This article should be buttressed with a follow up that looks at how other companies are doing it. The monetization schemes each company is using vary quite a bit.

Pathfinder basically let fans do whatever they want, precipitating fans to build a website so complete and crosslinked that it makes the rulebooks obsolete. So now Paizo makes their money off of selling adventures instead of crunch.

Or compare to the approach of Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars system, which if anyone’s keeping track is absolutely the best thing going nowadays, in my opinion. One fan built an entire software suite to manage characters and GMing alike, which is simply amazing, and did it for free. Even people who steal the PDFs of the game and use the software suite to manage their characters need dice, and the dice for FFG:SW are special, loaded with symbols instead of numbers, so fans buy the dice straight from FFG. Or buy a die rolling app for $5 that’s licensed to FFG.

Catalyst took an opposite turn than most other games, which are simplifying and streamlining, by instead making Shadowrun 5th Edition so goddamn complicated building an optimized character takes days and a deep understanding of Excel. So instead they sell modules for HeroLab. A player with stolen PDF rulebooks, of which there are dozens, buys a module for each rulebook just so the processes and procedures in the game are automated. It’s about the only way to keep track of all the modifiers … unless someone throws a grenade in a hallway in which case you still probably need a calculus textbook to resolve the attack.

The new Wrath and Glory system for Warhammer 40k’s business model is obvious, because it’s the same as all other Games Workshop models. Convince the players to buy really expensive and over priced miniatures.

So each company is attacking monetization in a very different way, and it’s fascinating to watch develop.

Conscientious objector to the culture war. I think a lot. mirror: www.freakoutery.com writer at: www.opensourcedefense.org beggar at: www.patreon.com/bjcampbell

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