The announcement of a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons, an edition dedicated to unifying the player base, represents an enormous opportunity for WOTC. D&D enjoys incomparable brand recognition in its field. It's the grandfather of all RPGs. Don’t just revise the rules for the new iteration of D&D, revise your business model.
Platform: a foundation for growth and opportunities unforeseen. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, etc. have all achieved unimaginable success by creating a platform and embracing the indie market.
People look for convenient, accessible, trusted sources for content online. Look to your own success with the D&D Insider. Give the community a place to share and reap the profits by providing the service. Reunite the D&D community with this new edition. In addition to traditional offerings, build a D&DNext digital platform.
A digital store open to the independent community. Establish a standard license and profit sharing formula in favor of content creators. Manage all submissions, but do not invest time developing them. If they meet the quality standard, simply offer them in the Bazaar stamped with an Approved for D&DNext banner. Do not claim any ownership of these materials. The digital D&DNext platform (Bazaar) will thereby enjoy the Safe Harbor protections in the DMCA. The Bazaar is a service, not a product demanding traditional risks and investments.
No independent game effort can match the brand recognition of Dungeons & Dragons. Offer the D&DNext platform to indie developers as a place to sell their products. Not only will this aid in maintaining a leadership position in the market, WOTC will profit from providing the service.
The Bazaar should feature all manner of digital gaming aids, each Approved for D&DNext:
art (generic and custom)
ebooks & short stories
random map generators
random name generators
3D printing programs for custom miniatures
How about a program for tablets featuring a portrait on your character sheet that updates as your character changes gear and levels - a digital throwback to the grognard days when players were customizing miniatures to represent characters on the table. What about indie digital game developers? Mobile games? A simple standard license for the Bazaar will lead to innovative D&DNext digital games.
Properly organize the Bazaar for keyword and category searches: adventure by character level, dungeon or wilderness module, mobile game, map, art, etc.
The D&D Brand Management Team should become a group that monitors all submissions to the D&D Bazaar for quality, rules compatibility, world compatibility, talent recruitment and editorial control of the D&D game. A community embracing the platform will be the greatest source of advertising imaginable.
In this century, anything that can be digitized, will be digitized and distributed. Combat piracy by building a platform. A one-stop destination filled with a wealth of continuously generated material. One that is easy to access and trusted (no malware). One that features a standard of quality and reasonable prices for digital offerings. That is how you combat piracy.
If you hope to unify the various editions of D&D with this new edition, you must provide the community a common shared platform. Dungeons & Dragons is participatory game. A social, imaginative experience sustained by a participatory culture. Take advantage of the game’s history, embrace the future and build a D&DNext platform.