March 9, 2012

5E Friday

-With the news that 4E product is hitting the discount shelves I can't see new 4E product (and there a couple of them still coming out) being picked up by retailers as widely as in the past (some will forgo new 4E product for fear of it being dead weight on the shelves). Looking at the WotC product schedule, it appears to be fairly weak. A few book titles (mostly as ebooks), a board game and a system neutral rpg product. If we assume there will be little to no new 4E products (other than the couple already in the pipeline) what will they be selling? I have to wonder how the company will sustain itself while it gears up for 5E.

And the main reason I am bringing this is up is that this brings up the question, will WotC rush 5E to the printers before it is done and properly tested? They are still throwing out fundamental questions (Vancian spell system or not? How will fighters work? Save or Die or not?) so I have to assume the game is not close to being complete. With proper play-testing it could be over a year (a lot of people are predicting an August 2013 release) before 5E starts generating WotC money. How do they justify this lack of sales in the D&D line to Hasbro?

All I can hope is that 5E is properly play-tested before release and is not rushed out the door in an attempt to generate money.


Porky said...

Good questions. I can't believe they haven't thought about this, but problem looks a real one.

Philo Pharynx said...

Knowing how corporations work, this is probably planned. When they made the business case, they argued that profits would be low until the new edition was released and then they'd have a huge surge as all sorts of people buy the new rulebooks to see what all the fuss is about.

Oz said...

Given the the 2013 DDXP has been moved to Gen Con 2013, I'd guess that to be the release date.

They have one or two system neutral releases in the works and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more. Plus remember those preview books for 4E? I wouldn't be surprised to see the same for 5E/DDN.

Norcross said...

Everyone knows that 5E is coming, so anyone who would be worried about "wasting" money on an obsolete version is already thinking about that. Retailers are naturally going to be reluctant about buying product for a system that most likely will not be supported by the end of next year (I expect 5E to look a _lot_ more like D&D, AD&D, 3E, and 3.5E all did than like 4E does).

So WotC has a few options:
1) Reduce the new content coming out so that shelves will be ready when the big 5e release comes out
2) Keep pumping out splat books that will sit unsold and make D&D in general look like a no-seller by the time 5e comes out
3) Keep 5e secret until just before release, making anyone who bought 4E product in the last year feel duped

Personally, I think #1 is the best route for them to go.