Wizards have launched a D&D newsletter and is encouraging fans to sign-up for it.
It has some strange set-up where you can be a party leader, and invite other people to join, or a henchman, someone who was invited to join. Is this some awkward attempt to make signing to the newsletter “like a D&D adventure”? Or is it is a really sophisticated way to build up not only a list of D&D players and but map of how they are connected? They are giving free t-shirts and adventures out if you sign up your friends so they are keen on this feature.
This seems to be a European initiative with the domain registered to Hasbro Belgium NV and the initial announcement coming from Charles Ryan. Mr Ryan did not specifically identify himself as a WotC employee in that announcement. It may be that everyone on Enworld knows he is a WotC employee (I think he wrote the D20 Modern system amongst other stuff) but it is a little odd for an employee making an announcement not to clarify their relations with the company.
LATER: I’ve just looked into Charles Ryan’s profile and he is an employee of Esdevium Games “leading distributor of hobby and mass-market gaming products to the UK and Europe”. Esdevium seems to be an independent company, in fact in 2002 it was fined along side Hasbro for price fixing but they are Wizards official distributor in the UK.
What is odd about this is the DnD News website is aimed directly at the consumer yet it is being promoted by the UK trade distributor. If this is a major Hasbro push to connect directly to their players, why the UK focus and why is it being run by a third party? Obviously Esdevium have good reasons to promote D&D activity in the UK but most companies keep trade and retail separate.