Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thoughts on D&D & Online Gambling

I recently saw that WotC must have licensed the D&D trademark to Kerching Casinos for their "Dungeons & Dragons: Crystal Caverns" online gambling game. I haven't played it and don't really care to (and couldn't even if I wanted to here in the U.S.). But the very existence of this game put some things in perspective for me.

I grew up back when the when certain Christian groups were up in arms about D&D, accusing it of being a way to convert kids to Satanism, cause them to commit suicide, lose their minds, you name it. I know it sounds ridiculous now, but there really was a lot of media stir about it at the time. Fortunately that all blew over, and as everyone reading this probably knows, D&D became just a bit tamer in the aftermath. Numerous studies have been done on RPGs since, and now it's more common to read about the potential psychological benefits of them than any real or imagined negative effects.

I suppose there are a few reasons why mixing D&D's image and online gambling shouldn't cause an uproar these days - it's only available via the web and you'd need a credit card, it's not in the U.S., and there are (presumably) far less D&D players now than there were in its hey day.

But the thing that stands out for me about this development is how the game has been around so long that the earlier edition players are now definitely old enough to gamble. Since online gambling and D&D really have very little to do with one another, it comes down to a marketing gimmick - and in this case it would seem to be evidence of the nostalgia for these games that exists, one that's being cynically exploited in this case. Consider UK1: Beyond the Crystal Cave (for 1st edition AD&D), the name of the gambling game here ("Crystal Caverns"), and the fact Kerching Casinos is UK based, and there's little doubt what demographic is being most marketed to here. I see WotC's licensing for this in the same light.


Chris Creel said...

The fact that they licensed the D&D trademark with the gambeling industry is, to borrow a very modern term, all kinds of ugly.

christian said...

I thought the Jones Soda tie-in was cute. Now this. This is not cute. This is desperate and sad.

Ragnorakk said...

yeah, this is fucked.

Barad the Gnome said...

How is this a good tie in to the D&D 'brand'? All I can say is "huh?"

Norman J. Harman Jr. said...

> How is this a good tie in to the D&D 'brand'?

Gambling rakes in cash, Hasbro is a shallow megacorp.

Christopher B said...

Pardon my French, but: fucking Ha$bro - this is utterly disgusting.

Chris said...

Another great idea from the coke-fueled, synergy-obsessed brayherd that is Marketing. Bill Hicks was right; they are the cancer that is killing all we love.

"Whore that brand harder Hasbro! Make it earn its keep."

Old4Eyes said...

I thought they had plumbed the depths already......but apparently not!

Eli Arndt said...

I think there is a lot of evidence out there to show that old school D&D players and geeks in general are out there making money.

Watching my kids' cartoons (whether they are there or not) I am constantly laughing at the references to gaming, D&D, Star Wars, etc.

One episode of a cartoon called "Chowder" has him riding his "dicecycle" which is literally a bicycle with dice for wheels. One character in the epuisode brags that it is indeed an "8-sider". That and his biking helmet is a hollowed out D20.


Eli Arndt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Arndt said...

Sorry for the extra post, but it occurred to me, as a parent with kids in school, that this link between D&D and gambling could easily get the game banned from schools if the institutions mistakenly believe it to be a gambling game.

It was hard enough to get some schools and evne cafes and eateries to understand that Magic: The Gathering was not a regular card game and therefore not a gambling game.


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