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WotC halts PDF sales


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Copied over from this aborted parallel thread:

mandisaw wrote:
As for the decision itself, most likely WotC wants to sell their PDF products on some offshoot of their own site, or make some kind of exclusive deal with a single electronic retailer. I recall from the same survey that asked about DDI in Jan/Feb, they asked if subscribers would like discounts on D&D PDFs (much as we get with PF subscriptions). So maybe they're now acting on that info.

Quite frankly, although this announcement sucks as-is, I think the next step for Wizards should be to compile & organize their past publications in conveniently bundled PDFs and sell them themselves. More importantly than getting the larger revenue share, it would create an effective bottleneck for getting D&D PDFs that they could use to (a) digitally mark all sold copies, like Paizo does, (b) create/maintain a cohesive customer base, that they could market whatever they want to, directly, and (c) perhaps incorporate some of that older material in useful digital tools (Who wouldn't want a searchable, indexed database of all past adventures/modules/guidebooks/etc.?).

But I have no idea if WotC actually would do all that. It's just what *I'd* do if I ran the zoo.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Modules Subscriber
crmanriq wrote:

I'll venture a prediction.

Sometime in the near future, WOTC will announce the availability of 4e books (and possibly, but with lesser probablity 3.5) available through them exclusively.

The material will be through a subscription-only mechanism, assuring that while previously one could make a one-time purchase, the new system will ensure ongoing money flowing to WOTC. The predicted form of the material will be either on-line only, or heavily DRM'd.

If I had to guess at the form, I'd guess that the Compendium will be enlarged to have more complete material. (such that everything that could be learned from a book could be learned from the compendium).

This fits in with how WOTC previously screwed over Paizo on Dungeon and Dragon magazine.

I'd bet that if they do so, they will sell less copies then they would through a wide distribution system, but they will reap all of the income, instead of a royalty-sized slice. Metaphorically giving up a single slice of a large pie for the entirety of a smaller pie.

Hi,

This is my read, as well. From what I can tell, WotC is shifting its products into higher profitability channels.

Pre 4E products, in all forms: Drop completely: Low profit margin and competes with higher margin products (4E).

4E products: Focus on high volume books (Players guides, DMG's, etc), which, by high volumes, allow for a lower unit cost and a greater spread of development costs. Focus on high profitability items (Power card decks and miniatures). Focus on low unit cost online subscription model (DDI).

(I imagine that anything that does not support the same margins as the 4E products is being stripped away.)

As business decisions, I imagine that those are looked on as correct decisions. First off, they are firm decisions. Second, they show a clear focus on what is profitable. (On the other hand, alienating the customer base seems to be a bad idea -- unless you don't care to keep the particular customers you are alienating.)

The decisions do seem to eviscerate the rich legacy of the game.

Hard to say if the strategy is correct: If the goal is to amortize the current investment in the brand (with a focus on profitability and maintaining that as long as possible), alright, I can see that. If the goal is to mold the game into a specific niche and optimize it for that niche, I can see that, too.

But beware any customer who falls outside of that niche.

(Problems, too, for WotC, if the niche is missed, or turns out to be too small, or too dynamic.)


KaeYoss wrote:
There's some things you can always count on.

Indeed. Continual knee-jerk WotC defense is that guy's schtick.


mandisaw wrote:

Quite frankly, although this announcement sucks as-is, I think the next step for Wizards should be to compile & organize their past publications in conveniently bundled PDFs and sell them themselves. More importantly than getting the larger revenue share, it would create an effective bottleneck for getting D&D PDFs that they could use to (a) digitally mark all sold copies, like Paizo does, (b) create/maintain a cohesive customer base, that they could market whatever they want to, directly, and (c) perhaps incorporate some of that older material in useful digital tools (Who wouldn't want a searchable, indexed database of all past adventures/modules/guidebooks/etc.?).

But I have no idea if WotC actually would do all that. It's just what *I'd* do if I ran the zoo.

See, you'd never make it as a WotC executive. Thoughtful, profit creating ideas just don't fly there. Now, if you had promoted kicking a grandmother in the shins to have the ability to purchase a PDF from an uber top secret location only after they had viable DNA samples, now, that is the type of ideas they want.

