The tabletop RPG industry is about to experience a major shakeup, as Roll20 and OneBookShelf has announced plans to launch a "joint venture". The announced move combines the biggest virtual tabletop system on the internet with the largest digital tabletop RPG marketplace, creating a service that will allow players to purchase an RPG and then immediately play them on the virtual tabletop. While Roll20 had a marketplace for users to purchase rulebooks that were viewable through their on-site compendium, the addition of OneBookShelf (which manages both the DriveThruRPG and Dungeon Master's Guild online marketplaces among other sites) will allow users to purchase PDF versions and utilize those PDFs on the virtual tabletop service.
ComicBook.com has reached out to Roll20 to get clarification as to whether the announced move is a merger, an acquisition, or a joint venture between the two companies. A press release announcing the move noted that Roll20 CEO Ankit Lal would remain as CEO "following the closure of the deal", while OneBookShelf CEO Steve Wieck will join the Roll20 Board of Directors. Lal took over Roll20 as CEO in early 2022.
The partnership was teased several weeks ago, when OneBookShelf's DM's Guild marketplace announced that it would allow content creators to make Roll20-compatible assets that would transfer over to the VTT service. In the coming weeks, Roll20 will also add PDF support, which will allow users to upload, read, share, and play using those PDFs. Further integration is also planned to make OneBookShelf's PDF libraries available within Roll20 automatically. No products, licenses, or ownership will change hands – both users and publishers will retain their ability to buy, sell, play, and market their products under the combined company.
Tabletop RPGs have experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, thanks in part to digital tools like Roll20 that allow players to play TTRPGs from the comfort of their own home. TTRPG publishers have moved to solidify their online toolkits as well. Wizards of the Coast recently purchased D&D Beyond, which was previously a licensed toolset owned by Fandom, and has used it to publish exclusive new adventures and rules supplements. Other companies have turned to Demiplane to build their own online compendiums, with full toolkits for games like Pathfinder and Vampire: The Masquerade underway.