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Author Topic: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?  (Read 2516 times)


Chris24601

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2020, 11:51:59 AM »
Maybe?

Just as likely, they’re cleaning it up to shutter WotC proper and sell licensing for the Magic and D&D IP’s to one or more parties so they no longer have to deal with any risks or liability.

The reason I find it more likely is that piecemeal licenses (Forgotten Realms, D&D, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, etc.) in multiple areas (you could sell a separate license for table top, video games, novels and film/tv rights) is probably worth more in total than they could get for a single lump sum purchase of the IPs from a private-equity firm (about the only type of entity that could afford the lump sum price Hasbro would be looking for).

Also, even if it’s the only type if entity that COULD afford it, doesn’t mean there’s any who’d be interested in actually buying it. Most such entities buy for an eventual return on investment and you’d be hard-pressed to prove that traditional RPGs are a growth sector.

My honest feeling is that if any company was going to pick them up, it would be a larger video game producer akin to Paradox picking up White Wolf. Their primary interest would be in the IPs for video game titles with the table top portion licensed out to a third-party who’d need to ensure that the tabletop harmonizes with their latest video game titles.

Either way, if it slides towards licensing rather than the present “owned outright” I expect the property’s future to be tumultuous. We’ve seen time and again how IP deals fall through practically because of their success (because the IP owner sees the licensee’s profits and thinks they deserve a bigger share so either squeeze the licensee until they can’t be profitable with the license or the owner starts shopping the license around to people willing to pay more for it.

Basically, D&D would lose its brand coherence because each licensee will need to essentially start their own edition every time it changes hands. Think about what saying “do you wanna play the Star Wars RPG?” means today... do you mean WEG, d20, SAGA or FFG? Or Star Trek... FASA? Prime Directive? LUGTrek, Decipher or Modipheus?

That’d probably be good for smaller publishers in some ways (Paizo made big gains because D&D was fractured), but bad in others (D&D as a common gateway wouldn’t be a thing anymore).

Honestly? I hope it just stays where it is.

BugbearBrigand

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2020, 12:00:39 PM »
That’d probably be good for smaller publishers in some ways (Paizo made big gains because D&D was fractured), but bad in others (D&D as a common gateway wouldn’t be a thing anymore).

If D&D stopped being the only game everyone played that would be good in every way I could imagine.

Mercurius

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2020, 12:14:56 PM »
D&D is thriving like it never has, so Hasbro is making good money off of it. That said, it could be a "sell high" situation, but I have no idea who might want it. Maybe some nerdy Silicon billionaire?

I don't see Hasbro selling off the licenses, with the possible exception of Dragonlance - if Weis and Hickman got together a group to buy it, possibly with Joe Manganiello involved.

Mistwell

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2020, 01:16:01 PM »
Part of the premise for the rumor is their ending the license with Weiss and Hickman early, and ending the Gale Force 9 license early.

That is a terrible premise. Both resulted in lawsuits. Two large lawsuits within 45 days of each other is a huge red flag and both are likely to last longer than the license agreements were scheduled to last. I believe both license deals only had one more year left on them, and the certainty of that year license is far better for selling a company than the uncertainty and bad publicity of two lawsuits.

Which is why I think the rumor is nonsense.

I don't know what is up with the Weiss and Hickman lawsuits, other than political correctness seems to be playing a role there.

I do think I know what is up with the GF9 license, and I think GF9 made a huge mistake by outsourcing their Korean translations to a known horrible company with an existing horrible track record. I don't know what they were thinking but it was very predictable they would get a bad product from that relationship. I think WOTC is probably in the right on that one.

Jaeger

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2020, 01:25:29 PM »
...
Just as likely, they’re cleaning it up to shutter WotC proper and sell licensing for the Magic and D&D IP’s to one or more parties so they no longer have to deal with any risks or liability.
...

Hasbro has generally never been one to sell or license their IP.

They buy/license IP to make cheap toys/games out of to sell.

But shuttering WOTC in Seattle? 100% believable.

They may want to get out from under the overhead costs, and other issues in the area.

But, generally being known for not licensing their IP is exactly that - generally, because this:

"In September 2020, Renegade Game Studios announced they had acquired licensing for creating tabletop games for multiple Hasbro brands like Power Rangers, G.I Joe, Transformers and My Little Pony. Several of the games would be using the 5E role-playing system owned by Hasbro's subsidiary Wizards of the Coast."

The Renegade Game Studios thing could be a test run to see how the whole "license our RPG and Card game IP" thing works out, while still keeping control of their main brands in the market.

