Should WotC buy a Fantasy Novel Publisher like Tor next?

gyor

Hero
Since WotC is now in the mode of buying other companies again (like when they bought TSR and Hasbro bought Avalon Hill and gave it to WotC), with WotC now having bought Tuque Games, should the next purchased company be a novel publishing company like Tor or Del Ray? and if so which publishing company should WotC buy?

not only would a novel publisher allow WotC to publish their own novels for MtG, D&D, ect..., again, but it would get WotC fresh IPs (well fresh to WotC) which they indicated they want via their new Texas office headed by Ohlan.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
I'm actually not too familiar with the publishing business so I'm confused. Wizards already publishes their own RPG books. Is there a reason they would need to purchase a different company to publish novels?
Right?

It's a bloody confusing thing to suggest. They are a book publisher! We need a "scratch head" emoji reaction option for posts I swear.

Also re: IPs, the fact is, WotC don't want to publish other RPGs. That's why they don't. WotC tried the whole "Let's publish other RPGs than D&D" thing. They tried it for what, over a decade? Well it's over. They gave up on it. Am the only one who has noticed this? There's no 5E-style d20 Modern for a reason, people. They have the money, they have the infrastructure, they have the skills. They don't want to make other RPGs. Presumably because they think it just cannibalizes the D&D market and is unprofitable? Who knows?

But they don't.

So the idea about other IPs going past them is irrelevant. They're only interested in making D&D, Magic, and a few other non-RPG games which don't compete with those. Board-game spin-offs of D&D and the like, sure, but actual other RPGs?

And 90% of the SF IPs that go through Tor and the like are not really suitable for anything but an RPG. And all WotC would get would be effectively a slightly early chance to negotiate for that IP anyway. Publishing a book is not the same as owning the actual IP.

But again, they don't want to make other RPGs. The Broken Earth novels, for example, aren't with Green Ronin because WotC couldn't get them. They're with Green Ronin because companies like WotC aren't interested.
 
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Dausuul

Legend
not only would a novel publisher allow WotC to publish their own novels for MtG, D&D, ect..., again...
Again? Wizards published a M:tG novel two months ago. They publish the occasional D&D novel too. They don't need to buy a publisher. They are a publisher.

As for picking up IPs, that doesn't work the same way as it does in the video game world. Bantam Books publishes "A Song of Ice and Fire," for example, but if you buy out Bantam, that doesn't mean you now own the IP of Westeros. George R. R. Martin owns Westeros. He has signed a deal with Bantam to publish certain works in that setting, but both the works and the setting belong to him. If you buy Bantam, you get those publishing rights--which are worth a lot of money, don't get me wrong--but whenever GRRM produces something that isn't covered by an existing deal, you have to talk to his agent just like anyone else.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
If you buy Bantam, you get those publishing rights--which are worth a lot of money, don't get me wrong--but whenever GRRM produces something that isn't covered by an existing deal, you have to talk to his agent just like anyone else.
This is exactly it!

And WotC aren't interested in making RPGs any more. They're interested in making D&D. And most of these settings don't fit into a D&D mould, so it's not like they could be sourcebooks.

The market as a whole has changed, too - it seems like licensed settings are increasingly going to smaller, more boutique-type game publishers. I can only speculate as to the reasons - could be that they aren't as profitable as people had hoped, could be that the fact that many SF-fantasy authors are ex-or-current RPG players incines them towards companies they think will do the setting/IP justice, because it's not going to be big bucks either way.

I mean, at the really high end of licensed, it's interesting to me that Star Wars is no longer with WotC. I somehow doubt that FFG outbid WotC because WotC didn't have enough cash or something. Instead I'm pretty sure when the renewal came up, WotC were like "Ehhh, thanks Disney but we'll pass on that...". I have little doubt that a WotC-backed SW RPG would sell more copies than an FFG-backed one (because of cross-marketing with D&D and greater reach), but I strongly suspect WotC would see it as parasitic of D&D, and potentially fragmenting their own audience, so are not interested.
 

