Holy Hell, 8 Billion? Wow, yeah that definitely feels ambitious. Basically on the level of swooping a Lucasfilm. Ok so now that I'm thinking fancifully, what I really wish they'd do is this...
First they create a legacy portal, not for any specific or particular game, but rather as the place intended as the official online home and hub for the entire Dungeons and Dragons franchise.
When you buy in for the the starter set, it brings you to a launch application, (think of it like a mini Steam within the Steam) but where the focus is very tight. Only Dungeons and Dragons related materials and games, but also the publishing wing and art promo wing.
Like the equivalent of Dungeon or Dragon Magazine built into the framework. That way they can have the in house media or even traditional publishing (like for novelizations), also combining things like video (say youtube) and discussions community feedback (say reddit or what we do here in places like studio forums), but again brought under one roof in one place and curated. Mainly so there can be some continuity in the promotion and feel, and some oversight or at least a plan for how to organize this stuff. Done such that it feels like specifically D&D oriented, not trying to be everything to everyone, just D&D for everyone. Done extremely well, not haphazardly. This is the official wing of the brand, we can just call it "Xth Edition" as distinct from the SRD which would still exist to live in other places. That'd be more the de-centralized wild west wing of the brand. I'm talking more for the Dungeons and Dragons under say an MS aegis, where they have the resources and systems building skills to actually make such a thing cohesive and probably hella expensive haha.
The user signs in and creates their D&D profile, where they can hop into all the various different aspects of the Franchise. Entry style would be like after creating a general user profile, the player can then create Player Character profiles or Game Master profiles. Similar to the way games and achievements and whatnot are saved and follow the user in Steam. They could do the same thing in D&D.
Then you have your core games, the major Campaigns like say the BGs. Return to the gold boxes for nostalgia or branch new into the Solastas and such, but basically the core rules games, that try to emulate D&D by the books on some consistent level for the CRPG line. Heavy focus on MP there, but at the scale of the party, not like an Ulimata or an MMO, but something that fits the D&D with friends small group vibe.
On the DM Game Master side, you get basically your NWN tools for the creation of the above. The toolset, vault, custom assets for game building. Maping and Art related utilities. Some kind of animation cutscene directors chair. hehe
At the same time do something very similar but for the Action games - for the hooks. These with similar production values, themes, perhaps even shared characters etc to the Core Campaigns, but adapting the "official" D&D rules/systems to games with a rather different focus than the core cRPG. Your action-y Witcher or Skyrim style or Dark Alliance types more FPS tradition games, or command and conquer RTS style games, or 4X Age of Empires style or Wargames. They could even do an MMO there. Basically all the things they typically farm out, anytime they want to do something "new" but brought together. Again so it can have like a one-stop shop, or hub type feel. Could do fun stuff with like User Profile XP, or special kick backs, encouraging players to check out the different stuff on offer. I think that would be a cool way to do it.
Kinda like the old physical shops, where you'd have like one section for books and graphic novels, another for game boxes, one corner for the figurines or toys, models for painting, art hanging on the walls, a table somewhere and a fancy cabinet.
When the user logs into their D&D it should feel kinda like that. Like the full experience, but where the player can meet the thing from whatever angle they're currently vibing on most. Its kind of a big tent idea, trying to bring people together with just enough structure to make the collaborative stuff start to take off.
The Bioware/Black Isle thing is kinda also the way I think about it, cause actually they worked together and I'm sure had that respect for one another. That's probably part of the reason why the first BG game ended up being so magnificent, cause of like the shared purpose and comradery and the way that just elevates things in art.
Just imagining it like when studios are invited to "work on D&D", they got to come to down "to the shop" and get that sort of feel going. Not like a Disneylands or a Hollywood studio system, but more like a D&D atelier. But a fucking great one, cause you want the artists and designers to feel great about working there and contributing to it, and then have that kind of attitude filter down to the end users as well. Like a workshop, but with some legs. Where you'd know its still going to be around tomorrow.
I think if they could create that kind of environment, centralized but de-centralized to borrow a paradox, it would sort of mirror how analog D&D developed in the 70s and 80s, but for the new digital era. But also one where everyone has printers, and streams their media, you could still kind of recapture a feel of physicality or collectors vibe to it. Like cause the digital hub would also be the place to learn about and order the traditional materials too. Just spit-balling, but like for the grand design multi-billion dollar type project that would just be a rad approach I think.
Sorry that drifted a fair bit from "real time with pause," but I guess what I was driving at was that I wish they could create a space where these different play styles or even entirely different games could exist together. To reinforce the central project of D&D, instead of splitting it up. Like where there's a space for Turn Based core rules like BG3 type thing, but also the more RTwP oriented BG1/2 style of gameplay, or something more action FPS run-and-gun arcade, or 4X grand strat too. Just depending on how the player wants to engage with it that day. Maybe they just want to read up or watch the videos and casts that day though hehe. They could also streamline their betas that way, maybe with an experimental or under development EA category of game, with kickbacks for testing participation. Lots of things they could do with it I'd think, and probably many would dive in, it's just that right now its kinda scattered all over the place and you have to put it together piecemeal. It would be cool if they could bring it all into like one giant dungeon, and when I log into that place I just see the dragons and cool art that totally sets the mood.