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Author Topic: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?  (Read 3067 times)

This Ends Tonight

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D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« on: February 09, 2021, 01:36:57 PM »
2020 WAS RECORD YEAR FOR 'MAGIC,' 'D&D'

https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/47547/2020-was-record-year-magic-d-d

I know ICV2 ran an article about them selling WotC before, but it seems like a great time for Hasbro to find an excuse to divest themselves of these troublesome Millennials, and avoid worrying about staying on top of a volatile market. Not to mention the impending end to 'geek culture' being cool, at which time they run the risk of losing half their fanbase. It may not be true in the very short term, but it just feels like there's nowhere to go but down for most of the TTRPG industry, especially for those who don't focus on veteran/alpha gamer types who are less likely to quit on a whim.

Chris24601

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2021, 02:06:58 PM »
Hasbro never sells anything. Ever.

If it’s profitable, they sell it themselves. If it’s not profitable they either A) rebrand the trademark to another product (ex. D&D action figures), B) let it go out of regular production, but release a small run (limited run “anniversary edition” figures) every few years to maintain the trademarks (the same reason comics do limited series of characters few even remember every half-dozen years), or C ) license it out to a third party to do something with (which also maintains the trademarks).

And even IF they would sell it now, just who do you think could afford it’s price tag? The only ones who could are other massive companies.

The idea that D&D will ever again be free of a big corporate entity is a pipe dream.

hedgehobbit

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2021, 02:23:34 PM »
The article doesn't state what "record" the sales set nor does it split the increase in sales of D&D from that of Magic: The Gathering. All it states is that ALL of Hasbro's games, including Monopoly and Jenga, were up 15% in 2020 from 2019.

I'm am surprised that games represents 32% of Hasbro's overall sales. That's much higher than I would have expected.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 02:27:48 PM by hedgehobbit »

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2021, 05:21:22 PM »
The now shell company White Wolf is more likely to get sold.

Aside from the tabletop scene being riddled with scandals ranging from writers being pedophiles to inciting an international incident, Paradox has been whoring out the IP Games Workshop-style to produce games. These are mediocre low-budget mobile shovelware or "visual novels" on Steam. If the reviews and SteamSpy estimates are any indication, they're not exactly what you would call amazing critical or commercial successes. Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars was apparently way more popular despite a mixed reception.

The first big budget title to release so far was Werewolf: Earthblood, which had mixed reception at best according to Metacritic. Vampire: Bloodlines 2 has been subject to a bunch of interference that will likely cause it to suffer similar failure, in addition to just failing to live up to its predecessor.

Question is... who would be both willing and able to buy White Wolf?

I can describe two huge reasons not to touch this IP with a ten-foot pole.

Firstly: It has never had a successful video game release, to the point where the superstitious might claim it is cursed. Vampire: Bloodlines was a flop on release and is only remembered as a cult classic (and that was due solely to Troika's writing rather than any inherent strength of the IP), and Paradox was apparently unwilling and/or unable to remaster the game. Its continued livelihood seems to riding entirely on the success of Vampire: Bloodlines 2. (Before anybody chimes in, no company that isn't already a tabletop company is going to buy it just to sell tabletop games and I don't see many tabletop companies being both willing and able to buy the IP when they could just invent their own.)

Secondly: The IP's value in general is questionable at best. It's firmly stuck in this weird 90s proto-SJW zeitgeist that probably won't appeal to normies or modern SJWs either. Every individual aspect is either awesome, stupid, or insane with nothing in between and nothing in the way of any cohesive aesthetic: time traveling vampires, eco-terrorist werewolves, militantly luddite wizards, reincarnating fairies who are allergic to concrete, etc. It's not remotely creative (VtM's clans are mostly direct rip-offs of popular and obscure works of vampire fiction, such as Necroscope and 3×3 Eyes, as well as non-vampire fiction like Conan the Barbarian) and while mildly diverse in concepts it has no monopoly on the many tropes of the urban fantasy genre. The existing fanbase is extremely toxic, cultish, twenty years ago sent so many death threats to writer Jess Henig that made him afraid to open his inbox for years, other negative descriptors... I'm not sure why any sane company would want to court these loonies.

