This morning it was announced by Trapdoor Technologies, who were creating the new character generator called Dungeonscape for Dungeons & Dragons 5e, are shutting down the current version of the tool, effective noon MST October 31, 2014, giving little more than 24 hours notice of the shutdown to current users.
Well crap. I doubt that Wizards has a “Plan B” when it comes to digital development; there’s no way they would have let Trapdoor get as far as they did.
Personally, I think it might have a lot to do with the fact that this deal also pretty much precluded the release of the 5E books in pdf format. It looked like the agreement with Trapdoor locked them into all of the digital content for 5E, and they were going with a proprietary system that required a subscription to their service to work.
So while this is definitely bad for people who like online character generators and that sort of thing, it’s potentially very good news for folks who were hoping for pdf releases of the rulebooks. Without Trapdoor’s exclusive lock on all things digital, Wizards might be in a position to release pdfs now.
It’s also (and this is entirely speculative, based on no actual data) possible that Wizards will open up digital development in the same license they’ve promised us for more conventional third party products.
That would certainly explain the delay in releasing the license, if they decided late in the game that they wanted to let folks develop their own character generators, etc. Again, pure speculation on my part, based entirely on this news.