Dungeons & Dragons publisher completely backs down from controversial license changes

Dungeons & Dragons Rules Expansion Gift Set
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast is backing off from its controversial plans to change how its license works, publishing the entire 5.1 SRD under the Creative Commons license.

We have a big explainer on the D&D OGL controversy if you want more information, but in short, Wizards of the Coast publishes Dungeons & Dragons under what it calls the Open Game License. OGL 1.0a essentially allows anyone to publish content that's derivative of D&D's ruleset. But in January, leaks and then Wizards itself revealed plans for a new license, called OGL 1.2, that would replace the old one.

The response from fans was fast, loud, and brutal, as Wizards was suddenly changing a cornerstone of D&D that had been in place for over two decades in a way that would seemingly benefit only itself.

In response to the outcry, the publisher started officially asking for feedback (opens in new tab) on OGL 1.2 on January 19, with plans to keep the line of communication with fans open until February 3. But that line is already being shut down, as the company is completely backing off from its plans to change the license.

As explained in a new blog post (opens in new tab): "We are leaving OGL 1.0a in place, as is. Untouched. We are also making the entire SRD 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license. You choose which you prefer to use."

You can see that Creative Commons version of the SRD here (opens in new tab). "This Creative Commons license makes the content freely available for any use. We don't control that license and cannot alter or revoke it. It's open and irrevocable in a way that doesn't require you to take our word for it."

Wizards parent Hasbro recently made layoffs, but the D&D publisher showed "strong growth".

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.