4E Confidence

On one of mailing lists I’m on, someone asked me if I was confident that 4thh edition D&D; would revive the d20 market. I’ve been getting a lot of questions like this since Gen Con, so I figured I might as well post my answer here. To whit:

I don’t have enough info to have confidence in 4E yet. It may create an opportunity for third party publishers, but I don’t think it’ll presage a return to a real boom time of 2000-2001. Too many gamers and too many retailers were burned by shitty products last time around. I think gamers will be approaching 4E cautiously and that’s probably double true of third party material. For this to really work for a company like mine a lot of things need to happen:

1) The new rules need to be good.
2) WotC needs to convince the lion’s share of their fanbase to make the switch.
3) The new rules need to be more successful at recruiting new roleplayers.
4) The d20 brand needs a new iteration that sheds the bad connotations the original took on.
5) WotC needs to get us the new rules in time to learn them well enough to design good product and to make strategic plans that can capitalize on the game’s launch.
6) WotC needs to do something to prevent a second d20 glut.

In other words a lot of things need to go right for this to work for third party publishers and to date none of the crucial questions have been answered.

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