Len

Prodigal Member
Again? Wizards published a M:tG novel two months ago. They publish the occasional D&D novel too. They don't need to buy a publisher. They are a publisher.
But those aren't published by WotC. The recent Salvatore novels are published by Harper Voyager and the recent MtG novels are from Random House.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
But those aren't published by WotC. The recent Salvatore novels are published by Harper Voyager and the recent MtG novels are from Random House.
So? And? They could publish them if they thought it was profitable. And it isn't profitable. As noted, virtually all publishers are struggling.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
.... with WotC now having bought Tuque Games, should the next purchased company be a novel publishing company like Tor or Del Ray? and if so which publishing company should WotC buy?
As others have already noted - buying a publisher might net you the book publishing rights for the titles currently in publication. But it may not get you all fo them. And it WILL NOT get you the software, TV, or movie rights - those are separate, and you'd have to get them from each author (if they weren't already optioned out to someone).

Plus, the scales are completely different. Tor Books publishes new titles by the dozens each year. WotC does a handful. It would not just be about having a channel to publish, or content deals they actually wouldn't get - it would become about managing a whole separate business that they don't have the expertise in.
 

Dausuul

Legend
But those aren't published by WotC.
Yes, they are. Random House is providing sales and distribution services, but the publisher for M:tG novels and for most D&D novels (contrary to what it may appear, Salvatore is not in fact the only person who writes D&D novels) is Wizards.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Yeah I agree with everyone else here, it aint worth it to buy a publisher.

To address the OP's concerns directly, Wizard's already is able to make books for their universes, even if they aren't the publisher. Sure they get more revenue when they become the publisher, but they get more costs too, and because it's not their core business the costs probably outweigh the revenue.

As for new IPs, I don't think Wizards just wants to gobble up whatever IPs they can, if you're looking at the Texas example. It seems more like they want to create IPs that align with their business, gaming. Getting new IP from fiction is only a fraction of the task, as you need a "fictional IP" that is also in conjunction with "the gaming system." Magic and D&D already do that, I'm sure Texas will be developing something that is similar, a fictional system that aligns well with whatever game system their developing.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Yes, they are. Random House is providing sales and distribution services, but the publisher for M:tG novels and for most D&D novels (contrary to what it may appear, Salvatore is not in fact the only person who writes D&D novels) is Wizards.
That is incorrect: WotC stopped publishing new novels in 2016. The Magic books are fully pu pushed by Penguin, and the D&D books by HarperCollins. Wizards is just the licensor now, collecting money from the publishers.

They do still publish books, just not new novels
 

Zardnaar

Hero
This is exactly it!

And WotC aren't interested in making RPGs any more. They're interested in making D&D. And most of these settings don't fit into a D&D mould, so it's not like they could be sourcebooks.

The market as a whole has changed, too - it seems like licensed settings are increasingly going to smaller, more boutique-type game publishers. I can only speculate as to the reasons - could be that they aren't as profitable as people had hoped, could be that the fact that many SF-fantasy authors are ex-or-current RPG players incines them towards companies they think will do the setting/IP justice, because it's not going to be big bucks either way.

I mean, at the really high end of licensed, it's interesting to me that Star Wars is no longer with WotC. I somehow doubt that FFG outbid WotC because WotC didn't have enough cash or something. Instead I'm pretty sure when the renewal came up, WotC were like "Ehhh, thanks Disney but we'll pass on that...". I have little doubt that a WotC-backed SW RPG would sell more copies than an FFG-backed one (because of cross-marketing with D&D and greater reach), but I strongly suspect WotC would see it as parasitic of D&D, and potentially fragmenting their own audience, so are not interested.
WotC screwed Lucasfilm. They made minis as an RPG item when you normally need a toy license which costs more.

Legally I think WotC were right, legally Lucasfilm doesn't have to renew the license so there's that.

