I've written about this before, but I was reading an interview with Monte Cook that not only brought it to mind again but also confirmed some of my worst suspicions about editions of D&D under WoTC. The article was lamenting the early and in their opinion unnecessary release of 3.5.
What Monte says is that 3.5 was released way too early. He says 3.5 was scheduled to be released in 2005. And that is when it hit me.
2005?! That was only 5 years after D&D 3e! And they were already planning on releasing a new edition. The interview also says that the basic model follows a thought that once they release all of the core books and available splat books, it's time for a new edition. They didn't follow this model with 3e and they assume, it is because they didn't want to revise everything in the planned 3.5 release.
Now I know that some of this interview can be ascribed to bitterness on the part of Monte, that his edition wasn't given a fair shake. That the new edition was released too soon. But even so the official plans were a max run of 5 years! Which means right from the start there was a five year business model for producing D&D editions.
So check it out:
2000: D&D 3e
2003: D&D 3.5
2005: scheduled release of 3.5
2007: D&D 4e is announced
2008: D&D 4e (Note that this is 5 years after 3.5)
2010: D&D Essentials is released
2012: D&D Next is announced
2013: D&D Next due at at GenCon (5 years after 4e)
Which means that D&D 6e is due out in 2018. and if I want to be really prophetic I would say that some major modification to 5e is due out about 2015/2016.
Yeah, you know I really don't care what they are saying about this will be the edition to unite all editions either. When asked directly if this would spell an end to edition making Mike Mearls really refused to answer directly. 6e will be out by 2018. You can bet money on it. And if you are gonna play D&D you will be paying that money directly to WoTC.
You may ask why I'm choosing to bring this up. I mean I've written similar rants before and this is pretty much common knowledge. Well, let me tell you. 5e is just a little bit alluring to me. It looks, well, somewhat interesting. And I'm just gullible enough to buy some of the rhetoric involved in this new edition. But even if it is a decent new game, and it will be a new game regardless of the rhetoric, I don't relish the idea of buying into a game that is only planning on being supported for a max of five years. Sorry Wizards of the Coast, that business model just lost me.