The Miscast Spell: D&D Insider’s Missed Opportunity | The Underwire from Wired.com
Amazon was down early today. So I wasn’t able to check on my pre-order of Dungeons and Dragons. I took a nap. When I woke up it all over twitter and the news that Amazon seriously went down.
But now everything is fine, or so I thought. According to the status of my order page, they’ll ship on the 10th. The 10th!?!?!
But enough about that. There’s nothing I can do anything about that.
In preparation for the 4th edition I checked out the Dungeons and Dragons website and found out about the D&D Insider. It’s a site where you can create your character, create dungeons and even play online.
How on Earth can you play a tabletop game online? Basically it’s a really graphic chat room. The way I see it, it looks more like Second Life but with all of the dice rolling and voice chat. It looks really nice except for the price.
You pay $15 a month in order to play online. As written in a recent Wired article it’s the monthly fees that would be the failure of the system.
In the current web 2.0 economy as I understand it, the economy of the web has changed and the D&D Insider is still basing it’s decisions on the Web 1.0 model (we all know what happened to that).
Not everyone is a hardcore gamer. D&D comes out in the digital age, where most paper and dice players have migrated to a faster paced videogames and even the MMO.
This should be the opportunity to get new and younger players interested in the franchise or even the idea of tabletop gaming. But at $15?? I already spent $100++ on the books alone, in order to play online I still need to pay more? I pay less for my MMO a month. Not to mention it only runs on XP. Sorry mac users, they didn’t think of you. This web based play did not think of you.
The technology is here though. Get together with a bunch of friends on Skype or even a video camera. Share the dungeon maps through an online slide show or through a video camera. Roll the dice on camera. It will work. You may not have the fancy GUI of D&D Insider but you still get to play with your friends online.
What if I only want to play once a week? What if I just want to try it out? $15 may not seem a lot to a working person but what if you’re 12 years old? Now that’s a lot of money.
Wizards of the Coast will have to rethink their approach to the web if they want to get this gamer on their service.