Wizards of the Coast, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), capitulated to fans and content creators on Friday, declaring that it will not move forward with proposed changes to a gaming license that would have limited derivative NFT projects.
The Hasbro-owned firm drew significant ire from the tabletop gaming community earlier this month when it tried to modify a legal framework that has allowed anyone to produce D&D-compatible content for over two decades. This featured live play shows and podcasts inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, as well as graphic novels and other media.
This month, Wizards of the Coast reversed certain changes to its Open Game License (OGL), including the requirement that content creators pay royalties. A revised proposal, however, made it clear that D&D content, such as game mechanics, could not be used in conjunction with third-party NFTs.
The company had also identified Web3 developers as a significant factor in its desire to modify its longstanding deal with fans and creators.
“We wanted to address those attempting to use D&D in Web3, blockchain games, and NFTs,” Wizards of the Coast had written in a blog post weeks ago.
Now, the firm has abandoned all plans to update its Open Game License and will publish D&D content included in its System Reference Document under a “open and irrevocable” Creative Commons license.
Wizards of the Coast changed its mind after seeing the early results of a poll about the proposed changes. D&D fans voted against the upcoming license update by a large majority. About 86% of those who answered were “dissatisfied with the draft [virtual tabletop] policy,” which said that derivative NFTs from third-party creators were not allowed.
“We wanted to limit the OGL to [tabletop role-playing games],” Wizards of the Coast wrote in a blog post. “With this new approach, we are setting that aside and counting on your choices to define the future of play.”
Web3 comes out on top
Because of the coming ban on NFTs, Web3 gaming company Gripnr stopped using the Open Game License for its upcoming project The Glimmering, which is a blockchain-based tabletop game that will use the Ethereum sidechain Polygon. The company is thinking about what to do next.
Radney-MacFarland said that it is possible for Gripnr to go back to utilizing the Open Game License or to use D&D content that will be in the new Creative Commons document. He also said that Gripnr is looking at game licenses being made by other companies, like Paizo, which makes Pathfinder, a game that competes with D&D. Gripnr could also make its own game.
Even though most of the backlash wasn’t about NFTs, it seems that Web3’s creators are unharmed by the licensing drama that took the tabletop gaming community by storm.