<end sarcastic joke... maybe>


concerro wrote:


As far as I know WoTC does not even get money from 3rd edition anymore because the pdf sales should go to the selling company, and the physical books are out of print, unless they get a cut of every pdf book sold. I have no idea what this is supposed to accomplish.
I can only assume they will try to sell them(pdfs) from their site eventually since the 3.x sells are not dying down as quickly as they thought, and they now want to get the money themselves.
A "You can't have it even though I can't use it" attitude has not been seen by me since I was a small child so I am sure, or at least I would like to beleive there is a bigger plot behind all this.

Not sure what would make you think WoTC didn't get a percentage of PDF sales of older products. They would get their percentage just like any other publisher that sells through RPGNOW or digital vendors. RPGNOW doesn't buy the rights to our products. They sell them for us, and they take a commission out of the sale.

I mean, I know what percentage I pay to RPGNOW to sell our Bards and Sages titles. it is a lot less than I would have to give to a brick and mortar shop to sell print books, I can tell you that. And I assume WoTC had even better rates because of the volume of sales. So they are going from a profit of maybe 80-85% on PDFs to ZERO.

And even if they intend to do it themselves, they aren't going to make that much more money. Because now they will be eating the credit card and paypal fees, as well as the server space required to host the store. Morover, the amount of advertising that will be involved to get people to change their shopping habits. Paizo, RPGNOW and other sites have pretty loyal bases, and a lot of the base won't shop at a WOTC shop out of general principle. Sure the D&D fanboys and girls will shop whereever the overlords order them to, but you are still alienating a large portion of the PDF buying base.

Osirion

WotC has once again demonstrated that they do not care about older editions of the game or its players.

Giving people so little warning (or no warnings in the case of DTRPG/RPGNow) to download/purchase products is unacceptable.

The least I expected was a sensible period of time for people to download/purchase whatever they wanted. The best scenario being a mechanism already in place to acquire, not rent, said products from another source.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

It's amazing how many emails I have in my in-box right now, announcing sales of electronic products from gaming companies who are obviously taking advantage of WotC's latest PR debacle. Go little guys!

Andoran

mandisaw wrote:

Quite frankly, although this announcement sucks as-is, I think the next step for Wizards should be to compile & organize their past publications in conveniently bundled PDFs and sell them themselves. More importantly than getting the larger revenue share, it would create an effective bottleneck for getting D&D PDFs that they could use to (a) digitally mark all sold copies, like Paizo does, (b) create/maintain a cohesive customer base, that they could market whatever they want to, directly, and (c) perhaps incorporate some of that older material in useful digital tools (Who wouldn't want a searchable, indexed database of all past adventures/modules/guidebooks/etc.?).

But I have no idea if WotC actually would do all that. It's just what *I'd* do if I ran the zoo.

tll you the truth? even if they did I won't spend another dollar in bullies that treat me that bad as a customer...

ok i don't usually buy from them... now i have even less motivation... my last10 dlls were 2 pdfs for Alternity, and only because I can't get those books anywhere else...

but that is all... a friend bought the other 2 we were lacking...


Without reading the entire thread above, I just wish to express my extreme displeasure at discovering an e-mail announcement in my box, shortly after noon today, with a 7:45 am time-stamp, announcing that I can no longer purchase WotC-owned PDFs on this site, effective at midnight the night before, and that I can no longer download what I've already purchased, as of noon today.

I had quite a store of PDFs on my old computer, so I think I probably have all the downloads I've paid for on CD. But it's quite possible that I'm missing a few things--particularly Dungeon magazine pdf supplements--that I might need in the future. And this belated announcement did not give me any chance to verify that my electronic collection is complete.

Since Paizo usually doesn't operate this way, my immediate assumption is that this is more WotC nastiness. But it seems to me this sort of announcement really ought to have been made two weeks in advance--at least the part about not being able to download stuff we've already paid for. I've not been on these boards as regularly as I used to be, so it's possible I missed some hints coming down the pike, but really a formal announcement in advance is only fair! Did some lawyer from WotC call you guys up yesterday at 10 PM with an immediate cease and desist order or something?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

Without reading the entire thread above, I just wish to express my extreme displeasure at discovering an e-mail announcement in my box, shortly after noon today, with a 7:45 am time-stamp, announcing that I can no longer purchase WotC-owned PDFs on this site, effective at midnight the night before, and that I can no longer download what I've already purchased, as of noon today.

I had quite a store of PDFs on my old computer, so I think I probably have all the downloads I've paid for on CD. But it's quite possible that I'm missing a few things--particularly Dungeon magazine pdf supplements--that I might need in the future. And this belated announcement did not give me any chance to verify that my electronic collection is complete.

