Two interesting pieces of news crossed my desk this morning:
First, from Delta, it appears that WotC is officially selling old out of print material in digital format again. True, it looks like the catalog is not quite as expansive as the old one at Paizo was, but given how vocal I was about what a bad idea it was to take them down, I can only see this as a very good thing. Well done WotC, you guys really seem to be turning a corner. The only major downside is that the old PDFs I bought back in the day from Paizo are long gone and I seriously doubt anyone will ever bother to transfer any data from Paizo’s old system to this new one (backed by DriveThruRPG). Oh well, at least I have all those files backed up.
Second bit of news comes from GenCon. It appears that Paizo Publishing has entered in an agreement to sponser GenCon for the next three years (press release here). Part of that agreement includes Paizo increasing their booth presence by 30%, as well as increasing their number of hosted events by an unspecified amount in the Sagamore Ballroom. That’s particularly interesting because for as long as I’ve been going to GenCon the Sagamore Ballroom was the official D&D room for WotC and RPGA hosted events. This might suggest that Paizo has eclipsed WotC as the gatekeepers of “official D&D tournaments”, at least in the eye of your average D&D player.
Is there a link between these two tidbits? Perhaps we might read into this that Paizo is shifting into the new giant gorilla of the D&D world, while WotC is trying to appeal to the old-schoolers to retain their market share. This seems like a good strategy on WotC’s part to me — certainly the old school market is growing, and it leverages one of their strongest and truly unique assets: access to the old out of print material.
Of course this is all wild speculation on my part, and ultimately doesn’t amount to very much for my personal gaming habits. I could happily keep a D&D campaign going at this point without purchasing a single extra piece of published material, be it old and out of print or glossy and new. Still, I’ll be very interested to see how the battle between these two corporations plays out. Hopefully they can each find their niche and play nice, or perhaps one will grow to dominate the other. So long as attendance at the conventions keeps up I’ll be happy no matter who is running them.