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Will FF release PDFs of this game?


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#1 Dustin

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

I know this topic got brought up before about them not being able to release Star Wars products in PDF form because of Lucas films not allowing it, but then they released those characters, adventure and even updates to the Beta game in PDFs.

So, are things changing? Will this mean I can get this book to read on my iPad?



#2 LethalDose

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

Dustin said:

I know this topic got brought up before about them not being able to release Star Wars products in PDF form because of Lucas films not allowing it, but then they released those characters, adventure and even updates to the Beta game in PDFs.

So, are things changing? Will this mean I can get this book to read on my iPad?

There have been no announcements about releasing the game material or rules in other media formats.

FFG almost certainly will not release electronic copies of this game because it would reduce sales at brick-and-mortar stores.  They have stated they want to provide as much support to these stores as they reasonably can.  There may also be license issues.

I would say we don't need new threads about this, but I don't think anyone has started complaining about the lack of a digital/electronic option here in the new forums yet.

-WJL


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#3 Dustin

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

Has the release of PDFs for the 40K games hurt their sales?



#4 mouthymerc

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:05 PM

Pdfs fall under Lacusarts electronic licensing. Unless FFG also negotiated something there will be no release of any of the books in pdf. WotC had to do the same thing. Support material, such as the adventure and extra characters are allowed though.


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#5 LethalDose

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:40 PM

Dustin said:

 

Has the release of PDFs for the 40K games hurt their sales?

 

 

Every PDF sold by FFG's electronic distribution (I'm not familiar with DriveThru RPG) is a copy that another vendor definitely won't sell in hardback, so yes, I'd say it has hurts their sales.  It may not be major, but it is lost revenue.  I don't know what their sales figures are for the 40K products, but I'd be shocked if all the sales from the 40K lines together come anywhere near to what the volume of sales on the Star Wars products will be.  Therefore, the PDFs would have much larger impact on the brick-and-mortar stores than 

The comment about supporting the local stores by FFG was in response to a question about the possibility of a subscription model for the monthly LCG products at the in-flight report last GenCon, and not directly in reference to the PDF question.  However, I do think that the policy would be completely applicable to the PDF model as it is for the direct-to-consumer LCG subscription model.  

Pick whatever reason you prefer to hear: LucasArts won't allow for PDFs distrubtion as per the license agreement, or PDF distribution doesn't mesh with FFG's business goals.  

It doesn't really matter, because either way, there's no reason to expect a PDF purchase option for the Edge of the Empire Core product at this time.

-WJL


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#6 Azrael Macool

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:35 PM

I could be wrong, but as I understand it they can release free pdfs, but they can't charge for them due to a licensing issue. Which means probably we'll see plenty of errata, and maybe adventures and such, bit that's about it.

#7 x13phantom

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:55 PM

The true answer is only FFG and Lucas know for certain what thier agreement entails.



#8 fjw70

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:03 AM

I understand the barriers to releasing an electronic version of the game, but unfortunately the lack of a pdf is keeping me from getting into the game.  I do most of my session prep during lunch at work and have no desire to lug my gaming material into the office. 

Maybe under Disney's leadership LFL will have a change of heart on the electronic books thing.  You never know, WotC is finally back into the PDF business.



#9 Dustin

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:07 AM

Thanks for the info. I hope they do. I will still buy the book, regardless, but I have a few reasons why I want a PDF.

I brought up 40K because I figured if those stingy jerks at Games Workshop would agree to do PDFs, I figured anyone would (lol)



#10 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:14 AM

fjw70 said:

I understand the barriers to releasing an electronic version of the game, but unfortunately the lack of a pdf is keeping me from getting into the game.  I do most of my session prep during lunch at work and have no desire to lug my gaming material into the office. 

Maybe under Disney's leadership LFL will have a change of heart on the electronic books thing.  You never know, WotC is finally back into the PDF business.

One can certainly hope.

As for PDFs hurting hardcopy sales, there's been talk on both sides of the argument that the other is wrong.  I know quite a lot of folks, myself included, that tend to purchase both the PDF and hardcopy of an item, particularly the corebook(s) of a system we really enjoy.