Since Paizo usually doesn't operate this way, my immediate assumption is that this is more WotC nastiness. But it seems to me this sort of announcement really ought to have been made two weeks in advance--at least the part about not being able to download stuff we've already paid for. I've not been on these boards as regularly as I used to be, so it's possible I missed some hints coming down the pike, but really a formal announcement in advance is only fair! Did some lawyer from WotC call you guys up yesterday at 10 PM with an immediate cease and desist order or something?

You actually got some warning, which is a hell of a lot more than RPGNow and DriveThru customers got. You have about an hour and 45 minutes left to download your WotC pdfs IIRC. I just finished mine a little while ago.

And yeah, it was a dick move from WotC/Hasbro. Immediate cease and desist. Where the other distributors took their stuff off immediately, Paizo is keeping theirs up until noon PDT. You have a little bit of time at least.

The reason the letter got to you so late was likely because the servers have been getting slammed. The forums were dead most of the night last night because of it.

Also, the Dragon and Dungeon pdfs are remaining on the site. Special deal there. Read the whole thread for the full details. After you've downloaded your stuff, of course.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bardsandsages wrote:
And even if they intend to do it themselves, they aren't going to make that much more money. Because now they will be eating the credit card and paypal fees, as well as the server space required to host the store. Morover, the amount of advertising that will be involved to get people to change their shopping habits. Paizo, RPGNOW and other sites have pretty loyal bases, and a lot of the base won't shop at a WOTC shop out of general principle. Sure the D&D fanboys and girls will shop whereever the overlords order them to, but you are still alienating a large portion of the PDF buying base.

I think you're underestimating the market power of Wizards (and being a little more rude/puckish toward potential customers than absolutely necessary). Outside of the active-online hardcore-PnP-gaming sub-sub-culture, Magic & D&D are the only CCG/RPG game brands in town, and if Wizards starts selling them exclusively somewhere (and tells people about it), the market will follow them, for good or ill. I'm all for raising awareness of 3PPs among gamers, but it's not like the "don't buy from Wizards on principle" people really make up a bulk of the market.

And I know Wizards isn't averse to pouring money into marketing. For example, at the ComicCon here in NYC last Feb., Wizards did a multi-pronged promotional blitz, with gaming sections for MtG/CCGs & D&D/PnP RPGs and a huge floor-presence with demo gaming tables, terminals to check out DDI, and a mini-store (no discounted prices, but at least it was there). Admittedly, they're one of the major event sponsors, so they probably get a cut-rate on event & floor-space. But I think it had a real consumer impact, considering that the only purchase from my too-thin wallet to come out of that con was a DDI subscription (despite *a lot* of stuff I'd wanted to get for some time).

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32

DragonBelow wrote:

WotC has once again demonstrated that they do not care about older editions of the game or its players.

To their credit, did they ever claim that they did? I mean, it increasingly seems likely that the D&D brand is being run by suits who have never played the game or even like it beyond its profitability. I'm guessing that the atmosphere over at WotC is getting very uncomfortable for the creative types who actually design the game or give a darn about it. I expect you'll quietly see some of the big names over there quitting in about the next six months because it's gone from being about the game to being about the profit.

So, a little sympathy for the devil, guys. I imagine these decisions are not the product of a Mearls or Collins, but rather the Faceless Suit who signs the checks and make the financial decisions.


Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain something to me. I don't buy PDF's so I'm a bit behind the times. If you paid for a PDF from a site why do you lose it? I assume that you buy it, click download and it's on your computer. Anyway, can someone tell me how people are losing what they paid for? I'm kinda lost.


Dance of Ruin wrote:
Re: the filesharing issue: I wonder which percentage of "shared" RPG sourcebooks on the internet are files that were formerly watermarked, then cracked - and which percentage is just plain scans made by some guy at home who just had a scanner handy? WotC's logic may be faulty in more than one way here.

Most of the filesharing was scans made by hand.

Part of that came from the fact the the WotC PDF's for 3rd edition were full cover price. Meaning, if you were a Pathfinder subscriber, you could buy a print copy for much cheaper from Paizo - assuming that had a copy.


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain something to me. I don't buy PDF's so I'm a bit behind the times. If you paid for a PDF from a site why do you lose it? I assume that you buy it, click download and it's on your computer. Anyway, can someone tell me how people are losing what they paid for? I'm kinda lost.

I can field this one.

