I think this weeks mass hysteria about WotC revoking the perpetual Open Game License and closing down half of the RPG industry with that move is probably the dumbest thing I’ve seen happening in the 24 years that I’ve been following RPG news and discussions.
People even admit that they are “just repeating what I’ve heard” and that all the current panic is based on is an unsourced “leak”.
Update: More sources are coming out with claims that make it seem increasingly unlikely that it was all a hoax. But I don’t redact my original assessment; I amend it:
This is even way dumber than I thought.
7 thoughts on “This is so stupid”
I don’t know, the leak seems legit. The language is convincing. And even if it isn’t real or enforceable, it’s still worth pushing back. To draw a line in the sand.
But I’m not sure it’s that straightforward. Does the perpetual clause supersede the authorised licence clause? Maybe not.
If the leak’s legit then WOTC may have found a way to disallow the use of even the old OGL on which many many games depend. It’s not clear whether it’s enforcable or not, but there would be enough doubt to bring it to the courtroom and at that point getting a clear answer is sure to cost a lot more money than most creators can spend.
If the leak is not legit…well then WOTC should probably take inspiration because the leak approach seems smart enough to work.
Without the OGL it’s not even clear that we can’t get sued for just using a d20 system with the 6 main stats used by 5e. This impacts a lot of games and content and it’s reasonnable for companies to be scared.
>> Without the OGL it’s not even clear that we can’t get sued for just using a d20 system with the 6 main stats used by 5e.
I think this is actually really clear and proves the point of this blog. Mechanics aren’t covered by copyright, there are decades of examples of games using mechanics. Pathfinder uses the exact stats and d20 concept. They are going to get sued way before Susan Susandaughter making her homebrew/indie system and putting it on itch for $8.99.
I feel very certain that it’s all a hoax, and not even a plausible one.
The problem is that afaik, legally speaking, “perpetual” doesn’t necessarily mean “irrevocable”.
If the leak is legit (as it sadly seems), well then the “hysteria” is legit until the legal issue is made clear.
If the leak isn’t legit, good news! Then the “hysteria” will hopefully push WotC to update the OGL to be explicitly irrevocable.
It has been a few days now. It would be a simple matter for WotC to deny the accuracy of the leak. And yet…
Yeah, at this point silence has become an admission of guilt.
If you come out and acknowledge it, people will be even more angry.
If you deny it but a month later it comes out you do it anyway, it will be even worse.
Ignoring the issue and hope it quiets down by itself might seem like the least worse option.
At this point, I am actually wondering if 6th edition might perform even worse than 4th did. Average everyday players might not care that there’s an “updated” version of the rulebooks unless they are encouraged to by content creators who embrace it. If word on the street by the people with loud voices is universally slamming it as predatory business, it won’t replicate the popularity of 5th edition.