WotC Hasbro's CEO Reports OGL-Related D&D Beyond Cancellations Had Minimal Impact

Hasbro held a quarterly earnings call recently in which CEO Chris Cocks (who formerly ran WotC before being promoted) indicated that the OGL controversy had a "comparatively minor" impact on D&D's revenue due to D&D Beyond subscription cancellations. He also noted that D&D grew by 20% in 2022 (Magic: the Gathering revenues grew by an astonishing 40% in Quarter 4!) WotC as a whole was up 22%...

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Hasbro held a quarterly earnings call recently in which CEO Chris Cocks (who formerly ran WotC before being promoted) indicated that the OGL controversy had a "comparatively minor" impact on D&D's revenue due to D&D Beyond subscription cancellations. He also noted that D&D grew by 20% in 2022 (Magic: the Gathering revenues grew by an astonishing 40% in Quarter 4!)

WotC as a whole was up 22% in Q4 2022.

Lastly, on D&D, we misfired on updating our Open Gaming License, a key vehicle for creators to share or commercialize their D&D inspired content. Our best practice is to work collaboratively with our community, gather feedback, and build experiences that inspire players and creators alike - it's how we make our games among the best in the industry. We have since course corrected and are delivering a strong outcome for the community and game.
 

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Apologies, @BlueFin , I missed that someone responded to you when it was probably meant to be me.

So. I still have not read the other post, but I chose to answer this one.

I have a big problem with you telling otgers what "the truth" is. And that others conveniently ignore that.
I actually consider that dismissive.

People ca look at the same facts and draw different conclusions. Until we get a statement from someone inside, tgat destroying 3pp was the goal, I don't think that is what happened.

No, the problem is that so many here are saying "It's not greed!" because "It has to be this way, that's how this works!" as if that's a defense when it's really not. I'm not dismissing anyone, I'm pointing out that their point really doesn't preclude mine. Instead, they are just walking away from what I'm saying, not wanting to recognize it for what it is. They'd rather just not address it and move on than recognize it for what it is.

I think, it really started to be a shield vs BIG 3pp and Disney etc. Building a competitor product. Disney could decide to buy a big 3pp producer and build a competing product. It would not be the first time that happened.

Disney is already producing RPGs. This defense by Wizards was inane before and continues to be as such.

Then I think, they thinking, when we are at it, we can prevent NuTSR stuff at the same time. And then it went downhill.

None of this would prevent NuTSR. None of it. Not a wink. NuTSR is already doing something that is illegal. Nothing that Wizards is doing can do anymore than what the law is already doing.

Again, let's get away from the NuTSR stuff. It's a deflection and a bad one. Kyle Brink couldn't give an example of anything in OGL harming the company and specifically said it to prevent future issues. That's a bad justification, but at least it's more logical than trying to put this on some ineffectual racists who have done nothing to hurt Wizards and are arguably useful to Wizards as a punching bag because, well, who doesn't like to see idiot racists get messed up?

I don't see any scenario, where destroying the whole 3pp market would have been a good business decision.

I mean, I do. You need to maximize profits and move people away from content alternatives because you are using a new monetizations strategy and if you give people non-monetized alternatives, they could go for them. Why use the Wizards VTT that has a bunch of monetizing when VTTs let me upload my Hero Forge STLs? Why pay for an animation when I can get it for free? Why pay a monthly fee for a subscription that gives out a little bit of content when I can get whole books of it at a better price?

If you are going to try and do a hard monetization strategy, having alternatives gives people places to go that isn't you. You don't want that, you want people trapped with you. If you are EA, you don't want some other company doing a better, cheaper, possibly-free version of Ultimate Team Madden. That's why you lock down that license.

That's the reasoning. That doesn't make it a good business decision, but it is definitely one that

So that is my take. I don't want to be called out as someone ignoring "the truth" for convenience.

And yet, that's kind of what people are doing? People see the matter as done and don't want to talk about it anymore. People are quick to want to move on. Fine, go ahead. No one is dragging people into these arguments. You don't need to defend Wizards, you can just move on and enjoy life.
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I call it greed because it is greed, especially when it is carried out in this fashion. That you simply accept them doing it doesn't really change what it is. It's just a refusal of acknowledgement.

I work in order to make money, and I am guessing you do, too. Does that make us greedy?

