It's too bad there's no way to test both doing this and not doing this, because I predict this is going to seriously help the sales of the product.
Personally, I definitely do not need another role playing game, especially not another version of Dungeons and Dragons. But when they put the rules out there for free, I'm unable not to download and read them.
I assume they plan to make their money on glossy rulebooks with art, and on additional rules. By making the basic rules free:
- People can try the game easily, read it and see if it's for them.
- New players have access to the rules before they are hooked enough to buy.
- You have a searchable electronic reference.
I could go on and on, but the advantages seem enormous. Wonder what they plan to do for other companies add-on products? If they're smart, they'll try to make a welcoming environment for those.