Picking the Right Weapon

I’ve noticed that some folks are now saying that I’m “anti-OGL” because of my commentary on the Open Game License. This is pretty funny when you consider that I created one of the most successful open gaming programs in the industry, M&M; Superlink, and just announced a royalty free trademark license for True20 Adventure Roleplaying as well. I think the key difference between me and some other folks is that I don’t see open gaming as a movement per se. To me the OGL is one weapon in my publisher’s arsenal. Sometimes it’s the right one and I will happily deploy it, but I don’t believe that the OGL is always the right answer for every book. Our upcoming Song of Ice and Fire RPG, for example, has a new system and will not be released under the OGL. I think such things need to be assessed on a case by case basis, and that can change over time. True20 is a case in point. In its early days I wanted more control so we could develop our publishing strategy for the game; hence a nominal fee to use our trademark. After a couple of years I decided that True20 was a mature enough game that a royalty free license now had more benefits than drawbacks. So things change.

The challenge, given the paucity of data that I’ve already discussed, is making an assessment based on more than gut feeling. I do not accept many of the Danceyisms just because they’ve been repeated endlessly. I try to use GR’s experiences as a publisher who has been using the OGL longer than anyone, and what I can gleen from other sources. It is sometimes tough though and you have to be careful lest you bring a knife to a gun fight.

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