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Eddy Webb, I Envy You

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I would love to have a career in the Hobby Gaming industry. The sole reason why I started Highmoon Media Productions and the podcasts was to build credits and “get my name out there.”  It’s turned out that I’ve greatly enjoyed doing what I do, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want a more steady kind of job for a gaming company.

I’ve been a huge fan of White Wolf games for years, and during the late 90s/early 2000s these were THE de-facto games played at my home, with Vampire and Changeling holding court as royal consorts. Thus why for the longest time my dream gaming job was at White Wolf, doing heavens-knows-what, but doing it at White Wolf. These days I’m a bit out of touch with their games (the reset hit me hard, even if I greatly enjoy the new World of Darkness), but yeah, that freehold in Atlanta still holds a certain charm for me.Which leads me to the title of this post.

If there is one person right now in the gaming industry whose job I thoroughly envy, that person would be Eddy Webb, Director of Alternative Publishing for White Wolf/CCP North America. Why, you ask? Because what that somewhat-vague title means is that Eddy is the guy who’s in charge of dealing with all new and emergent ways of publishing/marketing the products at White Wolf, from practically-mainstream-by-now PDF publishing to the new (and really good) White Wolf Blogcast hosted by Eddy himself (basically everything beyond Gutenberg’s legacy).

As you probably know, I do The Digital Front Podcast (no, it hasn’t podfaded and yes, it will return sometime this year), a show I started precisely because I am a part of that Alternative Publishing field via Highmoon Games, and because the subject interests me to no end, even if I have trouble keeping up with all the latest developments. It is these alternative publishing methods that allowed me and hundreds like me to get our gaming projects out there via PDF, that allowed the rise of the indie games movement thanks to Print on Demand, that created a whole new class of media with blogging and podcasting, and that stands poised to give us the very next awesome development in the way games are produced, distributed and consumed (I offer the iPhone and Kindle as two common examples). And being in charge of getting the most out of this explosion in the service of his company and the gamut of great games they put out, that’s Eddy’s job!

So Eddy, when I say I envy you it’s because, as I see it, you have the coolest job in the industry right now, and from what I’ve seen coming out from White Wolf in the AP department, you are doing it hella-well. Be forewarned, as soon as I am able to get The Digital Front back up and running, I’m gunning for you as a guest. Expect that email sometime down the line.

Catching Up: Dave Arneson & Gaming PDFs

April 12, 2009 4 comments

Over the last few days, while I’ve been celebrating Passover, some big events have occured in the gaming world.

First of all, Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away late Tuesday, April 7. I made a post about wanting to know more about Dave on Wednesday, as I was finalizing my preparations for Passover, only to have the confirmation of his death hit the gaming world later that day. I have been gathering posts in a “To Read” bookmarks folder so that I can learn a bit more about Dave before I sit down and record a short special podcast episode, much as I did when Gary Gygax passed away last year.

What most hits me about Dave’s passing is that I have been reminded of how ignorant I am of the history of this hobby that I continually seek to make my business in some way, shape or form. Over the last year we have lost a handful of early luminaries in the hobby gaming field — Gary Gygax, Erick Wujcik and Dave Arneson being but three names that immediately come to mind — and really, aside from the fact that Gary and Dave made D&D, and Erick made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game, I know little to nothingabout their history in our hobby, and what their true legacy is. This is a very young field, barely past a generation in age, and yet we have no formal history documents while we have already begun to lose the early pioneers. Something needs to be done soon.

The thing that I’m most bothered about relates to the second set of big news, Wizards of the Coast’s decision to pull all PDFs from all sales outlets. Thanks to that, I cannot get any old Dave Arneson products to read and have for posterity. Thanks, WotC.

The whole Wizards PDF thing has me aching to sit down and record an episode of The Digital Front Podcast, but at the moment I simply do not have the time for personal/family reasons. I have been catching up on the industry’s reaction to that bonehead maneuver by offering a number of sales on PDF products. Some retailers have thrown a tizzy over the PDF sales, but at least one publisher (ah, Nicole, I know I can always count on you) has fired back, and another retailer has flat-out stated why PDFs are good for his brick-n-mortar store.

Perhaps once I am done dealing with my current family issue I’ll have time to properly digest all the information that has come out and perhaps pull in one or two guests to record a show on the topic (in fact, I am looking forward to). In the meantime, I continue to marvel at WotC’s decisions, hoping they will one day get anything dealing with a digital component right.

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WotC’s New e-News

April 7, 2009 3 comments

Because Passover starts tomorrow night, I don’t really have the time these two news coming out of Wizards of the Coats last night deserve to be fully unpacked, and I especially don’t have time right now to record an episode of The Digital Front Podcast. That said, here are some quick thoughts.

WotC announced that they had sued eight people (in the US, Poland and Philippines) for piracy of their new D&D book, Player’s Handbook 2. Whatever outcome can come out of that, I actually find myself applauding WotC’s decision to file the lawsuits and make a statement and precedent. Piracy is a reality for any media these days, but it is nevertheless a crime, one that needs to be dealt with so that people will begin to associate that downloading a pirated book is the same as stealing it from Borders. If anyone in the Hobby Gaming Industry has the clout and resources to do this, it’s WotC, so I am quite intrigued how this will develop.

Of course, this announcement comes out at the same time as WotC decides to end all sales of their PDF products and to have them pulled from all stores, such as RPGnow.com (see image to the left), DriveThruRPG and Paizo.com. The reason? They cite piracy of their digital products as the reason for this drastic and quite sudden move. The internet is literally aflutter because of this (just check out Twitter and RPGBloggers.com for a sampling), and with good reason: it’s a poor idea.