When you buy your pdf from Paizo (or another site). Paizo keeps a record of what PDF's you have purchased, and at any time in the future, you may redownload that PDF (if you lose it, or need it on your laptop instead of at home, or whatever). The PDF is watermarked indicating that it was sold to you, so if you give it away, everyone will know where it came from.

The PDF's that WOTC has had pirated have been unwatermarked and(at least for PH, DMG, and MM) have even appeared before release of the product in any channel. PH, DMG, and MM even had printers registration marks on the pages, so they were apparently internal copies.


crmanriq wrote:
EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain something to me. I don't buy PDF's so I'm a bit behind the times. If you paid for a PDF from a site why do you lose it? I assume that you buy it, click download and it's on your computer. Anyway, can someone tell me how people are losing what they paid for? I'm kinda lost.

I can field this one.

When you buy your pdf from Paizo (or another site). Paizo keeps a record of what PDF's you have purchased, and at any time in the future, you may redownload that PDF (if you lose it, or need it on your laptop instead of at home, or whatever). The PDF is watermarked indicating that it was sold to you, so if you give it away, everyone will know where it came from.

So when you purchase it, the PDF is downloaded to that one computer. If you wanted to put it on another computer you would have to re-download it. If you computer crashed you would have had to re-download it (for free) but now you can't. Correct? I take it these PDF files cannot be transferred to a back up disc then?

I lost some of my itunes when my computer crashed and a few songs werent backed up to a disc. The songs I had backed up on a disc I simply re-added to the play list, no problems.


mandisaw wrote:
it would create an effective bottleneck for getting D&D PDFs that they could use to (a) digitally mark all sold copies, like Paizo does, (b) create/maintain a cohesive customer base, that they could market whatever they want to, directly,

If they are truly out to stop piracy, and have anyone worth a damn research into piracy methods, they will learn very quickly that cracking digitally marked PDF's is a breeze. I won't go into details out of respect for Paizo's PDF sales... But let me just say that I am grateful for Paizo even offering PDFs.


Thomas Bitonti wrote:


Hi,

This is my read, as well. From what I can tell, WotC is shifting its products into higher profitability channels.

Pre 4E products, in all forms: Drop completely: Low profit margin and competes with higher margin products (4E).

4E products: Focus on high volume books (Players guides, DMG's, etc), which, by high volumes, allow for a lower unit cost and a greater spread of development costs. Focus on high profitability items (Power card decks and miniatures). Focus on low unit cost online subscription model (DDI).

(I imagine that anything that does not support the same margins as the 4E products is being stripped away.)

As business decisions, I imagine that those are looked on as correct decisions. First off, they are firm decisions. Second, they show a clear focus on what is profitable. (On the other hand, alienating the customer base seems to be a bad idea -- unless you don't care to keep the particular customers you are alienating.)

The...

Pre-4e Products. I'm torn on this one. There's money to be made there, and WOTC wants/needs/NEEDS money. However, if the bean counters see each 3.5 sale as a lost 4e sale, then they will drop 3.5.

High Profitability items - Yep. Power cards and miniatures. The power cards are selling for what a starter deck of magic sells for, but if you look at them, they are not giving you a high-quality product like magic cards (printed by Carta Mundi on multi-layer stock), but cheaper single layer cardstock. The miniatures went from 8 minis for $12 to 3 minis for $10.

I personally think that Wizards under-values their customer base, and that they have done so for a long long time. <self-edited rant...>

Given how much sales in the gaming industry seems to be built around customer loyalty, Wizards has pissed a lot away.


Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

Sorry, didn't mean to confuse the matter by implying Amazon. I was thinking businesses that were strictly online RPG stores: DriveThruRPG et al.

I feel your I.N.R. :(

Add: To bring Amazon back into it, if I was a 4e customer, would this move really force me into my FLGS more often by getting me off pdfs through online stores and onto the paper copies? Probably not--I'd just do more business with Amazon, and I bet that would be true of a lot of customers.

If I were a 4e customer, I'd be buying new hardcopy. However, I'm not.

And I hate to inform WotC, but the only "FLGS" where I live doesn't even maintain a shelf stock of D&D stuff--or didn't the last time I went, which was over a year ago. Let alone carry used hardcopy or pdf's to sell or anything complicated like that. They order stuff in for you--which in my book is a why bother--I can do that for myself, or just go to Borders.

