WotC Hasbro Bets Big on D&D

During today's 'Hasbro Fireside Chat', Hasbro's Chris Cocks, chief executive officer, and Cynthia Williams, president of Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming mentioned D&D, and about betting big on its name. This was in addition to the Magic: The Gathering discussion they held on the same call.

Hasbro.jpg


The following are rough notes on what they said.

D&D Beyond
  • Leaning heavily on D&D Beyond
  • 13 million registered users
  • Give them more ways to express their fandom
  • Hired 350 people last year
  • Low attrition
What’s next for D&D
  • Never been more popular
  • Brand under-monetized
  • Excited about D&D Beyond possibilities
  • Empower accessibility and development of the user base.
  • Data driven insight
  • Window into how players are playing
  • Companion app on their phone
  • Start future monetization starting with D&D Beyond
  • DMs are 20% of the audience but lions share of purchases
  • Digital game recurrent spending for post sale revenue.
  • Speed of digital can expand, yearly book model to include current digital style models.
  • Reach highly engaged multigenerational fans.
  • Dungeons and Dragons has recognition, 10 out of 10
  • Cultural phenomenon right now.
  • DND strategy is a broad four quadrant strategy
  • Like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or Marvel
  • New books and accessories, licensed game stuff, and D&D Beyond
  • Huge hopes for D&D
What is success for the D&D Movie
  • First big light up oppourtunity for 4th quadrant
  • Significant marketing
  • They think it’ll have significant box office
  • It has second most viewed trailer at Paramount, only eclipsed by Transformers
  • Will be licensed video games, some on movies
  • Then follow up other media, TV, other movies, etc.
  • Bullish on D&D.
 
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Dire Bare

Legend
Not really. This is what a lot of folks feared when they took over DDB. They will micro transaction it as much as possible.

They have also, effectively, cut out Amazon and other discounters as well as the FLGS as you can now buy the books at full price with an extra fee to get the digital version. It just makes sense to buy the books direct.
Yes, really. Fans always assuming the worse, that the sky is falling with every announcement. Is beyond tired and old.

That doesn't mean we can't criticize decisions we don't feel are the best or that we simply don't like, but . . . . every thread, the negative and toxic comments, the doom and gloom, the fans convinced this is what destroys D&D as we know it . . . .
 

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Dire Bare

Legend
I said it in my post. I game with a number of people that cannot afford to spend money on VTT's or paying to access the campaign. This affects who can play in my games if I use DDB.
Oh please.

Most VTTs that currently exist are free for players and/or have low-cost subscriptions. D&D Beyond's "Hero" tier for players is $3 per month, and isn't necessary to use their existing service.

VTTs are a growing part of our hobby, like it or not. WotC wanting in on that is reasonable, and won't kill the hobby, it will just be one more VTT option out there. It won't be necessary to play the game, and it will likely be free or low-cost for players (not so much for DMs).

Paizo sells Pathfinder direct through their website, for a "better deal" than you can get at your local FLGS as the PDF is included. Yet, my local FLGS has a healthy selection of Pathfinder books that move decently. WotC still offers "special edition" covers of most of their books available exclusively through local FLGS retailers.

I am just not worried at all. My eyes rolled right out of my head pages ago on this thread. If you don't enjoy using VTTs currently, "One D&D" isn't going to force you to start using them to play the game.
 


Then I'll go back to my comment from long, long ago. How? What can they do that will make much of a difference? They aren't going to sell transactions that grant a 20 on their next die roll, or if they do DMs will just ban it. If they sell cosmetic bling, it doesn't affect the actual game.

Selling visual effects is cool. Some people are into fancy dice and custom minis. They show them off to their friends at the table, everyone oohs and aahs for a moment and then we go on to play the game. The only people that see or care about those cool dice or custom mini are the other 5-7 people sitting at the table. If someone starts belittling someone at my table for not having the latest and greatest mini, they won't be a player long if they persist. If someone has a flametongue sword and their mini's sword is on fire? Cool. Doesn't change the game one iota.

So I'll ask the same thing I asked before and never got an answer to. What, specifically, can they do that will harm the game?
I believe one of the other points @Belen made was removing some of the current subscription perks, like the ability to share books or other content in a campaign share. I could see that being viewed as a feasible option, because on paper if they can convince enough players to subscribe at the hero tier of $3 a month, that's a lot of steady income. However I'm not sure it would play out the way WotC might want. My current table of 7 has all of our characters in DDB for play in Roll20 because IMO DDB is a better place to create and manage characters, so in theory that's $21 a month if we all paid compared to the current $60 a year I'm spending to share content with the rest of the table. If they ever changed that arrangement, most of my table would just go back to keeping their character sheet in Roll20 and I'd seriously reconsider if the master tier subscription is worth having since I likely won't be using the DDB 3D VTT when that releases so any perks added tied to that wouldn't be of interest. It generally isn't good business to directly remove subscription benefits unless you're replacing them with something better.

