Friday, June 27, 2008

What is this Game Supposed to be About: the 4e Version

The Chatty DM has posted his review of D&D's 4th edition Players Handbook. Among other insights, he makes this observation:

I’m actually impressed that so many things can be done with this Core game. When you buy a Core set of other exception based design games, you don’t get as much stuff… (but then again, with an average 80$ entry price, it’s to be expected).

In fact, I will go against the current opinion on the subject and say that D&D 4e was probably not designed to get the Video game/MMORPG crowd to adopt Tabletop RPGs. I actually believe that Wizards of the Coast are trying to eat market shares of the very large and lucrative collectible/non-collectible card/miniatures gamer pool.

Now that's a very interesting thought. Positioning 4e as a bridge between collectible card games, collectible minis games, and RPGs gives WotC a lot of flexibility for the future of the franchise. The overlap of interests among the three sorts of hobbies is far stronger than between pen-and-paper RPGs and computer RPGs of all sorts, even MMORPGs. I'm not certain that there was anything like a conscious decision on anyone's part to do this, but that doesn't mean WotC won't leap if they find the game opening unexpected opportunities. And this is exactly the sort of strategic-level thinking one should expect from a company in WotC's dominating position.


ChattyDM said...

I think it's very voluntary on WotC's part. If you looks at their product line you can almost see a customer migration path...

I think MMO players' market is a 'lost cause'. Plus both hobbies are not self exclusive.

Hardcore gamers can play MMOs 6 nights a week and play a tabletop one on the remaining night.

Oddysey said...

I'm amused, because this is how I got into 3rd edition. Started playing Magic: the Gathering with kids at my church, and then one day one of them showed up with the boxed set. My dwarf fighter got his head bashed in by goblins, and I was instantly hooked.

And it makes even more since considering DDM, which uses the exact same product Wizards wants people to use with D&D. I kind of suspect Hasbro hangs on to the RPG part because it gives them IP and a secondary market for the miniatures.