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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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I wonder if those "Hasbro is selling D&D" rumors were actually based on some of the internal Hasbro preparations for this new division. So, not entirely speculation, but maybe insider gossip about goings-on getting out and leading to a wildly wrong conclusion?
I think it's just the YouTube baseless speculation/hysterical misinformation industrial complex. Every possible subject has someone screaming about worst case scenarios on YouTube. It's a hustle.
 

Mannahnin

Adventurer
Professor DM's video was ridiculous. It was right after a solid earnings call by Hasbro that specifically mentioned the success of D&D. Really hammered home that he's an English teacher, not a financial analyst.
Didn't he specifically debunk it? IIRC he pointed out that certain conditions would have to be met for anything of the sort to happen (including a buyer who'd reasonably want it to have enough cash to buy it) and that those did not look likely to happen anytime soon.
 

Rabulias

Adventurer
I think it's just the YouTube baseless speculation/hysterical misinformation industrial complex. Every possible subject has someone screaming about worst case scenarios on YouTube. It's a hustle.
Could be. Just seems like a big coincidence, like some people knew something was going on within Hasbro with respect to D&D, and just went to the most extreme scenario they could imagine. Then again, here I am speculating myself with little facts. :)
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
I think I used to care a lot more about the direction D&D took but at this point I don't think they are ever going to go my way again. I have peace about it. And there are tons of great games out there so who cares and have fun. A lot of these D&D discussions are really broader in concept. I also own every single edition prior to 5e so it's not like I can't get one out and play it. I also own several good osr games. My favorite right now is ACKS but C&C is solid. DCC, I'm on the fence about but it's an awesome book to just read for ideas. I also have the PDF form of a bunch of the retroclones.
 

Mannahnin

Adventurer
The Tolkien and Warhammer crossovers appear to be purely Magic-related at this point, but I could imagine D&D being pulled in as well. (I mean, D&D is halfway to being a Tolkien crossover already.)

My initial reaction to seeing that Wizards plans on doing a Tolkien Magic set was "MY CHILDHOOD! IS NOTHING SACRED?" Then I thought about building a Commander deck headed up by the Witch-King of Angmar, and suddenly I was okay with it. Which leaves me with the uneasy feeling that I'm the baddie... :)
I could imagine them doing a Tolkien-based set, like it talks about.

WH40k I could only see them doing as a limited release, special product like the Secret Lair series. These are unique or alternate-art cards that aren't part of their regular card sets. They've already done crossovers with one or two seemingly-unlikely licensed properties this way, including The Walking Dead. But that one still got some uproar and pushback due to the tonal/genre mismatch.
 

Even if theis epidemic ends soon (hopefullyt!) the entertaiment industry will keep changed due other socialogical reasons.

Hasbro sells toys, but also has got plans about media productions, movies, cartoons and TV shows, and collectable boardgames and digital content (videogames). This is the strategy of "don't put all eggs only in one basket".

I doubt a D&D-Lord of the Ring crossover. Age of Sigmar d20? Not yet. I can accept LotR as "guest start" in Magic: the Gathering, but Warhammer 40.000? It is strange to see cards with space marines using firearms. This sounds as a "first step" or a first contact. If the initial deals work, then we will see more titles togethers.
 


Dausuul

Legend
New logo!

Huh. Not a big fan of the new logo at first glance, but maybe it'll grow on me.

Of course, I wasn't a big fan of their previous logo either. I think I just don't like logos with 3-D effects. I preferred the simple rectangular logo with the shooting star, before it went all bendy and swooshy.
 


dave2008

Legend
Wow! They bought WotC for $325 million in 1999 and not is revenue is $816 million per year. I guess that was a good investment!

PS - I know revenue =/= profit, but I'm guess that investment has paid for itself many times over by now.
 



he real question is what will go back to pre-pandemic and what will adopt post-pandemic as the new normal.