If the profit margins look to be similar (or even better if they get out from under WOTC/Seattle overhead...) the maybe that big ball of near groundless ICV2 speculation might have a pulse.

But I would regard the whole Renegade Game Studios thing as a Hasbro experiment for now. (But if I was WOTC I'd be hoping they fall flat on their face...)



...
If D&D stopped being the only game everyone played that would be good in every way I could imagine.

A two edged sword.

For various reasons American RPG players love themselves some fantasy RPG gaming. And they like it to be done with the market leading D&D brand. For many groups D&D is the only game they will play. Period.

IMHO, when D&D's market share was not quite so massive as it is now, in the 80's to 90's, that was a better time for the RPG hobby as a whole. You had a greater variety of games more readily available at actual gaming stores for people new to the hobby to see that there was more out there after the D&D gateway drug.

In D&D's "defense", when they did have a low market share, no one really stepped up to the plate to be a perennially strong number two...

In the other games defense, when D&D screwed the pooch, they benefitted from 2 buy-outs and a corporate money injection to right the ship. Such are the benefits of being the market leader...

« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 03:39:37 PM by Jaeger »
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Mistwell

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2020, 02:04:52 PM »
This is the post from over a year ago on Reddit about the company that Gale Force 9 hired ("TheRPG Club') to do the Korean language translations of WOTC's products.

In the Complaint filed by GF9 they mention the Korean translations are one of the reasons WOTC cited for ending their license with GF9.

27. First, Wizards alleged that GF9 breached the 2017 Agreement through the actions of TRPG Club (GF9’s Korean translation and distribution subcontractor). Wizards alleged that certain unidentified products translated into Korean and distributed by TRPG Club were of low quality, including translations that were poorly done and included inaccurate, missing, and offensive translations. Wizards breach notice went on to further allege that TRPG Club failed to provide adequate customer service to consumers of Dungeons & Dragons materials.

This is the Reddit post from over a year ago on that topic, which matches closely the text above from the Complaint in the GF9 vs WOTC lawsuit. And this is why I say I suspect WOTC may be in the right on this one, and it likely is not related to the Weiss and Hickman lawsuit, nor related to trying to sell WOTC. I think GF9 may have simply screwed up:

https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/dof8t1/the_korean_dnd_community_needs_your_help/

Posted byu/ArduousTriangle04
One Year Ago

The Korean DnD community needs your help!

Tldr; A shady and incompetent company has botched the first official Korean translation of DnD. The Korean DnD community needs your help in raising awareness.

Greetings from the Korean DnD community! As fellow fans across the realms, we wish to raise awareness to a certain issue that we cannot solve ourselves.

Recently, the <DKSA>,(D&D Korean edition Supporters Association), in collaboration with the company <TRPG Club> has held a crowd funded project to release officially translated versions of the core books of DnD.

According to their web page, they had won exclusive rights to advertising, selling and translating DnD content in Korea, granted by WotC and the GF9 localization team.

They claimed the TRPG Club would be responsible for all legal responsibilities, while not presenting the full names of their members or those who participated in the project.

What they failed to mention in their resume as “the first official translators of many RPG books” is their infamy of gross incompetence and irresponsibility.

The TRPG club was responsible for multiple crowd funded projects, all of which ended in failed stretch goals and poor quality. They are infamous for mistranslation, unfulfilled or falsified stretch goals and irresistible attitude among the Korean RPG community.

Their first crowd funded project, <Dawn of FATE>was delayed for 1 and a half years, the latter in which they ceased customer support and went silent. Their promise of consistent monthly support ended with only 2 short guides.

Their next project, Vampire the Masquerade 20th edition, promised a officially supported supplant <Seoul by Night>,a translated DVD and other stretch goals. Later, after the funding was complete, they revealed that they actually didn’t have the legal rights or agreement from the DVD creators. The <Seoul by Night>; supplement was also delayed for over a year, was revealed to have never been officially supported, and the translated version of <Hunters Hunted 2>, which was supposed to replace the DVD, was never released. Other lesser rewards were also delayed or never released without any response.

Next was <Rogue Horizon>, a Japanese tabletop RPG. When confronted by customers who received poorly printed, damaged and heavily mistranslated text, the TRPG club responded “While we understand your worries, the amount of mistranslated text is negligible compared to older foreign companies in Japan or America.”, and also blaming their customers for demanding “over the top quality”. Needless to say this amateurish attitude does not portray a hint of gravity or professionalism.

And so we come to DnD.

The DKSA allegedly worked under the direct supervision of WotC and Gale Force 9 localization team.

