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Hasbro addresses Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering issues

Hasbro addresses Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering issues

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Image: Wizards of the Coast

Chris Cocks – Hasbro’s CEO and former President of Wizards of the Coast (2016-2022) – spoke about the Dungeons & Dragons Open Gaming License at the start of today’s Hasbro earnings conference, although he was more focused on working around the issues, rather than dealing with them directly. No details were given; Instead of delays, there were “challenges.” There was progress, excellence and creativity driving growth, but no explanation of what those things are – typical business gibberish for a call like this.

Cocks addressed the OGL controversy in the first overview of the meeting, saying, “We failed in updating our open game license.” Adding some platitudes, he said, “Our best course of action is to work with our community , to collect feedback and create experiences that inspire players and developers alike.” Lastly, he mentioned that there have been changes, but again no indication of how these changes have affected the community: “Of course we’ve corrected since then and deliver a strong outcome for the in-game community.”

Later in the conference call, when one of the investors asked if OGL would impact first-quarter returns, Cocks mentioned that canceled D&D Beyond subscriptions were “relatively small” for both the earnings and loss forecasts for Wizards and D&D . (We’ll have to await Q1 results before forming our own conclusions on whether or not this is true.) He continued that Wizards is “in discussion” with the people who have left, and many are “very open.” are to restart their subscriptions.” There was little mention of the community’s reaction to the controversy.

The conference call confirmed that DDB was a great investment for the company, citing 20% ​​user growth — original estimates for DDB’s user base were around 10 million when Hasbro took over, meaning it could grow to 12 million users could give now on DDB. Taking that into account, it seems like the unsubscribe campaign — which was effective in sending a message to Wizards of the Coast — might not have that much of an impact on the subsidiary’s bottom line as a whole.

Under the Wizards brand umbrella, Cocks and Hasbro colleague Deborah Thomas also discussed franchising opportunities with D&D. The feature film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, the AAA game Baldur’s Gate 3, and the upcoming live-action TV show next year are all seen as tremendous growth opportunities for investors. Here the company believes that it can catch up on the weak markets of the past year.

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Cocks also confirmed that Magic: The Gathering became Hasbro’s first billion-dollar IP. While Magic: The Gathering lead designer Mark Rosewater said so in a previous Tumblr post, this is the first time the company has said this on official channels. Due to MTG’s massive returns, a lot of time was spent on the issues surrounding the game, including supply chain delays that resulted in a condensed release schedule for the decks in 2022, resulting in a Bank of America downgrade call in late 2022. Cocks said the company was “too aggressive” in its pricing.

Cocks also mentioned that the company is getting back to its regular quarterly release schedule and that the company expects to transition MTG Arena to a more user-friendly game design in Q3. The company is also aiming for a “true multiplayer” experience within MTG, citing the popular four-player Commander games as a place for potential growth.

In the words of a good friend, nothing will radicalize you faster than hearing an investor call at 8:30 am. It’s a reminder that companies really only care about money — and it’s, frankly, soulless, though it’s also unsurprising that no one addressed culture or community. Ultimately, it seems like Wizards is sending the message that it’s making slow but steady progress, citing single and low double-digit earnings increases throughout the year; Finally, Q1 earnings will give us a better idea of ​​whether Wizards is really doing that well with this post-OGL goodwill campaign. The company made nearly $6 billion in net revenue last year, so I’m not sure we’ll see the impact of two months of lost revenue (if any) from DDB’s deregistration.

Want more io9 news? Find out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe in film and television, and learn everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who must.

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