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


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Well this doesn't bode very well.

Winninger was an actual game designer with some real credits under his belt, some real risks taken.

Dan Rawson is living definition of a "suit" (just check out his LinkedIn). I am extremely skeptical he's even played D&D significantly, let alone understands D&D, despite his vague claim. I am somewhat surprised he's as close as a 3rd degree connection to me, I bet I know who via though lol.
 


So the new WotC president from back in February just fired Ray Winninger to put her friend and former coworker in his job. Am I reading that right? Any word from Ray yet on all this?

Techniquely no, this is a new higher position from what I read, Ray was never a Vice President.

"In 2020, Winninger became the Executive Producer in charge of the Dungeons & Dragons studio at Wizards of the Coast replacing Mike Mearls, the previous Dungeons & Dragons design team head."

So Ray was more the highest creative position, the one previously held by Mike Mearls, D&D never rated it's own Vice President until now, an indication of it's growing status as a billion dollar brand to be.

Senior Vice President of D&D clearly out ranks Executive Producer of D&D, Ray would have to answer to Dan Rawson as would any other high level folks on the D&D team, like marketing and others which I don't think answered to Ray.

The question is why does D&D require a Senior Vice President of it's own? What will he do with the position?

And if Ray is gone who will be the new Executive Producer for D&D?
 

Same. It was great having someone who played and designed games in charge. I don’t agree with everything they did during his tenure, but at least there was a game designer in charge. He clearly knew what he was doing. And yet…this.
I'm seriously having huge difficulty imagining Rawson speaking to fans/customers at all about D&D and its future in any meaningful way, whereas Winninger was able to do quite eloquently and frankly interestingly. I doubt we'll see any discussion of upcoming settings or the like from Rawson, because I very much doubt he even understands why we care (though I'm sure he understands if they make money or not). And even if he has played the game, that's not at all the same thing as having been a game designer.
 

DarkCrisis

Legend
Yes, which is why 3.0 to 3.5 was a functional edition change, no matter what they said.

I can see a middle ground (a .5 if you will) depending on the depth/amount of changes. While I cant speak for 4th ed, 3.5 came off TO ME as a .5. It was mostly the same with some character and feat updates etc but mostly the same (You still HAD to have the new books for the updated classes etc, so yeah).

One D&D seems to be changing a lot more than 3/3.5 did. From classes to monsters to changes races to something almost completely different to how feats work to how crits work changes to how skills roll out etc etc etc.

Just the little we've seen is a lot bigger changes and definitely a "6th ed" despite people wanting very badly for it not to be. I sued to think this would be another .5 amount of changes but nope. Which explains WotC's line of "It's One D&D, now and forever!" Whatever helps the purchasers sleep better at night.
 

The question is why does D&D require a Senior Vice President of it's own?
Because it's making more money than any other part of WotC, and WotC's making more money than other parts of Hasbro.

So we "need" a pure money-man in charge instead of some kind of filthy hippy creative (even though Winninger had some pretty serious corporate experience).
What will he do with the position?
Nothing that we'll actually hear about or have communicated to us in any way, shape, or form.
And if Ray is gone who will be the new Executive Producer for D&D?
Probably nobody or Jeremy Crawford.

I'm honestly on team nobody here.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I'm seriously having huge difficulty imagining Rawson speaking to fans/customers at all about D&D and its future in any meaningful way, whereas Winninger was able to do quite eloquently and frankly interestingly. I doubt we'll see any discussion of upcoming settings or the like from Rawson, because I very much doubt he even understands why we care (though I'm sure he understands if they make money or not). And even if he has played the game, that's not at all the same thing as having been a game design
As @Henadic Theologian point out above the New Guy is a VP and Ray Winninger was an Executive Producer. My guess is Ray is still in charge of the RPG but that there will be whole other D&D departments focused on the multimedia which will include TV and movies going forward.

This is a whole other ball game for D&D
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
As @Henadic Theologian point out above the New Guy is a VP and Ray Winninger was an Executive Producer. My guess is Ray is still in charge of the RPG but that there will be whole other D&D departments focused on the multimedia which will include TV and movies going forward.

