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Dungeons and Dragons announces new license that could impact competitors

Dungeons and Dragons

Wizards of the Coast, the company behind Dungeons and Dragons has announced big changes to their Open Gaming License.

The new changes could drastically impact both small creators of unofficial content, as well as larger companies like Paizo. The Open Gaming License (OGL) is a set of rules released in the year 2000.

This license made certain content available for creators to use when making unofficial or third party tabletop gaming content, even if it was for profit.

This allowed for game makers like Green Ronin Publishing and Paizo to create their own systems loosely based on the Dungeons and Dragons system.

The original Dungeons and Dragons OGL has seen plenty of alterations and updates over the years, mainly when new content or rules were added for creators to play with.

But with the new 1.1 revision to the license, we’re seeing potentially large changes that could impact the bottom line of some of its competitors.

The new OGL (via Gizmodo) goes as far as to say it “wasn’t intended to subsidize major competitors” and that the OGL was “was always intended to allow the community to help grow D&D and expand it creatively.”

This statement is especially interesting since one of the largest competitors to Dungeons and Dragons is Paizo with their Pathfinder game system (shown above), which heavily borrows from the 3.5 version of Dungeons and Dragons.

The new document even says the OGL “wasn’t intended to fund major competitors” and it wasn’t intended to “allow people to make D&D apps, videos, or anything other than printed (or printable) materials for use while gaming.”

As such, they’re updating the OGL to make the above “very clear.” The new OGL does make allowances for “fan content” but it’s clear that Wizards of the Coast is tightening the reins for what fans are allowed to create (or at least monetize).

Speaking of monetization, new products that are made in compliance of the OGL may be forced to pay royalties to Wizards of the Coast based on their profits.

The new document reportedly outlines a pay scale where creators who maker over $750,000 USD could pay a hefty amount; and this is applied regardless whether a product is profitable or not.

Paizo has not made any claims at the time of writing for how the new OGL could affect their future products; and it’s possible their new Pathfinder 2nd Edition might side step the pitfalls of the new OGL.

This is Niche Culture. In this column, we regularly cover anime, movies, geek culture, and things related to video games.

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A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.


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