@Gabe and @Chris: very insightful summaries of what's going on. Of course I didn't mean to say that killing off franchises is their actual endgame. It's just a cynical take on their naïve and blind greed burning down years of players adopting their systems because of its openness.
Apparently the guys responsible for Pathfinder are working with a bunch of other companies to create a system entirely separate from DnD. Hoping it comes to fruition (and is good), WotC is purged of this insanity and Hasbro dies in agony.
Honestly I blame Hasbro. They make very poor financial decisions based around jumping on current popularity and trends, rather than getting ahead of the curve. They buy high and sell low. Incompetence at its finest.
(pt3) retroactively change the terms. That won't hold up in court, but it can screw content creators from this date on. So if you had a million dollar selling product last year, WotC might put in a claim on any income you make this year. And you are expected to self report!
(pt2) their Open Game License that gave others the right to make content for their game. The OGL benefitted D&D by making sure a constant stream of content was generated without their investment, but still incentivized customers to buy their official product. Now the new agreement attempts to (pt3)
The difference between GW and Hasbro is that GW hates the idea of anyone that isn't paying them making content with their IP. GW are control freaks, and they slayed the golden goose of free advertising. Hasbro made poor financial decisions and is now squeezing WotC for cash. So WotC changed (pt1)
@Lulzy: The entertainment industry is a venture-capitalist system that incentivizes short-term profits to please the investors, where it's never "be successful", but "be more successful than last year", which they can only keep up by fleecing their audience for more and more money. Capitalism, baby!
@Lulzy: No, the companies, and their bigger company overlords, hate not being able to monetize the crap out of their IPs, because they're publicly traded and they need to show bigger and bigger numbers during each quarterly to please the shareholders.
@Emtu The danger is what the future changes are going to be. The classic "Pray I do not change our deal further," situation. Imagine you make content for D&D, then D&D steals your content and publishes it. Then sues you for having THEIR content on your website, because they claim they can.
Wizards of the Coast's new CEO decided that D&D was under-monetized, and sought to profit off the work of people making content for D&D, as well as an irrevocable license to that content without having pay the creator for it.
Distributing created content for profit was the issue, not creating it. No matter how restrictive the license agreement, nobody is going to go after you for creating custom content if you have no intention of distributing it.