Well it looks like there were enough 3rd party publishers saying "Hell No!" to 4e that WotC decided to change its tune. They have announced that they will be making revisions to the GSL & SRD in the near future.
“We recognize the important role third party publishing support plays in the success of the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. We have listened to the community and our valued colleagues and have taken their concerns and recommendations to heart. Our commitment to the health of the industry and hobby gaming lifestyle is reflected in the revisions to the Game System License.”
--Linae Foster D&D Licensing Manager
I guess the big guys finally decided to listen to what everyone else has to say. I think it is safe to say all the bad feelings from gamers and publishers alike had something to do with it. Honestly have you been reading the message boards lately? You would think WotC was a terrorist cell. Of course I would not discount Paizo and the fan base that is rising around Pathfinder from being somewhat influential as well.
Even while WotC's most loyal fans are supporting 4e they still seem to be raking them over the coals over their poor handling of the product's release, especially in regards to the DDi . Then publishers who previously backed them are now backing out on them. Kenzer & Co, one of my favorite publishers, has even updated the Kalamar setting without the permission of WotC, another snub. Some fans and publishers are holding firm with 3e and then, or course, there is Paizo. Paizo garnered a lot of favor with gamers, D&D players in particular, with their quality treatment of Dragon and Dugeon magazines and then they turn around and decide to "fix" 3.5e and make it their own instead of supporting 4e.
On one hand I applaud WotC for listening to what people are saying and then with the other I suppress a chuckle. In some small way I really think that fans of 3rd edition D&D made a difference here. Granted we don't know what changes they will make to the GSL or SRD, but I can't help feeling a bit optimistic. The support for keeping things in 3e and resistance to moving to 4e seems to be much bigger than when D&D went from 2nd to 3rd edition. Perhaps we can thank the internet and blogosphere for making it appear this way, but it really seems different this time. Even though I am honestly a 4e supporter and I like the game, I have been giving some serious thought to picking up Pathfinder. If Paizo has indeed fixed what was broke, 4e may become the back up game for my group.
So I remain hopeful that WotC has decided to actually give in, quit the strong arm tactics we have seen of late, and allow the kind of "freedom" that everyone has enjoyed over the past 8 years. Granted this will allow a lot of crap to fill store shelves, but it will also allow quality publishers to put out some truly great material unhampered by the extremely restrictive guidelines that WotC laid down for 4e. We might even see 3rd party Ravenloft, Dragonlance or Maztica revisions! Like I said, I'm being optimistic.
***** I realized after I posted this there are 5000 blog posts on the net about this same topic. So while my opinion is a little different than some, I apologize to readers who have seen this upteen gazillion times today already. Then again if you watch the news, no matter the station, you will likely hear the same stories. So that must mean bloggers are doing something right, staying on top of things and that this is something that needs to be shared.********