D&D General No, Hasbro Is Not Selling D&D

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I wasn't going to comment on this rumour in article form--despite a 20-page-and-counting thread about it--but it seems some clarification is needed as it's all over social media and the usual click-bait YouTube channels.

First off, Dungeons & Dragons is not being sold. That's the short version.

WotC, including D&D, is Hasbro's most profitable division and, as many put it, it's 'golden goose'. Despite an article on Pandaily being entitled "Hasbro Seeks to Sell IP “DND” and Has Had Preliminary Contact with Tencent"--and much of which is a close copy of a recent YouTube video rumour--buried halfway down the article is the important paragraph:

A Tencent IEG (Interactive Entertainment Group) insider revealed that Tencent, represented by its overseas business department IEG Global, is in negotiations with the aim of acquiring a series of rights including the adaptation rights for electronic games such as DND.

That means they wish to license the D&D IP to make video games. WotC licenses the D&D IP all the time--that's why you see all those D&D lunchboxes and plushies and t-shirts and miniatures and foam dragon heads and, indeed, movies and video games. Licensing an IP is not buying an IP. Modiphius is licensing the Star Trek IP for their TTRPG; Modiphius hasn't bought Star Trek. I published the Judge Dredd TTRPG for a couple of years, but I didn't own the Judge Dredd IP.

Tencent, incidentally, owns 30% of Larian Studios, who made the recent Baldur's Gate 3 video game--under license, of course (Larian didn't buy D&D either). Tencent is a massive Chinese company known for venture capital, social media, mobile games, internet services, and more, and is one of the world's largest companies. Tencent Games is a division of the company. It has stakes in a lot of companies.

So what does WotC have to say? "We are not looking to sell our D&D IP". The following statement was sent to outlets who reached out for clarification:

We regularly talk to Tencent and enjoy multiple partnerships with them across a number of our IPs. We don't make a habit of commenting on internet rumors, but to be clear: we are not looking to sell our D&D IP. We will keep talking to partners about how we bring the best digital experiences to our fans. We won't comment any further on speculation or rumors about potential M&A or licensing deals."

So, to be clear, Hasbro is not selling D&D to a Chinese company. They are in--as always--talks to license their IP to various companies for various purposes, including electronic games, movies, and lunchboxes.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
This debate reminds me that most people here do not have perspective to what the D&D brand is worth. On the one hand, everyone is up in arms about how much D&D(TM) has control over the RPG space (to the point D&D is used synonymously with other d20 or even RPGs in general) but on the other hand they think D&D has almost no brand recognition outside the game stores and hobby shops they frequent. Even before 5e's latest wave of popularity, the brand was known for an 80's cartoon and toy line, three mediocre movies, and a score of popular video games. Let alone its recent popularity with a cult-classic movie, Stranger Things references, and streaming.

Hasbro might be dumb, but they are not stupid. They are aware that even if D&D is a bit player compared to their other brands, there is NO reason to give any of that leverage away. At the very least, even if the RPG game disappeared tomorrow, they could sell T-shirts, mugs, and novelty pins with the name on it for perpetuity. Furthermore, there is almost no dollar amount that Hasbro could be tempted by to sell the brand that is synonymous with RPGs to the larger world just so THEY can reap the benefits of selling t-shirts, mugs, and novelty pins with the brand on it. Put another way, Jell-O might not be the biggest seller in Heinz's collection of brands but be damned if Heinz would sell the name to any other company to capitalize off of the fact the world calls gelatin desserts "Jello".

There isn't any amount of money that would make Hasbro willingly part with the brand, and any company willing to put up the kind of funds that would make Hasbro consider giving up a lifetime of residuals on T-shirts, mugs, and novelty pins isn't the kind of company that would have the brand's best interest at heart. (No way a company like Paizo could afford it).

Hellos an American thing. Here we call it jelly.

What you call jelly we call jam;).
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
IIRC, the story was originally picked up by a company called "Snow Leopard" which has very low journalistic standards and likely utilizes AI to scour the Internet for stories. It created an aggregate story and put it into a somewhat readable format. PanDaily got ahold of it, and the story ballooned to its current state.
PanDaily appears to have reached out and spoke to people at Tencent. That they originally got the tip through a random means doesn't mean that no journalism was involved.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I was at the drug store the other day and they were advertising, with jaunty graphics, emergency medicine to prevent opioid overdoses to keep in one's home medicine cabinet. We are 100% in a cyberpunk dystopia.

