Whoa I am now up to Weasel!
Certainly the larger publishers have all but withdrawn from use of the d20 logo now. A lot are going for their own branded core rulebook under the OGL, which I feel is a huge step in the right direction - the uniqueness of each game is returning (such as evidenced in WoW and B5) while still retaining enough of a d20 base to allow you to mix and match between products to a degree. The chatter on the ogl-l list certainly shows most of the larger publishers have a thing against the d20 logo in general now, even those that don't care whether D&D 4.0 messes things up or not or whether the logo gets withdrawn. (Here's an interesting thing though - I can no longer see the d20 logo licence pack for download at the d20 page on the Wizards website - I see lots of licences but no zip file with the logo artwork any more)
I don't think that this is a bad thing. There are now a great many rule systems out there which use a d20 but are not Wizards d20. Omni is one such system, which is really easy to pick up.
It could be a risk too, I suppose, for companies planning on releasing only Wizards d20 compliant books. How will the market for 3rd party Wizard d20 compliant books be hit when the D&D 4th edition hits? I expect that OGL will be the way that a lot of people go.
It's kinda like watching the evolution of RPG companies all over again in a macrocosm
(sorry, I just find the whole topic fascinating to watch and ramble on about... I'm surprised I haven't sent people to sleep by now.)
Not at all. Your example of B5 is quite interesting - I know that there are a few/some (delete as applicable) complaints about a migration document to 2nd Edition, but the Second Edition is for the most part a very good book IMHO, because it feels
like Babylon 5.
I'm thinking of picking up the new Star Wars Saga Edition next year (heck, I'd love to write a New Republic Source Book). On other boards, there have been complaints aplenty about the changes to that future book in the way that characters take damage. As a writer, GM and a player, to be honest I don't really care. If it doesn't feel right, I can change it. What is important to me with a licenced property it that it feels like the brand it is supposed to be.
There has been one problem with the d20 explosion, and you said it yourself. Many 'good' supplements have been lost in the tide of others. I'm not saying which are good and which are bad, but the sheer success of the d20 explosion has come to be something of a problem.
It'll be interesting to see what happens. Me myself, I'm looking at several systems, including the Runequest SRD at the moment, because, as a (part-time) writer, there is simply no reason not to
. Give it a couple of years, I think any freelance RPG writer will need to be versed in two or three systems, at least.