D&D - History and Growth
(edit: the following rant is not directly related to the linked article, I was just inspired to rant).)
The question has been bandied about as to whether or not Hasborg is ripping off gamers by cranking out more and more books for D&D in an ongoing succession of editions. To play devil's advocate, I'll say why not.
Gamers have always been
But if all of these new books were merely to gouge gamers, would a customer base of arguably higher than average intelligence continue to mindlessly buy whatever came off the presses? When Hasbro acquired WotC, 3e was only a few months away, which means Hasbro wasn't the impetus behind the new edition.
What about 3.5? Well we could certainly be cynical regarding this "patch", but how many people stuck to 3 over 3.5? There were valid fixes and improvements made to the game, and 3.5 flourished well enough that WotC cranked out over 8,000 pages of material for it, but also really drove the d20 industry that started in 3e.
Is that to say that all of those 8,000 pages were "quality"? No, some material rang of "this is a neat idea, let's use it to fill pages in this book." But catering to this customer base is difficult especially when you consider the varied tastes of gamers. But regardless, it would be counter-productive of WotC/Hasbro to publish material merely to milk some cash from gamers. I think that any product they put out they hope will attract enough of a following to garner future purchases, because cranking out thousands of pages does no good if a spurned gaming community leaves them gathering dust on shelves.
While I don't agree with all of the design philosophies in 4e and I do think it was business motivated, I don't think it was part of an evil conspiracy to screw us over. Not only was 3.5 bloated from raw material put out, it had suffered a power bloat as classes and options in each successive book were cool enough to warrant purchasing the book. It was also counter-productive to bringing in new players. Buying a Player's Handbook didn't seem that much, but if everyone else at the table was using the full array of Complete X books suddenly it became much more daunting to be competitive.
Hasbro is a business, and in the case of Wizards it stays in business by selling product. Does that obligate us to buy every book that comes out just to support them and the game? No. In fact, the best way to make our collective voice heard is to only buy the material we consider to be of quality and use. I'm sure Hasbro is quite aware that not only do we have plenty of avenues to obtain what we need for our hobby, we are quite capable as a community of creating our own content. But I think we should knock off the "hating" until we see how they continue to support the game and at what level of quality.