They probably could have outbid FFG but there were lawsuits iirc and I don't think they wanted WotC to have the license.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Since WotC is now in the mode of buying other companies again (like when they bought TSR and Hasbro bought Avalon Hill and gave it to WotC), with WotC now having bought Tuque Games, should the next purchased company be a novel publishing company like Tor or Del Ray? and if so which publishing company should WotC buy?

not only would a novel publisher allow WotC to publish their own novels for MtG, D&D, ect..., again, but it would get WotC fresh IPs (well fresh to WotC) which they indicated they want via their new Texas office headed by Ohlan.
All of the fantasy/sci-fi publishers out there are already imprints of huge multinationals, so no.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
WotC screwed Lucasfilm. They made minis as an RPG item when you normally need a toy license which costs more.

Legally I think WotC were right, legally Lucasfilm doesn't have to renew the license so there's that.

They probably could have outbid FFG but there were lawsuits iirc and I don't think they wanted WotC to have the license.
Is this confirmed somewhere or a fan theory? I looked into it because I wanted to see the juicy details of the beef, but I can't see anything to support the "WotC screwed Lucasfilm" interpretation. I can't see any reporting of pending lawsuits or anything and it doesn't seem to fit the facts.

The Star Wars Miniatures Game existed for six years. It seems very unlikely that Lucasfilm was just "surprised" by them doing this, and then just didn't take any action at all from 2004, until 2010, then suddenly lawsuits! That would be pretty weird to put it mildly. Lucasfilm are litigious and if WotC had violated their contract, they'd have been all over them.

What I can see is a lot of complaining from people that the quality of the minis was going down drastically, and that the "reboot" of the line (not sure exactly when this was? 2007 or 2008?) was surprisingly unsuccessful, despite apparently improving things somewhat, and that by 2008 the products were no longer selling well (piecing together various threads on various forums, particularly Boardgamegeek, here).

Then in 2010, WotC announce that they're dropping the line and the RPG. They blame "the economic downturn", which is meaningless because everyone blamed it for everything, but I can't find anything from the time saying "Actually there were lawsuits!" or "Lucasfilm actually didn't want them to renew it!" or anything of the sort. The official Lucasfilm line was the same (on StarWars.com). Given that the minis had reported poor sales, and that interest in Star Wars was not particularly high in 2010 (two years before Disney bought Lucasfilm), I feel like, unless you have at least some more specific scuttlebutt, this is probably a case of fans making up a cool story, rather than a thing that happened.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Is this confirmed somewhere or a fan theory? I looked into it because I wanted to see the juicy details of the beef, but I can't see anything to support the "WotC screwed Lucasfilm" interpretation. I can't see any reporting of pending lawsuits or anything and it doesn't seem to fit the facts.

The Star Wars Miniatures Game existed for six years. It seems very unlikely that Lucasfilm was just "surprised" by them doing this, and then just didn't take any action at all from 2004, until 2010, then suddenly lawsuits! That would be pretty weird to put it mildly. Lucasfilm are litigious and if WotC had violated their contract, they'd have been all over them.

What I can see is a lot of complaining from people that the quality of the minis was going down drastically, and that the "reboot" of the line (not sure exactly when this was? 2007 or 2008?) was surprisingly unsuccessful, despite apparently improving things somewhat, and that by 2008 the products were no longer selling well (piecing together various threads on various forums, particularly Boardgamegeek, here).

Then in 2010, WotC announce that they're dropping the line and the RPG. They blame "the economic downturn", which is meaningless because everyone blamed it for everything, but I can't find anything from the time saying "Actually there were lawsuits!" or "Lucasfilm actually didn't want them to renew it!" or anything of the sort. The official Lucasfilm line was the same (on StarWars.com). Given that the minis had reported poor sales, and that interest in Star Wars was not particularly high in 2010 (two years before Disney bought Lucasfilm), I feel like, unless you have at least some more specific scuttlebutt, this is probably a case of fans making up a cool story, rather than a thing that happened.
It's possible. Seems odd letting Star Wars slide away though but yeah we don't have the financials.

Your not going to make Megabucks with a Star Wars RPG. You'll get into top 5 with it but it's not gonna be tens of millions of dollars.

FFG Star Wars battle game might idk.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Maybe Hasbro would buy a comic publisher or some 3rd Party because this has got really good ideas about a new IP. In the next years Hasbro could try to buy Mattel again. My April's fool the last year was saying Hasbro had bought Paizo and Games Workshop. I was kidding, but I think it may be possible some day.