The funding page claimed the funding was for a Pre-Order of a already finished product, and the funding costs would be spent to create extra reward packs.

Promised extra rewards included 8 packs of translated spell cards, including the Elemental Evil ones, DM screens and such.

Of the promised 8, only 7 were printed out because they hadn’t bothered to check if the 8th one was something they could print before promising it as a stretch goal.

They also claimed “Translations of the 3 core books are already finished and are waiting WOTC approval” when the funding started, and promised to ship between August 20~21.

They also also claimed they would translate the Xanathar’s Guide, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, Curse of Stradh.

Despite voices of concern, the funding ended with 441,686,742 Korean Won, equivalent to roughly 377374.57 US dollars on Tumblbug with 1840 supporters.

Problems began with delays. At first, the shipping was delayed to September due to “not enough supplementary material”, then to October due to “Issues in the first printed version.”

What we received in October though, was a horrendous mess.

Damaged books and packages were abundant.cThe text was basically unreadable gibberish due to poor printing and poor grammar.

Multiple Mistranslations were found on day 1, including texted such as “Residing nobles reside in residing cities”. The group also ignored official code of foreign language translation to “fit pop-culture”, while using out of touch translations contrary to modern pop-culture. (Example include Weer-Wolf, Ree-Vanant, Forgotten Reelms.)

Same class features, terms and creatures were also not unified across the books. (Examples such as Panthers becoming leopards in another book, Young Dragon became Grown Dragon.) Multiple Mislabeled and Mixed features were also abundant across whole books. (Spell range: Concentration, Creating non-existent terms)

Offensive and derogatory terms towards the disabled such as translating “Feeblemind” to “Retardation” (저능화) were also abundant, when less offensive alternatives exist and are already commonly used.

Missing text and features were also spread across spell cards and class features. The biggest source of funding, the Elemental Evil and Core spell cards, were also riddled with empty cards, empty card packs and mistranslated text.

Some backers even received entirely empty boxes, or received nothing at all when all products had long been shipped.

When confronted with complaints and demands of answers, the TRPG club and DKSA reasoned with amateur responses and blatant lies.

They claimed “the problem is natural, as errata and editing mistakes are common for any industries, for example the DnD errata” while claiming to have worked on a already finished translation for over a year.

According to their twitter account, the DKSA allegedly “followed localization instructions from WotC and GF9.”, “Had trouble with source texts.”, and “Not everyone in the team are entirely professional translators”, ignoring their unprofessional and incompetent translations and failure in providing a viable product.

They requested for “fan corrections” and refused monetary compensation as they “need it to fund further their DnD related projects.”

They have also ignored direct calls for refunds and contacts. Unclear addresses were listed for refund and customers had to pay for mailing.

The company not only failed in translating text, but created a unrecognizable and unplayable junk in Korean. Many have yet to even receive the books they paid for.

This isn’t simply a bad product. It’s a failure of one covered by blatant lies, abusing the passion of the Korean DnD community.

DnD’s reputation as a game, and the Korean Rpg communities are suffering because of this shady company’s overambitious failure. Many folk are now refunding, and 5e’s reputation as a whole is going down.

At this rate the TRPG club will maintain exclusive rights over our beloved hobby that is DnD, while doing nothing to cover their mess.

We believe that they do not deserve the status as exclusive dealers and that legal actions should be taken, but are unsure of what we can do to get support from WotC.

Please, I beg of you, help us.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 02:19:11 PM by Mistwell »

BugbearBrigand

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2020, 03:26:53 PM »
...
If D&D stopped being the only game everyone played that would be good in every way I could imagine.

A two edged sword.

For various reasons American RPG players love themselves some fantasy RPG gaming. And they like it to be done with the market leading D&D brand. For many groups D&D is the only game they will play. Period.

That's just one edge, losing D&D AND D&D players is two benefits, not one benefit and one detriment. If the only thing you ever want to play is D&D 5E then you are most likely to be the type of person I would rather take up knitting instead of reading me the latest epic le meme Reddit post of a Tumblr chain of a 4chan greentext about some totally random fumble results; nobody playing GURPS ever gave me a fucking ulcer listening to them.

Jaeger

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2020, 04:00:29 PM »
...
That's just one edge, losing D&D AND D&D players is two benefits, not one benefit and one detriment. ..

Well, as Pathfinder 1e had shown in the 4e era, you would never really lose "D&D". Or its palyers.

There would simply be a 3-5 year period where the various d20 D&D clones would battle for supremacy. (Someone would come out on top.)

