One Bad Egg ceases all production

It’s always sad to see a respected game company shut down, and indeed, many of them either fade away quietly or flame out in spectacular fashion. Today One Bad Egg made the announcement the correct way – openly and honestly – that the company is going dark. Founding member Fred Hicks made the official post (also copied below), which sites disappointing sales of OBE’s D&D 4e products and “a collective lack of the wind staying in our sails”. The company’s website will remain available for a year or so, and products will begin to transfer over to Highmoon Media in October to reside there. Click below for the full announcement.

One Bad Egg announcement text follows:

The Egg Goes Dark
Posted by fred

This probably shocks very few people, but we’ve made a decision to let One Bad Egg go dark. We’ve got a number of reasons for the decision — reasons which I’ll ask the others to chime in on in the next few days, if they’re so inclined — but it all boiled down to a collective lack of the wind staying in our sails. This is not because we’ve fallen out of love with fourth edition — quite to the contrary, in fact. But loving playing and running the game is much different beast from loving writing for and doing third party design work for the game, at the end of the day.

There’s also the matter of sales that haven’t quite been there: our best selling products never managed to break the 300 copies sold mark, and many of our catalog didn’t even hit 100. We’d have had to see significantly higher numbers for the sales themselves to make a strong argument for continuing the work. They didn’t happen. And moreover some of our products were outright disappointments to us. We really love the Purifiers and the Codex Venenorum stuff, but the sales really abandoned us there, making the hard work put in on those ones yielding us a net loss. (Thankfully, at our scale, a net loss is not a bank-buster, at least.)

But it’s more than sales stuff. WOTC is doing a great job providing support for their game, and the online tools that come with a DDI subscription have had the curious side-effect of defining a product space that we can’t even touch, as third party publishers. Creating classes — already hard work — pretty much becomes a nonstarter when there’s no way to provide a “class definition” for use with the DDI character builder, and creating monsters (even ones as oogy fun as the Death Mother) starts to be questionable when a solid Monster Builder tool debuts from the primary publisher.

Design, too, has turned out to be less fun in practice than in theory. It’s a hard slog, and the only stuff that’s truly easy to cook up is the stuff on the margins. That makes it hard to keep a small stable of creative writers and designers motivated.

Finally, there’s been a simple issue of time. None of the founders have the kind of spare time that One Bad Egg demands, if the product output we think it needs to sustain is to happen.

I’m sure there’s more factors afoot, but that’s what I can tell ya from my perspective right now.

All is not lost, however. Our products will continue to be available — we won’t shut down the website this year or next, at least, so folks who’ve bought stuff through the Bookshelf will be able to continue to access it. Elsewhere, our products will continue to be on sale as we work in early October to transfer our product line over to Daniel M. Perez’s Highmoon Media, which should make it possible to continue to purchase OBE products you haven’t had the opportunity to pick up yet. We like Daniel a lot, and know he’ll do right by our stuff.

At any rate, thanks very much for your past and present support of One Bad Egg. We definitely got a small core group of serious fans, and that helped us keep going for as long as we did. But we know it’s time to close this chapter, and move onto our next ones. Thanks for coming along on the ride.

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