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 What's the D&D franchise worth to WotC/Hasbo?

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Kazadvorn
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PostSubject: What's the D&D franchise worth to WotC/Hasbo?   Thu May 01, 2014 5:50 pm

I was trying to find some data on actual sales of D&D products and stumbled across the Hasbro public statement/prospectus or whatever it's called.

I admit that I couldn't bring myself to read every last word of the horrific tome, but I scanned it pretty carefully. In the entire document, D&D was never mentioned at all. In the sections dealing with WotC the only product line that showed up in print was MtG.

I wonder how much it would cost to buy the franchise from Hasbro?
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PostSubject: Re: What's the D&D franchise worth to WotC/Hasbo?   Thu May 01, 2014 9:01 pm

Realistically? More than anyone could reasonably expect to make back from sales. Hasbro is notorious for holding onto IPs and then re-releasing them years later in some new format.

The only reason they would even consider letting the IP go is if they can be convinced that the IP holds no value outside of tabletop rpgs and that the rpg market is too small to be worth their time. The second is likely already what they already believe, but so long as it can be used for video games or card games on action figures they won't let it go.
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PostSubject: Re: What's the D&D franchise worth to WotC/Hasbo?   Fri May 09, 2014 5:29 am

Chris24601 wrote:
Realistically? More than anyone could reasonably expect to make back from sales. Hasbro is notorious for holding onto IPs and then re-releasing them years later in some new format.

The only reason they would even consider letting the IP go is if they can be convinced that the IP holds no value outside of tabletop rpgs and that the rpg market is too small to be worth their time. The second is likely already what they already believe, but so long as it can be used for video games or card games on action figures they won't let it go.



Pretty much this. Unless D&D starts to do very poorly across all markets (tabletop RPGs, video games, miniatures, etc), it's very unlikely they will let go of it.


Were you planning on buyying the license?  Razz 

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PostSubject: Re: What's the D&D franchise worth to WotC/Hasbo?   Fri May 09, 2014 7:00 am

About the best you could realistically hope for in terms of D&D is a license from Hasbro (i.e. they maintain the rights) to create products for D&D of a given type, much like how the Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and DC Superheroes get licensed by various RPG companies.

This is the most likely way you'd see D&D as a brand continue in the RPG market if WotC decided to pull the plug and it would be subject to the vagaries of contract law and renewal as to how long a given company is able to hold onto the license (this is what's sunk practically every Star Trek and Star Wars RPG, not poor sales).

That said, some people have made it work. Catalyst Game Labs doesn't own the rights to Battletech (Topps bought it when they acquired WizKids), but they've been pretty successful at maintaining and even growing the line (it helps that Topps actually seems reasonable about the profitability of the Battletech license in the tabletop market).

Personally, I think if WotC pulls the plug on the D&D tabletop RPG, people will focus on developing their own lines rather than trying to negotiate with a corporate behemoth like Hasbro for a very expensive license (relative to ttrpg profits anyway). If that were to happen I'd also expect a lot more blatant cloning of options that might not technically be OGL/GSL but were very popular, because, traditionally, big corporations tend to ignore markets they aren't actually competing in (I'm not saying other companies would be shouting it from the rooftops in their advertising, but if Hasbro pulls entirely out of the ttrpg market their copyright lawyers aren't going to spend near as much time looking for infringements and will only go after ones that are REALLY blatant and endanger the 'Core IP'... whatever they determine that to be).
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PostSubject: Re: What's the D&D franchise worth to WotC/Hasbo?   Fri May 09, 2014 5:31 pm

It really seemed like Hasbro might have been only interested in the MtG division of WotC. In the overall corporate world, large companies often acquire smaller entities for some portion of their overall business. They base their offerings on that segment of the business and often are willing to let the rest of the properties go for next to nothing... any money made from the 'loss losers' being viewed as found money. This happened at a company I worked for 30 years ago. We had a product line that directly competed with a similar product from a multi-national corp. The big fish bought us lock stock and barrel, stripped out (actually killed) the competing product, and then threw the rest of the company back on the market - sans the money making line. We got picked up for a song, stripped of any remaining value, and then liquidated.

But the point here is, I'm pretty sure that Hasbro is never going to be happy with the profits that the TTRPG version of D&D will produce. I'd hate to see the franchise die from lack of support from the parent corp, and an unwillingness to allow someone else to succeed at a lower level of expectations.

I was daydreaming about what happened to Harley/Davidson back in the day... AMF had just about killed the brand by humping the company like a $2 prostitute. They sucked every cent out of the business, and put nothing back into r&d or capital improvements. The workers - backed by Willie Davidson I believe - bought the company from AMF. AMF - in their typical corporate fat-cat pride - felt that if they couldn't succeed, no one could. But people who loved and understood the brand, the business and the customer made Harley one of the most successful comeback stories in recent history.
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