IMO, if what you want is a profitable vampire-themed CRPG et al, then you're probably better off either inventing your own or licensing a vampire IP that isn't seemingly cursed. Like Bloodlust: Shadowhunter or Red Embrace.

What do you think?

TJS

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2021, 06:25:53 PM »
The usual stated objection is the value of the license.

Which I've always been dubious about virtually - but I guess the success of the movie will determine that.

So, in any case, if I was Hasbro, I wouldn't be about to sell before the movie - which seems to actually be coming this time.

After the movie...well then.

Marchand

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2021, 03:25:38 AM »
Buried in a footnote to slide 12 of the earnings presentation: "Hasbro believes its gaming portfolio is a competitive differentiator and views it in its entirety." Sounds like management are committed to the gaming segment.

D&D gets exactly one mention in the conference call remarks on p. 3, near where they say: "Gaming has long been a priority investment category for Hasbro".

Talk is cheap, but investors hate management flip-flopping on core strategy. Switching focus without very strong reason would be job-loss territory for execs involved.

Apparently Chris Cocks, Wizards president, is doing a virtual investor event on Feb 25th. Tune in for that, I guess.
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Greywolf76

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2021, 10:26:31 AM »
The now shell company White Wolf is more likely to get sold.

Aside from the tabletop scene being riddled with scandals ranging from writers being pedophiles to inciting an international incident [...],

Wait! what? Really!?




Firstly: It has never had a successful video game release, to the point where the superstitious might claim it is cursed. Vampire: Bloodlines was a flop on release and is only remembered as a cult classic (and that was due solely to Troika's writing rather than any inherent strength of the IP), and Paradox was apparently unwilling and/or unable to remaster the game. Its continued livelihood seems to riding entirely on the success of Vampire: Bloodlines 2. (Before anybody chimes in, no company that isn't already a tabletop company is going to buy it just to sell tabletop games and I don't see many tabletop companies being both willing and able to buy the IP when they could just invent their own.)

Secondly: The IP's value in general is questionable at best. It's firmly stuck in this weird 90s proto-SJW zeitgeist that probably won't appeal to normies or modern SJWs either. Every individual aspect is either awesome, stupid, or insane with nothing in between and nothing in the way of any cohesive aesthetic: time traveling vampires, eco-terrorist werewolves, militantly luddite wizards, reincarnating fairies who are allergic to concrete, etc. It's not remotely creative (VtM's clans are mostly direct rip-offs of popular and obscure works of vampire fiction, such as Necroscope and 3×3 Eyes, as well as non-vampire fiction like Conan the Barbarian) and while mildly diverse in concepts it has no monopoly on the many tropes of the urban fantasy genre. The existing fanbase is extremely toxic, cultish, twenty years ago sent so many death threats to writer Jess Henig that made him afraid to open his inbox for years, other negative descriptors... I'm not sure why any sane company would want to court these loonies.

IMO, if what you want is a profitable vampire-themed CRPG et al, then you're probably better off either inventing your own or licensing a vampire IP that isn't seemingly cursed. Like Bloodlust: Shadowhunter or Red Embrace.

What do you think?

I agree almost 100% with your first point, because I think "Hunter: The Reckoning" released in 2002 for Xbox and Game Cube was quite good back then. I remeber it had good visuals, animations and character designs. But I don't know if it has stood the test of time. Probably I'd find it quite outdated nowadays.

The second point, you nailed it. I remember in the 90s the most fanatical WoD players were regarded as pedantic at the best and simply weird at the worst (and not the good, "geeky" weird. Really weird and sinister people). I can see why it would appeal to the worst of the worst among the wokemob now.

I run a lot of werewolf games back in the day and a very close friend of mine run a fantastic Changeling campaign in which I was a player. But we always excised those aspects of the game that bothered us back them. In the case of Werewolf: the Apocalypse it was its angsty, nihilistic atmosphere; the ecological militancy; the idiotic "Captain Planet" style villains and the most gross aspects of the game (like the 7th Generation). In fact I run a heroic Werewolf game that would be considered "superversive" by today's standards.

