (maintaining all those servers and all costs money, you know).

Eric Hinkle wrote:


Another rumor I erad is that Wotsy means to stop any and all sale of their books through online stores. No more D&D on Amazon, Noble Knight, etc. Can anyone verify this rumor? It sounds nuts to me, even for Wotsy.

Their new requirements for autorised online dealers state that you need to have a local store. You even need to send pictures of your store.

Amazon doesn't have a local store.

Dark Archive

I really am disappointed with WOTC's action. I can no longer download all the other products that I purchased. A suitable reciprocal action is called for.


The Register picked this up - fun article, normal comments

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/07/wotc_pulls_pdf_products_piracy_laws uit/

Dark Archive

KaeYoss wrote:


Eric Hinkle wrote:


Another rumor I erad is that Wotsy means to stop any and all sale of their books through online stores. No more D&D on Amazon, Noble Knight, etc. Can anyone verify this rumor? It sounds nuts to me, even for Wotsy.

Their new requirements for autorised online dealers state that you need to have a local store. You even need to send pictures of your store.

Amazon doesn't have a local store.

As was pointed out yesterday, as written, the agreement only applies to MtG. The new standard was supposed to have taken affect on Monday, and as of yesterday, Amazon was still selling 4E products on their website. Therefore, one of three things has happened. 1) the new standard doesn't apply to Amazon, 2) Amazon has worked out a seperate agreement with WoTC, or 3) Amazon doesn't give a damn about the new standard and is going to continue selling the product anyway. Based on my repeated reading of the online retailer standards, I'm voting for #1.


David Fryer wrote:
Link please. I want to see the firestorm, but i don't have time to wade through all the boards to find it.

There's some pretty nasty anti-Paizo stuff about half-way down on this page. It continues in the next pages of the thread.

I can't remember which page I got the quote from.

EDIT: One of the most notorious posters is Titanium Dragon.

Dark Archive

The Register wrote:
Violations of our copyrights and piracy of our products hurt not only Wizards of the Coast’s financial health but also the health of [the] whole gaming community including retailers and players," said Greg Leeds, President of Wizards of the Coast said in a statement. "We have brought these suits to stop the illegal activities of these defendants, and to deter future unauthorized and unlawful file-sharing."

Is he for real?

I what world does good ole Greg he live?
Not only will these lawsuits not deter those who routinely use pirated stuff but it will driver others, who acquire their stuff legally before, into using pirated stuff too.


outlander78 wrote:

The Register picked this up - fun article, normal comments

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/07/wotc_pulls_pdf_products_piracy_laws uit/

Linkified for those interested.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Post by Charles Ryan on ENWorld (link):

Charles Ryan wrote:

Hi, all--

Before I write anything else, I want to reiterate that I'm not a WotC employee. Aside from a little more context, I don't have any more info about what's going on than anyone else.

But here's what my context tells me:

Back in about 2004 or 2005 I launched the first PDF sales of current-edition product. We were very concerned about piracy at the time--it already existed even before we put out the first PDF, and it certainly occurred once we started selling PDFs. I'm sure it occurred over the five years since. If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that piracy is not suddenly a surprise to WotC.

So why would WotC suddenly make a policy about-face, and launch a major (for WotC, at least) and probably very expensive legal offensive?

Here's what I think: It's because something has changed. WotC isn't doing this because they've suddenly become aware of everyday, run-of-the-mill piracy. They're doing it because the amount, or nature, of the piracy has sifted substantially in recent months. Maybe this new piracy already threatens their business, or maybe it's trending sharply in that direction. Whatever the case, it's beyond the routine.

So why did they cut off all PDFs, and without warning? I don't know, but I suspect it's no accident. It's probably a tactical move related to the legal offensive. Here's something else I know for sure: Scott had to know there would be PR fallout for this approach (though I don't think anyone could have predicted the depth of vitriol). He chose to pay that price, so it must have been pretty important to the success of the legal action.

Again, this is my speculation. Slightly informed speculation, maybe, but still pure speculation and nothing else. Like everyone else, I'm waiting to see what happens next.

