I was just having a read of the latest news letter
from the people behind the up and coming DDI
The crux of the letter is that they'll be offering two levels of subscription, web content only (Dragon, Dungeon and the Compendium) for $4.99 a month. That's like £2, so all in all, that's not a terrible deal. Judging by the content they've put into the magazines so far, I'd say they're worth about that much. Even better, updates to the compendium are supposed to include future products as well as content from Dragon & Dungeon. This all makes sense to me.
But here's the part I don't get. For $9.95 / month, you can get the full package: that's web content plus character builder, gaming table, dungeon builder. So in exchange for $4.96 / month, I get to enjoy the privilege of using the utilities that you've made for my gaming pleasure. These are stand alone applications; so why do I have to pay a subscription to use them?
The only reason I can possibly think of is that Wizards have gone out of their way to make them phone home and require a subscription to use the products. The only one of those applications that requires any sort of network connection is the Gaming Table, and even then there's no technical reason why one user couldn't act as the host for the other players. Typical use case is a five-man party, that's only 6 users total. Hardware from 10 years ago could happily handle that.
Of course, this may all be academic since they've decided to build it using DirectX instead of OpenGL, thereby excluding the possibility of porting it to a platform other than Windows. It may run in wine, but I've never seen a 3D app that used DirectX render at more than 6fps.
Does anyone out there know more than me about the subject?