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WotC D&D Gets A New Division At Hasbro

Hasbro is reorganizing and giving tabletop gaming -- Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering -- a higher priority.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, WotC's revenue last year was $816 million (a 24% increase on 2019). Brian Goldner, Hasbro's Chief Executive, says WotC is predicted to double revenue from 2019 to 2023.

Hasbro is dividing into three 'units' -- Consumer Products (toys, classic board games); Entertainment (film, TV, licensing); and Wizards & Digital (WotC plus digital licensing).

Hasbro bought WotC in 1999 for about $325M.

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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AAA games are mostly budget and how many people play them, perceived quality doesn't matter.

Eg Call of Duty love it or hate it it's AAA.

Hopefully Larian turns in something good. A D&D game worth playing would be unusual.
AAA has nothing to do with how many people play them - it's solely a matter of budget and the aims of the developers. In the '00s and early '10s quite a number of AAA games basically "sank without a trace", having had a huge amount spent on them and yet being bought by very few people - that didn't make them "not AAA", it made them unsuccessful. Developers and publishers have got a lot better at mitigating that though, especially with the move to digital delivery as basically the primary way people get games meaning that if a game is sinking, a bit of advertising and a massive price cut can often get a decent amount of sales in and when the price goes back up it's quite likely people will keep buying it because now it's on people's radar.

Call of Duty is complicated by the fact that it's more of a GaaS than an actual game, so one game bleeds into the next, and players are supposed to constantly spend on DLC, season passes, subscriptions of various kinds and so on - this has been referred to as AAA+ - AAA (video game industry) - Wikipedia

BG3 is looking pretty good at the moment, but still has Larian's recurrent issue - an inability to make an NPC/companion who isn't, on some level, a massive jerk. Even if they make someone who seems nice, they always seem to have contrive a way to ruin it. This stands in stark contrast to people like Bioware and Obsidian, who can write flawed and difficult characters but not make them obnoxious (or at least not make most/all of them obnoxious). To be fair, Larian do seem to be aware of this, and have been trying to both tone it down and saying that these are the jerkier characters, and less jerky ones will be added, but I remain skeptical.
 

Sure, but the massive growth in profitability seems to be D&D-related, because I haven't seen any evidence that MtG is suddenly making vastly more money, and it's not MtG that's having it's "cadence increased".
This seems like a logical deduction. I do wonder if it shows the power of movie stars and hip culture to move a product or increase gains at an extremely steep pace? I mean, stars sell stuff, no doubt. But maybe I underestimate how much they can tip the needle.
 

This is not a rhetorical question for anyone who followed it closely.

were the rumors of a sale sparked by anything that actually happened?

I heard the rumors and now this. Was there any actual connection?
 

This seems like a logical deduction. I do wonder if it shows the power of movie stars and hip culture to move a product or increase gains at an extremely steep pace? I mean, stars sell stuff, no doubt. But maybe I underestimate how much they can tip the needle.
I think that he massive acceleration of D&D's popularity was definitely due to a combination of it being "hip right now" combined with "good-looking famous people" outing themselves as D&D players and DMs, but also with stuff that has little to do with D&D directly, like younger millennials (and older gen Z) wanting to do stuff in-person that was less passive or electronic than movie-watching/video-gaming-playing or the like - that started off as boardgames (helped by the fact that they'd improved in both quality and accessibility), but when D&D started coming up for various reasons, it switched over to that.

There are a lot of factors, but I don't think you get to the crazy numbers we're seeing without something being kind of hip.

Eventually of course it won't be, but I think WotC's goal will be to "lock in" D&D culturally as much as possible, so that it can potentially become a multi-generational institution (which it already kind of is, but moreso). I mean, I'm supposed to be DM'ing for a bunch of eight-year-olds soon (kids of my brother and a friend) and they're very excited - one of the girls reminded me to share stuff on Beyond so she could make a Circle of Spores Druid, which I was kind of impressed by.

So WotC may succeed - playing RPGs isn't quite like anything else, and when you've done it, I suspect you're likely to seek it out again later and eight-ten was when my brother and I started.
 

like younger millennials (and older gen Z) wanting to do stuff in-person that was less passive or electronic than movie-watching/video-gaming-playing or the like - that started off as boardgames (helped by the fact that they'd improved in both quality and accessibility), but when D&D started coming up for various reasons, it switched over to that.
Great point. I agree.
Eventually of course it won't be, but I think WotC's goal will be to "lock in" D&D culturally as much as possible, so that it can potentially become a multi-generational institution (which it already kind of is, but moreso). I mean, I'm supposed to be DM'ing for a bunch of eight-year-olds soon (kids of my brother and a friend) and they're very excited - one of the girls reminded me to share stuff on Beyond so she could make a Circle of Spores Druid, which I was kind of impressed by.
One - cool. Good for her. A little druidic necromancy. ;)
Two - that time will come soon. Very soon. And when it does, I suspect in the business world, fingers will be pointed. The ones, like Mike, Jeremy, and Chris will all be old enough that they can be used as scapegoats. And a "new management" will have a "paradigm shift" about the direction the company should go. And, they may still put out good books at that point, but those will be written by "independent contractors" who love the game, but are not getting paid what they deserve.
 


