D&D General Dan Rawson Named New Head Of D&D

Hasbro has announced a former Microsoft digital commerce is the new senior vice president in charge of Dungeons & Dragons. Dan Rawson was the COO of Microsoft Dynamics 365.

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Hasbro also hired Cynthia Williams earlier this year; she too, came from Microsoft. Of Rawson, she said "We couldn’t be bringing on Dan at a better time. With the acquisition of D&D Beyond earlier this year, the digital capabilities and opportunities for Dungeons & Dragons are accelerating faster than ever. I am excited to partner with Dan to explore the global potential of the brand while maintaining Hasbro’s core value as a player-first company.”

Rawson himself says that "Leading D&D is the realization of a childhood dream. I’m excited to work with Cynthia once again, and I’m thrilled to work with a talented team to expand the global reach of D&D, a game I grew up with and now play with my own kids.”

Interestingly, Ray Wininger -- who has been running D&D for the last couple of years -- has removed mention of WotC and Hasbro from his Twitter bio.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

WotC has already said they want people to use their phones more easily. Why have a physical book when the Beyond version is right there in your phone? Everyone has a phon now.

WotC/Hasbro will do what makes the most financial sense. And not having to print and ship physical books might be a mighty big plus for them.

This how it has been for many years now.
I buy the book in German. I buy the rules on dndbeyond.
Why in hell should they change it if it works.
And if they find a good way to deliver a digital/physical bundle, I will gladly buy in.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
WotC has already said they want people to use their phones more easily. Why have a physical book when the Beyond version is right there in your phone? Everyone has a phon now.

WotC/Hasbro will do what makes the most financial sense. And not having to print and ship physical books might be a mighty big plus for them.
The books are a boutique item, yes, but they are profitable and prestigous.
 


Everyone has a phon now.
this is very class dependent. there are plenty of poor people who don't have smart phones... especially kids (aka the next generation you want to attract) Getting a PHB for birthday or Christmas seems a lot more likely then a smart phone. At the gaming store that closed we had 2 players 1 had an emergency government issue phone and the other had no phone. In my regular group right now we all have them but 2 players only got them in last few years.

My niece and nephew have had smart phones since 5th grade... my fiancés has 2 nieces and a nephew and none of them have them and only 1 isn't in HS.
 

HammerMan

Legend
this is very class dependent. there are plenty of poor people who don't have smart phones... especially kids (aka the next generation you want to attract) Getting a PHB for birthday or Christmas seems a lot more likely then a smart phone. At the gaming store that closed we had 2 players 1 had an emergency government issue phone and the other had no phone. In my regular group right now we all have them but 2 players only got them in last few years.

My niece and nephew have had smart phones since 5th grade... my fiancés has 2 nieces and a nephew and none of them have them and only 1 isn't in HS.
I have known many people in the last 5 years that don’t have tablets laptops or smart phones but still want to play. Most have a single family computer that is old.
 

darjr

I crit!
WotC just sponsored an event for hobby stores to run in their game spaces. They shipped hardcopy printed material that you can't get from them digitally. DNDBeyond advertised the event several times in their email.

DNDBeyond is selling a special edition book and board game set.

Physical books are not going away anytime soon.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
I don’t think there is any, any chance of official WotC print books going away anytime soon or probably ever.

I do think there is a lot of evidence that WotC over the next few years does intend to prioritize digital content and digital play over analog play - and you do (or should) design differently if you view the user experience as primarily digital vs primarily physical.

There will always be physical books. But analog DMs and players who suspect their experience is likely to be increasingly de-emphasized by WotC, at least for the next few years, are probably correct.
 

Waller

Hero

darjr

I crit!
I don’t think there is any, any chance of official WotC print books going away anytime soon or probably ever.

I do think there is a lot of evidence that WotC over the next few years does intend to prioritize digital content and digital play over analog play - and you do (or should) design differently if you view the user experience as primarily digital vs primarily physical.

There will always be physical books. But analog DMs and players who suspect their experience is likely to be increasingly de-emphasized by WotC, at least for the next few years, are probably correct.
This is raw speculation. Based on things, IMHO, taken out of proportion.

Is digital a big market for them? Yes, they'd be nuts to ignore it. But that's not "ignoring" the table top.

Do they ignore tabletop magic? No. Not at all.

Do they shift away from it? No. Not at all.

It's not a zero sum game, the market of D&D.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
This is raw speculation. Based on little that isn't taken out of proportion.

Is digital a big market for them? Yes. They'd be nuts to ignore it. But that's not "ignoring" the table top desktop.

Do they ignore tabletop magic? No. Not at all.

Do they shift away from it? No. Not at all.

It's not a zero sum game the market of D&D.
I mean, for goodness sake, they've been increasing the number of books they print.
 

Audiomancer

Adventurer
Hasbro is a profit-seeking entity.

It currently generates profits by printing physical rulebooks.

Hasbro will continue to print physical books as long as it is profitable to do so.

Now, it is certainly possible that, as some future date, Hasbro’s market research will indicate that… let’s say… 80% of its customers don’t want physical books and prefer to own their gaming products digitally. But that day is probably some distance off.

All the major book publishers continue to publish physical books, despite the existence of e-readers and tablets. Movies and music continue to be available on physical media, in addition to digital.

5.5E will be sold in book form. 6E will be sold in book form. Take deep breaths, stop worrying, and enjoy your game.
 

DarkCrisis

Legend
this is very class dependent. there are plenty of poor people who don't have smart phones... especially kids (aka the next generation you want to attract) Getting a PHB for birthday or Christmas seems a lot more likely then a smart phone. At the gaming store that closed we had 2 players 1 had an emergency government issue phone and the other had no phone. In my regular group right now we all have them but 2 players only got them in last few years.

