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Marketing and Management Genius at WOTC

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I've got to love the marketing and management geniuses at WOTC. After one of the worst marketing campaigns I've ever seen a major company mount for their new fourth edition of D&D, they've managed to top themselves. Their online service, D&D Insider, was supposed to be ready to go when the fourth edition of D&D released in early June. Of course, none of the promised features were really ready, except for their online only versions of Dungeon and Dragon magazine -- and a very incomplete rules compendium. Missing were all the major (and interesting features) like the character builder, the character visualizer, the dungeon builder, and the all-important central feature of D&D Insider -- the online gaming table.

It has been an additional two months now and WOTC has made a big announcement about D&D Insider. It's a new feature. No, not a beta version of online gaming table or even the character builder or the character visualizer. The new feature is WOTC is now ready to charge you for what little there is available. No more freebies, it's time to pay them a monthly fee for their lackluster efforts. Admittedly, their post 4e online-only versions of Dungeon and Dragon magazine haven't been bad, but the monthly fee for two PDF magazines and access to the very incomplete rules compendium is just a bit less than I used to be able to get the Dragon and the Dungeon magazine in print for. Pay more, get less.

I hope people stay way in droves, but I'm sure enough people will be happy to pay for PDF only copies of Dungeon and Dragon magazines that the bean counters controlling corporate decision making will see this as a win for the all-important short term investors in Hasbro stock. When will the core features promised for D&D insider arrive? WOTC apparently doesn't know. Nor do they know how much they'll up the price when they do. I'm just not impressed.

6 comments:
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Jonathan said...
August 9, 2008 at 10:42 PM  

I'll never pay them for the software or online access. Their debacle with MasterTools / eTools in 2001 ruined any chance they had, in my mind, of developing software worth paying for. My new mantra is going to be something like: D&D is dead; long live D&D. Basically, IMHO, i think the blogging community and the RPG community at large can do a better job at keeping the _spirit_ of a game like D&D alive - and healthy. WotC's recent attempts to monetize everything just screams "PROFFITZ!". I dunno, just my 2¢

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Berin Kinsman said...
August 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM  

D&D Insider: Son of Gleemax, Grandson of MasterTools

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Geek Gazette said...
August 10, 2008 at 6:24 PM  

I'm pretty sure I won't buy forking over my hard earned money anytime soon. There are some good, new gaming mags I want to subscribe to and I think supporting the little publishers trying to fill the void left my Dragon & Dungeon magazine is money well spent.

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Badelaire said...
August 10, 2008 at 10:27 PM  

Yeah, between the blogs, message boards, et al, I see no need to pay for "online content" when there's literally decades of content already out there.

But like so many, I have minimal interest in 4E, so it's not much of an issue. Even so, if they had this for 3E (which I did play some of) I still wouldn't have paid out for it. Online gaming content is like online pornography - if you aren't savvy enough to find it for free, that's your own dang fault.

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Aaron W. Thorne said...
August 11, 2008 at 12:39 PM  

This story might have something to do with it. Hard to get your projects completed on time in such situations, I would imagine.

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Randall said...
August 11, 2008 at 4:57 PM  

This story might have something to do with it.

While that's a truly tragic story, I really don't think it is responsible for all of the problems with the DDI.

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