Here doctors dont really prescribe opiates for pain outside terminal cases. Meth is the nasty drug, pots your social drug along with booze.

Did my back in few years back. Got some codeine.
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
This debate reminds me that most people here do not have perspective to what the D&D brand is worth. On the one hand, everyone is up in arms about how much D&D(TM) has control over the RPG space (to the point D&D is used synonymously with other d20 or even RPGs in general) but on the other hand they think D&D has almost no brand recognition outside the game stores and hobby shops they frequent. Even before 5e's latest wave of popularity, the brand was known for an 80's cartoon and toy line, three mediocre movies, and a score of popular video games. Let alone its recent popularity with a cult-classic movie, Stranger Things references, and streaming.

Hasbro might be dumb, but they are not stupid. They are aware that even if D&D is a bit player compared to their other brands, there is NO reason to give any of that leverage away. At the very least, even if the RPG game disappeared tomorrow, they could sell T-shirts, mugs, and novelty pins with the name on it for perpetuity. Furthermore, there is almost no dollar amount that Hasbro could be tempted by to sell the brand that is synonymous with RPGs to the larger world just so THEY can reap the benefits of selling t-shirts, mugs, and novelty pins with the brand on it. Put another way, Jell-O might not be the biggest seller in Heinz's collection of brands but be damned if Heinz would sell the name to any other company to capitalize off of the fact the world calls gelatin desserts "Jello".

There isn't any amount of money that would make Hasbro willingly part with the brand, and any company willing to put up the kind of funds that would make Hasbro consider giving up a lifetime of residuals on T-shirts, mugs, and novelty pins isn't the kind of company that would have the brand's best interest at heart. (No way a company like Paizo could afford it).
Who has claimed that D&D has almost no brand recognition outside of hobby shops and game stores? I haven't heard that anywhere.
 

Abstruse

Legend
Who has claimed that D&D has almost no brand recognition outside of hobby shops and game stores? I haven't heard that anywhere.
It's the exact opposite. Brand recognition for Dungeons & Dragons scored shockingly high. Like in the running with Lord of the Rings and not too far behind Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel high. I can't find the article right now, but on a scale of 10 D&D was hitting 8 or 9. Companies spend tens and sometimes hundreds of millions a year in advertising and marketing to get a 7.

That's where this big push started a couple years ago, with Hasbro realizing how big the brand recognition was for D&D and started talking about how under-monetized the brand is. Normal everyday people know at least vaguely what D&D is. They may not even know what a roleplaying game is, but they still know D&D as "that game with the funny dice where you pretend to be an elf or something".

The problem is the TTRPG space isn't big enough of a market to monetize to that level of brand recognition. It's a hard sell for everyday people to read a trio of 300+ page books so you can spend 3-6 hours a week in a new hobby. Meanwhile, they'll gladly go see a movie or tune in every week for a TV show or play a video game. Thus the pressure to spread out into other media and trying to leverage the brand recognition outside of TTRPGs.
 

Tencent could also probably afford it.

That's WITH an insane pricetag. D&D is NOT for sale, currently, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't sell with the right motivation. If they offered something like 100X what D&D is worth...well...that would be extremely tempting perhaps to some.

Not that they will or are, but surprises sometimes happen.

Currently, with D&D and MtG still mega-properties for Hasbro, it's hard to imagine a company ponying up enough cash for Hasbro to to offset both the current and future earnings of the brands (even if both product lines were to enter into a recession of value, Hasbro would have to decide that it's not worth sitting on the IP until such a time as that changes again). But the history of D&D is filled with improbable events, I suppose.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Brand recognition for Dungeons & Dragons scored shockingly high. Like in the running with Lord of the Rings and not too far behind Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel high. I can't find the article right now, but on a scale of 10 D&D was hitting 8 or 9. Companies spend tens and sometimes hundreds of millions a year in advertising and marketing to get a 7.
Clearly, then, it's time to sell D&D and rename it "X." :devilish:
 
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Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
Anton Petrov is a good example of the dangers of youtube. He purports to be a science reporter, but most of the stuff he posts is pseudoscience at best. He demonstrates how someone who is charming, well spoken and flattering can easily fill our heads with nonsense.
This is…not something I’ve heard before. Could you point me at any further discussion somewhere? He’s been right on where I’ve been able to check him, and anything else is a genuine surprise.

(The only critics I found in a quick search were electric-universe advocates, whose claims I don’t respect. But do I take a few minutes’ search as meaning much? Oh heck no.)
 
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