I saw something this week that I had sort of an odd take on.
If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, Hasbro is going back on the original D&D licensing agreement to try to get a taste (or outright own) anything that uses D&D as a backing. So like Critical Role, Pathfinder, all those D&D-based Kickstarters, etc.
But I really want to focus on the end of the video. Cause its something he says that caught me off guard. That he always tried to give Wizards of the Coast the benefit of the doubt and now he is disillusioned about the company.
And this seems to be the general sentiment on the internet.
To which I say…why the hell did you give any corporation the benefit of the doubt. I expected this shit a lot sooner.
You flat out cannot have a corporation that is both 1) altruistic and 2) for-profit. It is impossible. Oh sure, plenty of companies talk about all the good things they do. But, that, by default, is all bullshit.
Corporates have a fucking legal obligation to do things that will benefit the shareholders to the highest degree. FURTHER, I would argue, that if you truly believed in the societal benefit of what you were doing, you wouldn’t be making money in the first place. You would be a non-profit.
Oh you aren’t a non-profit, then profit comes first.
There is all this discourse right now about how this is not in the spirit of D&D and not what the founders envisioned. Ok…then why did they sell the company. They sold the company because they wanted fucking money. Motherfucking money.
I want to be clear. I am not at all saying this is the right thing to do. What I am saying is that money is always going to come first for any company. Period. The end. There is no trust. Never forget the 239th rule of acquisition: Never be afraid to mislabel a product.
Plus, Hasbro has a long history of this kind of shit (profiteering and mismanagement). Look at all that analyst criticism late last year around how they handled Magic the Gathering.
This has happened before elsewhere. And will happen again.
Does anyone remember the outcry when Warcraft 3 Reforged came out and it turns out they changed their licensing agreement so that Blizzard owned all mods. Why did this happen?
Cause both DOTA and League of Legends came from a Warcraft 3 mod. And instead of Blizzard getting big checks from Valve and Riot, Blizz gets fucking nothing.
Half of the corporate game these days is licensing agreements. Fuckin, there are whole companies who just get acquired to use their IP to sue other people. You know why Blackberry still exists? IP licensing.
To be honest, I am really surprised Hasbro didn’t change it the second they acquired Wizards of the Coast. Maybe it wasn’t a huge deal until recent lawsuits added drama. Maybe they didn’t see D&D has a big money maker outside of the video games till now. Who knows.
Where does this leave us? I don’t fucking know. Was having a conversation with a wise man, who made a point about Steam. Right now, we have a reliable service provided by the savior of the internet where they are just happy being the depository of PC gaming. What happens when Gabe is gone and they become…less benevolent. I don’t fucking know. Be happy we have what we have right now.
And we already have Pathfinder trying to be a gap filler for D&D. And more will come. People will jump ship.
Wizards flat out underestimated how much the nerds really need D&D. They don’t. Magic players need the cards. D&D players need their imagination.
This is going to get dumber before it gets better.
I want to end on a broad note. Because I feel like this is not Shakespearean betrayal. This is like the shifty guy at the beginning of one of those crime procedurals who you know will fuck over everyone. That’s what this is. And that’s EVERY corporation.
Look, Ill keep it simple. There is one solid constant in the universe: Everything good is temporary.
And that’s kind of how I feel about D&D. Be glad that these communities existed. Evolve into something that doesn’t need a corporation, and move on. Sure it will be less unified. Sure the first few years will be a hot mess, but that is the nature of things. And eventually, something will rise to the top, and like 30-50 years from now, they will exploit the shit out of their customers. Time is a flat circle.
Here’s another important thing to keep in mind. Never have heroes. Don’t respect or trust or rely on anything. Be it a corporation or whatever.
They will do the bad thing at some point. Be it for profit or control or power or gratification. They will do something that will crush your soul and faith.
So easy answer, don’t have any of those things. Don’t like anything.
Ebb tide. This kind of stuff is going to happen and then we move to the next thing. So it goes. There is no constant of acceptable human behavior out there. If you have something someone else wants, they will come get it from you. Be it money or whatever.
The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
That is all.