Wizards.com Redesign Leaves D&D Buried
Not much to say here from a reporting angle, other than Wizards has totally redesigned their website. In the process, they've relegated Dungeons & Dragons to a mere text link on the sidebar, one of 50 other links, with the same billing as Alternity, Star Wars and Marvel Super Heroes. More inside...
Exactly what does this mean for Dungeons & Dragons? One could surmise quite a lot about a site redesign. Having worked at a few companies that have gone through serious redesigns, I know that it's usually all to do with the bottom line; ie, how much more money can we make from people through a clever redesign?
On the front page of wizards.com, the most prominent feature is the store. Front and center is a shot of their two main CCG's--Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon. Without scrolling down, Dungeons & Dragons only gets a small graphic at the top of the right bar (which leads to a discussion of the demo tour, not the game itself) and the aforementioned small text link on the left sidebar. If you count the small link under "Electronic Games" (and I don't), then that's only 3 links out of a possible 80--about 2%, if my math isn't too fuzzy.
What is arguably the biggest RPG release in a decade gets 2% of their front page real estate?
I'm not even going to discuss how D&D is covered in its own section of their website (wizards.com/dnd), because obviously they have a lot of material there. But 75% of the visitors to any website come in through the front door, and if this is the reception they're getting, then I really have my doubts about how well Dungeons & Dragons is doing.
Wizards has 3 new D&D hardcovers out (PH, DMG, MM), a boxed set, a DM's screen and several modules. They've got a blockbuster movie coming out (even if it does look sucky) and essentially no competition at the moment.
So why is D&D buried on their site?
It could be poor design. It could be an oversight. But in cases like this, it's usually neither one. When you've got an e-commerce site, you rotate things off the front page if they're not selling well, and you emphasize the things that are selling well.
I'd guess that Dungeons and Dragons 3e is not selling well. And with a company as large as Hasbro/WotC, that means there's no time to nurse the wound--you cut off the bleeding stump and move on.
And that's pretty depressing news for D&D fans.