Rolling the Dice on Piracy

Edward Bowes

Abstract


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Through a single case study utilising archival evidence and a digital artefact review, this research investigates the publisher Wizard of the Coast’s responses to digital piracy via changes to their business model and digital strategy. In response to the loss of revenue via illegally circulated PDF’s of their core content for the roleplaying game system Dungeons and Dragons, Wizard of the Coast stopped the sale of all forms of digital content—restricting the Dungeons and Dragons product to physical copies only. Comparative sales analysis of two editions of Dungeons and Dragons and their competitor Pathfinder, showcases a strong correlation between unrestricted availability of online content and improved sales performance. A further comparison of Wizard of the Coast’s recent digital content platform for Dungeons and Dragons analyses the factors in presenting digital content necessary to encourage a “willingness to pay” in the selected audiences. A combination of a complete content catalogue, personalisation and community features, access to free content samples or tiers, and the continued improvement in service quality are all identified in Wizard of the Coast’s digital platform DnDBeyond, with an increase in physical sales following its debut.


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