Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No Original PDFs for Old School Market

Another round of instant punditry. Warning of this speculation is very premature in the light of having no press releases from Wizards.

If the library of older editions doesn't return what does this mean for Old School Retro-Clones? I think first off it would be an loss of historical value. The average gamer would be no longer have ready access to the history of their hobby. This would be saddening in many ways.

The fact the older edition were available to be legally bought is a mixed bag to retro-clones. One of the perennial arguments was. "Why buy Labyrinth Lord when I can just buy B/X on RPG Now." It was good thing because as good as the retro-clones authors are, one could just go straight to the source and bypass everything. Groups playing older games had a way of having new members get legal copies of the rulebooks.

If the older edition are no longer available then retro-clones now stand even more prominent in the Old School Revival. While not all the old PDF sales will go to the purchase of retro-clone I believe a good portion will. Maybe as high as a quarter depending on how long the unavailability of original PDFs lasts.

Ifeel even if the disruption is brief the fallout from this will cause some gamers to look for alternatives to Wizards and some of them will be looking at our stuff.

Parphrasing the old Chinese proverb "We now live in interesting times."


Chris said...

The average gamer would be no longer have ready access to the history of their hobby.

That's what ticked me off most about this whole situation: the sense of "WotC HAET cultural memory!" that comes across.

I wonder if mining their hoard of old IP (repackage it with added kewl powers for 4E) is part of WOTCs actual marketing strategy. Why try to sell something new when you can just 're-imagine' and re-sell an old success?

Bonemaster said...

You know, I'd like to see more of the retro-clones start getting the due they deserve, and a little money. The only PDF, I wish I had gotten was the AD&D DMG. If there is any book that has been the most useful and most used in my collection, that would be it. Oh well, next time Gadget, next Time.

Anonymous said...

Picking up the whole Chainmail + OD&D set was on my list for the weekend, but I didn't get to it. Paizo didn't carry the 3 LBBs, so I didn't bother at all. I wanted them for reference and interest (the "history" you mention) for my retro-clone gaming. It's not like I'm now going to go buy 4e.

FWIW, if the 1981 B/X had been available as a PDF a few months back I would be playing that right now instead of Labyrinth Lord. Only the 1983 BECMI was available, so I went retro-clone.

Whatever the reason for not making the B/X available was, lack of PDFs had ALREADY convinced me to go an alternative route.