D&D 5E Hasbro Acquires D&D Beyond For $146M

D&D owner WotC and D&D Beyond have announced that the online tools platform is being acquired by WotC.

DDB’s (former) owner was Fandom, which acquired it in 2018, and which also acquired the Cortex Prime TTRPG system recently. Fandom is producing a range of licensed games using the Cortex Prime system starting with the recent Tales of Xadia: The Dragon Prince RPG. Several DDB core staff members and founders moved on to other projects last year.


This move has been widely expected for some time. The purchase figure being circulated is $146 million. By comparison, when WotC purchased then-D&D owner TSR in 1997, it did so for $25M. Hasbro later purchased WotC for $325M.

D&D Beyond was created in 2017 by Curse LLC, a company owned by Twitch. Fandom purchased Curse in 2018. WotC will be the third owner of the platform.

In other news, back in November WotC applied for a trademark for 'Atomic Arcade' for a variety of electronic gaming applications, and earlier in the year, rumours spread regarding WotC’s plans for its own virtual tabletop platform (VTT) following a survey in which they gauged opinions and allegedly showed off graphically rich 3D screenshots.

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Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) today announced that it is acquiring D&D Beyond, the leading digital toolset and game companion for the Company’s groundbreaking fantasy franchise, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, from Fandom. Fandom, the world’s largest fan platform, has owned and operated D&D Beyond since 2019 and has grown the direct-to-consumer business to be the leading role-playing game (RPG) digital toolset on the market with close to 10 million registered users. This strategic acquisition, for $146.3 million in cash, will further strengthen Hasbro’s capabilities in the fast-growing digital tabletop category while also adding veteran talents to the Wizards of the Coast team and accelerating efforts to deliver exceptional experiences for fans across all platforms.

Since 2017, D&D Beyond has helped to power DUNGEONS & DRAGONS tabletop play and deliver the brand's eighth consecutive year of growth in 2021. Over the last three years, the royalty paid to Hasbro by D&D Beyond has represented a significant contribution to the fastest growing source of revenue for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. The strategic acquisition of D&D Beyond will deliver a direct relationship with fans, providing valuable, data-driven insights to unlock opportunities for growth in new product development, live services and tools, and regional expansions. As part of Wizards, the brand’s leadership will soon be able to drive a unified, player-centric vision of the world’s greatest role-playing game on all platforms.

“The acquisition of D&D Beyond will accelerate our progress in both gaming and direct to consumer, two priority areas of growth for Hasbro, providing immediate access to a loyal, growing player base,” said Chris Cocks, Hasbro Chief Executive Officer. “Hasbro’s gaming portfolio is among the largest and most profitable in the industry, and we continue to make strategic investments to grow our brands, including in digital.”

“This is the perfect next step for the talented D&D Beyond team, who built a transformative digital product that engaged and delighted millions of D&D fans around the world,” said Perkins Miller, CEO of Fandom. “We can't wait to see what this team will do next as an integral part of the D&D franchise, and I look forward to investing in more brands and products to super serve Fandom’s 300 million+ global fans.”

“D&D Beyond has been one of our most valuable partners in the digital space for the past six years and we’re excited to bring their best-in-class talent onto our team,” said Cynthia Williams, President of Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming. “The team at D&D Beyond has built an incredible digital platform, and together we will deliver the best-possible DUNGEONS & DRAGONS experience for players around the world.”

Hasbro’s continued investment in Wizards of the Coast’s digital growth for its two iconic franchises, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and MAGIC: THE GATHERING, is representative of the significant opportunity in PC and mobile gaming, an industry that represented over 3 billion players globally and $129 billion in revenue in 20211. With the launch of Magic: The Gathering Arena on PC in 2019 and on mobile in 2021, Wizards has built a unique ecosystem of best-in-class tabletop and digital play to create deeper player engagement and satisfaction and grow revenue across all expressions and regions. Similarly, with more than 80% of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS fans having already played the game virtually in 2021, aided by online digital platforms such as D&D Beyond, this acquisition accelerates the game’s ability to penetrate new markets, gather valuable consumer insights and provide players with the best DUNGEONS & DRAGONS experience on all platforms.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and the receipt of certain regulatory approvals, and is expected to close during the second or third quarter of 2022. The transaction will be funded out of cash on hand and is expected to be immaterial to revenue and earnings per share in 2022 and accretive to earnings per share in fiscal year 2023 and beyond. The transaction has been approved by both Hasbro’s and Fandom’s Boards of Directors.


 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Hussar

Legend
I think people underestimate just how much extra labor goes into putting things into different formats and think it's all automated now. Even where it is automated its incredibly expensive. It's not like having both a print book and a PDF where making a PDF is the intermediate stage of getting a book to print (and even there - the version of a PDF that is good to read on a device requires some labor to create from the version of the PDF that the printer needs, so even there there's a cost being paid).
I think this is very, very true.

