Wizards of the Coast, the company behind Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), bowed to pressure from players and content producers on Friday. It said it would not proceed with a game license amendment that would have severely restricted NFT spin-offs.
NFT, Web3, and Blockchain frowned upon by Wizards of the Cost
The Hasbro-owned company angered the tabletop gaming community earlier this month. In the meantime, it had decided to change the legal structure that had allowed users to create D&D-compatible content for over 20 years. This included graphic novels and other media, as well as live game shows and D&D-themed podcasts.
Wizards of the Coast has already changed its mind on several of the Open Game License (OGL) amendments it made earlier this month. This is the case, for example, with the payments it imposed on content producers. According to a revised proposal, the use of D&D content, such as game mechanics, in third-party NFTs had also been restricted.
In addition, the company had cited Web3 developers as a key motivation for changing its long-standing arrangement with fans and creators. A few weeks ago, Wizards of the Coast made the statement in a blog post. The company made it clear that it was addressing people who were looking to integrate D&D with Web3, blockchain games, and NFTs.
An unexpected about-face
The firm will now use an “open and irrevocable” Creative Commons license for the D&D content included in its system reference document. This would seem more sensible than abandoning its ambitions to change its open-game license altogether.
Indeed, the company’s change of heart comes after it learned of the preliminary results of a survey regarding the suggested changes. As a result of the survey, the D&D community has largely rejected the impending license update. The draft policy on “virtual tables”, which contained language prohibiting NFTs derived from third-party authors, received “displeasure” ratings from about 86% of respondents.
It was this unexpected result that prompted Wizards of the Coast to announce its about-face on Friday. It had stated in its blog post that it wanted to limit the OGL to “tabletop role-playing games”. This time, it says it is setting aside that decision and leaving it to the users to determine the direction of the game.
Web3 gaming is slowly evolving
Web3 Gripnr, a gaming company, had decided not to use the open-source license for its next project: a blockchain-based tabletop game called “The Glimmering”. It was intended to use the Polygon network, but the company is now planning another approach.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland, the lead developer of Gripnr, also went in the same direction. He said that given how much of a rollercoaster ride this unnecessary upheaval has been, Gripnr would not rush to find the best option. He also added that they are currently looking at different options with the board to determine the best way forward.
Furthermore, Radney-MacFarland said that it is possible that Gripnr will revert to using the Open Game license. The company could also use the D&D content that will be included in the new Creative Commons document. In addition, Gripnr is said to be looking at game licenses developed by other companies such as Paizo, publisher of Pathfinder and D&D’s competitor, and may even create its own.
NFTs highly valued by Hasbro’s CEO
NFTs are not specifically mentioned in the most recent statement from Wizards of the Coast. However, it is said that the new open approach means that there is no need for a virtual table policy.
In addition, it is interesting to note that Hasbro, the organization that owns Wizards of the Coast, has already taken a number of steps related to the NFT. These include the release of NBA action figures from the NFT starting line and Funko Pop digital collectibles based on My Little Pony and Power Rangers.
Brian Goldner, former CEO of Hasbro, also made a statement in support of NFT in April 2021. In an earnings call, he said that NFT was “a real possibility” for the popular trading card game (TCG) Magic: The Gathering.