WotC halts sales/downloads from rpgnow.com

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I have purchased quite a few WotC 4e books (almost all of the core) from rpgnow.com, and I go to redownload one I had already paid for to find myself locked out. Apparently WotC told them to cease all sales and downloads, but did not give a public reason. I don't know if anyone else is affected by this, but I'd at least like a reason why I cannot claim my purchased PDFs. For all I know it could be something terrible rpgnow.com has done, but I'm sort of doubting it. What is going on?

Anyone else affected by this?

Pardon me if this is the wrong forum, but I was referred to the WotC forums for information from rpgnow, and this seemed as good of an area as any.
I was just there less than a minute ago. I still see them available. Hopefully they aren't having you pay and then saying "Oops! Sorry, you can't get your download."
I am also upset by this turn of events. I buy a lot of older-edition stuff from RPGNow (because the servers at Paizo are slower than molases in January). If WOTC is going to do this, it should refund our purchases. We have paid for a service that RPGNow is no longer able to offer, through no fault of their own.

Explanation, please?
I don't think it's just me. Here's the text I get when trying to download one of my purchased books (Forgotten Realms Player's Guide):

Wizards of the Coast has instructed us to suspend all sales and downloads of Wizards of the Coast titles. Unfortunately, this includes offering download access to previously purchased Wizards of the Coast titles. We are in discussions with Wizards about their decision to change their approach to digital sales of their titles and will post more information as we have it. If you would like to let Wizards know your opinion on offering D&D titles for download, we suggest the D&D Message Boards found here (linked to gleemax).

The main index of rpgnow.com also bears this text.
I am very disappointed and frustrated by this. I purchase ALL my PDFs from either rpgnow.com or drivethrurpg.com and they are both halted from selling them!

What is going on here?
Very likely they're planning to start selling the PDFs online themselves so they can keep _all_ the money from online sales. So first step is to take away the permission for anybody else to sell PDFs online.

Same thing happened with all the online character generators and online D&D tools about six months before 4e was announced. And Dragon/Dungeon magazines. Remember?

It's just part of WotC's new philosophy of "If it can be done online and if it can be charged for, then we and nobody the hell else but we are going to be the ones to do it."

'Course, I could be absolutely, entirely wrong.
Probably because their watermarks are easily removed.

What really bites about this is I just purchased PHBII from them a couple weeks ago. And I only downloaded it on my wife's machine thinking, Oh I can get it on my laptop before the next convention I go to.

I will not remove the water mark because circumventing DRM is illegal, but it really makes me want to remove it so I can transfer it to my laptop.

Guess I'll have to spend the money to print it, Ack !
Well, if they are planning on opening up their own PDF store then that's great! Then if not, I am really mad. I guess I was just naive and didn't think this would ever happen and that I would be able to get all my D&D needs through PDF form. I really don't want to start buying books.
Note that this isn't just on current 4E pdfs. I can't re-download any of my old purchased 1e/2e PDFs anymore either.
Evidently, WotC has put a stop to it.
Why?
I have no clue, but if I where to guess...

But really, I don't know...

What is your evidence in saying that sales are slumping? Really just sounds like a slam on WotC when you don't know what's going on. WotC has to ensure they protect the brand of D&D, and sometimes that makes them do things that seem odd...but we don't know the whole story and I'm sure there is a good reason. I'm sure someone from WotC will be along here before long to let us know the gist of what is going on and what the paths to resolution might be.
The unfortunate thing is for every person that pays for the service there are a bunch more that go and get it off the news groups. Which means some one that is paying for the book online is uploading to the news groups. I know that you can always just Scan a real book but from what I have heard in other forums this seem to be full chaptered and versed PDFs on the newsgroups.

More than likely until WotC figures a way to secure the PDF so that only Legitimate purchasers can use them them, you’re gonna see a lot more of this.

And the reason WotC would be so heavy handed is they are the BIGGEST target for this type of thing, but truth be told everyone gets hit by it.

If we have learned anything from the RIAA about copyright infringement we have learned that this could get real ugly real fast!

That's just my analysis
That might lend to the fact that they are changing something...possibly selling them themselves.
Paizo doesn't appear to have been shut down yet.
I will not remove the water mark because circumventing DRM is illegal, but it really makes me want to remove it so I can transfer it to my laptop.

I don't understand, isn't watermarking just putting your name or some other Identification on the pdf? If so I think you can easily copy it to your other machine. The way I understood it, was that it was like buying a book, and they write your name on the book before you leave the store, you can put that book anywhere you want (your car , yours wives car , your friends house) but if you start copying the book and giving it away, they know who to send the cops after.

JesterOC
Hmmm - this is disconcerting. While I get most of stuff through Paizo.com I do have some TSR/WotC downloads through RPGNow/DriveThru (which are one in the same) and they are indeed unavailable.

Can't wait to see how this turns out.
The unfortunate thing is for every person that pays for the service there are a bunch more that go and get it off the news groups. Which means some one that is paying for the book online is uploading to the news groups. I know that you can always just Scan a real book but from what I have heard in other forums this seem to be full chaptered and versed PDFs on the newsgroups.