There's potentially a massive economic shift coming due to shifts in the retail experience during the lockdown. It is unknown whether big box stores may just wind up as fulfillment centers as people grow used to curbside pickup. This radically changes the commercial real estate landscape, especially as shopping malls, which were overbuilt in the 90s and early 00s, continue to fail.
Tons of news on this without a doubt. Retail is slowly becoming more of a niche, and may, in the end, just cater to higher end. That said, you never know. One big cultural shift and it might just revert back.
For a large chunk of the workplace, Zoom is the new normal. To the point that there is the beginnings of migration from cities to suburbs and exurbs as people realize that they can earn a New York City salary and live in Iowa. The NYT Real Estate section has documented this, while financial publications such as WSJ, Bloomberg, and Forbes, have written articles warning of the perils of trying to deduct one's new home office (don't do it!)
They say this, and it is true. But there are large investment firms that are stocking up on city real estate, specifically because they believe in five years it's going to skyrocket. And Zoom is the new normal until the company decides it isn't. There is no long term research on its effects on productivity, creativity, or cost difference. I imagine once vetted research (not the business guy that says I wrote a book) starts to originate, we may see CEOs begin a new paradigm or revert back to the old standard. What we see now, like some companies abandoning plans for their new headquarters, are knee-jerk reactions. The long term trend will come when they see profits and cost-analysis.
Many people have invested in the conversion to a Zoom office. So the question for D&D becomes how many will abandon VTT for in-person, how many will stick with VTT, and how many will go hybrid.
But this is about D&D, and that is a great question. Although, I would add, how many will drop D&D as a hobby to the list. I know a person that started the hobby due to the pandemic. I find it unlikely she will continue once the world goes back to normal. But that is two in a sea of millions, so who knows?
 


There is no doubt some people will have fallen in love with D&D and will continue to play. Similarly there will surely be some drop off. I am actually more interested in how the pandemic has changed D&D -- how, where and why it is played. For most of D&D's history it has been an obsessive sort of hobby and I feel like there's a casualness to it now (I do not mean that as any sort of pejorative) it hasn't had mostly. Most of us (meaning GenX nerds) grew up playing like the Stranger Things kids: for hours and hours in the dark of the basement. I used to LOVE marathon sessions ans still miss them. I don't feel like that is a common way to play for the Millenial players and others that have recently discovered the hobby.
I actually think the casualness came from YouTube and TV, more so than the pandemic. But what is considered casual might just be a different style of play; shorter time frames, meshing of genres, etc. But I do understand what you are implying; the casual would have a very difficult time truly caring about whether their character lives or dies versus being entertained. (If I am reading that correctly. If not, please explain.)
 


Some people don't like it - so they think it is a debacle. Same with any new edition that makes significant changes really.
Some think because it isn’t outselling D&D it’s a debacle. Which would mean every RPG is a failure and a debacle. I think we both know different.
Ah, thanks. I read the book and thought they did a pretty good job with it. But I love a good rule book, so what do I know? Thanks.
 

see

Adventurer
One wonders if the growth will be sustainable post-Covid. That is, when people can go back to bars, concerts and sporting events, are they still going to play D&D, buy books, sub DNDBeyond, etc?
It's true that 2020 was the best year ever for D&D sales . . . but that was after 2019 was the best year ever, which was after 2018 was the best year ever. Since only in-2020 sales could possibly have been affected by the pandemic, it's accordingly rather difficult to tell whether the pandemic helped, hurt, or had no effect on D&D sales growth.
 

It's true that 2020 was the best year ever for D&D sales . . . but that was after 2019 was the best year ever, which was after 2018 was the best year ever. Since only in-2020 sales could possibly have been affected by the pandemic, it's accordingly rather difficult to tell whether the pandemic helped, hurt, or had no effect on D&D sales growth.
Great point. Having a bunch of celebs talk about how much they love it doesn't hurt the game either. ;)
 

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