But now? I don't think I'd ever play it again. As you said, it's too rooted into the 90s zeitgeist, which has no appeal whatsoever to me. 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 04:25:21 PM by Greywolf76 »

Greywolf76

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2021, 10:28:13 AM »
Double post. Sorry.  :(

Mistwell

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2021, 10:46:39 AM »
The article doesn't state what "record" the sales set nor does it split the increase in sales of D&D from that of Magic: The Gathering. All it states is that ALL of Hasbro's games, including Monopoly and Jenga, were up 15% in 2020 from 2019.

I'm am surprised that games represents 32% of Hasbro's overall sales. That's much higher than I would have expected.

They have said, repeatedly, in interviews that revenue from D&D is up over 30% from last year, and last year was up strong (they put a number on it i just don't recall) from the prior year, and that every year since the release D&D has oldsold the prior year.

I had posted this elsewhere, but it's a nice comparison snapshot of the #1 RPG, and the #2 RPG, concerning Amazon sales:

Tashas: #147 in all books
5e DMG: #354 in all books
5e PHB: #371 in all books
5e MM: #404 in all books
Xanathar's: #612 in all books
5e Core Book Gift Set: #791 in all books
Candlekeep Mysteries (pre-release): #1,007 in all books
5e Essentials Kit: #1,120 in all books
Volo's Guide to Monsters: #1,131 in all books

Pathfinder 2 Core Book (P2): #11,627 in all books
Pathfinder Advanced Players Guide (P2): #14,313 in all books
Pathfinder Beginner Box (P2): #20,273 in all books
Pathfinder Beastiary (P2): #26,004 in all books
Pathfinder Beastiary 2 (P2): #26,159 in all books
Pathfinder Core Rulebook Pocket Edition (P1): #28,478 in all books
Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide (P2): #32,064 in all books

Hasbro isn't going to sell D&D and the "fad" might not fad. Instead, the plan (which looks possible right now) is to come out with the movie and leap the next step. Not as strongly as Marvel comics did, but unquestionably Marvel comics went from "fad" in terms of comics to "pop culture icon permanently" in a matter of a few years once the movies started to come out. D&D won't succeed that well, but it definitely can take the next leap into pop cultural acceptance rather than simply fade back as a trend that ebbs.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 10:51:56 AM by Mistwell »

Dimitrios

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2021, 11:08:40 AM »
The existing fanbase is extremely toxic, cultish, twenty years ago sent so many death threats to writer Jess Henig that made him afraid to open his inbox for years, other negative descriptors... I'm not sure why any sane company would want to court these loonies.

Heh. These days any third tier YA fiction writer can attract a weird toxic online fanbase, but White Wolf was doing it before it was popular. They were trailblazers. 8)

Chris24601

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2021, 12:34:06 PM »
But now? I don't think I'd ever play it again. As you said, it's too rooted into the 90s zeitgeist, which has no appeal whatsoever to me.
I’ve gotten pretty good non-90’s zeitgeist mileage out of my V20 campaign by reframing everything in explicitly Catholic themes.

The Caine origin is real, though Lilith wasn’t the first wife of Adam, but a demonic temptress who stoked Caine’s bitterness against God and taught him to twist the divine power of the curse by calling upon the power of Hell (which is the Beast within each vampire).

This includes redefining any cross-splat elements too. The Lupines are not the Gaia-worshipping Garou; instead they are the cursed bloodline of Lycaon (though I use an adaptation of the Pausanias/Lycophran version of the myth and Graves interpretation that it was a repudiation of human sacrifices once made to Zeus by the Arcadians where rather than a punishment by Zeus, it was infernal blessing by the demon in the guise of Zeus with the blood sacrifice as the payment). They do not power their supernatural abilities with spiritual gnosis, but from the lifeblood of victims they consume.

The Shadowlands are the uppermost reaches of Hell and every lost soul there is one the damned that has chosen its own desires over God (which is why the practice of Necromancy is forbidden to Christians... it only connects with damned souls whose interests are to lead you astray in pursuit of their interests rather than God’s).

Fey are similarly the angels cast out of Heaven, but not wicked enough for Hell.

Likewise, the Tremere were right that the ancient pagan magics were weakening (they were derived from pacts with demons pretending to be gods); there is no consensus reality or Traditions in my version of VtM; there’s just vampiric blood magic (twisting of the power behind a divine curse), infernal pacts (resurgent with the loss of faith) and (Catholic) True Faith.

