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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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
It can be torn open easily by anyone unscrupulous. Also, how many sales would they lose from potential buyers who could not browse through the book?
Many new books are sold in shrinkwrap at the bookstore. I actually much prefer buying shrink wrapped books. Also, there are countless streamers and bloggers who get advance copies of the books and can browse them for the public.
 

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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.

I know this is a tangent, but Amazon still makes e-ink Kindles. They have integrated lights but they aren't backlit--they work like an integrated booklight basically--and don't cause the kind of eye strain that a tablet screen does. They have browsers but they're terrible enough that you'd never use them, and obviously can't handle displaying anything other than the most basic web pages.

They're really very good devices now--super light, and the newer ones are waterproof. It's just that no one talks about them, since their innovations aren't all that interesting.
 

Given the previous announcement that we would be seeing the upcoming new D&D products in a new format, is this what they mean?

I think I remember their being a statement that this new format was not digital, but I could be wrong.
 




Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Shrink Wrap is so last Century. ;)

What you do is print a QR code at the point of sale, strait from the cash register, then upload said code via the D&D beyond Phone app.
 

Nebulous

Legend
I wouldn't expect them to pull licenses from Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. At least not right away. But I would expect exclusives for WotC's own VTT, earlier product access, and above all a marketing blitz that will hurt growth for the other VTTs.
I wouldn't expect them to pull the licenses either. Not right away. What I WOULD expect - if they handle it correctly - is a visual and UI upgrade to current VTT's with API scripts that can be toggled on and off with a click, user friendly, and animated tokens. If they make it so massively appealing then the 3rd party VTTs will fall by the wayside.
 

Shrink Wrap is so last Century. ;)

What you do is print a QR code at the point of sale, strait from the cash register, then upload said code via the D&D beyond Phone app.

QR codes are like the pogs of our era. Oh how we'll laugh about them later.

Anyway Barnes & Noble and Target don't want to get involved in updating their point-of-sale systems with some special QR thing. D&D is mass-market--whatever they do has to work everywhere, and without hiccups.
 

Nebulous

Legend
This is a good move for WotC, as I think most here agree. Hopefully their future VTT plans involve integrating D&D Beyond into existing services rather than making their own. Paizo just got a partnership with Foundry VTT; if they can afford to hire people to make VTT versions of their content and adventures then WotC certainly can as well.
I would be perfectly happy if WotC buys Roll20 and throws money into enhanced development, which it very much needs.
 

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