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...

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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ArwensDaughter

Adventurer
Last I saw any word on it, a few years ago, most gen x kids preferred to read print books over digital, so I doubt we will even see major supplements become digital only. It won’t happen until they stop making profit on those print books, which ain’t any time soon, IMO.
I hate to tell you, but as Ruin Explorer pointed out, Gen Xers are not "kids." I'm a Gen Xer, and I'm old enough to have played AD&D/1e when it was being released. My children, on the other hand, who are post-millenials (Gen Z?), definitely prefer physical books over digital. My youngest has most of the 5e official books in hardcover. My oldest (who considers themself to be a millennial, although demographers would disagree) has the core set on DDB only because they were leaving for college right as DDB was starting up and could get all 3 core books there for what it would have cost them to get one in print.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yep, just like on Kickstarter. There, the PDF version is the default. But pay a bit more, get the PDF +Book at the same time. It's the Mom&Pop, LHS, that are gonna suffer in all of this.
Maybe, maybe not. People who don’t play digitally aren’t gonna be any less likely to get thier books from a store.

But also, shops probably make as much from minis and other secondary products as they do from D&D books as such.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I hate to tell you, but as Ruin Explorer pointed out, Gen Xers are not "kids." I'm a Gen Xer, and I'm old enough to have played AD&D/1e when it was being released. My children, on the other hand, who are post-millenials (Gen Z?), definitely prefer physical books over digital. My youngest has most of the 5e official books in hardcover. My oldest (who considers themself to be a millennial, although demographers would disagree) has the core set on DDB only because they were leaving for college right as DDB was starting up and could get all 3 core books there for what it would have cost them to get one in print.
Typo. I ( I would think obviously) did not mean to type “x”, but rather “z”. And by typo I mean autocorrect failure. Any time I type “z” by itself it tries to change it to “x”.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
I didn't say anything about backwards compatibility. If a new PHB comes out in 2024, will it replace the 5e PHB on DDB? Will we get to have both, or will the 5e PHB (and other books) be removed from the site to be replaced with 2024 edition?
We can look at the current implementation of Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse as a likely preview of how revision products will be treated. Of course, there will be a point where maintaining multiple books in multiple editions is too much, but I can't see that happening here, especially as they tout the backward compatibility with original 5e.
Buy digital book, get physical book discount when ordering directly from Wotc?

That would seem the better way to go business wise. Margins are higher in direct to consumer. There will be less bad will from those that buy a digital copy and the decide to buy a physical copy with a discount. No one expect a physical copy to be free after all. Whereas some expect the digital copy to be free or highly discounted if they own a physical copy.
An interesting thought, but Wizards does not have the infrastructure to order physical books from them directly. They got rid of their brick and mortar storefronts years ago, so it seems they don't want to be in that line of business? Also, Wizards has done a lot to support local game stores. If one could order directly from Wizards, that would seem to undercut other stores.
 


G

Guest 7034872

Guest
Well, now...I have paid exactly zero attention to this stuff until now, and while it isn't surprising, it does tell me Hasbro is firmly convinced of and invested in the value (monetary, I mean) of D&D. They're clearly "all in" on this hobby's future.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm hoping they're considering Wizkids integration, at least for miniatures/tokens if they do a VTT. If they could somehow license the STL's or whatever Wizkids is using to carve their minis for port into a 3D VTT (or even 2D VTT), that'd be wonderful. Doubly so if could mesh with importing character models from the likes of Heroforge. "Buy a mini, get the digital copy too" (at least for PC-types) would be great.

Maybe they can entice Wizkids if the VTT can support HeroClix and their other games.
I think HeroForge is more likely tbh. Although I really wish that Fantasy Flight would merge with HeroForge instead, purely so I could have Star Wars aliens in heroforge, and lightsabers, etc. obviously that isn’t a thing that could reasonably be expected to happen, though. 😂
Gen Z presumably? But yeah I've heard the same and I often see young 'uns with real books. In fact Kindles and reading books on the phone seems to be more Millennial.
Yeah. I think part of the problem is that the only format where reading ebooks is as easy and painless as reading a print book is the non-backlit older gen e-readers. The ones that are only an e-reader, like the original Nook. I can read on that all day. A kindle is a tablet, complete with a screen that no change in settings can make quite as comfortable as the nook.

The book is meant to be read without distractions. Push notifications for Clash of Clans kinda ruin that.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
We can look at the current implementation of Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse as a likely preview of how revision products will be treated. Of course, there will be a point where maintaining multiple books in multiple editions is too much, but I can't see that happening here, especially as they tout the backward compatibility with original 5e.

An interesting thought, but Wizards does not have the infrastructure to order physical books from them directly. They got rid of their brick and mortar storefronts years ago, so it seems they don't want to be in that line of business? Also, Wizards has done a lot to support local game stores. If one could order directly from Wizards, that would seem to undercut other stores.
I think it’s more likely that wotc would provide a voucher code with the DDB purchase, to get a discount at any participating FLGS.
 


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