I am perfectly happy to buy their old TSR stuff, which I'm using as background material for World of Greyhawk campaigns. I've mostly been buying PDFs, but also some used stuff off e-bay, which can get rather expensive given that I'm just using it as background reference material. I don't buy pirated stuff, nor do I put the stuff I've bought online, except for little snippets of maps and art (and 95% of this is "free download" stuff that my players could get for themselves) that I post in my PBP games to help my players visualize what's going on in the game. Certainly not enough to be a violation of copyright or be an attractive substitute for a purchased PDF.

WotC is certainly getting more profits if I download an old TSR module than if I buy it off of e-bay. And I'm sure as hell not going to pay to "rent" PDFs--they've just proven with this action that they are liable to remove access to something I've already paid for with zero notice. Indeed, their approach is very much incitement to piracy--or going back to making up one's own material entirely.

What's the next move for these guys? Shut down Canonfire and Oerth Journal? Sue e-bay to keep them from selling old modules?

Wizards of the Coast did an amazing job of revitalizing the game when they introduced 3e. What they think they are doing with it now, I don't know--I just know that they are doing an amazing job of building up resentment and ill-will among a significant portion of what used to be their customer base. And I also know that I'm perfectly happy never to spend money on their products again.

Osirion

Lance Hawvermale wrote:
Hasbro, please hurry up and sell the D&D brand to someone other than WotC. I mean, anybody . . .

I don't think it's Wizards calling the shots any more...I think some Hasbro exec prolly usurped control, and are giving top-down direction...Some suit fresh outta college that hates role-player geeks...


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:

So when you purchase it, the PDF is downloaded to that one computer. If you wanted to put it on another computer you would have to re-download it. If you computer crashed you would have had to re-download it (for free) but now you can't. Correct? I take it these PDF files cannot be transferred to a back up disc then?

I lost some of my itunes when my computer crashed and a few songs werent backed up to a disc. The songs I had backed up on a disc I simply re-added to the play list, no problems.

They can be backed up... But some people, despite the tech mantra of SNSO (Save Now, Save Often), get comfortable in the idea of "if I can just download it again, I don't have to back it up."

And in a few cases, people bought PDFs and never downloaded them thinking they could get to them later.


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
crmanriq wrote:
EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain something to me. I don't buy PDF's so I'm a bit behind the times. If you paid for a PDF from a site why do you lose it? I assume that you buy it, click download and it's on your computer. Anyway, can someone tell me how people are losing what they paid for? I'm kinda lost.

I can field this one.

When you buy your pdf from Paizo (or another site). Paizo keeps a record of what PDF's you have purchased, and at any time in the future, you may redownload that PDF (if you lose it, or need it on your laptop instead of at home, or whatever). The PDF is watermarked indicating that it was sold to you, so if you give it away, everyone will know where it came from.

So when you purchase it, the PDF is downloaded to that one computer. If you wanted to put it on another computer you would have to re-download it. If you computer crashed you would have had to re-download it (for free) but now you can't. Correct? I take it these PDF files cannot be transferred to a back up disc then?

I lost some of my itunes when my computer crashed and a few songs werent backed up to a disc. The songs I had backed up on a disc I simply re-added to the play list, no problems.

No. You can download it, and move it around as much as you want. It just has a watermark in the file indicating that it was sold to you. Paizo and others keep it available for download as a matter of convenience for the customer. Apparently many customers enjoy this feature and have relied on it being availble.

Osirion

crmanriq wrote:

The miniatures went from 8 minis for $12 to 3 minis for $10.

OK that's a rip-off for the quality of those Chinese made minis, bring the miniature production back to America and I might think about buying them again...wth man...


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
crmanriq wrote:
EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain something to me. I don't buy PDF's so I'm a bit behind the times. If you paid for a PDF from a site why do you lose it? I assume that you buy it, click download and it's on your computer. Anyway, can someone tell me how people are losing what they paid for? I'm kinda lost.

I can field this one.

When you buy your pdf from Paizo (or another site). Paizo keeps a record of what PDF's you have purchased, and at any time in the future, you may redownload that PDF (if you lose it, or need it on your laptop instead of at home, or whatever). The PDF is watermarked indicating that it was sold to you, so if you give it away, everyone will know where it came from.

So when you purchase it, the PDF is downloaded to that one computer. If you wanted to put it on another computer you would have to re-download it. If you computer crashed you would have had to re-download it (for free) but now you can't. Correct? I take it these PDF files cannot be transferred to a back up disc then?

I lost some of my itunes when my computer crashed and a few songs werent backed up to a disc. The songs I had backed up on a disc I simply re-added to the play list, no problems.

