Wizards of the Coast has officially ended plans to update the Open Game License (OGL) for Dungeons and Dragons, following major community backlash. A draft of the planned update for the OGL was initially leaked in early January 2023, and seemingly revealed Wizards of the Coast planned to better monetise the franchise by controlling what creators could profit from.
The community expressed major concerns about ownership of Dungeons & Dragons stories under this OGL, given clauses that would seemingly force them to report any profits made from adjacent content (live streams, independently-released adventures, and other ventures). In response to WoTC plans, members of the community began cancelling their D&D Beyond subscriptions, with a social media campaign drawing thousands of fans to the cause.
Wizards of the Coast subsequently cancelled and pushed back plans to reveal more about this OGL, eventually issuing two separate apologies to fans – a blanket statement that caused more ire, and a personal apology from Dungeons & Dragons executive producer, Kyle Brink.
Brink’s apology directly addressed community concerns, and attempted to reassure the community that the updated OGL would not allow Wizards of the Coast to claim ownership of custom D&D content. It also heralded the arrival of a survey designed to gauge feedback about the new OGL terms.
Of the 15,000 responses received, the feedback was largely negative, according to Wizards of the Coast. This inspired a dramatic rethink of the OGL, which will now remain in place, in its current form.
‘We are leaving OGL 1.0A in place, as is. Untouched,’ Wizards of the Coast confirmed via the D&D Beyond Twitter account. ‘We are also making the entire SRD [System Reference Document] 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license. You choose which you prefer.’
Rather than being limited by strict rules and ownership structures, Dungeons & Dragons players will now have even more creative tools to work with. The move, according to Kyle Brink, was made as a direct result of overwhelming community responses to the OGL survey.
‘These live survey results are clear. You want OGL 1.0a. You want irrevocability. You like Creative Commons. The feedback is in such high volume and its direction is so plain that we’re acting now,’ Brink said in a blog post.
‘We wanted to protect the D&D play experience into the future. We still want to do that with your help. We’re grateful that this community is passionate and active because we’ll need your help protecting the game’s inclusive and welcoming nature.’
Going forward, Wizards of the Coast will be more likely to consider the voices of its fans when planning major changes to the long-running Dungeons & Dragons franchise. As many have pointed out, it’s the players of the game that have made it so popular over the last few decades – and it’s their voices that count most when determining the future of the series.