Hasbro, and every corporation, is staffed with people who have jobs. Are they greedy for having those jobs, and for wanting to succeed at those jobs so they both keep them and, hopefully, get promoted to better jobs?

And if the employees are not greedy, what is greedy? The corporation itself?
 

I work in order to make money, and I am guessing you do, too. Does that make us greedy?

Hasbro, and every corporation, is staffed with people who have jobs. Are they greedy for having those jobs, and for wanting to succeed at those jobs so they both keep them and, hopefully, get promoted to better jobs?

And if the employees are not greedy, what is greedy? The corporation itself?

Yes, but that doesn't actually address anything of what I said. This is a huge strawman. I never said simply making money was greed.

What I said was that maximizing profit at the cost of others when you have sustainable options was greed. Wizards was making money and growing at a fine rate. Instead they overpromised and to achieve that, they decided to take options that would hurt the community for no other reason than to profit.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Wizards was making money and growing at a fine rate.

Data? And how do you define "fine rate"? By whose standards?

Instead they overpromised and to achieve that, they decided to take options that would hurt the community for no other reason than to profit.

Their jobs are to grow the company, and grow profits. That is what they get paid to do.

Now, it seems like in the quest to do that they misjudged badly. There's an old saying, "Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."

There's this weird thing going on here that feels like "THERE IS EVIL IN THE WORLD AND PEOPLE MUST BE PUNISHED!!!!" Maybe from playing too many D&D adventure paths?

Yes, there is evil in the world. It's running Russia right now. It's sending Uyghurs to concentration camps. It's manipulating gullible people into committing acts of political violence.

The people who run WotC are not evil, and they don't need to be punished. Some of them still may get punished as a result of this, but by their bosses, not by us. And I feel for them.

EDIT: And if the point is just "the organizational dynamics that operate within corporations lead them to make decisions that profit at a social cost, and we must band together to let them know when they've gone to far" then this is a victory, right? They backed down! So...what more do you want?
 
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Data? And how do you define "fine rate"? By whose standards?

Their own.


You can find more of this if you want. They've been growing at a steady, solid rate for a while now. If you want to play the "by whose standard, they've been hailed as being a massive success story. The problem is that they made huge promises of sextupling their profits from D&D in the next decade and that's a huge ask.

Their jobs are to grow the company, and grow profits. That is what they get paid to do.

Now, it seems like in the quest to do that they misjudged badly. There's an old saying, "Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."

The problem there is that malice and incompetence are often hand-in-hand. Given the changes they set out, that we know they specifically fought with the Dev team to keep the royalty line low, that there is no reason to touch the OGL unless you want to harm the 3PP community, that their VTT policy is specifically designed to protect their monetization goals... Yeah, there's malice there.

There's also a common catchphrase that goes "Nothing personal. It's just business.", but it tends to be pretty damn personal for the person on the other end of it.

There's this weird thing going on here that feels like "THERE IS EVIL IN THE WORLD AND PEOPLE MUST BE PUNISHED!!!!" Maybe too much D&D.

No one is actually saying this, people are just saying "Man, Wizards did a s*****y thing and we probably shouldn't forgive them so easily", at which point everyone jumps in talking about how they had to do this and that it was one bad mistake and that they've backpeddled and how we need to put it all behind them and get back on-board...

I don't think Wizards needs to be "punished" any more than me not trusting them. But apparently that is just too much for some people who just want to put this whole thing behind them just under a month since it all went down. If you want to, fine. But at least get what I'm saying right instead of strawmanning my position completely.

Yes, there is evil in the world. It's running Russia right now. It's sending Uyghurs to concentration camps. It's manipulating gullible people into committing acts of political violence.

The people who run WotC are not evil, and they don't need to be punished. Some of them still may as a result of this, but by their bosses, not by us. And I feel for them.

There are plenty of mundane kinds of evil in the world, especially the corporate one. That doesn't make them all equal, but it doesn't make them not evil, either. Just letting that stuff go is how we got to this place where we just let companies off the hook for doing these things. All these excuses just normalizes this behavior, and I don't want to do that.

In the case of Wizards, it's a helluva lot easier to push back against this in my everyday life than against Russia. But I do both where I can. I don't see a reason to compromise if I don't have to, and in this case I really don't.
 

Let's remember Disney is making more money with the movies, toys and videogames of marvel superheroes than the original comics themself. Why not Hasbro can sell toys of D&D and other type of merchandising products?