The files can be transferred to a back-up disc--you pretty much need a CD or DVD for files this size, or maybe a big jump drive. The problem is, if you didn't download everything right when you paid for it, or if your computer crashed and you didn't extract the files from your hard-drive (or any of a dozen other reasons why you might have bought a PDF but not have a copy of it saved anywhere), you are now SOL.


Well I just discovered this and checked my e-mail this morning.

I would have downloaded a bunch of 1st edition moduals before it was to late.

Oh well. :(


I think the biggest part of suckitude for me is that I had finally scraped together enough extra cash (hard to do with only 20 hours a week from a previous full time schedule) to purchase the PDF Dark Sun and Oriental Adventures monstrous compendiums, along with the original setting materials. I would have had the money...on Friday.

F!$* you, WotC.


Lance Hawvermale wrote:
Hasbro, please hurry up and sell the D&D brand to someone other than WotC. I mean, anybody . . .

Even Palladium would be welcome at this point.

chopswil wrote:


I can maybe see cutting the source of 3/3.5e stuff to drive you to 4e, but hardly think that people say "Hmmm, S1 Tomb of Horrors or 4e PHB"
If you want 13/2e/3.5e, you'll find it.

But not legally.

And then wizards can brand you as evil criminals.

Plus, it does make it harder. I don't know how many people it will stop, but you seem to work under the false impression that you can assume that wizards' actions make any sense.

Aotrscommander wrote:


As I say, I'm not so sure that interpretation would actually be true in practice, because to really cut out one of (if not the largest) book retailers would seem to be utter madness.

Yeah. Madness. Like insulting possible customers. Or shutting down PDFs with a day or so notice.

I'm not sure whether they will actually bar Amazon. Maybe they make an exception for them. Which only means that the smaller online stores are screwed, along with local stores.

Aotrscommander wrote:


(I should note I'm being slightly facieous here. WotC wouldn't be really likely to try that...would they?)

I stopped thinking that they wouldn't try anything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Dial back the rage a few hundred notches, please.

Hello, Scott. I hope your day has gone well so far.

With respect, no. The issue that strikes me here is the immediacy of the closure. As people have been observing, Paizo has done its level best to get the word out, but the warning has come too late for many people.

Wizards, as a company, chose to cut the PDF sales down with very little notice. An additional 24 hours would have cost them very little, and would have been a great kindness to their fanbase. It's not a question of "short-sighted," it's an issue of being rude and abrupt.

Wizards, as a company chose to discontinue to allow Paizo to offer me the downloads that I have legally purchased, despite the fact that they're personalized and manifestly not pirated material. It would have been easy to carve out exceptions for such legal purchases, and they chose not to. It's not a question of being "short-sighted," it's an issue of fairness.

Wizards, as a company, chose to publicly link this action to attempts to rein in internet piracy. I've bought all my PDFs legally, and I don't share them. In Wizards' actions and statement, the company is telling me that my actions are suspicious at best, perhaps even criminal. It's not a question of being "short-sighted," it's an issue of being deliberately provocative and insulting.

You tell us to dial back the rage. You have a lot of nerve, sir.

Scott Betts wrote:
If you do buy PDFs, you won't be able to. Oh no. It might be time to find another way to get your fix. But it's not time to start a crusade over something so trivial.

The entire hobby is trivial, Scott.

But within the hobby, the ability to look back and see the history of D&D is not a trivial aspect. As I said earlier, the real tragedy here is that, a year after E. Gary Gygax's death, and possibly on the day Dave Arneson passes away, the world of Greyhawk becomes closed to legal purchase, except...

I'm reading through this thread at the moment - just got to this post and needed to say this in response - well said.

Osirion

I wonder if Wizards realizes this will lead to MORE pirating? If you can't buy you 3.5 PDFs legitimately, you either have to find the books in a used book store/eBay, OR get a copy from a friend, OR, download it...

Are they going to buy back all the copies off used game sites like noble knight and then tell them to cease and desist sales of used books??

Then they will track down everyone with hardcopies, and tell us to burn them, at Fahrenheit 451!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lilith wrote:
f&#~ you, WotC.

