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With a new edition of D&D releasing next year (5e) what will happen to the online content for 4e?

Will wizards continue to offer subscription services for 4th edition support, make those services public or stop them entirely?

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I don't think anyone that isn't a WotC employee knows for sure, but I find it hard to believe that they'd stop taking in subscription fees for content they've already published. – valadil Jan 9 '12 at 21:43
Does this mean that now is a good time to buy a 1 month pass, and download all the content cause no new content will be made for 4e? – GMNoob Jan 11 '12 at 11:53
@GMNoob I wouldn't count on no new content for 4e (without looking at any release schedules), it seems like they are going to continue to support it for a little while at least. (Also 5e isn't coming out for a while) – wax eagle Jan 11 '12 at 12:55
up vote 20 down vote accepted

Post #15 in the discussion thread for the Legends and Lore article that announced 5e:


We plan to continue offering people access to tools such as the D&D Character Builder and D&D Monster Builder to support 4th Edition. We are exploring ideas for conversion tools so some of your 4th Edition characters and content will be playable with the next iteration of D&D but it’s too early to say what we will be able to provide.

// Addendum. Apparently the original statement was made by Mike Mearls in an The Escapist interview and WotC_Trevor only echoed it:

[...] The announcement of a new D&D doesn't mean that 4th edition is now a lame duck. Wizards recognizes that the game still has a very loyal following, and pledges to continue supporting 4th edition during the testing cycle of the new edition and beyond. "We plan to continue offering people access to tools like the D&D Character Builder and the D&D Monster Builder to support 4th edition," Mearls said. "We're also exploring ideas for conversion tools so that some of the 4th edition characters and content will be playable with the next edition." In other words, Wizards vows it's not replacing 4th edition, but merely adding another layer of rules that will cater to the people unhappy with the latest edition's changes. [...]

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On the topic of #ddi: We plan to continue to offer the tools to support 4E. And we're exploring ideas for conversion tools for #dndnext

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Theoretically they can continue to offer support for 4E and 4E-related DDI offerings indefinitely. Practically, it costs them every month they do continue. Despite all plans they say they have, I think we will have to assume that they will only be able to support 4E up to the release of 5E. After that point, continuing support for 4E would, while generating good will, only serve to compete with their new product.

Practially we can only hope for devoted fans to take up the task, as with the updated versions of the offline character builder. Since the actual implementation of the online char builder is not quite state-of-the-art, this might even be an improvement. One can hope...

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"Practically, it costs them every month they do continue" -- it also brings in from $10 to $15 per DDI subscriber. That is likely to be a significant percentage of the profit off of a hardback sale. Each month. So keeping DDI around seems profitable, at least unless 5e also has DDI-like stuff AND they choose to make a single subscription fee pay for both. If something makes the 4e tools "expensive" to keep alive, like say Microsoft's Silverlight stops working then I would expect WOTC to not put money in to fix that sort of thing (not after 5e is out). – Stripes Aug 21 '12 at 20:12
My answer was written under the assumption that DDI would stay and its content would shift to 5e. – Mala Sep 2 '12 at 7:40

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