For example Ravenloft can be used for horror comics and novels published by independient companies. When the writer is good, indie horror comics can be sold well.

Paramount is wishing D&D to become the rival of Star Wars and Marvel franchises. It is possible if they do a right work.

Most of D&D videogames haven't been very succesful, but when one of them worked, then they have got a new cash-cow.

Hasbro is making more money with M:tG but D&D is better option to become a multimedia franchise.

Disney wants to publish its first TTRPG, but they are "rookies", new in this industry. Of course the next step will be Star Wars, maybe even allowing a sourcebook about "Legends/Expanded Universe".

We don't blame them because they wanted to earn more, but because that was not fair-play. And it was an insult to our intelligence. I thought they have forgotten customer satisfaction and they were testing my patience to know how many I was willing to pay. They had to remember their goal had to create a good product, not about how to milk us more.

And now it may be the worst time for a mistake like this, when even the biggest megacorporations are firing people. Not even the acquisition by a bigger company is a good plan B because we can't know who will survive the economic crisis.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
This feels a bit detached from the world. All companies are "greedy". Acting like WotC is special in this regard is strange. I am sure if you look at the companies from which you buy stuff in your daily life, you will find companies being much much more greedy than both WotC and Paizo.
Paizo and WotC show their greed in various ways. Paizo's pay for artists and freelancers are known to be quite low in the industry. Why? Because of greed. WotC show their greed in other ways. I am not sure one is "better" than the other. Why? Because they are both companies. Granted WotC is a publicly traded one of the sort (or part of one anyway), and thus their greed might be more open and clear (which actually might not be a bad thing IMO).
Obviously you do yo and fight "the battle". But if what you want in life is to push back on greedy companies, there are much much much better places to spend your time than the company that makes a dragon game (cloth companies, Apple, etc.). I know you can be concerned about more than one thing in life, but man it feels so "partisan" and PF-fan like mentality.
Most of the time, other stores aren't trying to make it impossible for other companies to run. It would be like if Apple was trying to shut down a mall and all the other stores in it because they only wanted people to buy Apple products at an Apple store and not from the Target at the other end of the mall.

Which is what was happening when WotC wanted to prevent people from using animated assets on VTTs, even though there are many people who use them to play non-D&D games, and WotC's reasoning was that animated assets were too video-gamey and not tabletop enough.
 

So, nothing to offer in relation to your response to my post. What a surprise. 🤷‍♂️

And seeing as this statement appears to be trying to suggest I "take a view of the world that always puts me in opposition to those who are out to get me", you clearly didn't read my whole post.

But that seems to be a common theme here ... take a single statement in isolation and comment on it, misinterpreting it because one didn't take the time to read someone's whole post. Yah well, ok 🤷‍♂️
Actually, I was trying to disengage, but you didn't quote that part.
I'm not the only one who has interpreted your comments here to mean that you have been communicating a world view as outlined.
And yes I did read your all of your posts. Even if you don't want to believe so. I will say, I'm not a very good communicator in this medium, but at least I try to be concise. You might not have the whole issue with TLDR responses if you tried to be more concise too.

What a bizarre response. Yet another where, it appears, someone hasn’t taken the time to actually read what I wrote and makes a comment that has nothing to do with it.
Or maybe you just are not a good communicator. It's worth considering.

I know I'm not, it's worth considering you might also fit in that category.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Their own.
You can find more of this if you want. They've been growing at a steady, solid rate for a while now. If you want to play the "by whose standard, they've been hailed as being a massive success story. The problem is that they made huge promises of sextupling their profits from D&D in the next decade and that's a huge ask.

Yes, when corporations make money, no matter how much it is, investors hope they will make more money, and price things accordingly. Then when they don’t, and the investors are disappointed, the stock price falls and people lose their jobs.

The point being that in the game theory of publicly traded companies there is, by definition, no such thing as “enough”. Not because of a moral failing of the people who work in them but because of the rules of the game. You might as well accuse the NBA of moral failings for not having a more representative distribution of heights among players.

Now, sometimes the pressure to meet those demands leads to poor decisions, and sometimes those decisions really are evil. (C.f. Purdue Pharma.). I’m sorry but while even a complete revocation of the OGL would have been unfortunate for a number of people, especially those who have built a livelihood on it, it really is “just business.”
 

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