Likewise, vampiric society is depicted as debauched and depraved; the PCs regularly forced to choose between advancement in Kindred society or holding onto their humanity. There’s not one vampire NPC in the setting with any power that isn’t also a monster (there are some heroic, even saintly, NPCs as well, though the PCs presently waver between paying them no mind and contemplating selling them out for political favor with the Prince... what fools these mortals be; if they prefer a tragedy to a tale of redemption that’s their own choice... I just set the stage).

The result largely throws out the dated Punk aspects in favor of a greater focus on the more timeless themes of Gothic literature.

BronzeDragon

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2021, 03:19:16 PM »
Hasbro isn't going to sell D&D and the "fad" might not fad. Instead, the plan (which looks possible right now) is to come out with the movie and leap the next step. Not as strongly as Marvel comics did, but unquestionably Marvel comics went from "fad" in terms of comics to "pop culture icon permanently" in a matter of a few years once the movies started to come out. D&D won't succeed that well, but it definitely can take the next leap into pop cultural acceptance rather than simply fade back as a trend that ebbs.

I think the chance the D&D movie will do well is about -5 million percent.

D&D by its very nature is completely derivative, and anything that comes out will be directly and inevitably compared to Jackson's LotR and GoT. I'm not a fan of either, but a lot of people are. Their opinions will likely decide the fate of the product.

Even a well-funded D&D movie (I'm talking 200+ million here) would be hard-pressed to compete with those IPs. Now that I think about it, there's a third, namely Harry Potter, which seems to live rent-free in the minds of the current generation.

The only hope would be something like Dark Sun, which could establish itself as different from those fantasy IPs that have entrenched themselves in movie audiences' minds. Then again, it would probably butt heads with Dune, which is coming out soon (doesn't matter that Dune is Sci-fi, the comparisons would still be made).

Hasbro better have a backup plan if their idea is getting D&D to make a leap into full mainstream relevance.
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Chris24601

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2021, 04:44:46 PM »
D&D by its very nature is completely derivative, and anything that comes out will be directly and inevitably compared to Jackson's LotR and GoT. I'm not a fan of either, but a lot of people are. Their opinions will likely decide the fate of the product.

Even a well-funded D&D movie (I'm talking 200+ million here) would be hard-pressed to compete with those IPs. Now that I think about it, there's a third, namely Harry Potter, which seems to live rent-free in the minds of the current generation.
Leaving aside that I think it nearly impossible for Woke Hollyweird to produce anything but garbage these days, I DO think there’s an avenue a D&D could take that would set it apart from those other IPs...

Do a slightly more serious live-action version of the 80’s cartoon... Teens from the modern world get pulled into a fantasy world by the Dungeon Master and have to survive a terrible dungeon and defeat the dragon within to get home.

The concept allows self-aware references to all of the above IPs (just as happens around a real game table) as the main characters deal with all the gonzo that is D&D. You can also get self-referential about how derivative things are and how certain things just don’t make sense if actually DO stop to think about them.

If you really wanted to ping the nostalgia part, you could make the protagonists updated versions of the cartoon characters, throw in Venger and make the dragon an aspect of Tiamat.

Shawn Driscoll

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2021, 07:43:02 PM »
Hasbro never sells anything. Ever.

If it’s profitable, they sell it themselves. If it’s not profitable they either A) rebrand the trademark to another product (ex. D&D action figures), B) let it go out of regular production, but release a small run (limited run “anniversary edition” figures) every few years to maintain the trademarks (the same reason comics do limited series of characters few even remember every half-dozen years), or C ) license it out to a third party to do something with (which also maintains the trademarks).

And even IF they would sell it now, just who do you think could afford it’s price tag? The only ones who could are other massive companies.

The idea that D&D will ever again be free of a big corporate entity is a pipe dream.
D&D and Monopoly will forever be connected at the hip, as far as Hasbro commercial culture is concerned.

Spinachcat

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Re: D&D is selling great, why not sell it now?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2021, 08:03:55 PM »
I see a D&D TV series / streaming series happening before a major movie.

And Hasbro will ride D&D corpse into the earth long before selling it off.