(Hi, Sean!)

Any Former WotC employees care to share their thoughts on this?

My thoughts on this (originally posted on ENWorld, link)

DMcCoy1693 wrote:

Charles, I hear what you're saying (and I gotta admit, it makes ALOT of sense), but imagine how different this week would have been if Wizards did 2 things differently:


  • They made the announcement themselves instead of letting DTRPG/RPGNow break the news, and
  • included the following in their press release:
Proposed addition to Press Release wrote:
During this action, we are suspending sales of all PDF based books. Wizards of the Coast understands that this action unfairly punishes legal customers. For our customers, we are continuing legal downloading of previously purchased products until noon tomorrow (pacific time). As soon as we are able to, we will be bringing back PDFs to sell and we will make every effort to make those previously purchased products available for download without any additional cost. Until that time, we urge all our customers to only use legal products and not illegally produce or download copies. "Piracy hurts the industry as a whole and we can no longer take a passive role in combatting it. We are choosing to instead take bold action, even if that does require all of us to sacrifice together during this time." said president Greg Leeds.
me wrote:

Personally, I'd see Wizards as more of a hero than as the villian of this tale. Its not what they do that has made them loose their status as a leader, but how they do it.

Liberty's Edge

Seldriss wrote:
Welcome to the maquis.

"Forgetting to bring the French along to help fight a war is like forgetting your accordion, all you're doing is leaving behind some noisy baggage"

Sorry, couldn't resist ;)


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Most interesting, Steve Wieck from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow has posted here in aforementioned thread at WotC and tried to explain the situation.

Dark Archive

veector wrote:

EDIT: One of the most notorious posters is Titanium Dragon.

Favorite comment so far:

Titanium Dragon wrote:

If you feel you were wronged, sue Paizo and the other folks for breach of contract and refusing to provide a service you paid for...Moreover, getting angry at WotC is wrong. WotC isn't the company which screwed you. Paizo, drivethrurpg, ect. are the companies which screwed you.

THEY promised you a service, and sold you that service. It isn't WotC's fault that this was not a service those companies could promise you.

I wonder if he even realizes how stupid this sounds. Paizo wouldn't have to stop providing the service, except for a cease and desist from WoTC. Suing Paizo because Wizards made them stop providing the pdfs makes about as much sense as suing Ford because some jerkhat totaled my car.

Edit: I also like this one:

Titanium Dragon wrote:
Rustmonster wrote:
It isn't to "show appretiation". It's a shallow, thinly veiled cash grab, meant to play off the nerd rage of angry fanboys. They make money off of pandering to peoples hatreds.
Well, that's basically the entirety of Paizo's business plan. Remember Pathfinder? Same thing here.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, something good comes from everything. My agenda for today:

1. Thank diety of choice that I have a good job.
2. Spend money on Paizo pdfs
3. Head over to RPGNow and spend some more money on WW and GR pdfs
4. Bask in the happiness of my purchases.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's an interesting post by DriveThrough (if it is geniune).

Steve Wieck wrote:


Steve Wieck with DriveThruRPG/RPGNow here.
I thought I would respond to a couple items discussed on the thread.

First, there are no "contract negotiations" with Wizards that led to the current situation. We have been doing business with Wizards on downloads for over six years now and always enjoyed a positive and co-operative license relationship. The thread's hypothesis that the situation might be a result of a negotiation issue is a reasonable hypothesis but is incorrect.

On Monday I spoke with Wizards' legal department in a call that I thought would discuss the lawsuits Wizards has filed. We had been co-operating with Wizards to supply information on pirated files for those lawsuits (as allowed under our site privacy policy). Instead I was informed of Wizards' decision to cease all PDF sales at this time. It was a complete surprise to me.

Wizards gave us legal notice to remove their titles. Due to what I'll characterize as a miscommunication on intent, we complied immediately and removed all public access to Wizards' products from DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. In turns out this was not a situation that either we or Wizards desired. I am in discussions with Wizards legal and it looks highly probable that we will be able to offer customers time to come back and re-download prior purchases for their personal archives. We will email and post information on sites once we have final confirmation on this.