More than likely until WotC figures a way to secure the PDF so that only Legitimate purchasers can use them them, you’re gonna see a lot more of this.

And the reason WotC would be so heavy handed is they are the BIGGEST target for this type of thing, but truth be told everyone gets hit by it.

If we have learned anything from the RIAA about copyright infringement we have learned that this could get real ugly real fast!

That's just my analysis

That can't be the reason, they can't be that stupid. DRM is a pipe dream of the content industry. Every iteration of it is cracked immediately and the only people affected are the paying customers. I can't imagine Wotc plans to accomplish what the entire music, movie, and software industry has failed to.

If pirates can no longer get digital pdfs from rpg now, they'll get copies leaked from the printer or scan the books and ocr them.

All that said, its really really lame that this has occured without an announcement from Wizards... bad form.
I will not remove the water mark because circumventing DRM is illegal, but it really makes me want to remove it so I can transfer it to my laptop.

Guess I'll have to spend the money to print it, Ack !

LOL dude, you can just copy it over, the watermark has nothing to do with that!
Yup, I'd like to hear an explanation of this one too, followed by some compensation for the lost download capability that I paid for and I assume WotC got paid for.
That doesn't sound right. I hope you guys get some sort of explanation, as well as reinstitution of the service.

Part of why I only buy books, despite how much easier it would be to have a PDF in some ways.
Evidently true.
PHB 2 got into the NYT bestseller list. This speaks quite a bit.

Seriously? I missed that. Good to know!
I didn't buy the pdfs because I prefer the books for the things that are not available in the Compendium. I'm glad I didn't... ripping the carpet out from under purchasers like this is really sleazy in my book. Even if WotC has a good reason to do it, doing it like this with no notice is going to make a lot of people angry.
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
If WotC wants to halt re-downloads as well as future purchases, they need to refund the money of people who have purchased things from RPGnow.com and the like. It's really as simple as that. They can't simply "take back" things that have been sold, and I'm pretty sure US consumer protection organisations will agree. This is particularly the case as with some of my WotC/TSR purchases from RPGnow.com, I'd never downloaded them to my home computer, and might not have actually downloaded one or two of them at all, because there was no reason to believe this service was about to randomly cease.

The lack of announcement from Wizards is frankly outright bad behaviour on their part. Extremely bad behaviour. I suggest e-mailing your favourite Wizards employee and very politely asking them what's going on.

To be clear until this is resolved, I won't be purchasing any more WotC products in hardcopy or .pdf format. I can't do business with a company that's going to behave like that.

ParagonBishop - I think you're giving them too much credit and you "analysis" seems to be based on fantasy, quite frankly, and not fantasy of the D&D kind. A significant percentage of .pdfs of TSR products are nothing more than scans of the product, and some of the WotC ones aren't a lot better. If a specific individual is misbehaving, it will be evident from the watermarks and he can be sued/arrested as necessary. That's no excuse for effectively stealing stuff they've already sold back.
4e sales are slumping, it isn't doing as well as they projected, and maybe they think it is because of people "sharing" the downloadable stuff instead of everybody buying their own... or maybe most people are buying the downloads and Wizards' coffers are depleting...

Given that A) The PHB 2 hit NY best sellers list, and B) WotC still owns M:TG I find the above reasoning to be highly dubious.

or Tropico could be correct...

This is more likely correct. WotC intends to bring the sale of their digit products in house. Given the utter incompetence and ineptitude they have thus far shown regarding anything digit, I find this just as alarming as I would you first reason - if it were true.
Scott Rouse said something a while back about WotC looking at ways that they could provide copies of the PDF to people who purchased the books. Maybe this is something to do with that? I sure hope so, because otherwise it's hard to see how this is a good thing...
Do you have a link to that article?
Scott Rouse said something a while back about WotC looking at ways that they could provide copies of the PDF to people who purchased the books. Maybe this is something to do with that? I sure hope so, because otherwise it's hard to see how this is a good thing...

Yep, if they want to give me an super-official copy of the .pdfs I've purchased, or provide .pdfs of all the 4E books I've purchased, that's great, but somehow, I don't think that's what's going to happen.
Scott Rouse said something a while back about WotC looking at ways that they could provide copies of the PDF to people who purchased the books. Maybe this is something to do with that? I sure hope so, because otherwise it's hard to see how this is a good thing...

I very much doubt this is part of a grand plan to give away the pdfs to hard cover purchasers... Even if it is, the plan is still messing with people that only purchased pdf copies.

At the very least, WotC should have prepared a written statement to release as this began to come to light. People need to be told why the things they expected to be able to access after paying for it are being taken away.
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
*sigh*
I was only guessing! I have no evidence; actually another poster has already showed where my hypothesis is flawed.

So you say, but where is your evidence that you were in fact only guessing? Huh? huh??!? ;)
Why should I provide evidence when I was only guessing anyway... and even said so.

