Wizards of the Coast stops all PDF sales

Yesterday RPGNow announced that WotC has notified them that they no longer are allowed to sell or distribute WotC’s PDF products. That means even if you have purchased WotC PDF products over RPGNow you can’t download them again after April 7th. Today I received an email from Paizo informing me that Wizards has asked them to stop distribution of their PDF products, too.

There was some discussion on Twitter tonight about the reasons why Wizards of the Coast should cease all sales of PDF products until Fred Hicks provided us with an interesting link. And obviously they played the piracy card again. I think I’ve must have heard that somewhere before…

And I am pretty sure that’s not the real reason. Over 20% of all legal PDF sales are WotC products! Over 20%, that’s a lot. So what’s the problem with that. You’ll always have piracy even if you don’t sell the books in digital format. There are a lot of illegal scanned books floatng around on the net. So you don’t need a digital version of the book in order to distribute it over a P2P network. And I am pretty sure that this announcement will not end piracy of D&D products.

So, what’s the real reason? There may be several reasons, why Wizards slaps into the face of the customer again:

  1. Killing the competition
    They want to create their own online distribution shop, and before they do so, they want to make sure noone else sells their stuff. And even if that’s the case, they dropped the ball again!
  2. Removing all older edition material from the shops
    Perhaps they are less then happy with the fact that some of those pesky customers prefer older editions instead of buying their shiny new 4th edition. Books are aleady out-of-print, but PDFs were still available… until now!

Whatever the real reason is, it has nothing to do with piracy. Period! This excuse didn’t work for the music industry, the movie industry or the computer game industry. But it’s easy to tell the public that the evil software/music/pdf pirates are responsible when you just want to kick your customers into the proverbial nuts!