WotC WotC Has A New President

With outgoing president Chris Cocks being promoted to the top job at Hasbro, WotC has a chief -- Microsoft's Cynthia Williams! Williams is joined by Tim Fields as Senior Vice President.

Over at Microsoft, Williams was General Manager and Vice President, Gaming Ecosystem Commercial Team and was heavily involved in Xbox growth. Fields was CEO of mobile gaming studio Kabam Games.

Cynthia_Williams_Photo.jpg


Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) today announced that Cynthia W. Williams has been appointed President of its Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming division and that Tim Fields has been appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Gaming, both effective February 21, 2022.

Ms. Williams joins Hasbro from Microsoft, where she most recently served as General Manager and Vice President, Gaming Ecosystem Commercial Team, and most notably drove the expansion of Xbox Gaming and the acceleration of game-creator growth. Prior to joining Microsoft, Ms. Williams spent more than a decade at Amazon, where she led the global growth of their e-commerce direct-to-consumer business Fulfillment by Amazon.

Mr. Fields joins Hasbro from Kabam Games, one of the most successful mobile gaming studios in North America, where he served as CEO for the past five years. Under his leadership, Kabam developed and operated numerous AAA games, including Marvel Contest of Champions, Disney Mirrorverse, Fast and Furious and Transformers: Forged to Fight. A 26-year veteran of the video game industry, Tim has held a range of leadership positions at major publishers, including Capcom, Microsoft and Electronic Arts.

Chris Cocks, current President and Chief Operating Officer of Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming division, said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Cynthia and Tim to the Hasbro family. They join at an exciting and dynamic time, and Wizards of the Coast – as well as all of Hasbro – will greatly benefit from their skills and experiences. Cynthia brings a deep understanding of technology and e-commerce, along with cloud and console-based gaming. She has a proven track record, across both Microsoft and Amazon, of scaling businesses to drive profitable growth. Her experience is highly complementary to Tim’s, who brings to Wizards unmatched production experience and a demonstrated ability to accelerate the growth of brands in mobile gaming.”

“I am extremely proud of our team and the great successes we’ve had across our Wizards of the Coast and digital gaming business over the last five years, and also of the IP we’ve created to attract top talent in our space,” Mr. Cocks continued. “As I transition into my new role as CEO of Hasbro later this month, I am excited to partner with Cynthia and Tim, working together to expand our fan base, deliver across the Brand Blueprint and activate our significant investments in the business to become the world’s leading fantasy-inspired gaming publisher on all platforms.”

Ms. Williams said: “Joining the team whose passion and imagination created such iconic games as MAGIC: THE GATHERING and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a dream come true. With best-in-class developers, designers and producers, the opportunities at Wizards of the Coast for creative storytelling and innovative game play are limitless. I look forward to working with Chris, Tim, Hasbro and the entire Wizards of the Coast team to build on their incredible momentum and deliver exciting new experiences for our fans globally."

Ms. Williams will succeed Mr. Cocks, who will assume the role of CEO of Hasbro on February 25, 2022. As the head of Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming, Ms. Williams will lead the strategy for two of the biggest names in gaming, MAGIC: THE GATHERING and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, while driving continued global growth for the division and leading new fan and story-led tabletop and digital experiences. She will build and expand on the outstanding foundation laid by Mr. Cocks, under whose leadership Wizards of the Coast doubled its revenue from 2018 to 2021.

Mr. Fields said: “As a lifelong gamer who has been playing DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and MAGIC: THE GATHERING since I was a child, I am thrilled to be joining the Wizards and Hasbro family to develop the next generation of AAA digital games. Working alongside such a talented team and under Cynthia’s leadership, I look forward to bringing the love of these brands to millions more players around the world.”

Mr. Fields will report to Ms. Williams. As Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Gaming, he will be responsible for all digital gaming, including internal and external development of Wizards’ growing portfolio of story-led projects.
 

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Russ Morrissey

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hoshisabi

Explorer
That was a very, very, long time ago, and a lot of technology and people have changed.
Urm. Yeah, to say the least. (It's a bit of a dark story, but if you're interested look up what happened by searching for "Joseph and Melissa Batten." This is the sort of thing that even when a company plans well, it can be undone by the unpredictability of humans.)

But honestly, this is a case where I doubt they'd pass up the chance to acquire and skip all of the long development time. There are so many good VTTs out there being developed simultaneously, each with a slightly different take on how things work. I would imagine that, apart from the big ones like Fantasy Grounds and Roll20, acquiring it would be a huge cost savings compared to creating a team and releasing their own.
 
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Zaukrie

New Publisher
Urm. Yeah, to say the least. (It's a bit of a dark story, but if you're interested look up what happened by searching for "Joseph and Melissa Batten." This is the sort of thing that even when a company plans well, it can be undone by the unpredictability of humans.)