I don't think there as any fire to make the smoke, no. It was just wishful thinking from some folk who didn't like the direction D&D was going.
Well my Google fu suggests the lawsuits withe gale force 9 and Hickman and co were a pet of it.

the strands were so tenuous I summarily forgot about it!

no real fire
 

Zardnaar

Legend
This seems like a logical deduction. I do wonder if it shows the power of movie stars and hip culture to move a product or increase gains at an extremely steep pace? I mean, stars sell stuff, no doubt. But maybe I underestimate how much they can tip the needle.

These days it's been argued there's no such thing as an A lister anymore with the possible exception of Dwayne Johnson and Tom Cruise.

For example the MCU and Star Wars some of the biggest movies but the stars in them outside if those movies don't seem to be in big hits.

Eg Chris Helmsworth movies aren't that big, latest RDJ movie bombed iirc and so on and so forth.

People are going to those movies because if the brand not the actors (generally).

Not like few years back you could flick a star $20 million and have a reasonable chance if a movie doing well because of that.

At least that's the arguement but one can look at box office numbers and who's in them. Basically outside of their hit franchises the star power doesn't seem to be there.

Or those movies don't have the marketing the billion dollar franchises so that's another factor.

Compare with say Arnold who could go from movie to movie and have a hit at least for a while.

There's counter arguements to it of course.
 

These days it's been argued there's no such thing as an A lister anymore with the possible exception of Dwayne Johnson and Tom Cruise.

For example the MCU and Star Wars some of the biggest movies but the stars in them outside if those movies don't seem to be in big hits.

Eg Chris Helmsworth movies aren't that big, latest RDJ movie bombed iirc and so on and so forth.

People are going to those movies because if the brand not the actors (generally).

Not like few years back you could flick a star $20 million and have a reasonable chance if a movie doing well because of that.

At least that's the arguement but one can look at box office numbers and who's in them. Basically outside of their hit franchises the star power doesn't seem to be there.

Or those movies don't have the marketing the billion dollar franchises so that's another factor.

Compare with say Arnold who could go from movie to movie and have a hit at least for a while.

There's counter arguements to it of course.
I would actually suggest their star power is greater. However, their conduit is not necessarily through the movies. YouTube, talk shows, independent bits, guest hosts, etc. seems to increase notoriety as much as a good film. Keanu Reeves' game cameo and Dave Grohl's constant interviews and stories are but two examples.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
A movie with an A-List actor will bring in a floor-level of revenue regardless of the rest of the aspects of the movie. Now that floor might be lower than the cost to make the movie, but it will still be a huge amount of money. A Tom Hanks movie will make over $100M, regardless.

Chris Pine is an A-List actor. He's around top 25-30 right now. His movies make money.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
A movie with an A-List actor will bring in a floor-level of revenue regardless of the rest of the aspects of the movie. Now that floor might be lower than the cost to make the movie, but it will still be a huge amount of money. A Tom Hanks movie will make over $100M, regardless.

Chris Pine is an A-List actor. He's around top 25-30 right now. His movies make money.

Kind of an example though. Around half his money is from one movie WW.
A good chunk of the rest is Star Trek.

Neither example it's debateable if you went and say then because if him. Gal Gadot is the star of WW, Star Trek established franchise.

So his two biggest movies......

My original comment was excluding MCU/superheros and their established franchises a lit of A listers cant really carry a movie by themselves any more.

I'll see if I can find the article.

Similar one anyway.
Is the era of the movie star over?

Diminished star power I think is the main point.

 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Kind of an example though. Around half his money is from one movie WW.
A good chunk of the rest is Star Trek.

Neither example it's debateable if you went and say then because if him. Gal Gadot is the star of WW, Star Trek established franchise.

So his two biggest movies......

My original comment was excluding MCU/superheros and their established franchises a lit of A listers cant really carry a movie by themselves any more.

I'll see if I can find the article.

Similar one anyway.
Is the era of the movie star over?

Diminished star power I think is the main point.

