Monday, March 05, 2007

Peter Adkison on the GenCon/Chaosium spat

I'm still looking for information, but it looks like that at this moment Call of Cthulhu games are not welcome at GenCon. Adkison is quoted thusly:
I'd love to tell you why, but in this case it would not be professional to do so.

Please suffice it to say that we love Call of Cthulhu and we love the fine folks at Chaosium and we hope that CoC fans will feel welcome coming to our show. But we cannot allow CoC events at Gen Con Indy until certain confidential matters between our companies have been resolved.

In the meantime we are reserving space for CoC events in the hopes that these matters are resolved expediently to both parties' satisfaction.

Respectfully,
Peter D Adkison
CEO, Gen Con LLC
Frankly, I think this is a load of horsehit. You want to act professionally and make sure CoC fans feel welcome at your show, Mr. Adkison? Then don't screw around with the CoC fans like this! It is obvious to me at this point that GenCon LLC is the repsonsible party here, because there's no legitimate threat that Chaosium could be holding over GenCon.

Even if Chaosium were threatening to litigate over the whole stupid actual-play-as-use-of-IP issue. There's three good reasons for GenCon not to bow to that kind of threat. One, running games at cons is their bread and butter. If they won't defend against this attack they have surrendered one of their primary reasons for existing. Two, the whole of informed RPG fandom would align with GenCon and against CoC. And three, Chaosium doesn't have enough money to actually go through with the case.

Seriously, how often do we hear that Chaosium is flat broke and near insolvency? How often to we hear that the next product on the release schedule will only come out if the current new release sells well? From my simple fan's perspective Chaosium has been on life support for over a decade. What was once a great company with a wide line of excellent games has now dwindled down to a niche company living parasitically off of H.P. Lovecraft's legacy.

And that is probably the whole source of the problem. The scuttlebutt on the net right now is that the Chaosium owes GenCon money.

If that's the real source of the trouble than GenCon and Adkison probably think they're playing hardball by pulling this 'no CoC games at our con' stunt. Speaking as a guy with over a decade in the field of debt collections, I call shenanigans. That's not hardball debt collection, that's reprehensibly unethical loanshark-style collections. If this scenario is true, it's the moral equivalent of me telling a customer's kids "I hope you enjoy walking to school" because I'm about to repo their dad's car.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong. I hope this speculation of mine is entirely off the mark. But until one or the other party speaks up, what else are people going to do but speculate?

UPDATE: More info and a different take on the matter courtesy RPG Pundit.