I also think that a lot of the bigger gaming publishers take into account that the option of PDFs is going to cut into their potential sales of hardcopy versions of a game.  Ideally, it'd be great for those companies if the customers bought one of each, but with today's economy still being sluggish compared to what it was, most folks are going with one option or the other, with PDFs tending to be the option chosen due to a lower price tag and the proliferation of e-readers and tablets making carrying a whole bunch of PDFs a lot easer than lugging around a bunch of hardcopy books, particularly for more prolific game lines like just about any edition of D&D, Shadowrun, or WEG's version of Star Wars.

I know with WotC they had a whole big scare a while back about online piracy of their PDFs (mostly around 4e material that was showing up on filesharing sites before the books' official street date), and from what I've heard most of what they're selling are old, out-of-print material for pre-3rd edition stuff.

So who knows, maybe Disney will be willing to loosen the reins a bit and let FFG sell PDF versions of their Star Wars RPG books.  I for one would gladly buy both the PDF and hardcopy version.


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#11 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:18 AM

Dustin said:

I figured if those stingy jerks at Games Workshop would agree to do PDFs, I figured anyone would (lol)

As my understanding of the "no Star Wars PDFs for sale" thing goes, it's not a case of LucasFilm not wanting to do PDF sales, it's just the problem that the way the company is set-up such things fall under the purview of a different branch, and thus require a separate contract for e-publishing rights on an already pricy license.  For most RPG companies (most of whow aren't raking in quite as much money as some folks might think), having to pay a separate set of licensing fees is too much for them to bear.

Again, hopefully with LucasFilm now being owned by Disney, perhaps there will be some corporate streamlining and e-publishing rights for RPG materials will be included in the RPG licensing contract at some point down the road.


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#12 WildKnight

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:40 AM

With due respect to the owners of FLGs…

Withholding PDF versions of games to force people to go to FLGs just doesn't make sense.  For starters, because of the price, many gamers simply will not be able to buy many table top RPGs at full price.  I know all of the arguments, $60 isn't that much vs. the price of a video game, etc…  but the reality is that I am a husband and father of two kids, and a growing percentage of the gaming community are grown folk not young bucks with loads of disposable income.  It is 100% true that a savings of $10 or 15 might very well mean the difference between buying the book or not at all.

Then there's the fact that even with only releasing physical product, FLGs still can't compete in price with Amazon, so they're not being "saved" by forcing people to buy real paper books, even if those people have access to an FLG…  and many do not. 

I don't know what's happened in other areas, but where I live there used to be half a dozen or more gaming shops within easy driving distance, and a dozen more if I was willing to hop on a freeway and go a little further (no more than a half hour drive).  I was often willing to make those trips when looking for an anticipated product, when it was my only option.  Now there are far fewer options, two within a short distance and maybe half a dozen in total.  The ones that have survived are almost universally getting by on their relationships with customers and the "extras" they offer (card tournaments, open gaming sessions, game demos, and so on). 

It's noble to say that "we support FLGs" but those brick and mortar stores are going to continue shrinking in number regardless.  All that happens when a game company tries to force it's consumers to go through certain channels is less sales overall for the company, more sales for Amazon, and more dead trees (if you're one to care about that sort of thing).  I would, frankly, be entirely shocked if refusing to release PDFs has resulted in more than a handful of additional sales for brick and mortar shops and honestly am more inclined to believe that it's a defense against piracy than that anyone really believes the practice saves FLGs.



#13 aramis

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:38 AM

WildKnight said:

 

I would, frankly, be entirely shocked if refusing to release PDFs has resulted in more than a handful of additional sales for brick and mortar shops and honestly am more inclined to believe that it's a defense against piracy than that anyone really believes the practice saves FLGs.

 

 

The Beta was pirated in PDF (OCR'd, no less) by week 9. One of my players commented about it. And that is without it having been released in PDF.

Almost all of WEG is available in pirate PDF.



#14 WildKnight

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:51 AM

aramis said:

WildKnight said:

 

I would, frankly, be entirely shocked if refusing to release PDFs has resulted in more than a handful of additional sales for brick and mortar shops and honestly am more inclined to believe that it's a defense against piracy than that anyone really believes the practice saves FLGs.

 

 

The Beta was pirated in PDF (OCR'd, no less) by week 9. One of my players commented about it. And that is without it having been released in PDF.

Almost all of WEG is available in pirate PDF.

 

I'm well aware that things that aren't available on PDF get pirated, but the extra step required and the typically low quality of the PDFs is perceived by many to reduce the amount of piracy that occurs.