You know it's bad when Lilith swears


mandisaw wrote:
Bardsandsages wrote:
And even if they intend to do it themselves, they aren't going to make that much more money. Because now they will be eating the credit card and paypal fees, as well as the server space required to host the store. Morover, the amount of advertising that will be involved to get people to change their shopping habits. Paizo, RPGNOW and other sites have pretty loyal bases, and a lot of the base won't shop at a WOTC shop out of general principle. Sure the D&D fanboys and girls will shop whereever the overlords order them to, but you are still alienating a large portion of the PDF buying base.
I think you're underestimating the market power of Wizards (and being a little more rude/puckish toward potential customers than absolutely necessary). Outside of the active-online hardcore-PnP-gaming sub-sub-culture, Magic & D&D are the only CCG/RPG game brands in town, and if Wizards starts selling them exclusively somewhere (and tells people about it), the market will follow them, for good or ill. I'm all for raising awareness of 3PPs among gamers, but it's not like the "don't buy from Wizards on principle" people really make up a bulk of the market.

I think you are missing my point.

If one assumes that this is part of WoTC attempting to maximize their profits, trying to do everything yourself is not always the best way to do that. My day job, for example, is in contract packaging. All those big displays you see in the supermarkets and WalMart? Companies don't do those in house. They do those through contract packagers who design, build, and stock the displays for them.

Now you can say they would save money by doing it themselves, just like Wizards might think they would make more money by selling the PDFs directly instead of through vendors. However, this is in fact rarely the case.

Assume Wizards makes 80% profit on the sale of a PDF at RPGNOW (I'm just making an assumption, based on Wizards being able to negotiate a better rate than the typical PDF publisher). They have no money tied up in maintaining the database. They don't have to deal with the credit card/paypal transactions. They don't have to have special customer service people to handle technical problems. Its pure profit.

So now they decide they want 100% of the cut. But out of that 100%, they are now paying the CC fees/paypal fees. They are paying for additional server space. They are paying customer service people to handle complaints, problems, etc. Your 100% now shrinks back closer to the 80%. And even if you manage to increase your net cut by 5%, the money you put into trying to get an additional 5% return on digital sales could have been put into other aspects of the company that could return a 5% return on OVERALL sales.


Bardsandsages wrote:


And even if they intend to do it themselves, they aren't going to make that much more money. Because now they will be eating the credit card and paypal fees, as well as the server space required to host the store. Morover, the amount of advertising that will be involved to get people to change their shopping habits.

Well, they can put the word in their books. They can also force you to subscribe to DDI - and remain subscribed - in order to be allowed to buy and use the books.

They're going to go MMORPG: You buy the book for money, and then you keep paying in order to be able to use it. Can be accomplished by requiring you to be logged in to their site in order to open the books (if you can download them at all).

Bardsandsages wrote:


you are still alienating a large portion of the PDF buying base.

That has been their strategy for 4e in general: First weed out those who won't buy their new edition no matter how different the new game is from the game you've grown to love so much, then weed out those third party publishers who won't sign to the suicidal GSL (now we know what the S really stands for), and now weed out those who don't want PDFs with expiration dates.

It will go on until only drones remain.

Lanx wrote:


It's like your worst dreams come true.

Except that true D&D lives on in Pathfinder. Paizo cares about their customers and won't pull off stunts like this.


Darn it! I only just checked my E-mail and got the message.

What can I do now? Is there any legal way to download the PDFs that I already bought? Can I at least view them online?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Theris Nordo Ichka wrote:

Darn it! I only just checked my E-mail and got the message.

What can I do now? Is there any legal way to download the PDFs that I already bought? Can I at least view them online?

45 minutes left (iirc)! Download now!

Osirion

Theris Nordo Ichka wrote:

Darn it! I only just checked my E-mail and got the message.

What can I do now? Is there any legal way to download the PDFs that I already bought? Can I at least view them online?

You have until noon today to download what you have purchased at paizo

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

chopswil wrote:
Lilith wrote:
f&#~ you, WotC.
You know it's bad when Lilith swears

Truthfully, I've been surprised before, but Lilith swearing genuinely shocked me. I jumped a few inches off my seat when I read this.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
Wizards of the Coast did an amazing job of revitalizing the game when they introduced 3e.

Not the same wiazrds. More or less all the people that worked there at that time, all those who championed the OGL, were fired or quit long ago.

A lot of those people work at Paizo now, by the way.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

DragonBelow wrote:
Theris Nordo Ichka wrote:

Darn it! I only just checked my E-mail and got the message.

What can I do now? Is there any legal way to download the PDFs that I already bought? Can I at least view them online?