WotC doesn't want to publish other TTRPG.... yet, but I would bet they are working in a d20 Modern 2.0. because they want to publish adaptations of famous franchises, not only by Hasbro, the "Hasbroverse", but also superheroes comics (someones from the golden age are public domain now) and videogames. Tabletop games is the product for the teenages who don't play with toys any more because they are too old.

And I also imagine WotC game designers using computer simulations to betatest new types of games with d20 as mass battles or skirmishes between warbands, investigating about the right level of power among playable factions with different technological level (for example a group of primitive tribesmen against invader corsairs with firearms in the setting "Red Steel/Savage Coast", a Mystara spin-off).

Why not to buy another game company as CMON, the creators of Zombicide or Massive Darkness?

Other option can be to buy franchises, as Power Rangers among others. Some canceled videogames could be perfect to board games, or tabletop games fused with mobile apps.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Maybe Hasbro would buy a comic publisher or some 3rd Party because this has got really good ideas about a new IP. In the next years Hasbro could try to buy Mattel again. My April's fool the last year was saying Hasbro had bought Paizo and Games Workshop. I was kidding, but I think it may be possible some day.

WotC doesn't want to publish other TTRPG.... yet, but I would bet they are working in a d20 Modern 2.0. because they want to publish adaptations of famous franchises, not only by Hasbro, the "Hasbroverse", but also superheroes comics (someones from the golden age are public domain now) and videogames. Tabletop games is the product for the teenages who don't play with toys any more because they are too old.

And I also imagine WotC game designers using computer simulations to betatest new types of games with d20 as mass battles or skirmishes between warbands, investigating about the right level of power among playable factions with different technological level (for example a group of primitive tribesmen against invader corsairs with firearms in the setting "Red Steel/Savage Coast", a Mystara spin-off).

Why not to buy another game company as CMON, the creators of Zombicide or Massive Darkness?

Other option can be to buy franchises, as Power Rangers among others. Some canceled videogames could be perfect to board games, or tabletop games fused with mobile apps.
This is rampant speculation. Not a shred of evidence Wizards is doing any of this.

What has happened; Wizards exploring partnerships with different IPs and third-parties (the Rick and Morty box, the Acq. Inc. book, mentioning Exandria from Critical Role in the Descent). They've also opened a Texas office exploring new IPs that is outside of Magic or D&D.

That combined just looks like more ways of growing D&D, and there certainly aren't any big moves like buying publishers. The Texas office could be exploring d20, or something completely different.

And again, Hasbro has minimal influence on what Wizard's does. They don't try to tell their subsidiaries what to do if they're already really profitable.
 

gyor

Hero
I'm actually not too familiar with the publishing business so I'm confused. Wizards already publishes their own RPG books. Is there a reason they would need to purchase a different company to publish novels?
WotC used to publish their own novels at one time, but the guy before Chris Cocks, decided WotC wasn't in the business of novels, ignoring the hundreds of novels published by the company for D&D and MtG alone, and got WotC out of the Novel publishing business altogther, after hollowing out the staff required, like Editors.

This left Chris Cocks who came in after having to deal with that mess, he was left having to fix that, so he went looking for a publisher to make a deal with, but there where no takers. Now Salvatore was determined and while isn't one of the best writers for FR, he is the most popular, and he managed to make his own deal WotC and Harper Collins.

Now MtG side they rescently started making their own side deals for Novels with other companies like the War of the Spark with Del Rey.

Now if WotC buys an up and coming Indie Fantasy Publisher (going after a bigger company was a mistake on my part), the hypothetical Tuque Games of Fantasy Novel publishing if you will, that comes with equiptment, staff like trained and experienced editors, deals with authors, exciting IPs that have potential, but that need broader promotion to blow up big.

We've seen with the aquistion of Tuque Games and the opening of the Texas WotC office whose purpose is developing NEW IPs, that WotC over the last 5 years of major success and profits and growth has made WotC more ambitious, they clearly have a huge plans for expanding. I mean they just gained 55 new employees and that is growing.
 

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