In a word: Wizards of the Coast felt the dragon fire after a leaked version of the new open play license sparked a massive backlash from the gaming community. The company backtracked, promising a license with a more open approach and that it would listen to fan feedback.
Wizards of the Coast was ready to refresh its old Open Game License (OGL) for Dungeons & Dragons-inspired tabletop role-playing games (TTRPG). However, the updated document leaked and turned the TTRPG world upside down. Gamers, streamers and creators canceled their game subscriptions en masse and forced WotC to change its plans accordingly.
The new OGL 1.1 document, which leaked earlier this month, was set to severely restrict how TTRPG creators and the wider community could adapt Dungeons & Dragons core rules into their works. One of the more problematic changes was that revenue reports required for D&D-inspired games had to be sent directly to WotC. Also, OGL 1.1 would have immediately made the old license “unauthorized”.
After delaying the release of OGL 1.1 and reassuring fans and creators of the new license’s benign intentions, D&D executive producer Kyle Brink wrote an apology. Wizards of the Coast is sorry, Brink said, because the language and requirements present in the OGL project were “disruptive to creators and did not support our core goals of protecting and cultivating an inclusive game environment.”
Brink said more frequent and transparent communication could have prevented much of the OGL-related mess, but now WotC wants to try things the right way. First, by reassuring fans that the new license is strictly limited to the TTRPG market. Any changes included in OGL 1.1 will not impact “at least” non-tabletop creative endeavors such as video content (streaming, podcasts, etc.), homemade props, and unpublished works.
Open Game License 1.1 will not affect content created under OGL1.0a, and “there will be no royalty or financial reporting requirements”. Additionally, content ownership will not change, with no license return requirements. Now WotC will be more open to community feedback to improve OGL while preserving the traditional D&D community.
The company is now sharing its latest draft of the new OGL (which has been upgraded from 1.1 to OGL 1.2), awaiting review and feedback from fans, as they already do with test hardware. After two weeks, WotC will collect the feedback provided to “compile, analyze, react and present what we heard from you”.
Open Game License 1.2 should still contain the most fundamental changes from the leaked OGL 1.1 draft, including delicensing OGL 1.0a, which is apparently essential for the update process to be completed. . It will also prohibit hateful content or behavior and protect D&D’s “inclusive gaming experience”.
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