IMHO If, and it's a massive BIG If Hasbro decide to license out the D&D IP, we could have a 4e era situation again.

Where the current D&D edition is unpopular, and a clone rises up to take a big market share.

Hasbro will at least keep D&D in house at WOTC until after they do the 50th anniversary edition.

Depending on how big a pile of steaming woke garbage D&D "50th" is, well see if there might be room for another clone...

Another option:

Hasbro sees 5e as sufficiently "Evergreen" - after a 50th anniversary 5.x revision, WOTC is shuttered and a version of 5e is just made part of the Hasbro game rotation like Monopoly editions. And all the D&D beyond and GM's guild nonsense is shuffled out to a third party license holder.

Which could also lead to the rise of a "popular" clone...

But that's pure out of my ass specualtion.

Hasbro is more than likely to leave things the way they are until WOTC screws up again.

And then who knows what they'll do...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 04:08:40 PM by Jaeger »
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Omega

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2020, 01:58:07 PM »
I don't know what is up with the Weiss and Hickman lawsuits, other than political correctness seems to be playing a role there.

Considering how woke they were before this. Its called... karma.

Hakdov

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2020, 05:19:36 PM »
Maybe they are looking at how well Games Workshop does by just licensing out their rpg and boardgame ip's.   They could close down WotC and let somebody else do all the grunt work for these niche products. 

moonsweeper

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2020, 06:18:58 PM »
Maybe they are looking at how well Games Workshop does by just licensing out their rpg and boardgame ip's.   They could close down WotC and let somebody else do all the grunt work for these niche products.

Yep...

1.  They already have the market leader (5e) and they can farm out the adventure writing like WOTC did...Why pay for overhead you don't need?

2.  They know the IP itself can make money through POD/DTRPG...not as much, but you also don't have the expense either.

3.  The companies they offer the license to will go crazy undercutting each other to put together either a 'new' edition or to become the 'caretakers' of 5e if the 'new' idea fails.

All with almost no risk to Hasbro.  Looks like a perfect way to

A.  Dump overhead costs.
B.  Get someone else to take the development risk of a 4e style backlash against 6e.
C.  And still be making money off of 5e while it is all going on through DMs Guild,etc.
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Charon's Little Helper

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2020, 10:14:16 PM »
As a stockholder (albeit small-time), I've watched Hasbro's quarterly/annual reports (and I work in finance - so I'm not totally talking out of my wazoo). There has been no inkling of selling off WotC. Quite the contrary - the reports tout MtG & D&D as strong segments.

I think that the real reason that Hasbro likely has WotC doing fewer things than they were (especially when they were solo) is because they weren't very good at them, and Hasbro doesn't need WotC to do things that they're not good at for Hasbro to expand.

Back when WotC was solo, their core money-makers were MtG, Pokémon, & (to a lesser degree) D&D. However, those three were pretty much all maxxed out in terms of their potential market. Therefore, if WotC wanted to grow, it had to branch out into a variety of other games which were pretty hit & miss (mostly miss).

When Hasbro bought WotC, they had them focus down on the stuff which was solidly profitable. If WotC had extra profits, it could be funneled into other parts of Hasbro which had better prospects for growth rather than having WotC try to make yet another failed game. (Plus - Hasbro has a pretty decent dividend to pay for.)

Frankly - this is the same logic in D&D 5e having a much lower volume of books than earlier editions. Hasbro wants to keep D&D's profit margin high and the IP valuable - and it doesn't need to jack up revenue with a vast array of barely profitable splat books for the sake of revenue growth.

Hasbro's schtick is to try to keep its various parts lean and profitable and have each piece do what it's good at - which is a pretty good game-plan. WotC (and its IPs) has been a solid money-maker for Hasbro for years, and WotC benefits from being tied into Hasbro's supply-chain and distribution network, and I doubt that there are many companies who could fulfill that role as well. Between that and a few pretty long-termed projects with WotC IPs (the D&D show & movie they've announced come to mind) I seriously doubt that they're looking to sell of WotC anytime soon.

soundchaser

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2020, 11:08:52 PM »
Pretty spot on. I teach finance.

The bottom-up valuation of WOTC is high and climbing. A savvy owner like Hasbro wouldn’t make the selling mistake now.

Shasarak

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Re: Is Hasbro shopping WOTC?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2020, 11:20:34 PM »
Pretty spot on. I teach finance.

The bottom-up valuation of WOTC is high and climbing. A savvy owner like Hasbro wouldn’t make the selling mistake now.

I know that I do not teach finance and on the other hand if you want to raise money in a recession then you have to sell the parts of the company that are doing well.
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