I regret that some customers have inferred that our download counts are any guarantee of availability to re-download titles. We really do not like iTunes' approach of "one download, you lose it, pay again" so we do our best to offer perpetual downloads of purchased titles. Our agreements with publishers though do not let us guarantee this - as this situation makes clear. We have learned a lesson here by reading that some customers inferred otherwise, and we will make some changes soon to clarify this on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

We are offering full refunds to anyone who purchased a Wizards title from us but never downloaded it. These are extremely rare cases, as most everyone downloaded the goodies as soon as they were originally purchased.

I am otherwise as confused as anyone else here on the rationale behind Wizards' decision. I know there are some smart people at Wizards like Scott who get it, so I can only speculate that there are others who are not as informed and who are making the call on this.

As many other folks on this forum have stated, I also believe that piracy for the foreseeable future is unavoidable for books. So long as printed copies and scanners and torrents exist, rpg books have been and will be pirated. It's sad and fatalistic, but it's true.

Given that rpg books will always be on file-sharing sites, it means that anyone who purchases a legal PDF is doing so because they prefer to make that choice over pirating the file. Thankfully, the number of rpg fans who make that decision are legion and it lets us send payments every month to hundreds of rpg publishers and creators. By making this choice to legally support thier hobby, fans are keeping rpgs alive. I say that without one bit of exaggeration or melodrama. Around seven new rpg titles go live every day at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. The hobby could not be nearly that prolific if not due to fans choosing to support their hobby.

This makes DRM an extremely poor choice for any publisher. DRM inevitably restricts ease of purchase and ease of use, and anything that tips customer choice from legal purchase toward pirating is a bad business decision. DRM does nothing to prevent pirated files from being available, since the files will already be available anyway from scanned copy.

We already learned lessons on DRM the hard way in the past, so I know the issue intimately. For many years now, we have embraced watermarking as the preferable solution.

The posts by D&D fans across all gaming forums, while angry at times, are ultimately posted out of concern for Wizards and the desire to see Wizards make the best choices. Whether I ever do business with Wizards again or not, Wizards is a big part of the hobby that I love and for that reason alone, I hope that they reconsider. Especially given the ongoing fan feedback on this, I am optimistic that they will.

Steve
www.DriveThruRPG.com
www.RPGNow.com
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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Ah, Titanium Dragon. I really think that one day he will drive over to Paizo offices with a shotgun. I hope SKR has his crossbow handy at all times, you guys gonna need it someday ;)

Dark Archive

Gorbacz wrote:
Ah, Titanium Dragon. I really think that one day he will drive over to Paizo offices with a shotgun. I hope SKR has his crossbow handy at all times, you guys gonna need it someday ;)

Based on my reading of his work, that would require too much time away from the keyboard.

Edit: However, he does seem to think Paizo is the source of the leaks, despite the fact that Paizo has never sold 4e pdfs.

Titanium Dragon wrote:

Actually, if a store is stolen from too often, then it will often shut down due to its insurance payments not being worthwhile. If you subsidize the story as a company, and thus are selling your own product directly, it would be a very bad idea to keep open a store that was being stolen from constantly and costing you money that way.

Moreover, its not quite the same thing here. These guys are getting stolen from but it is WotC who ultimately suffers for it. If they sell a book to Borders, and some kid shoplifts it, Borders loses money, but WotC loses nothing. If someone steals a PDF from Pazio or a similar company, however, WotC didn't get paid by Pazio or whoever for that particular copy.


Lanx wrote:
The moderators already warned the crowd a few times that everyone should honor the CoC and be respectful, but why these three posters which are the epitome of unrespectfulness are not already banned is beyond me.

Because I wouldn't be surprised that the great majority of what they're saying is EXACTLY what WotC would like to say if they weren't afraid of being sued.

