WotC WotC Makes Over $1B In 2021!

According to ICv2, D&D publisher WotC made over $1 billion in total sales in 2021, including $952M in tabletop games.

WotC is the first (and only) billion dollar publisher in tabletop RPGs, although much of this revenue will also be due to Magic the Gathering. It is responsible for a staggering 72% of Hasbro's total operating profit.

Interim CEO Rich Stoddart indicated that tabletop games grew 44% and accounted for 74% of the $1.3B sales for WotC in 2021. The division at Hasbro is 'Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming', so the remained came from the Digital Gaming side of things.


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

HammerMan

Legend
Also, I shouldn't single out the creatives just because they're the most sexy. They should ALL be making more money.
yup a rising tide should raise all boats... my (mostly tongue in cheek) example of 100 creatives making a million dollars each and 25 support personal making half a mil and 25 lower support making quarter of a mil was a great example... people need stages of pay, but when a company makes it to measuring revenue (and yes I know revenue isn't profit) with the big B everyone needs a HUGE raise...
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So it's a mix. D&D is actually a gentle giant these days when it comes to traditionally marketed RPGs, and as a publisher Wizards doesn't see other publishers as competition for the most part (outside of their idiocy during the 4e GSL days) but as a game D&D eclipses everything else around it, and that can be frustrating for folks who are interested in something different.

I have a slightly different take on this, and compare it to the rise of D&D and TSR in the 70s and 80s.

Yes, the position is absolutely dominant. But that can be good for the overall industry. Right now, a lot of young people are being exposed to TTRPGs in general through D&D. Eventually, some percentage of them will try other games. The overall growth of the hobby, driven by D&D, makes the market bigger which allows more games to flourish.

It can be frustrating that so much conversation about the hobby is both driven and about D&D, but it's driving more people in. And the more people that are playing, the larger the player base that will be willing to try other games. Not immediately, perhaps, but eventually.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
It can be frustrating that so much conversation about the hobby is both driven and about D&D, but it's driving more people in. And the more people that are playing, the larger the player base that will be willing to try other games. Not immediately, perhaps, but eventually.
I agree with this, but I can empathize with the position of folks who are frustrated by their local circle of gamers being unwilling to try anything different because they've got D&D so why do they need anything else? I think in the aggregate the motion is for new gamers to try different games over time, but at the local level it can be hard to see that motion in action.

(Also I think 5e's design actually discourages that movement more than previous editions of D&D did because it has adopted enough modern game design ideas that there are fewer places for people to go "something is missing here" and its simple enough that it also doesn't trigger the "there must be an easier way to do this" motive for folks to go looking. Somehow they hit that balance with 5e and even though I'm not happy with everything about the system I can appreciate that for what it is).
 


darjr

I crit!
D&D 5e also has an easy front for players. Lower levels being so much simpler than higher.

Much more deadly too, but I suspect that leads to more RP by DMs introducing D&D, so as not to spoil newcomers first time. And that also helps get people on boarded.

Note: the dm going easy on new players is something I’d see a lot in organized play and public play. Of course there were notable exceptions.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I have a slightly different take on this, and compare it to the rise of D&D and TSR in the 70s and 80s.

Yes, the position is absolutely dominant. But that can be good for the overall industry. Right now, a lot of young people are being exposed to TTRPGs in general through D&D. Eventually, some percentage of them will try other games. The overall growth of the hobby, driven by D&D, makes the market bigger which allows more games to flourish.

It can be frustrating that so much conversation about the hobby is both driven and about D&D, but it's driving more people in. And the more people that are playing, the larger the player base that will be willing to try other games. Not immediately, perhaps, but eventually.
As Jonathan Tweet used to say, "[WotC] is recruiting my future customers".
 


HammerMan

Legend
I have a slightly different take on this, and compare it to the rise of D&D and TSR in the 70s and 80s.

Yes, the position is absolutely dominant. But that can be good for the overall industry. Right now, a lot of young people are being exposed to TTRPGs in general through D&D. Eventually, some percentage of them will try other games. The overall growth of the hobby, driven by D&D, makes the market bigger which allows more games to flourish.

It can be frustrating that so much conversation about the hobby is both driven and about D&D, but it's driving more people in. And the more people that are playing, the larger the player base that will be willing to try other games. Not immediately, perhaps, but eventually.
for all the talk of "D&D or Nothing" people seem to forget that a small portion of players start with D&D... then move on. right now I don't think there IS a major 2nd place (in the 90's that was white wolf) but there will be. Someone will make a game that is better at doing 1 thing that D&D and that is the 1 thing some players want more.

