date: Apr 20, 2007 10:47 AM
subject: Hurt by the Cancellation of Dragon / Dungeon Magazines
I will be sending a paper copy of this letter as well, but I wanted to make sure this was received quickly.
I want to let you know that I am stunned, angry, and hurt that you are planning to discontinue Dragon and Dungeon magazines -- and I feel that this is a very bad move both for Wizards of the Coast, and for the gaming community at large.
D&D is the flagship of tabletop RPGs, and always has been -- and its support magazines are vital to the gaming community. Even in the pre-3e days when I wouldn't play D&D, I would still regularly buy the magazines. Being on magazine racks and in bookstores, Dragon and Dungeon are the face of gaming as a whole that is seen by the general public -- who will not be going to the Wizards website, and most assuredly not be subscribing to the website content. By removing this from the public eye, you make gaming (which is already a niche market) even MORE obscure. How can this possibly grow the hobby -- and with it your business?
I suggest you peruse the WotC, Paizo, and ENWorld message boards if you have not already done so, to see just how personal a connection these magazines have for people. For many, myself included, Dragon magazine in particular was their introduction to D&D and to roleplaying games generally. Even before I bought my first gaming product, I was reading issues of Dragon that I managed to get from my older brother or my friends' older brothers.
A website is a passive communication channel -- it depends on people coming to you. Magazines are active -- they reach out. I won't begin to talk about the profit or lack thereof involved in the magazines, because I don't have the numbers. I have read that Erik Mona says the magazines were in the black, and that should be more than enough. Because the magazines are not a revenue stream, they are a marketing channel! People are PAYING YOU TO GIVE THEM YOUR ADVERTISEMENT, for crying out loud. By all rights, the magazines should be considered an expense, and yet they're making a profit. You would throw that away? I'm flabbergasted!
Even if I were inclined to pay for exclusive online content (which I emphatically am NOT), I would not take part in this vague "electronic initiative" that Dragon and Dungeon are being killed to make room for. My remaining subscription credit will instead go to Paizo's "Pathfinder" series, which is the closest thing I see to a true successor to Dragon and Dungeon. If and when Dragon and Dungeon return, you'll get my business again -- but not before.
On top of everything else, Dragon and Dungeon have a history that should be honored, not simply thrown away on the whim of an "electronic publishing" fad. I hope it doesn't fall on deaf ears when I say that owning the rights to "Dungeons and Dragons" is not merely "managing a brand" -- but that it makes you heirs to a legacy. Long-term, "hard core" gamers -- your best, highest-paying customers -- have a love for the game and its traditions, and to simply decide one day that those traditions are old hat is a slap in the face.
Please reverse this ill-advised course of action as soon as possible. I can easily believe that you did not realize just how negative a reaction this would get, nor how personally the gaming community might take it. But as I have said elsewhere, this feels like you've killed an old friend of mine.
Thank you for your time.
-John "The Gneech" Robey