Dark Archive

Gorbacz wrote:
Ah, Titanium Dragon. I really think that one day he will drive over to Paizo offices with a shotgun. I hope SKR has his crossbow handy at all times, you guys gonna need it someday ;)

Titanium Dragon & RAZZ would make a nice couple.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
taig wrote:
veector wrote:

Just saw this comment over on the WotC thread...

Some dude on the WotC boards wrote:


While this entire situation is full of suck, it will be interesting to see how long Paizo can hang in there now that WotC has cut the purse-strings (almost) completely. Now we get to see just how "popular" Pathfinder really is.
LOL!

Wow. That shows an insane lack of knowledge. Or...maybe I'm naive and Paizo's main source of revenue is 3.0/3.5 PDFs.

Taig, you're not naive, but people who insanely lack knowledge, and let's add wisdom, can be entertaining if you view them with the right kind of detached perspective.

Yes, Heathy, thanks. The weekly sales tops tens are telling. And we've seen a lot more old edition downloads on those lists it seems to me in recent weeks than we've seen hard copy 4e stuff, but I admit I'm relying on memory here.

Wotsy--just priceless. (I think I shall spell it Wotci, however, while pronouncing it the same. Let's leave the reasons tacit.)

Anyway, the speculation has taken a more interesting turn. Let's see, what recent big change has happened that would cause a different reaction? The downturn of the economy. I just bet you that pdf availability will be connected to not merely certain purchases, but certain prescriptions in the future. The amount of the judgments awarded will depend on the ability to show loss of revenue.

Dark Archive

Titanium Dragon wrote:
If someone steals a PDF from Pazio or a similar company, however, WotC didn't get paid by Pazio or whoever for that particular copy.

Now I spilled my coffee through my nose and all my colleagues in the office look at me.

That is the funniest I have read today.
Stealing PDFs from Paizo.
Right.


Eric Hinkle wrote:


Another rumor I erad is that Wotsy means to stop any and all sale of their books through online stores. No more D&D on Amazon, Noble Knight, etc. Can anyone verify this rumor? It sounds nuts to me, even for Wotsy.

There is NO way they can legally do that. They do not own those physical books anymore. If they do that, they might as well order EVERYONE to turn in their older-edition books (and Charleton Heston's already voiced my opinion on that ;)) The only reason they could pull such a takedown order is if they found one of the books to be legally actionable, and even then, it would most likely be the stores themselves taking it down to avoid prosecution or a legal action (in much the same way that the infamous Vanessa Williams-loses-her-Miss-America-Crown-Centerfold issue of Penthouse from IIRC '84 is forbidden to be sold in the US, because of a 15-year-old Traci Lords doing a pictorial).

Even WotC would not be that stupid.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

KaeYoss wrote:


Didn't we fight all the time?

Possibly; I'm certainly ruffled some feathers in my time. I know I've defended WotC's actions in the past because I chose to take the optomistic view of their motivations. I guess we can see what that got me...

KaeYoss wrote:


There's more and more people I remember as those championing 4e, who are now making the swearword filter do overtime.

It sure takes effort to get fervent supporters loathe you.

Yes it does, but they did it. I woke up this morning not a single jot less pissed at WotC.

KaeYoss wrote:


Anyway, make yourself comfortable, get a welcome-back-cookie from Lillith (I guess she's putting the energy set free by her anger into cooking - either that or a killing spree. And I prefer the cookies!), and start discussing PF :)

Thank you.

Ah yes, Pathfinder. Though there are things I don't like about 3.5 that are still in the PF beta, I think I may have to overlook those in favor of supporting the continuation of OGL fantasy gaming. As I said before, I'm through giving money to WotC (though I do have a pre-order of Arcane Power with the FLGS that I will honor if it is too late to cancel; it wouldn't be fair to stick them).

P.S. I see the "grey/white text" bug in quotations is still around. :P


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

David, STUPID people realizing they are STUPID? "Self-awareness, Lack of" is the first S in STUPID.

And the idea of blaming Paizo is just hilarious. Some high up staff person from over here needs to step in and object to such smears and slanders.

(Oh, and HMarcBower--thanks for the disclaimer. It's OK, though. I'm really a man under all that vegetation.)

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