You have until noon today to download what you have purchased at paizo

noon pacific time. that's 3pm for us on the east coast. and that's if you bought from Paizo. If you bought from DTRPG, you're SOL. 39 minutes and counting.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
KaeYoss wrote:
A lot of those people work at Paizo now, by the way.

Here endeth the lesson.

Paizo Employee Developer

Bardsandsages wrote:


Assume Wizards makes 80% profit on the sale of a PDF at RPGNOW (I'm just making an assumption, based on Wizards being able to negotiate a better rate than the typical PDF publisher). They have no money tied up in maintaining the database. They don't have to deal with the credit card/paypal transactions. They don't have to have special customer service people to handle technical problems. Its pure profit.

So now they decide they want 100% of the cut. But out of that 100%, they are now paying the CC fees/paypal fees. They are paying for additional server space. They are paying customer service people to handle complaints, problems, etc. Your 100% now shrinks back closer to the 80%. And even if you manage to increase your net cut by 5%, the money you put into trying to get an additional 5% return on digital sales could have been put into other aspects of the company that could return a 5% return on OVERALL sales.

I like that you assume WotC will set up customer service and online infrastructures to handle this new endeavor. It's overly optimistic though. They have done less than a stellar job supporting their shiny new DDI either from a technical or public relations standpoint, and should they decide to sell these pdfs I don't think they'd do anything more. They don't want to expend resources supporting older editions. They want you playing their new game instead. I don't think we'll ever see those pdfs made available (legally) again. And if we do, the level of customer support you indicate will almost certainly be nowhere to be found.

Paizo Employee Developer

Also, if you didn't download your pdfs yet, it's too late. WotC won.


yoda8myhead wrote:
WotC won.

I have been Edition Neutral for some time now. Enjoying both Editions...

... but this sort of pisses me off. WOTC's actions that is. Acting like they can just crown themselves King and take the seat at the end of the table and I just have to like it. ::frown::

Makes me want to turn my glass over and pour the wine on the floor, if you know what I mean.

I had a meeting with one of my gaming groups last night, and I discussed my continuing efforts to explore VTT options to continue our Pathfinder RPG Runelords campaign. They were happy and excited.

24 hours later I am glad Paizo is still here to support them and me.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

And they are gone.

All trace of previous editions of Dungeons and Dragons have been erased from the Computer's memory banks.

Purge complete.

The era is over.

Good bye.


Thanks all you who told me I still had time, I think I downloaded a couple before the deadline.

But when I try to open them, a message pops up saying “Please insert the last disk of the Multi-Volume set and click OK to continue.”

What’s it talking about? Does this mean the download was unsuccessful?

Osirion

yoda8myhead wrote:
Also, if you didn't download your pdfs yet, it's too late. WotC won.

Grab the torches and pitchforks!!! Time to switch games!!!

Earthdawn 3rd edition release in 2 months!! Mongoose is publishing them for RedBrick!

What other games do people recommend?

Green Ronin's Thieves' World is pretty cool.

Osirion

Theris Nordo Ichka wrote:

Thanks all you who told me I still had time, I think I downloaded a couple before the deadline.

But when I try to open them, a message pops up saying “Please insert the last disk of the Multi-Volume set and click OK to continue.”

What’s it talking about? Does this mean the download was unsuccessful?

uh were you putting them on 3.5" floppy disks?

Andoran

Everybody is a future fired customer.


Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:
uh were you putting them on 3.5" floppy disks?

On a SanDisk 4.0 GB flashdrive.


Mikaze wrote:
Roman wrote:

WotC seems to be on a mission to alienate its customers.

A question to the Paizoans: Did Paizo also offer 'in perpetuity' replacements of downloads of purchased PDFs of WotC products? If the answer is yes, will Paizo attempt to speak with WotC on this matter to allow them to see reason?

From what I've seen around and about online, Paizo has already gone to bat for their customers on this. The items are at least still available to download for a while. If what I've read is correct, RPGNow and DriveThruRPG's pdfs are already gone and unavailable.

Well, if the downloads were offered in perpetuity, there might be legal culpability here - either on the part of Paizo, for offering something they cannot legally adhere to, or on the part of WotC. If this is WotC's legal fault, this has a potential for class action suit for breach of contract.

I also have to wonder - is there no some kind of 'notification of cancellation period' in the contract between WotC and Paizo, RPGNow, etc? Perhaps 30 days or so - that seems common. If there is, was this notification of cancellation period observed by WotC?


Heathansson wrote:
Everybody is a future fired customer.

Nice one!

In order to treat everyone equally, no one will be treated fairly.

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