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

Russ Morrissey


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Male: assumed to be a gamer, unless they say they are not.

Female: assumed to not be a gamer, unless they say that they are.
I think it's even worse than that. Some people (not referring to anyone here, speaking more broadly) won't believe women are gamers even fi they say so, unless there is loads of footage of them playing games, and a smaller but still significant subset of utter twonks will, even then, just trying and "No True Scotsman" women who game into not being "True Gamers". "Oh she only plays game X, she's not a gamer!" (even if game X is Apex Legends or something), or "She only plays because her boyfriend does!" or similar bollocks.

My wife who is, in any reasonable terms, "a gamer" loathes the term "gamer" because she's had people calling themselves "gamers" try to do this so many times. We met playing MMOs and she was the far more serious and PvP-oriented gamer of the two of us, but it's literally never been suggested I was anything but a "serious gamer" (lol, I do not think I am), and she constantly got subjected to inquisitions and purity tests and so on re her gaming (eventually you find people who aren't like that, but a lot are).
 

Unsurprised to see someone like Williams in charge given the $$$ being made from D&D at the moment, and I don't think it's a bad thing. I mean where did Chris Cocks come from? Microsoft. I feel like this "SHE AINT NO GAMER" stuff is a bit ummm, gendered. I doubt Cocks got it.

Cocks actually played D&D and MtG growing up. To be fair, we don't actually know if Cynthia has ever played D&D or not, she hasn't said anything either way.

Honestly I don't think it matters, she's not directly over seeing creative, she's organizing stuff and making deals and such.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Cocks actually played D&D and MtG growing up. To be fair, we don't actually know if Cynthia has ever played D&D or not, she hasn't said anything either way.

Honestly I don't think it matters, she's not directly over seeing creative, she's organizing stuff and making deals and such.
And honestly, Microsoft is not a place that rewards complacency or mediocrity: if she reached a high level there, I'm sure she has the acumen to do the business side of things. If she is a gamer, great, if not, who cares?

Like, do model train enthusiasts worry if their preferred supplier has accountants and lawyers who also make model trains...?
 

Like, do model train enthusiasts worry if their preferred supplier has accountants and lawyers who also make model trains...?
I guarantee you there is a post somewhere in a forum somewhere which blames the downfall of model trains as a hobby on the fact that their accounts/lawyers/managers/whoever weren't model train enthusiasts or if they were, were insufficiently enthusiastic.
 

Rikka66

Adventurer
And honestly, Microsoft is not a place that rewards complacency or mediocrity:
Internet Explorer. Skype. Games for Windows Live.

It's not unreasonable to have questions if the person in charge has no experience with your product (which I have no idea one way or the other if that's the case here. The safe assumption is not, though). But it's more important that anyone, preferably multiple, people in leadership do.
 


Rikka66

Adventurer
Those are all counter-examples to your point lol.

Because literally all three of them are products Microsoft replaced because they were mediocre or bad.
I would disagree. Games for Windows Live was a disaster from relief (edit-from the start). They threw away the massive lead they had with IE by neglecting it as Firefox and Chrome lapped them. And Skype...I know less about that. What did Microsoft replace it with? It seems to still exist.
 
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I would disagree. Games for Windows Live was a disaster from relief. They threw away the massive lead they had with IE by neglecting it as Firefox and Chrome lapped them. And Skype...I know less about that. What did Microsoft replace it with? It seems to still exist.
Teams de facto replaces Skype for the situations it actually mattered in (business). Personal Skype is actually still sorta-useful as a telephone-replacement, and MS just ceded the ground to personal video calls to Zoom/Meet/etc.

"From relief"? I'm not sure what that means. From the start? If so I agree, but they got rid of it long ago. IE, sure, they lost ground, and they're catching up, but one of the reasons they kept IE for so long was businesses preferred it because it was easier to keep secure than Chrome/Firefox (or so I am told by the guys in IT who have been there for 15+ years and are now very senior). Certainly it's true that until quite recently tons of businesses used IE even though it was rubbish compared to Chrome. The new Chromium-based Edge is the new standard of course.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I guarantee you there is a post somewhere in a forum somewhere which blames the downfall of model trains as a hobby on the fact that their accounts/lawyers/managers/whoever weren't model train enthusiasts or if they were, were insufficiently enthusiastic.
I know you are right...but tis silly!
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Internet Explorer. Skype. Games for Windows Live.