My niece and nephew have had smart phones since 5th grade... my fiancés has 2 nieces and a nephew and none of them have them and only 1 isn't in HS.
Right but what does that mean to WotC.

Remember when Blizzard came out with their mobile only Diablo “Don’t you have a phone?”

Yeah they made a PC version but only after that outcry.

They just did it again with Overwatch 2. You had to have a phone to even log in for true first time. Again, until the outcry and they reversed it “for now.”

Point being. Dollars to Donuts, when WorC feels that they will make more money when they leave behind print and those without phones or tables, they absolutely will.

Which won’t be soon. But I bet Beyond gets some digital only items pretty quick. Want that digital exclusive Ravenloft adventure? Gotta use Beyond. “You have a phone right?”
 


Right but what does that mean to WotC.

Remember when Blizzard came out with their mobile only Diablo “Don’t you have a phone?”

Yeah they made a PC version but only after that outcry.

They just did it again with Overwatch 2.
You just said what it means to WotC, two times Blizzard got bad press and bad word of mouth over this thought, so maybe they should learn from others mistakes...
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
This is raw speculation. Based on little that isn't taken out of proportion.

Is digital a big market for them? Yes. They'd be nuts to ignore it. But that's not "ignoring" the table top desktop.

Well, I didn't say they would "ignore" the tabletop version. I said they'd prioritize the digital one. That doesn't mean they throw the tabletop game in the garbage. It just means they focus MORE on the digital elements.

As for raw speculation blown out of proportion, ymmv:

  • TTRPG guy replaced as head of D&D by guy with entirely digital, zero professional TTRPG experience
  • WotC purchases DNDBeyond, early digital-only release for Dragonlance adventure
  • WotC announced upcoming official D&D VTT
  • One D&D playtests available only to DNDBeyond members

Added up, this feels significant to me.
 


Staffan

Legend
5.5E will be sold in book form. 6E will be sold in book form. Take deep breaths, stop worrying, and enjoy your game.
Yeah, digital only will likely be related to niche items, and we have some of those today already. Things like The Tortle Package or Lost Laboratory of Kwalish. I can see the dial being nudged a bit, but Wizards are too dependent on game stores to want to upset them – while digital Magic is definitely a thing, in-store gaming is still a major pillar of Magic playing.

The situation might be different in ten years, but not anytime soon.
 

darjr

I crit!
Well, I didn't say they would "ignore" the tabletop version. I said they'd prioritize the digital one. That doesn't mean they throw the tabletop game in the garbage. It just means they focus MORE on the digital elements.

As for raw speculation blown out of proportion, ymmv:

  • TTRPG guy replaced as head of D&D by guy with entirely digital, zero professional TTRPG experience
  • WotC purchases DNDBeyond, early digital-only release for Dragonlance adventure
  • WotC announced upcoming official D&D VTT
  • One D&D playtests available only to DNDBeyond members

Added up, this feels significant to me.
Ray Winninger was also a Microsoft guy in digital games.

WotC made the right decision buying DNDBeyond regardless of any of this. Also Dragonlance is being sold by DNDBeyond in physical form. All of them to be released Dec 6, just like Amazon.


Digital from DNDBeyond.
Screen Shot 2022-10-09 at 6.36.51 PM.png

The bundle printed book from DNDBeyond. Physical book on the same day.
Screen Shot 2022-10-09 at 6.37.08 PM.png


Physical book from Amazon.
Screen Shot 2022-10-09 at 6.37.16 PM.png

And the alternate cover only in game stores, Dec 6th. Same day. Right above a store locator.
Screen Shot 2022-10-09 at 6.38.15 PM.png

I know I could have missed something. Is there an intro adventure?

And a digital VTT also makes sense. Note that it's geared to be like a tabletop, the mini's are static figures. Why would they do that? Maybe to play more like the actual tabletop? However I'll grant that things could change rapidly here.

D&D Beyond playtest downloads. I don't think this means what you think it means. It's backed by an analytics engine and the playtest is in part a huge analytics effort. That alone justifies it in my book. Also there isn't any support for any of it in DNDBeyond itself, which I'm willing to grant they'd probably do that if they could.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
We have dndbeyomd woth microtransactions for 7 or 8 years now? We still have books.
Not only that, but the “micro transactions” on DDB aren’t even the kind that people are afraid of. It’s “pay 2 bucks for the races in this setting book, and if you the whole book later you get $2 off the price”.
I really can't understand why anyone thinks books are going away. WotC won't kill the golden goose. They are not dumb.
They were very considerate the last 8 years and were really effective.
If the D&D movie is a success, which is absolutely possible, then achieving the financial goals are possible. Same with baldur's gate 3 when it is finally done. I could see that they are actually not rushing it on purpose, because they could finally release it with 1D&D rules.

So the tabletop game does not have to grow too much, it just has to make many people happy. And if books are essential for many people, there will be books.
Yep. They’re gonna sell physical books as long as people want them. And as long as D&D is a hobby that doesn’t actually require wotc’s further involvement in order to play, people are gonna want books.
 

Vincent55

Explorer
Why does anyone think this goes away? They are literally top sellers on Amazon. Why the fear?
right well how many times i have heard this line, oh CD's are a fad, records are better or case tapes, i will go as far to say that small USB chips will at some point replace this as well down the road, heck you can fit many gigs on a small chip plug and play now. Once this becomes the norm you will never see many going through ther process of making a book. How many pay phones can you find in your town compared to 10 years ago. The digital age is great but, people love to use things to gain an advantage or make money, remember when you can buy a game own it and play it when ever you want. Now it's all about an online connection to a server so you don't really own the game or any thing in it, you just bought the right to access it.
 

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