On The Merger of RPGnow & DriveThruRPG

Last Thrusday all of the vendors at RPGnow.com and DriveThruRPG.com, the two largest online retailers for downloadable gaming products, sent received a letter telling us of some very big news: These two sites, up to this moment competitors, had merged into one joint company, OneBookShelf, Inc. On Friday the news was made public via a press release to all news mediums. I had been waiting to comment here since I wanted an official press release to come out (so I’d be sure I wouldn’t be releasing info before its time) and because I wanted to have a couple of days to mull it all over.


In one fell swoop, my two bigger sales outlets had combined to make my life so much easier it wasn’t even remotely funny. Furthermore, the third of my online retailers, the EN World Game Store, closed its doors and reemerged as an affiliate mirror of RPGnow, as did a mirror store for RPG.net. That means that my top 3 sites are all now united under one umbrella company that makes me selling at any other site an almost ridiculous proposition.

Under the new merger, my catalog gets crosslisted at both RPGnow and DriveThruRPG, and by consecuence at ENWorld and any other affiliate mirror. That means I only have to concentrate on adding products to one database, and more important, track sales from one database. Actually, this last one is not quite there yet, as DriveThru sales get tracked through their own site for the time being. In 6 months’ time more or less we should see a new storefront that will absorb the two current sites and incorporate the best of each plus some new features. The downside to this whole deal is that my vendor fees will be increased across the board as of Dec. 1st, a little less if I become an exclusive vendor.

In the various industry and fan boards there is a lot of furor about the new merger, the fee hike and all that will come from it. Some vendors who stand to lose a pretty penny by the fee hike have voiced their concern and of course we have heard some of the expected doomsayers tell people how this is the end of the downloadable RPG industry.

I’ve read quite a few of the threads and have kept up with the posts and news developing. After having mulled this over, my opinion of the merger remains the same: this is one of the most amazing things to occur to our industry and I fully believe it will help us move into a whole new level and into a new era. Let me state that again: I like the merger, think it is a grand idea, fully support the new company and look forward to an exciting future. Yes, I have some concerns, and yes, I fully expect growing pains that will need to be addressed and dealth with when the time comes. Even with that, even with the higher fee I’ll be charged, I am convinced that only good will come and it will be up to me as a publisher to make the best of it for the future of my company.

Some vendors have officially announced they will be increasing their prices to make up for the fee increase, while others are contemplating the move. For my part, I need to evaluate a couple of things before I decide if Highmoon Media Productions products will see a price increase at all. At the moment, my feeling is that, aside from a couple of products that I could use the opportunity to bring normalize their prices, I won’t be increasing our prices. While it is an option that is always available to us as a company, it’s not one I want to take lightly nor hurriedly.

I quite look forward to the new opportunites that will develop as a result of this merger. This is one of those pivotal points in our industry, and I want to do my part to make sure the results are grand.