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

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, using another company for authentication can be annoying. I understand why they did it though, developing a truly secure login and user identity store can be complex and expensive distraction.
Yeah, you'd think that in this day and age there would be decent solutions for that that you could use off the shelf and yet...
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The biggest competitor to D&D has always been ... D&D. It's very easy to just keep playing the current edition when a new edition comes out - you already have the books. That was true when 2nd edition came out and it's even more true today when the OGL exists - you don't even have to use the used book channel to find the old books anymore. Heck Wizards currently sells every edition of D&D EXCEPT 5e on DM's Guild because they recognize that fact and have finally figured out how to skim some money off of it.

The other dirty secret is - after 10 years they can put out a new PHB with different art, errata, and a few rules fixes that go beyond eratta (like moving the Ranger options from Tasha's into core), call it the "50th Anniversary Celebration" and it will sell just as well as an actual 6th edition would. Throw in a Monster Manual that has the new presentation for stats and new art there too and you have 2/3 of the money they'd make from a new edition. The DMG is a harder sell without some major reason to buy it without changing the rules, but don't underestimate the draw of having a consistent set of books :)
New and improved advice, “best of” list of magic items, updates to some of the optional rules with what they’ve learned taken into account, I’d say there is plenty they can do to improve the DMG and get even those of us who don’t care about collecting to buy it.
 

Hussar

Legend
Ohh, sorry, no. Totally mis stated my point.

When I said going full on online, I didn't mean that they would abandon print. That would be stupid. I mean that they would press ahead aggressively and develop their online presence. As in, instead of leaving it to other companies to produce VTT's and various other bits and bobs, WotC would do it themselves.

Yeah, no. Totally didn't mean that print was going anywhere.
 



I'm a bit thick. What's the difference between Net Revenue and Operating Profit?
What expenses or costs are calculated in or not.

I'm not an expert, but from what I know;
Operating profits do not account for taxes, debt and some one-off costs, but otherwise is all income minus all costs.
Net Revenue is total amount of sales, and doesn't account for other types of income and doesn't account for costs of sales or other expenses.
 










I wonder if this acquisition means that D&D Beyond will go back to supporting Unearthed Arcana. I recall that the primary reason they gave for not supporting it is that they essentially found out about it at the same time as everyone else did and ended up having to chase it without any real notion of how likely it would end up being made official. As an official part of Wizards, I imagine that the D&D Beyond team would find out about upcoming Unearthed Arcana much sooner and be able to prep for it to be live alongside launch.
 

darjr

I crit!
I wonder if this acquisition means that D&D Beyond will go back to supporting Unearthed Arcana. I recall that the primary reason they gave for not supporting it is that they essentially found out about it at the same time as everyone else did and ended up having to chase it without any real notion of how likely it would end up being made official. As an official part of Wizards, I imagine that the D&D Beyond team would find out about upcoming Unearthed Arcana much sooner and be able to prep for it to be live alongside launch.
Eight ball says, probably, maybe.
 

Staffan

Legend
I wonder if this acquisition means that D&D Beyond will go back to supporting Unearthed Arcana. I recall that the primary reason they gave for not supporting it is that they essentially found out about it at the same time as everyone else did and ended up having to chase it without any real notion of how likely it would end up being made official. As an official part of Wizards, I imagine that the D&D Beyond team would find out about upcoming Unearthed Arcana much sooner and be able to prep for it to be live alongside launch.
Unlikely I feel, unless it's put under the marketing budget. UA stuff is often experimental, which means it might be hard to code. It also has a built-in expiration date. So you're paying more in development costs for something that gets less use. It might still be worth doing to get more input and a bigger marketing boost, but it doesn't seem likely on its own merits.
 

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