We caught up with Liz Schuh, Wizards of the Coast Brand Director for Dungeons and Dragons Publishing at the recently concluded GAMA Trade Show (see 'GAMA Trade Show Ends on Up Note'), to talk about WotC's decision to end the long run of print issues of Dragon and Dungeon (see ''Dragon' and 'Dungeon' Magazines to End') and move the content to the Web. Here's what she said.
I think the question everyone wants to hear directly from you, is why you made the decision to end the printed magazine and do a Web project instead.
Sure, it certainly is a question that a lot of people are asking. We really see this as an evolution in the magazine. It's something that you see happening quite a bit. The magazines are 30 years old, and a lot has changed in 30 years. There are a lot more eyeballs on the Web. We look at our own Website, and we have over 13 million unique visitors in a year. That's a lot of eyeballs; that's a pretty powerful way to reach people.
We really see it an evolution of delivery system more than anything. It doesn't mean that all of the great content and columns and all of the news is going away. We're just delivering it in a more timely, and we think, a more convenient fashion for people.
Why are the two channels mutually exclusive--why couldn't you do both?
That's a good question. We really just feel at this point that the Web is a better delivery system than a printed magazine.
What's the specific Dragon content that's going to be moved to Web or expanded on the Web?
You'll see lots of the sort of things that you've seen over the past 30 years. Within our staff at Wizards, we have lots and lots of folks who started their careers working on Dragon and Dungeon. We have people who were former Editors-in-Chief, so we've got a deep history at Wizards with those magazines, and in addition to just the staff, they grew up reading the magazines. You're going to see a lot of the same sort of thing and some new stuff as well.
Is there going to be a specific Dragon or Dungeon area of the site, or is it just going to be part of the umbrella Website?
We're still working out a lot of the details of the plan, but yes, it's a very good chance that you'll see specific areas of the site that have familiar content.
I'm sure there are probably five or 10 people out there who are Luddites* who prefer the portability or the experience of reading a print rather than on the Web, what do you say to them?
I think it's important to note that we're not moving away from printed product at Wizards. That is going to remain the bedrock of our business, it always has been, and it always will be. We're going to put out lots and lots of printed products. For people who prefer ink on paper, they'll always have a wide variety of choices.
The magazine had a monthly cycle. Is there going to be any aspect of that, or will it just be content put up as it's created, or a daily or weekly cycle?
I can't really speak to the frequency to which things will come out, but I think it's safe to say that it will be more frequent rather than less frequent.
Anything else you want to say?
Basically, we're excited about our plans for the future, we can't talk a whole lot about anything beyond the end of this year yet, but we will. So we're just asking everyone to be patient with us and to stay tuned for more information.
*Note from the interviewer:
The Luddite phrasing was tongue in cheek. We consider ourselves sympathetic to those that prefer print, but think that some people view those who prefer print as Luddites who are standing in the way of progress. We wanted to throw that question out there in that way to see what kind of reaction we'd get. Both Schuh and we were very aware that the context for that question was that the announcement got a big reaction that was far more than that of a few Luddites.