But honestly, this is a case where I doubt they'd pass up the chance to acquire and skip all of the long development time. There are so many good VTTs out there being developed simultaneously, each with a slightly different take on how things work. I would imagine that, apart from the big ones like Fantasy Grounds and Roll20, acquiring it would be a huge cost savings compared to creating a team and releasing their own.
Having worked in the field.... Yes, much cheaper and faster.... But execs love to build stuff.... my prediction is they will have a VTT. I don't know if they will build out buy, but they will have one.

And, we will see a lot more video games.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
What worries me is what happens to DnD Beyond?
I think that if they buy anything DnD Beyond is the thing to buy.

If I were in charge, replicating or buying out DnD Beyond would be the first step. Some thing that allows DnD books to be read on any device for character management and rules lookup, (including smart TV's and Consoles).
Then I would provide web services that would make it easier to integrate D&D content and home brew to VTT's. So the VTT makers can do their own content management or buy the service from WoTC and then add World Anvil style content management for DM's to the mix.
Finally I would roll out a VR (or AR) service that would allow engagement with a virtual table as if it was a real world space in VR.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
When they do launch their VTT....I hope it has something like World Anvil, only, you know, easy to use. That tool is soooooo close.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Worrisome that they didn't bring in someone in-house. They do look in-house, which is how the promoted Chris Cocks. That means that they think that no one inside has both the talent and the vision.

It's not even the #1 spot they are filling from outside, it's also a senior VP.

Since I've been happy with the direction for D&D 5e, this lack of confidence in the existing talent is disturbing.

And with bringing in a digital heavy in the SVP spot, and replacing the CEO with digital heavy is broadcasting the direction they want to be focusing on.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Worrisome that they didn't bring in someone in-house. They do look in-house, which is how the promoted Chris Cocks. That means that they think that no one inside has both the talent and the vision.

It's not even the #1 spot they are filling from outside, it's also a senior VP.

Since I've been happy with the direction for D&D 5e, this lack of confidence in the existing talent is disturbing.

And with bringing in a digital heavy in the SVP spot, and replacing the CEO with digital heavy is broadcasting the direction they want to be focusing on.
Chris Cocks, however, was originally brought in to Wizards of the Coast from outside.

From Microsoft, in fact.

The larger Hasbro corporation promoting from within and the smaller subunits looking outside for talent is a perfectly natural corporate ecosystem model. And given that Wizards is sitting next to one of the largest corporate executive training schools in North America (i.e. Microsoft) it's not particularly weird. Throw in the fact that not only is Microsoft a giant training center for upper level executives it's ALSO a major player in the game industry and you have a perfect setup for poaching talent into Hasbro through Wizards.
 


Congrats to them both!

If we don't get a WotC VTT in the next 12 months, I'll be shocked.
I'll bite. Why would the president's experience at a former employer alter the core competencies of her new company's existing staff?

WotC has sniped Microsoft staff before into management positions. It hasn't improved their ability to execute software projects very much. Microsoft just has a lot of managers with corporate experience. They're just geographically nearby. Renton, WA, is like half an hour from Redmond.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'll bite. Why would the president's experience at a former employer alter the core competencies of her new company's existing staff?

WotC has sniped Microsoft staff before into management positions. It hasn't improved their ability to execute software projects very much. Microsoft just has a lot of managers with corporate experience. They're just geographically nearby. Renton, WA, is like half an hour from Redmond.
Look at Magic: Arena. Thst has been built entirely in-house by WotC under Cock"s leadership. WotC has been building up their digital technology for years nowm
 

Look at Magic: Arena. Thst has been built entirely in-house by WotC under Cock"s leadership. WotC has been building up their digital technology for years nowm

But by that logic, they already should have made one. Chris Cock's background is not much different than Williams'.

It's not like Arena was groundbreaking, either. It came out after the laughably out-of-date and cumbersome MODO, and after five or six versions of Duels of the Planeswalkers series (original, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, Duels) from Stainless Games. And they brought in a major video game studio exec to head Wizards Digital Game Studio. And WotC's studio has still only released that one game since 2017! And they bought Tuque Games in 2019 (they're the ones who made the abysmal Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance)!

I just don't see anything different. It seems simply like they hired an executive with management experience in a tangential area that is likely to fit into their corporate culture. I think it's more likely that WotC is still hesitant because of how 4e D&D and D&D Insider went down.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
But by that logic, they already should have made one. Chris Cock's background is not much different than Williams'.

It's not like Arena was groundbreaking, either. It came out after the laughably out-of-date and cumbersome MODO, and after five or six versions of Duels of the Planeswalkers series (original, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, Duels) from Stainless Games. And they brought in a major video game studio exec to head Wizards Digital Game Studio. And WotC's studio has still only released that one game since 2017! And they bought Tuque Games in 2019 (they're the ones who made the abysmal Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance)!

I just don't see anything different. It seems simply like they hired an executive with management experience in a tangential area that is likely to fit into their corporate culture. I think it's more likely that WotC is still hesitant because of how 4e D&D and D&D Insider went down.
I mean, literally all of that sounds different from the situation in 2008. I'm not expecting any major change of direction from this, either, UT that is the direction things have been heading for the past near-decade.
 