I hate to point out the obvious, but eliminating PDFs from legitimate download sources only hurts the legitimate customers, the ones sending WotC quite a nice amount of cash on a monthly basis (considering WotC has consistently been one of the Top 3 vendors at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG), not the pirates. They already have copies floating around, and will continue to do so now that WotC has eliminated the legal sources. Add to that the fact that before PDFs were widely available, there were already scanned pirate copies of books running around, and the piracy argument looses steam really fast. This isn’t eldritch lore, folks; it’s business and marketing info that’s out there.

I write all this fully mindful of what happened with one of my previous mentions of WotC in my blog. I stand by it as well.

Of course, let’s not lose sight of this last quote in the news release:

WotC is apparently not ruling out digital delivery of its products using a different format or model. “We are exploring other options for digital distribution of our content,” the spokesperson said.

Considering how poorly the D&D Digital Initiative has been going (to wit: Gleemax cancelled, Character Builder delayed though now operational, Character Visualizer TBA, e-Tabletop Application TBA), bringing in the exclusive distribution of their own digital products makes a ton of business sense, though the way they are going about it is just dismal. It does continue their abysmal performance in the Public Relations arena during the D&D 4e era.

I look forward to more developments, and after Passover I’ll try to sit down and record with whatever info is available at the moment.

The Digital Front Episode 13 – E-Publishing Seminar at Gen Con 2008

December 17, 2008 Comments off

In The Digital Front – Episode 13 we present a recording of the E-Publishing Seminar held at Gen Con 2008, sponsored by DriveThruRPG.com. The host is Steve Wieck of OneBookShelf (owners of DriveThruRPG.com and RPGNow.com), and the panelists are Gareth-Michael Skarka of Adamant Entertainment, Ryan Johnson of Guild of Blades Publishing, and Daniel M. Perez of Highmoon Media Productions. The seminar discusses how to become an e-publisher, a look at the e-publishing market, methods to market your e-products, and some thoughts about the future of the medium.

This episode marks the first anniversary of The Digital Front. Many thanks to everyone who has listened to the show and sent in their feedback, and especially to all my guests so far, without whom there would be no show.

Please feel free to discuss this episode on our forums.

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The Digital Front Episode 12 – Don Dehm of Pulp Gamer



In The Digital Front – Episode 12 we chat with Don Dehm of Pulp Gamer Media Network about the history of Pulp Gamer, from podcast to media network, about podcasting, hobby podcasters and pro podcasters, and the place of podcasts in the gaming industry, past, present and future. We also talk about the Evil Hat Retailer PDF Guarantee, a new program from Evil Hat Productions that allows people who buy their products at a brick-n-mortar store to get a free PDF version as well.


Please feel free to discuss this episode on our forums or call our voicemail line at 206-350-4441.


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The Digital Front Episode 11 – Tom Tullis of Fat Dragon Games

In The Digital Front – Episode 11 we chat with Tom Tullis of Fat Dragon Games about publishing cutout terrain in a downloadable format, moving away from text-based support to more universal products, cardboard modeling for beginners, and about giant earth drills.

Daniel will be at the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas from Tuesday, April 22 through Thursday, April 24, so be sure to email him if you will have time for an interview.

Please feel free to discuss this episode on our forums or call our voicemail line at 206-350-4441.

Links:

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The Digital Front Episode 10 – Mark Clover

This episode is sponsored by RPGnow.com, the leading source of independent roleplaying games.

In The Digital Front – Episode 10 we chat with Mark Clover of Creative Mountain Games about gaming since the 70’s, being an occasional publisher and hyperlinking PDF products to the extreme. Daniel also offers some thoughts on a special promotion Evil Hat Productions ran at a mini-con bringing a PDF product to a brick-n-mortar store to drive pre-order sales of a product.

Please feel free to discuss this episode on our forums or call our voicemail line at 206-350-4441.

Links:

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The Digital Front Episode 09 – Jeremy Smith

This episode is sponsored by RPGnow.com, the leading source of independent roleplaying games.

In The Digital Front – Episode 09 we chat with Jeremy Smith of Dreamscarred Press. Jeremy tells us about being a young company in the field, about targeting a niche within a niche, and about many things psionic in general. Mark then reviews High Psionics Compilation: Volume I from Dreamscarred Press.

Please feel free to discuss this episode on our forums or call our voicemail line at 206-350-4441.

Links:

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The Digital Front Episode 08 – Preston DuBose

February 14, 2008 Leave a comment

This episode is sponsored by RPGnow.com, the leading source of independent roleplaying games.

In The Digital Front – Episode 08 we chat with Preston DuBose, president of 12 to Midnight. Preston put out a PDF called E-Publishing Secrets: The Shocking Truth About Starting Your Own RPG Company, and though it started as a joke, it turned out to be a good list of valuable advice (download the free PDF and follow along!). Mark then reviews Witch Hunter: The Invisible World from Paradigm Concepts.

Please feel free to discuss this episode on our forums or call our voicemail line at 206-350-4441.

Links:

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The Digital Front Episode 07 – Phil Reed

December 19, 2007 Leave a comment

This episode is sponsored by RPGnow.com, the leading source of independent roleplaying games.

In The Digital Front – Episode 07 we chat with Philip J. Reed of Ronin Arts. Phil, a veritable pioneer in the e-distributed gaming market, talks to us about the early days of the PDF market, the heyday of Ronin Arts, the changes brought on by changes in the PDF side of the industry, and what he’s been up to lately. Mark Gedak presents a review of a product by RPG Objects, and we tell you about an AP news article on e-books and niche markets (focusing on our own), about a charity project from 12 to Midnight, and about advertising on The Digital Front Podcast.

Please feel free to discuss this episode on our forums or call our voicemail line at 206-350-4441.

Links:

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