I didn't say it was a good reason…  just that it's a more sensible reason than protecting brick and mortar stores.

(Unrelated, but what does "OCR'd" mean?  I'm not very tech savvy)



#15 LethalDose

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:13 AM

WildKnight said:

It's noble to say that "we support FLGs" but those brick and mortar stores are going to continue shrinking in number regardless.  All that happens when a game company tries to force it's consumers to go through certain channels is less sales overall for the company, more sales for Amazon, and more dead trees (if you're one to care about that sort of thing).  I would, frankly, be entirely shocked if refusing to release PDFs has resulted in more than a handful of additional sales for brick and mortar shops and honestly am more inclined to believe that it's a defense against piracy than that anyone really believes the practice saves FLGs.

These are all very valid points about why FLGS support is not the reason that FFG will not offer PDFs.  Piracy defense is also another very good reason that FFG won't offer and electronic version the core SWRPG. 

I've been trying to find a way to state this simply, and what I think it comes down to is:

"FFG is not stupid."

FFG knows that there is a demand for game material presented in an electronic format.   Everyone in the game industry knows this, especially following the rampant piracy of WotC's d20 material online.  So if FFG thought they could make money by selling SWRPG PDFs, then they would sell SWRPG PDFs.  So either they can't do it, or they won't do it because they don't expect to make money at it.

FFG has not announced that they will produce EotE PDFs for sale.  And following the "FFG isn't stupid" line of logic, I think its safe to presume they have at least one good reason for not selling electronic copies at this time.  If they were going to, I can't imagine why they would keep a lid on it prior to launch.  Maybe they'll wait a few weeks after reelase and say "yeah, now we'll do PDFs, too"  Who knows.  But the fact is they still haven't announced it, so there's no reason to expect PDFs at launch.

It reminds me of Curly's speech in City Slickers.  Watch this clip and in your head hear the words "why FFG won't sell PDFs" everytime they say "Secret of life."

-WJL

PS OCR = "Optical Character Recognition" Its software scanners use to find text in scanned documents.  It lets the scans become documents with selectable texts instead of just images of text.


"All models are wrong, but some models are useful."  - George E. P. Box


#16 WildKnight

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:17 AM

Thanks for the answer about OCR.

While I believe that the PDF format can be a viable way for RPG companies to make money, I'm not adamant that they release them.  I do prefer the convenience of being able to take my game library on my tablet (particularly at conventions), but it's not a deal breaker.  Price, however, is.  Luckily, you can usually get a book for a fair bit less than the MSRP on Amazon.



#17 fjw70

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:23 AM

LethalDose said:

I've been trying to find a way to state this simply, and what I think it comes down to is:

"FFG is not stupid."

I can neither confirm nor deny this.  I don't know them.  :)



#18 WildKnight

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:39 AM

I don't know them either, but I'm not sure I buy the argument that releasing PDFs qualifies as "stupid."



#19 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:15 AM

One other element pertaining to this question is that this very same question was asked of FFG during their GenCon2012 seminar.

And the answer was "our licensing contract with LucasFilm does not permit the sale of PDFs."  This was also well before the announcment that LucasFilm was being sold to Disney, though only an utter fool would think that FFG was totally unaware of the sale being on the table if not already in process at the time they made arrangements for the Star Wars gaming license.

At this point, FFG's best bet to be able to produce PDFs for sale of their Star Wars line would be when their license comes up for renewal.  From paying attention to when WotC's own license came up for renewal, each time they tried to get electronic media (namely, PDFS) of their products included in the license, but each time the way LucasFilm was organized (book rights being one brance, electronic media being another) prevented such a thing.  Maybe FFG will have better luck.  But until that point, which is at least a few years away, I doubt FFG will be selling PDF versions of their Star Wars books, as whatever proceeds could be generated would pale in comparison to the legal fees and repercussions of breaking the terms of their license agreement.


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#20 Caine Hazen

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:52 AM

LethalDose said:

These are all very valid points about why FLGS support is not the reason that FFG will not offer PDFs.  Piracy defense is also another very good reason that FFG won't offer and electronic version the core SWRPG. 

And then I look around and see the other game companies that not only keep producing PDFs and realize that this argument is entirely invalid.  Some of them even give their PDFs away for free and yet people still buy the hard copy.  Like it's been stated, the reason come simply down to Lucas Licensing and they byzantian rukes and regs.






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