-Stealing WotC's Thunder
When news of 5E was released to the media it was a big thing. While it hit the mainstream outlets, it really had its impact within the forums and blogs that follow our niche hobby. There was various speculation, both hopeful and fearful, as well as people who felt the need to write that they had no interest (which seems contrary). 5E was a big thing. And now WotC has stated they expect 5E to be released in 2014, two years from now. That is a lot of lead up time. A lot of time for the enthusiasm to wane.
And there are plenty of other companies and games ready to step up and steal the thunder.
13th Age is currently in closed testing and generating a buzz all its own. The Kickstarter for its first expansion made over twice it's goal and this is for an expansion for the core rules which aren't even out yet. There is a positive feedback on 13th Age that is stealing some of the excitement of 5E.
Fantasy Flight Games has released a playtest for a license many gamers have been eagerly waiting for...a Star Wars rpg. While they have received some criticism for charging for the playtest materials, it still has a buzz among fans of the setting. This buzz will continue to grow as the release date gets closer; in fact, it is likely to release before 5E.
The newest set of excitement is with the venerable Rolemaster system. They have released two playtest documents (Character Law and Spell Law) with more to follow. They readily admit they are doing this to generate interest in their system and thus far it looks like it is working. They are also looking at a publish date of less than 6 months, which means this will give gamers something other than 5E to take a look at.
Who is to say what other new products will come out in the next two years. The OSR continues to chug along just fine and there are other companies looking to make their own marks in the rpg industry. We can see with the initial excitement WotC generated with their 5E playtest, there are now others stealing their thunder with their own playtests. Will it diminish WotC's own goals with 5E? Time will tell, but the longer the 5E playtest goes on, the more "distractions" there will be.