Roll The Dice
Dungeons & Dragons, the beloved tabletop role-playing game, is taking a stand against the world of Web3 and NFTs. Despite receiving backlash from the D&D community, publisher Wizards of the Coast has announced that it will be updating its Open Game License (OGL) to prohibit derivative Web3 content and NFTs.The beloved role-playing game has caused quite a stir among its dedicated community. The game’s publisher announced plans to update the Open Game License (OGL), which would create new rules for fan-made content and projects, including those that make use of NFTs and other Web3 derivatives.
Over the past week we have witnessed an incredible outpour of passion and dedication from our community working together to protect and cultivate the inclusive environment of Dungeons & Dragons.— Dungeons & Dragons (@Wizards_DnD) January 13, 2023
Please read our update on the Open Game License: https://t.co/9y4Z5MZpiq
Leaked details of the broader OGL shift were published last week, which revealed plans to charge creators royalty fees for derivative works and prohibit paywalls for gating content for paying subscribers. This caused widespread backlash from the D&D community, with many content creators claiming that the changes would cripple their fan-supported businesses and projects.
Wizards of the Coast initially shared plans last year to update the long-standing OGL, which allowed fans and other companies to create and sell derivative works inspired by D&D. The purpose of the update was to prevent third parties from minting D&D NFTs and large businesses from exploiting their intellectual property. However, after leaked details of the OGL shift surfaced, many content creators revolted against the changes, claiming it would harm their fan-supported businesses and projects. In response, Wizards of the Coast announced that it will cut controversial elements of the license change but will still be implementing updates. The new license will not include any kind of royalty structure and will not impact the business models of most derivative projects.
While the OGL update was supposed to launch today, Wizards of the Coast stated that it will take more time to address players’ concerns and get the license change right. They also made it clear that setting clear limits around Web3 technology is a core tenet in reshaping the OGL and that they have no plans to back down on blocking NFT projects and Web3 games that attempt to trade on the D&D IP.
A focused goal
As stated, Wizards of the Coast announced that it will be cutting controversial elements of the planned license changes. However, it is still planning the updates of the license and those updates will most likely still be prohibiting derivative Web3 content such as NFTs. The company stated that the update is necessary to ensure that the OGL keeps doing what it was intended to do, which is to allow the D&D community’s independent creators to build, play and grow the game they love, without allowing third parties to exploit their intellectual property.
Wizards of the Coast’s response to the rise of Web3 comes following the creation of unofficial D&D projects in the blockchain space, which has caused concern among the company’s legal team. The company has made it clear that the OGL content is limited to tabletop role-playing content such as campaigns, modules, and supplements. According to Wizards of the Coast, the new license will be rolled out soon, but the company has made it clear that for the necessary elements to be put in place correctly it will take time to ensure that the company gets it right and that the new license will hinder the game and the community in any negative way or allow any room for those that would take advantage of the community.
This news has caused a lot of uncertainty among the D&D community, as many content creators are now left wondering how this new license will affect their fan-supported businesses and projects. However, the company has assured users that it will continue to work with the community to address their concerns and find a solution that works for everyone.
Learning from Parents
It’s worth noting that Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards of the Coast, has already delved into the world of NFTs. They’ve created digital collectibles such as Funko Pops inspired by Power Rangers and My Little Pony, as well as NBA action figures paired with NFTs. Former Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner even acknowledged the potential of NFTs for other Wizards of the Coast property, Magic: The Gathering, during an earnings call in April 2021. He stated that Hasbro had identified several opportunities in the NFT space.
Even with the parent company being NFT-friendly it would seem WOC is not as positive towards the technology. By rethinking some of its planned changes to the OGL, it is clear that the company is determined to prevent third-party Web3 uses of the D&D IP and that NFT projects and other derivative Web3 content will continue to be prohibited under the new rules. The D&D community will have to wait and see what the final updated license will look like and how it will impact their businesses and projects.