D&D General Hasbro activist begins proxy fight, urges Dungeons & Dragons spinoff

D&D has failed a lot of times with the videogame adaptations, but if today Forgotten Realms is the most famous setting is thanks Baldur's Gate and Newerwinter Nights. And D&D has enjoyed indirect advertising thanks World of Warcraft and other fantasy videogames, because those gamers were more willing to try the tabletop role-play, (at least to be the trope of horny bard).

The digital market is the main goal of Hasbro/WotC, but videogame projects need time, money and the right workers. The tabletop version can be useful as a "ideas factory".

My theory is Hasbro wants to sell D&D sourcebooks based in other franchises. Do you rebember the starter set of "Stranger Things" and "Rick & Morty"? Well, you can imagine D&D based in Legend of Zelda, for example. Maybe Warcraft d20 could be published by WotC themself in the 5th Ed, thanks the good contacts between Hasbro and Microsoft, the new owner of Blizzard.

And the brands help to sell more, for example toys based in famous cartoons (Pepa Pig, PJMasks, etc..). And we can't forget the "crossovers" in other videogames, for example Transformers as skins in "World of Warships" or "Smite". I am really surprised we haven't seen more G.I.Joe characters as skins in Fortnite beside Snake Eyes.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
The game is FAR, FAR more "explosively popular" today than at any time before.

I get that some people prefer the old game more, but those people are a minority. I played it throughout the 80s and loved it. However today's game is much better. That is my opinion and it is also the opinion of most players.

Well, if by "most players" you're using the playing populace as a whole, I'd suggest "most players" have never even seen the older versions of the game (at least more than an edition or two back). That doesn't mean I think there's all that much virtue to, say, OD&D these days, but you still can't draw preference conclusions from people who have never seen the alternate options you're comparing to.
 

jolt

Adventurer
I see zero chance that WotC would be spun off. Looking at Hasbro's share valuation since 1985, it's largest gains have been after 2010. That hedge fund is also wrong, Hasbro stock is worth more now than 5 years ago. It's worth 97.98 right now and in Feb. 2017 is was barely over 85. There was a big drop off in price after Hasbro purchased that other company and took on their debt; but that's fairly common in business purchasing and the share price was still above what it was in 2010. And the price has done nothing but rise ever since. My guess is that this Alta group wants a fast increase in share value which they would then sell for massive gains. I'm not a shareholder and there's a lot of info I don't have access to, but the info I do have makes this feel like a lot of smoke and mirrors. Hasbro and WotC are doing great (maybe not a s great as some want) but I see little to no long term gain by doing a spinoff.
 

No what made d&d explosively popular was two things. One it hit the middle spot between simple d6 systems like tunnels and trolls and the hours long measure your movements games. Add that to the fact that it's first few medium sized competitors tried to make their games "more realistic" which meant complicated and slow meant they had no real competition till gurps or palladium in the 90's . Honestly till Pathfinder there was no direct competitor to d&d. And I'd argue with 2e we are back to that again because 2e isn't a competitor to anything but PF1e
No, most of the current PF2e fanbase comes from 5e, and generally newcomers are interested in something new because of some (perceived) flaw with 5e, whether its Wizards sparse player options offerings, sense of balance for the game, lack of tactics, whatever. Paizo may not be anything for Wizards to worry about at the moment, but PF2e is getting the players it has by competing with 5e for sure. It even has an explicit design goal of doing its streamlining and accessibility while retaining more depth.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I bought it, I played it.

I wouldn't even say it was an AA game (personal opinion on it).
AA and AAA have to do with buget, not quality. Haven't played it, and have no real plan to change that.

But if I were a shareholder, I'd rather see them invest in trying to make big video games in-house (because they will never get anything big through licenses in the HD era), than invest n novel publishing in-house. By a lot.
 

I have read in reddit an interesting opinion. It says something like this:

"Brand Blueprint" is a strategy of acquiring brands, then running them through a standardized (blueprinted) strategy. Make action figures, a TV show, a physical game, a digital game etc. Then acquire a new IP and do it again, similar to Disney’s handling of its brands.ç

By calling Hasbro’s strategy "empire-building", Alta Fox is suggesting that Hasbro management pursues acquisitions for their own personal benefit and not the benefit of the company. More specifically: they claim that Hasbro overpaid for its acquisitions at the expense of shareholders, while management benefitted.

---

My opinion is Hasbro is right about the "brand blueprint" strategy, even when the sharedholders earn less. Once I listened a saying "Bread for today, hunger for tomorrow" ( = We shouldn't think always only in short terms).

I have listened a rumor about a Hasbro's licence being produced by a rival toy company. It shouldn't be logic, but if there are some possibilities of a future adquisitition of that toy company by Hasbro. Of course this is only speculation and we can't "put the hand over the fire" (= to show commitent and will to sacrifice, don't you know the story Gaius Mucius Scaevola?) about this.