At first, I too was like, "WTF HATER?? You're such a hater!!" Until I calmed down and realized that, if HASBRO projects X for 4E sales, and the sales don't equal X, then WotC has to answer to HASBRO, and no, "Well, we're still making money with MTG!" would not be a good enough answer. So though HATER's possibility isn't the most likely one, it certainly isn't impossible.

Also, WotC does, indeed, seem to have this horrible habit of doing things that immediately reverts my opinion of them back to Fat-Cat Execs in suits who could care less for their Customers. Perhaps they should try to actually save face from now on...
Resident Logic Cannon
What is going on here?

Maybe tyring to at least slow down piracy? I don't know whether it's just a hoax but discussing theft of digital RP books on some other board someone posted a statement that he claimed was from a torrent site offfering 4e books and which stated that they get their's from drivethrough.

If that is indeed the reason I think that's a useless move from WotC. People who want to steal their stuff will do so, it doesn't matter to them if they get their cracked from drivethrough copy on the street date or have to wait 1-2 days more until someone actually spend the time to scan his copy.

It's hurting honest customers without really affecting piracy.

I did only buy a WarCraft D20 book (Monsters and Mayhem, wanted to see the lichking in D20 ;) ) on drivethrough and it was only secured by a watermark. I find that this is a fair solution which doesn't bother honest customers like some DRM approaches. I don't know how easy it's for them to remove it.
*sigh*
Once again people...

I was only guessing! I have no evidence; actually another poster has already showed where my hypothesis is flawed.
If you just want to rant at me, start another thread...

I wasn't asking you for evidence. I was saying that I disagree with your guess, and that what little evidence there is would seem to point to the contrary.
Add me to the list of the officially POed. I bought some pdf's of the original brown books and haven't even had a chance to download some of them. WTF??

Where is a WOTC rep with some explanations???
I didn't see anywhere where RPGNow is refunding money for undelivered purchases. If they aren't, I smell a class-action lawsuit.

While I don't buy the PDFs, I support you PDF users in your outrage. Until we get an answer, I refuse to buy anything at all, D&D or otherwise, from RPGNow and DriveThru RPG (I think they're the same entity, aren't they?). I think they should be first out of the gate with an answer for their paying customers.
Well, an DriveThruRPG.com rep just told me that "We no longer represent the publisher and they have asked us to remove their products from our database and to no longer sell or provide downloads for them. Unfortunately I don't have any more information available."

Not happy at all.

He also said that they could arrange refunds for things that had been bought today that hadn't been downloaded at all, so that might apply to older orders that hadn't been downloaded at all.
Resident Logic Cannon
LOL dude, you can just copy it over, the watermark has nothing to do with that!

lol, never tried, guess when you assume. :D

good to know then, time to make a few archives to file away in case of emergency.
I didn't see anywhere where RPGNow is refunding money for undelivered purchases. If they aren't, I smell a class-action lawsuit.

While I don't buy the PDFs, I support you PDF users in your outrage. Until we get an answer, I refuse to buy anything at all, D&D or otherwise, from RPGNow and DriveThru RPG (I think they're the same entity, aren't they?). I think they should be first out of the gate with an answer for their paying customers.

Don't forget WotC. The only reason why RPGNow is doing this is becuase WotC told them to.
While I don't buy the PDFs, I support you PDF users in your outrage. Until we get an answer, I refuse to buy anything at all, D&D or otherwise, from RPGNow and DriveThru RPG (I think they're the same entity, aren't they?). I think they should be first out of the gate with an answer for their paying customers.

What.

RPGNow/DTRPG WAS the first out of the gate with an answer: WotC ordered us to stop. That's the answer, it's not something they can exactly control is it? WotC needs to be the one who now says well it was because of _________ reason for anybody to judge.
You know A thought that just crossed my mind is licensing dispute.

Like when dish or direct tv, or any local provider. gets in a licensing dispute with a TV distributor, the distributor pulls the product until a new license can be established.

But most likely its because of pirating. Just a thought though.
I didn't see it anywhere. If my info is behind the times, meh. I won't boycott WotC because of my own self-interests. But I used to get a lot of good tsuff from RPGNow. If that one contact didn't have the answer, we can't help that. At least they are offering the refunds.

Now, Wizards... we're waiting...
I didn't see anywhere where RPGNow is refunding money for undelivered purchases. If they aren't, I smell a class-action lawsuit.

While I don't buy the PDFs, I support you PDF users in your outrage. Until we get an answer, I refuse to buy anything at all, D&D or otherwise, from RPGNow and DriveThru RPG (I think they're the same entity, aren't they?). I think they should be first out of the gate with an answer for their paying customers.

No.

RPGnow are not stopping me from re-downloading or downloading my products. WotC are. WotC are the ones who must answer. RPGnow may not even legally be ABLE to answer, if WotC are in litigation with them. WotC on the other hand, CAN tell us why they did this, they've just decided that we don't matter, so they're not going to.
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