I have played atleast 2 dozen RPGs, and I own at least another dozen that I have read. I promise you D&D may rule, but non D&D can ride high on the coat tails
 

for all the talk of "D&D or Nothing" people seem to forget that a small portion of players start with D&D... then move on. right now I don't think there IS a major 2nd place (in the 90's that was white wolf) but there will be. Someone will make a game that is better at doing 1 thing that D&D and that is the 1 thing some players want more.

I have played atleast 2 dozen RPGs, and I own at least another dozen that I have read. I promise you D&D may rule, but non D&D can ride high on the coat tails
I wonder what that one thing is maybe something to do with dnd failings?
 

HammerMan

Legend
I wonder what that one thing is maybe something to do with dnd failings?
it's not really 1 thing... there are 100 games out there and each is 'not D&D' in a different way.

White wolf in the 90's threw out levels took combat and noncombat put them next to each other (not like CoC didn't do that 10 years before but that was the 80's big fish) and really pushed the RP angle... you ARE the monster... you ARE the mage.
 

it's not really 1 thing... there are 100 games out there and each is 'not D&D' in a different way.

White wolf in the 90's threw out levels took combat and noncombat put them next to each other (not like CoC didn't do that 10 years before but that was the 80's big fish) and really pushed the RP angle... you ARE the monster... you ARE the mage.
why did they fall so far now?
 

HammerMan

Legend
why did they fall so far now?
they come and go... WW went out of buisness because of a series of edition changes that changed the lore and the mechanics (sound familiar) and lost players. Call of Cathulu waxes and wanes. Torg is in a big resurgence. I haven't followed Rifts for a decaid but I looked when they went with a new system... things just come and go, D&D just gets to stay.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
they come and go... WW went out of buisness because of a series of edition changes that changed the lore and the mechanics (sound familiar) and lost players. C
They blew up their setting and the reboot didn't catch on as much, in my local anyway.
This is the story that folks like to tell, but White Wolf and the World of Darkness had been in decline for a bit by that point. The reboot of their setting was a response to their decline as much as (or more than) the cause of it.

Personally I think that the decline of the WoD has more to do with its rise in the first place. The World of Darkness was a VERY late-80s/early 90s setting and making the transition into the 21st century was hard for it. As the vampires in pop culture shifted from "Interview with the Vampire" to "Twilight" the setting became more and more of a relic even as stories about vampires and other supernatural creatures became more and more popular. And White Wolf couldn't make that transition even with their reboot (in fact IMO their reboot took them FARTHER away from what was popular in the "supernatural romance" genre of the time as "Requiem" was more action/adventure in a lot of ways than "Masquerade" was). They had other game lines, but Vampire was their meat-and-potatoes.

IMO they also fell afoul of changing tastes in gaming books. The 90s were all about metaplot heavy books that you'd buy the next book to find out how the metaplot was progressing. By the end of the 90s people were getting tired of that - but WoD was so metaplot heavy that trying to extricate it from that model would have been incredibly hard.

ETA: I can't believe I forgot this, but they ALSO got into a legal dispute with their biggest fan group/LARPing organization over the trademark for "The Camarilla". That also played into their problems because rule number one of an RPG business is that when other people are doing unpaid labor to promote your game on your behalf you kinda shouldn't alienate them and make them not want to do that anymore. That whole "networking effect". (TSR did the same kind of BS in the 90s so it wasn't unique to WW by any stretch).
 
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This is the story that folks like to tell, but White Wolf and the World of Darkness had been in decline for a bit by that point. The reboot of their setting was a response to their decline as much as (or more than) the cause of it.

Personally I think that the decline of the WoD has more to do with its rise in the first place. The World of Darkness was a VERY late-80s/early 90s setting and making the transition into the 21st century was hard for it. As the vampires in pop culture shifted from "Interview with the Vampire" to "Twilight" the setting became more and more of a relic even as stories about vampires and other supernatural creatures became more and more popular. And White Wolf couldn't make that transition even with their reboot (in fact IMO their reboot took them FARTHER away from what was popular in the "supernatural romance" genre of the time as "Requiem" was more action/adventure in a lot of ways than "Masquerade" was). They had other game lines, but Vampire was their meat-and-potatoes.

IMO they also fell afoul of changing tastes in gaming books. The 90s were all about metaplot heavy books that you'd buy the next book to find out how the metaplot was progressing. By the end of the 90s people were getting tired of that - but WoD was so metaplot heavy that trying to extricate it from that model would have been incredibly hard.
so something similar but without the heavy metaplot and updated tastes could once again raise to rival dnd?
 


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