You're citing counter-examples which are even more niche than those movies though. Star Wars is based on the name of Star Wars and the directors attached, and you tried to cite that as an example that the actors don't matter. Which is silly.

A-List actors absolutely still exist, and they do still set a floor amount that a movie will make. A Tom Hanks movie WILL make over $100M. People will see the movie just because he's the star. Same with Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt, etc.. Now that's not enough, alone, to make the movie profitable. But it is enough alone to get a certain number of viewers in the seats to see it on opening night.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
You're citing counter-examples which are even more niche than those movies though. Star Wars is based on the name of Star Wars and the directors attached, and you tried to cite that as an example that the actors don't matter. Which is silly.

A-List actors absolutely still exist, and they do still set a floor amount that a movie will make. A Tom Hanks movie WILL make over $100M. People will see the movie just because he's the star. Same with Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt, etc.. Now that's not enough, alone, to make the movie profitable. But it is enough alone to get a certain number of viewers in the seats to see it on opening night.

100 million doesn't cover the production and marketing costs.

$300-400 million can flop these days if the budget is large enough. One of the links covers that as well.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
100 million doesn't cover the production and marketing costs.

$300-400 million can flop these days if the budget is large enough. One of the links covers that as well.
"Now that's not enough, alone, to make the movie profitable. But it is enough alone to get a certain number of viewers in the seats to see it on opening night."
 

Zardnaar

Legend
"Now that's not enough, alone, to make the movie profitable. But it is enough alone to get a certain number of viewers in the seats to see it on opening night."

So if movie flops no more franchise.


Tldr a movie has to make around double it's production cost+ marketing to make money.

So D&D with $150 million budget, 75 in marketing has to make around $450. Million to break even.

It's not going to be as easy as what a lot of people here think. It's going to be hard it's not impossible by any means.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
So if movie flops no more franchise.


Tldr a movie has to make around double it's production cost+ marketing to make money.

So D&D with $150 million budget, 75 in marketing has to make around $450. Million to break even.
Zard, I am not an expert in most fields.

But I do know what I am talking about with this topic.

You don't need to link to any more articles to "educate" me on this topic. Please stop with the mansplaining.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Zard, I am not an expert in most fields.

But I do know what I am talking about with this topic.

You don't need to link to any more articles to "educate" me on this topic. Please stop with the mansplaining.

You seemed big on the $100 million number, that's pocket change for a movie these days.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
You seemed big on the $100 million number, that's pocket change for a movie these days.
I was explaining why A-List actors are not meaningless to a movie. They set a certain floor which doesn't prevent a flop but does allow for a basic level of knowledge about the worst case scenario for a movie. And that is meaningful. It's a number which gets plugged into an algorithm with a bunch of other data which helps the studio set a budget for the movie. Without an A-list actor attached, you need other factors which make up for that lack in the algorithm.

Tom Hanks movies have a 95% chance of outperforming the benchmark for example, and that is a very meaningful data point for a movies budget and chances of success. Chris Pine isn't anything close to Tom Hanks, but he does increase the odds of success quite a bit relative to using an unknown actor.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
AAA has nothing to do with how many people play them - it's solely a matter of budget and the aims of the developers. In the '00s and early '10s quite a number of AAA games basically "sank without a trace", having had a huge amount spent on them and yet being bought by very few people - that didn't make them "not AAA", it made them unsuccessful. Developers and publishers have got a lot better at mitigating that though, especially with the move to digital delivery as basically the primary way people get games meaning that if a game is sinking, a bit of advertising and a massive price cut can often get a decent amount of sales in and when the price goes back up it's quite likely people will keep buying it because now it's on people's radar.

Call of Duty is complicated by the fact that it's more of a GaaS than an actual game, so one game bleeds into the next, and players are supposed to constantly spend on DLC, season passes, subscriptions of various kinds and so on - this has been referred to as AAA+ - AAA (video game industry) - Wikipedia

BG3 is looking pretty good at the moment, but still has Larian's recurrent issue - an inability to make an NPC/companion who isn't, on some level, a massive jerk. Even if they make someone who seems nice, they always seem to have contrive a way to ruin it. This stands in stark contrast to people like Bioware and Obsidian, who can write flawed and difficult characters but not make them obnoxious (or at least not make most/all of them obnoxious). To be fair, Larian do seem to be aware of this, and have been trying to both tone it down and saying that these are the jerkier characters, and less jerky ones will be added, but I remain skeptical.
Seriously those guys need to steal some people from EA’s Dragon Age team or something. Every DA game absolutely knocks it out of the park with flawed but deeply appealing and likeable NPCs.
 

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