I'm currently inputting a pdf adventure into Fantasy Grounds. For those who might be interested, it's this one: The Tarrasque Task of Moreen Trask | New 8th-Level Adventure for Fifth Edition

Now that's a pretty straightforward 30'ish page adventure. Nothing too complicated and, outside of about 6 monsters, is pure SRD.

I figure that I'll put in about 8-10 hours stripping HTML, cut and pasting into Fantasy Grounds, creating the encounters and parcels, and drawing the LOS lines on the map.

So, how much is that worth? The pdf is free. But, we're still talking quite a bit of work to get basic VTT functionality for a very, very simple adventure.

THAT'S why you pay full cover price to get the VTT version of a module or rulebook. It's a TON of work to get those things into the new format.
 

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Jacqual

Explorer
I'm just wondering about how close DDB is to becoming a VTT as that is something that was on the back burner for a bit. I believe Adam Bradford mentioned it in a Dev update before he left, if so that would increase the value of DDB to WotC even more. Making WotC the 1 stop shop for D&D buy a book bundle(?) get physical, digital, and even play it online.
 

darjr

I crit!
I'm just wondering about how close DDB is to becoming a VTT as that is something that was on the back burner for a bit. I believe Adam Bradford mentioned it in a Dev update before he left, if so that would increase the value of DDB to WotC even more. Making WotC the 1 stop shop for D&D buy a book bundle(?) get physical, digital, and even play it online.
My bet is there is a lot of work on it behind the scenes
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Somebody else may know, I don't do VTT anymore. I know Roll20 had an unofficial integration but it wasn't using any kind of official API,it worked by screen scraping.

As I said somewhere, I wouldn't be surprised if WOTC complicated implementing an API because of licensing fees and issues. Once brought in house my bet would be that they build the public interface.
beyond20, a chrome extension, is what I use, and it's been pretty good
 

Hussar

Legend
Yeah, I can see that sort of unofficial access stuff going away soon. It is ... questionable to use and it's certainly acceptable for WotC to stop it. Those who are relying on it might want to rethink that in the pretty near future because I doubt, seriously, whether it will be viable for much longer.

And, yeah, I can totally see WotC going the full on digital route. One only has to look at the HUGE cash cow that Magic Online has become to see that this is totally the way they are going to go.
 

Yeah, I can see that sort of unofficial access stuff going away soon. It is ... questionable to use and it's certainly acceptable for WotC to stop it. Those who are relying on it might want to rethink that in the pretty near future because I doubt, seriously, whether it will be viable for much longer.

And, yeah, I can totally see WotC going the full on digital route. One only has to look at the HUGE cash cow that Magic Online has become to see that this is totally the way they are going to go.
Didn't they sell more cardboard than ever last year?
 

Hussar

Legend
Didn't they sell more cardboard than ever last year?
Oh, probably. But, that doesn't really change my point. Online is arriving on the horizon and it's a question of when, not if anymore. Just far too many people involved. 10 million D&D Beyond users makes an pretty tempting ready made market.

What I hope we see is a VTT with built in voice chat that is directly tied to D&D Beyond. Make the whole thing browser based, and you're good to go. None of that is particularly new technology. Every single element is well established. The trick is just putting it all together.

OTOH, they did manage to give it a pretty good go at the tail end of 4e with their VTT tied to Gleeman, so, it's not like WotC can't do it. One would hope that ten+ years later, it wouldn't be a huge technical hurdle.
 




Jer

Legend
Supporter
And, yeah, I can totally see WotC going the full on digital route. One only has to look at the HUGE cash cow that Magic Online has become to see that this is totally the way they are going to go.
My prediction - Wizards will not be going "fully online" any time in the next decade unless something happens to disrupt the world's paper supply or printing costs so much that they're forced to completely upend their business model.

Yes they're making lots of money off of digital, but that's still a growth market. The physical world side of their operation is still where the money is at that is funding a lot of that growth. Until it becomes unprofitable to make physical games they're going to keep doing it. And I don't see a collapse in the Magic the Gathering market or the book market at that level anytime soon. (People have been declaring that print is dead for 2 decades and books continue to do better than those folks predict - and Magic cards have a collectible aspect to them that can't actually be replicated digitally, no matter how much folks "minting" NFTs wish they could).
 



With the digital market they shouldn't worry about sending the products to far zones. I have seen the most of role-players live in capital cities because the TTRPGs aren't sold in smaller towns. Printing-machines aren't necessary for the digital market, and this is not software, this doesn't become obsolete too soon, losing economic value.

But collectors would rather physical products.
 


Oofta

Legend
Soooo... Can we drop that pesky login-via-twitch requirement please, now that we're twice removed from Twitch (thus thrice-removed from Amazon)? I'd be ever so grateful.
You've been able to link to a google account for quite a while now. Just go to your account and you can link to google, twitch, apple, discord or even WOTC. That last one might be new, I switched to using my google account a while back.
 




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