It's not unreasonable to have questions if the person in charge has no experience with your product (which I have no idea one way or the other if that's the case here. The safe assumption is not, though). But it's more important that anyone, preferably multiple, people in leadership do.
Failed products don't indicate managerial incompetence when they are part of the portfolio of a 2 trillion dollar company: you win some, you lose some. In contrast, Outlook and Office dominate the business world.

She has experience managing a game division, and I'm sure has plenty of talents. She has nothing to prove to me, even if I know more trivia about Waterdeep or something.
 

Rikka66

Adventurer
Failed products don't indicate managerial incompetence when they are part of the portfolio of a 2 trillion dollar company: you win some, you lose some. In contrast, Outlook and Office dominate the business world.

She has experience managing a game division, and I'm sure has plenty of talents. She has nothing to prove to me, even if I know more trivia about Waterdeep or something.
I'm not arguing Microsoft as a whole is incompetent. But they've pushed out crappy products, thrown away market advantages, and unlike when Google tries out some new program and it fails to catch on Microsoft had to shove Games for Windows Live into everyone's face aand cause headaches years down the line when they canceled it.

As for Williams, I don't know her, I'm sure she's fine, and Microsoft gaming is in a healthier place now. I'm sure WoTC will only continue to grow in revenue under her leadership. I'm sure the brands will expand. But if she has never rolled dice or played a game of Magic, I hope she at least sits down and tries it once.
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I'm not arguing Microsoft as a whole is incompetent. But they've pushed out crappy products, thrown away market advantages, and unlike when Google tries out some new program and it fails to catch on Microsoft had to shove Games for Windows Live into everyone's face aand cause headaches years down the line when they canceled it.

As for Williams, I don't know her, I'm sure she's fine, and Microsoft gaming is in a healthier place now. I'm sure WoTC will only continue to grow in revenue under her leadership. I'm sure the brands will expand. But if she has never rolled dice or played a game of Magic, I hope she at least sits down and tries it once.
Large companies lose opportunities, products and markets all the time. Xerox and AT&T did it in the seventies to the profit of Microsoft and Apple. It is an inevitable side effect of the empire building that occurs in such organisations.
 

Rikka66

Adventurer
Large companies lose opportunities, products and markets all the time. Xerox and AT&T did it in the seventies to the profit of Microsoft and Apple. It is an inevitable side effect of the empire building that occurs in such organisations.
To be clear, I totally agree Microsoft was and is a very successful company. But some of their failures have come from hubris and they've stepped in easily avoidable pitfalls.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
To be clear, I totally agree Microsoft was and is a very successful company. But some of their failures have come from hubris and they've stepped in easily avoidable pitfalls.
No dispute from me there, I am just pointing out that this is common place in sufficiently large organisations. Hubris is only one failure mode. Political infighting is another and not having an obvious place in the current high level strategy is another place good product (or ideas) go to die.
 

darjr

I crit!
I’ve been involved with bad products while working for a great manager and the other way round.

I also claim that google also tries to force products and product changes.

I think being a gamer working for WotC is important, not a requirement. I also realize it isn’t about me.

Also I have no doubt that digital gaming will play a big role in this hobby, a growing role. Already does. Even if I prefer it be more analog.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I think being a gamer working for WotC is important, not a requirement. I also realize it isn’t about me.

Also I have no doubt that digital gaming will play a big role in this hobby, a growing role. Already does. Even if I prefer it be more analog.
The fact that streaming has to some degree put tabletop gaming into the digital gaming space is I think a huge part of the reason that D&D is doing as well now as it is. I think it's more important that the folks in charge understand that that's going on than that they are a "gamer".
 

wellis

Explorer
It's also not as if being a "gamer" means a game company will be well run. It's not as if TSR under Gary Gygax was ultimately more well run than TSR under Lorraine Williams.

The sad, harsh truth is that companies have to do more than just cater a particular product in order to keep on living.
 

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