Cynthia Williams didn't say this. There was no encouragement of microtransactions at all.
What she said certainly could be viewed as something they're looking at. That's how most companies achieve that "digital game recurrent spending for post sale revenue" they're so eager to find. Subscriptions are another path and IMO more in line with the experience of the new executive who came over from Microsoft.
 

Cynthia Williams didn't say this. There was no encouragement of microtransactions at all.
the CEO expressly wants to increase digital transactions and further monetize players.
And even if there was, there's a simple solution: don't buy the microstransactions! You will still be able to buy the books and just the play game... the same as has been happening since the 70s. @Belen , you are free to have your opinion and to voice it. But if come onto the boards and sort of conjure up windmills to tilt at and villains to fight out of thin air, expect people to tell you that what you're saying isn't realistic.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
I believe one of the other points @Belen made was removing some of the current subscription perks, like the ability to share books or other content in a campaign share. I could see that being viewed as a feasible option, because on paper if they can convince enough players to subscribe at the hero tier of $3 a month, that's a lot of steady income. However I'm not sure it would play out the way WotC might want. My current table of 7 has all of our characters in DDB for play in Roll20 because IMO DDB is a better place to create and manage characters, so in theory that's $21 a month if we all paid compared to the current $60 a year I'm spending to share content with the rest of the table. If they ever changed that arrangement, most of my table would just go back to keeping their character sheet in Roll20 and I'd seriously reconsider if the master tier subscription is worth having since I likely won't be using the DDB 3D VTT when that releases so any perks added tied to that wouldn't be of interest. It generally isn't good business to directly remove subscription benefits unless you're replacing them with something better.


What she said certainly could be viewed as something they're looking at. That's how most companies achieve that "digital game recurrent spending for post sale revenue" they're so eager to find. Subscriptions are another path and IMO more in line with the experience of the new executive who came over from Microsoft.
She laid out a four pillar path to monetizing the game
If you think that 99 cent Feats are more likely to impact their bottom line than the movie and TV shows, or toys, or lifestyle paraphernalia I don't know what to say
 

She laid out a four pillar path to monetizing the game
If you think that 99 cent Feats are more likely to impact their bottom line than the movie and TV shows, or toys, or lifestyle paraphernalia I don't know what to say
Where did I say 99 cent feats? I mean sure, DDB currently has a microtransaction system that IMO is actually pretty good compared to crap that people typically associate with the term like loot boxes. That being said, how do you think any of what you said relates to "digital game recurrent spending for post sale revenue"? The phrase digital game recurrent spending can only mean a few things and none of them are movies, lunch boxes, and action figures. The notes on the first post even say they're excited about DDB's monetization possibilities.

They'll absolutely do the licensing thing to bring in more money, but that's only part of the strategy.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
Where did I say 99 cent feats? I mean sure, DDB currently has a microtransaction system that IMO is actually pretty good compared to crap that people typically associate with the term like loot boxes. That being said, how do you think any of what you said relates to "digital game recurrent spending for post sale revenue"? The phrase digital game recurrent spending can only mean a few things and none of them are movies, lunch boxes, and action figures. The notes on the first post even say they're excited about DDB's monetization possibilities.

They'll absolutely do the licensing thing to bring in more money, but that's only part of the strategy.
Yes, but that was a single part of one of four pillars to reaching a billion dollar brand.

I suggest that they will spend more of their efforts on every other of the four pillars and probably even on the core tabletop game than digital spend (unless that's via new video games)
 

Yes, but that was a single part of one of four pillars to reaching a billion dollar brand.

I suggest that they will spend more of their efforts on every other of the four pillars and probably even on the core tabletop game than digital spend (unless that's via new video games)
I suspect WotC will behave like the Fortune 500 company they're part of and do all of the things mentioned in the fireside chat to try to be a billion dollar brand. It's irrelevant to the conversation which one will bring in more money or where they'll spend more energy when they've made it clear to their investors they'll be pursuing all of the options. 100% they'll be looking to recoup as much money as possible from the $146m investment they made buying DDB. Microtransactions and subscriptions are both part of the current DDB model and I'm sure they'll be present moving forward.
 

I said it in my post. I game with a number of people that cannot afford to spend money on VTT's or paying to access the campaign. This affects who can play in my games if I use DDB.

May I raise the cup of coffee case again?

Don't get me wrong. I think being able to share content with my students is great. But you can save enough money to buy a book on DnDbeyond everytime you play D&D if you make your pizza yourself instead of ordering it.

I know there are people in parts of the world, where 5 Dollars are a lot. So maybe have different prices for different regions would be a way to go.

In the end, I guess, there are ways to offer content for all people in ways they can afford. Maybe even more affordable than now.
 

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