This is a whole other ball game for D&D
Except that Ray has removed any mention of D&D, WotC, and Hasbro from his socials (at least on Twitter) and hasn’t posted much in recent days (weeks). He’s seemingly no longer working on D&D or for Wotc/Hasbro in any capacity. If he was still there you’d expect the old corporate stuff about looking forward to working with the new person, bigger and brighter things, and all the normal PR claptrap.
 

My guess is Ray is still in charge of the RPG
Yeah how much you want to bet on that son?

Dudes don't delete all references to D&D from their Twitter bio just because they got a new boss.
there will be whole other D&D departments focused on the multimedia which will include TV and movies going forward
That is already the case. There is nothing new - Mearls was in the role of Franchise Creative Director until 2020, it's unclear who is in that role now.
 

Well this doesn't bode very well.

Winninger was an actual game designer with some real credits under his belt, some real risks taken.

Dan Rawson is living definition of a "suit" (just check out his LinkedIn). I am extremely skeptical he's even played D&D significantly, let alone understands D&D, despite his vague claim. I am somewhat surprised he's as close as a 3rd degree connection to me, I bet I know who via though lol.

He's not replacing Ray, if Ray is gone there will need to be a new Executive Producer for D&D, which used to be Mearls job. Dan Rawson's new job didn't exist until now, it's a lot higher up the food chain and if Ray isn't gone, Dan will be his boss.

Ray was the very top of the creative teams hierachy, Dan Rawson is above the creative team entirely, although they still answer to him.

I suspect so does marketing, customer service, the D&D Beyond Team, Toque Studios, and any other of the studios working on D&D products and Mike Mearls. All of which were well beyond Ray job description. The MtG team might too when using D&D settings for card sets. Any new companies and assets that are purchased for D&D will likely also answer to him.

He will have influence over D&D creative, but I'm pretty sure he won't directly run it himself, but whoever does end up Executive Producer of D&D answers to D&D Senior Vice Dan Rawson, who answers to WotC President Cynthia Williams, who answers to Hasbro CEO Chris Cox.

Ex-Microsoft seems have hijacked WotC which Hijacked it's owner company Hasbro. Over the next few years this should get very interesting, there is a particular vision for Hasbro/WotC/D&D & MtG here, Chris Coxes vision.
 

Except that Ray has removed any mention of D&D, WotC, and Hasbro from his socials (at least on Twitter) and hasn’t posted much in recent days (weeks). He’s seemingly no longer working on D&D or for Wotc/Hasbro in any capacity. If he was still there you’d expect the old corporate stuff about looking forward to working with the new person, bigger and brighter things, and all the normal PR claptrap.

If he's gone they will need a new Executive Producer to fill his role, that's not Dan Rawson's job.
 

He's not replacing Ray, if Ray is gone there will need to be a new Executive Producer for D&D, which used to be Mearls job.
He's an Executive Producer, not the Lich King.

There's no reason his position has to continue to exist or filled. Azeroth is not going to be consumed by undead because WotC doesn't an EP for D&D. Nor is Faerun, for that matter.

I find it very unlikely Winninger would have just quit if the EP position was planned to continue existing, because frankly, he was probably being paid a very large amount of money. So either the EP position won't be filled, or whatever they're planning was so at odds with Winninger being there that he had to go, in which case we'll likely see someone from MS or Jeremy Crawford (if he's amenable to their plans, and I presume he is) in the position.
 

Ex-Microsoft seems have hijacked WotC which Hijacked it's owner company Hasbro. Over the next few years this should get very interesting, there is a particular vision for Hasbro/WotC/D&D & MtG here, Chris Coxes vision.
This is true. Frankly I'd be unsurprised if they simply sold out to Microsoft for many dollars, in a few years. MS is going very aggro on acquiring game companies. Once they've got Activision-Blizzard in the bag (still working on that) I'd be unsurprised if either Hasbro or a WotC snapped from Hasbro would be next up.
 


Haplo781

Legend
Well this doesn't bode very well.

Winninger was an actual game designer with some real credits under his belt, some real risks taken.

Dan Rawson is living definition of a "suit" (just check out his LinkedIn). I am extremely skeptical he's even played D&D significantly, let alone understands D&D, despite his vague claim. I am somewhat surprised he's as close as a 3rd degree connection to me, I bet I know who via though lol.
D&D stopped taking risks in 2012.
 


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