I have said several times WotC should be working in some secret project about an update d20 Modern to sell TTRPGs of famous franchises, for example videogames (Starcraft, Overwatch, Mass Effect, Doom..). Why? The same reason to seel Clued, Monopoly or Risk based in famous IPs.
 

GreyLord

Legend
AA and AAA have to do with buget, not quality. Haven't played it, and have no real plan to change that.

But if I were a shareholder, I'd rather see them invest in trying to make big video games in-house (because they will never get anything big through licenses in the HD era), than invest n novel publishing in-house. By a lot.

I was referring more to the quality of what it is comparable to.

I have seen games made by a 30 man team that had higher quality and better programming than the game and better graphics.

I've even seen Indie games with less bugs and better layout of the game.

People talk about Anthem and Fallout76 and such...those were Triple A and buggy, but they had higher quality than this game.

We talk about Pillars of Eternity, Torment, Tyranny, or even Sacred 3 and Dungeon Siege 3...all were wonders compared to Dark Alliance (or at least my impression of it when I played it).

I was gravely disappointed with it (if people couldn't tell).
 

We should remember Hasbro's plans about WotC is this to evolutionate to something like a videogame studio/distribuitor. One of the last projects is "Atomic Arcade", an online service. Maybe Hasbro adquires a new videogame studio in the future.

Paizo's Pathfinder was adapted into videogame, and it worked, at least very well to be the first try. Why shouldn't WotC's team to find the right keys?

Other option is D&D as "guest artist" in famous videogames.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
My opinion is Hasbro is right about the "brand blueprint" strategy, even when the sharedholders earn less. Once I listened a saying "Bread for today, hunger for tomorrow" ( = We shouldn't think always only in short terms).
Of course not, but shares ought to bring value to shareholders. The reasons to own shares are to get a portion of the company's profits and have a say in how the company works. Now, on a big company, the latter is very impossible due to the amount of shares, so getting dividends is like the only reason to own shares. Short of that, the shares should at least appraise enough in a given year to beat inflation. Otherwise shareholders are actively losing money. Now, this might seem like pointless greed, but many of the shareholders are in it to make money for retirement, or their children's college, or for a rainy day and a lot of corporate shareholders are pooled funds of people investing for these reasons.
If the company is so big and unwieldy that it generates no profit at all with record revenue, and no money at all, it makes sense to stop and think if the current plan is a good one.
 


Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Eventually. Working to maximize short-term benefit for shareholders tends to sacrifice long-term returns from the company.
It certainly can. But AF's suggested strategy involves reinvesting in WotC's products so it can grow, rather than using it as a cash cow to support Hasbro.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It certainly can. But AF's suggested strategy involves reinvesting in WotC's products so it can grow, rather than using it as a cash cow to support Hasbro.

So, I think that's not actually an accurate statement.

AF's strategy claims it is about reinvesting in WotC's products so it can grow more quickly than it is currently growing.

I didn't see a claim that WotC is a "cash cow supporting Hasbro". This seems to me a false narrative, a bit of spin, as if the company has two divisions, and if one is doing better than another, one is necessarily "supported by" the other.

My wife and I both have jobs. My wife makes more than I do. That doesn't mean I am a kept man supported by my wife.
 



Parmandur

Book-Friend
Good for Hasbro, standing up to this.

"Jon Finkel has absolutely no experience in leadership roles at corporate companies. He is first and foremost a gamer and fan and does not have experience in driving growth and strategic value at digital gaming companies, smartly allocating capital or delivering returns for shareholders. We welcome his passion for our products, but passion for a couple of product lines does not qualify him to sit on our Board."
 

Good for Hasbro, standing up to this.

"Jon Finkel has absolutely no experience in leadership roles at corporate companies. He is first and foremost a gamer and fan and does not have experience in driving growth and strategic value at digital gaming companies, smartly allocating capital or delivering returns for shareholders. We welcome his passion for our products, but passion for a couple of product lines does not qualify him to sit on our Board."
Alta Fox has stopped supporting Finkel for the board. They pared down their request to three people, and Finkel is not one of them.

By far, he was the least qualified for a Board seat in their proposed slate.
 


Maybe I have read too many "spies novels" but sometimes this sounds as if anybody doesn't like Hasbro had got to an old franchise now is becoming too valious and important, and then they wanted it was changed to other hands.

WotC within Hasbro has got better contacts for partnerships and licencing deals. It is not only my theory, some articles tell Hasbro wants D&D to be a "metaverse" where add elements from internal and external brands. Not only Magic: Beyond Universe but also D&D: Beyond Universe. Do you remember all the crossovers and colabs in Fornite? Then Hasbro wants D&D to be as Fortnite, the king of the crossovers.
 


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