Friday, April 10, 2009

The Actual Interview of the WOTC CEO

It occurred to me that since the answers to the questions posted really made no sense, almost as if the questions were to a different set of questions, that maybe there was some crossing of emails or something. I looked into it and found the questions that were actually posed, and matched them up to his answers. It makes a bit more sense now.

1.Please tell us if you decided to pull the pdf’s because you wanted to crush competition to 4e because sales sucked or because of general incompetence? Please state the BS reason you will give to your loyal customers.

The decision was made for both reasons. The piracy of our products was increasing at an alarming rate, and we felt that it could have a negative impact not only to Wizards of the Coast, but to the hobby industry as a whole.

2.It’s well known that the more pirated copies are downloaded, the more hardcopies are ultimately sold. I understand that the piracy of this book was not as great as the piracy of the core books, which you of course arranged by leaking them to the public early, in order to increase sales of the hardcopies. Ideally, you want a ratio of 100:1 for good sales of hardcopy books. When did the lack of good levels of piracy of PHB2 become a concern?

The piracy became a substantial concern when we saw thousands of copies of our recently released Player’s Handbook 2 being downloaded illegally within hours of its release. We cannot share sales figures, but I can tell you that we conservatively estimate the ratio of illicit downloads to legally purchased copies was 10:1.

3.Since the pdf download ratio was not as high as you would have liked to increase hardcover sales, what plans do you have to use other mediums which are more conducive to piracy?

We do not have any plans to resume the sale of PDFs, but are actively exploring other options for the digital distribution of our content – including older editions. We understand that digital content is important to our customers.

4.Although its miniscule, so miniscule as to be ridiculous---since it requires that your customers actually believe what you say, isn’t there a risk that your actions will actually intimidate the pirates into slowing down their activities, thus hurting your hardcover sales?

While we understand that our actions will not eliminate piracy all together, we don’t want to make it easy to acquire illegally, either. We need to have a strong retail base in order to support (and grow) the hobby industry. We hope to deter future offenders – or at least slow down their path to obtaining illegal products.

5.I know its your opinion that the customers get what they paid for. Since most of them pay nothing for pdf’s, due to the pirated download ratio which you secretly encourage to increase book sales, is that why you had no concerns about your customers feelings when you screwed over Paizo and RPGNow?

It wasn’t our intention to have customers feel as though they weren’t receiving what they paid for. Our understanding is that both Paizo Publishing and OneBookShelf are working with their customers to make sure they receive what they paid for.

6.After the community of fans and gamers finally merged together for the first time since your dumbass actions over the past years splintered them apart, and most of them now hate you, would you do anything different?

I don’t know that I would try to re-do anything. The truth is that the world is changing quickly, and as a business we need to be flexible enough to adapt to that changing environment. We have and always will continue to find the best ways to be responsive to our community of fans and gamers.

7.Tell us the web of BS you will throw out there regarding the sagging sales of the 4e product line?

We are very happy with how 4th Edition is performing. We have reprinted the 4th Edition Player’s Handbook three times, and PH2 is headed back for it’s second printing already. Ultimately our goal is to keep the hobby industry strong, and our strategy for that is to continue to create great 4th Edition products that will entice our fans to keep playing D&D. In turn, that will grow the hobby industry.

8.Tell us about the greatest money sink now at WOTC which will never prove profitable, and will necessitate the ultimate sale of WOTC’s D&D division to Paizo or White Wolf?

Electronic media will continue to play an even greater role in our D&D business as the months and years go on. Continuing to improve the D&D Insider experience for our customers and fans is one of our top priorities.

Along with the rest of the publishing industry, Wizards is also looking into new means of digital distribution. For our novels, we have recently introduced titles to Kindle and to Sony’s E-Reader and will continue to add titles to those offerings over the coming months.

9. What actions did you take to ensure that no one would be ultimately held responsible for this disastrous pdf decision?

The D&D brand is critical to Wizards of the Coast’s success, and decisions such as this are not entered into lightly. We are all very hands-on, and decisions are vetted through all levels of the organization.


  1. Ha! That's awesome, your accuracy there is deadly. As often as Wizards shoots themselves in the foot, they must have troll-like regenerative powers to keep from bleeding to death.
    I just came from a thread on Dragonsfoot about a game store owner complaining about the game companies pdf sale in response to wizards moronic killing of their own pdfs.
    The guy was worried about losing sales to cheap pdfs online. He dosen't understand how cheap,or free pdfs drive sales of real books. I spent a lot of years in retail, and a pdf is just advertising for the physical object. It does not compete for sales.

  2. Oh man...can't stop...laughing...must....breathe...


    You are absolutely right, my man. #8 just about killed me.

  3. #8 = sip of coffee - spray - monitor.

    Thank you for making me smile again. Reading the original "interview" had made me quite angry.

    Maybe it's just me but that original garbage by Greg Leeds seemed an awful lot like a big middle finger salute to customers.

    - BC


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