Worrisome that they didn't bring in someone in-house. They do look in-house, which is how the promoted Chris Cocks. That means that they think that no one inside has both the talent and the vision.

It's not even the #1 spot they are filling from outside, it's also a senior VP.

Since I've been happy with the direction for D&D 5e, this lack of confidence in the existing talent is disturbing.

And with bringing in a digital heavy in the SVP spot, and replacing the CEO with digital heavy is broadcasting the direction they want to be focusing on.

I think it's for the best honestly.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
Another gamer in the leadership is great news.

congratulations!

Williams is not a gamer. She came to Microsoft via Amazon.

She is an operations and brand management person.

Fields is the gaming guy. The mobile gaming guy...

Ooof, a mobile games background is never a good sign. Especially as all their games seems to be gacha.

At this point it's obvious WotC wants to move the D&D brand into the digital sphere to where the big gaming/media bucks are.

Despite massive growth Magic still brings in twice as much cash as D&D. But on paper D&D is by far the more exploitable IP.

If I was a betting man I think Williams hire was very much to get everyone's act together. WotC has invested heavily in the digital space for D&D. It needs to start really paying off for them to justify the expense...

We will see how all this unfolds in the next 5 years as they roll out the D&D movie, tv series, and video games.

They can just see those millions sitting out there for them, waiting, and they want...

If successful we'll likely see a The table top side of D&D take a firm back seat to the Entertainment side.

Similar to Marvel Comics vs. Marvel Entertainment... So long as the mega bucks keep coming in they won't care much how the print side of things are doing. It'll be just an IP farm for the digital money makers that bring in the real cash.


But honestly, this is a case where I doubt they'd pass up the chance to acquire and skip all of the long development time. There are so many good VTTs out there being developed simultaneously, each with a slightly different take on how things work. I would imagine that, apart from the big ones like Fantasy Grounds and Roll20, acquiring it would be a huge cost savings compared to creating a team and releasing their own.

If they build their own they will most likely buy out and integrate with D&D Beyond for a one stop shop.

This will allow them to monetize the online gaming many D&D players are currently paying other platforms for.

IMHO - eventually they will gradually withdraw their support of other VTT platforms, making their in-house VTT the only place "official" D&D content is supported.

Because profit.


And with bringing in a digital heavy in the SVP spot, and replacing the CEO with digital heavy is broadcasting the direction they want to be focusing on.

Yes.

The push to make the D&D Brand the big money maker beyond the RPG is officially On...
 

Wardook

Explorer
Well a bit has changed since the good old days of 4th edition and their weak attempt at VTT. They were just ahead of their time? :D

Post COVID VTT is the way to go, so they would be bad executives to leave that money out there, plus all the ties in.

So Jeager said what I was trying to say but better, while I was typing it out.

I agree with all the below:


Williams is not a gamer. She came to Microsoft via Amazon.

She is an operations and brand management person.

Fields is the gaming guy. The mobile gaming guy...



At this point it's obvious WotC wants to move the D&D brand into the digital sphere to where the big gaming/media bucks are.

Despite massive growth Magic still brings in twice as much cash as D&D. But on paper D&D is by far the more exploitable IP.

If I was a betting man I think Williams hire was very much to get everyone's act together. WotC has invested heavily in the digital space for D&D. It needs to start really paying off for them to justify the expense...

We will see how all this unfolds in the next 5 years as they roll out the D&D movie, tv series, and video games.

They can just see those millions sitting out there for them, waiting, and they want...

If successful we'll likely see a The table top side of D&D take a firm back seat to the Entertainment side.

Similar to Marvel Comics vs. Marvel Entertainment... So long as the mega bucks keep coming in they won't care much how the print side of things are doing. It'll be just an IP farm for the digital money makers that bring in the real cash.




If they build their own they will most likely buy out and integrate with D&D Beyond for a one stop shop.

This will allow them to monetize the online gaming many D&D players are currently paying other platforms for.

IMHO - eventually they will gradually withdraw their support of other VTT platforms, making their in-house VTT the only place "official" D&D content is supported.

Because profit.




Yes.

The push to make the D&D Brand the big money maker beyond the RPG is officially On...
 



Jaeger

That someone better
You failed your perception check.

Did I?

You said:
Another gamer in the leadership is great news.

The Ceo/Leader is Williams who is not a gamer.

Mr. Fields, the lifelong gamer, is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Gaming. He will have little to nothing to do with the table top side of MtG and D&D.


he spitting vitriol via italics in your post is an alarm bell though.

What Vitriol?

Italics are for emphasis. And Williams is not a gamer.

She's also not the first non-gamer to be put in charge of WotC.

We might be talking past each other a bit here...
 


darjr

I crit!
What Vitriol?

Italics are for emphasis. And Williams is not a gamer.

She's also not the first non-gamer to be put in charge of WotC.

We might be talking past each other a bit here...
Yup, my fault. Note I deleted it to walk it back. Also doing so here.
 

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