Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), the parent company of the world’s most famous tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragons, has acquired D&D Beyond for a whopping $146.3 million in cash.
The D&D Beyond digital toolkit was previously owned by Fandom, which it also acquired from Curse LLC in 2017. Since 2018, D&D Beyond has become the most popular digital tool used by fans of tabletop role-playing games worldwide. Dungeons & Dragons system. As it is specifically designed to handle the 5and D&D rules edition, it has been a staple for modern D&D players and dungeon masters.
What does the acquisition of Hasbro mean for the future of D&D Beyond and its more than 10 million users? Check out the details below to learn more.
D&D is big business
Wizards of the Coast, popularly known as WoTC or simply Wizards, made a name for themselves with Magic: The Gathering and the Pokémon Trading Card Game, their acquisition of TSR and the Dungeons & Dragons IP cemented its tabletop game icon status. It was eventually acquired by toy giant Hasbro in 1999.
Dungeons & Dragons has been synonymous with role-playing games since the 1970s. Besides the tabletop version, it has found equal success in video games such as Baldur’s Gate and Dungeons & Dragons Online. It’s been ingrained in pop culture through references in Netflix’s The Big Bang Theory and Stranger Things, among others.
After a brief misfire with the much-vilified Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition, WoTC found success again with 2014’s Fifth Edition. Since then, D&D has earned a massive share of Hasbro’s profits. By 2021, 72% of Hasbro’s operating profit can be attributed to WoTC and the D&D franchise.
Fandom, on the other hand, is best known for hosting pop culture wikis online. Whether it’s popular IPs like Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and DC Comics, Lord of the Rings and Magic: The Gathering, or dark and cult fandoms like B-Movies and Teletubbies, there’s a Fandom Wiki for it. The line of business expanded into digital applications when it acquired the D&D Beyond toolkit in 2018.
D&D Beyond provides useful references and tools for players and referees (aka Dungeon Masters). Along with the official rules, it also provides users with character sheets, character builders, monster and spell lists, Twitch interactivity, and tools to create homebrew. It also offers the option to purchase official WoTC content a la carte, rather than a full buyout, by reducing the price of the full version if purchased later. D&D Beyond also serves as a news and information hub for announcements, original videos, interviews, and other updates for its user base.
As an official licensed partner of Wizards of the Coast to work with the Dungeons & Dragons brand, D&D Beyond has become extremely lucrative. Although the mobile app itself and many basic tools are free for everyone, purchasing the digital versions of D&D books through D&D Beyond would cost as much as the print versions.
Exciting news from Beyonders – we’re taking it to the next level! D&D Beyond officially joins @Wizards_DnD and we are so excited to start this new adventure!
🎉 Find out more here: https://t.co/QJoF9imlN7
— D&D Beyond (@DnDBeyond) April 13, 2022
As Hasbro reported regarding D&D Beyond’s earnings for both companies since 2019:
Over the past three years, the royalty paid to Hasbro by D&D Beyond has been a significant contribution to the fastest growing revenue stream for Dungeons & Dragons.
Considering Wizards of the Coast saw over $1 billion in revenue in 2021, that would have been very substantial. In fact, while many companies suffered significant losses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hasbro was one of the few to show significant growth, alongside Games Workshop (via its Warhammer brand). The massive increase in interest in table games during the shutdowns can be attributed to this increase in popularity and revenue.
Big things in store
The CEO of Hasbro had this to say about the takeover of D&D Beyond:
The acquisition of D&D Beyond will accelerate our progress in both games and direct-to-consumer sales, two priority growth areas for Hasbro, providing immediate access to a loyal and growing player base. Hasbro’s games portfolio is one of the largest and most profitable in the industry, and we continue to make strategic investments to grow our brands, including digital.
Fandom CEO Perkins Miller echoed that sentiment. Miller had this to say regarding the future of the D&D Beyond platform and Fandom:
It’s the perfect next step for the talented D&D Beyond team, who have created a transformative digital product that has engaged and delighted millions of D&D fans around the world. We can’t wait to see what this team does next as an integral part of the D&D franchise, and I look forward to investing in more brands and products to super serve Fandom’s more than 300 million global fans.
Meanwhile, the President of Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming at Hasbro, reiterated the goals of continuing the vision of what D&D Beyond was meant to do:
D&D Beyond has been one of our most valued partners in the digital space for the past six years and we are thrilled to bring their top talent to our team. The D&D Beyond team has built an incredible digital platform, and together we will deliver the best possible DUNGEONS & DRAGONS experience to players around the world.
How will the purchase affect current customers?
According to the official announcement from Wizards of the Coast, all purchases made by D&D Beyond’s 10 million global users will carry over. All character, campaign, and other content registrations will continue to be supported.
There are plans to increase digital content interaction on D&D Beyond and other services such as Fantasy Grounds and Roll20. It’s clear that Hasbro is looking to solidify its position as the market leader in online tabletop role-playing games, continuing to promote Dungeons & Dragons as a brand associated with this form of entertainment for geeks and casual fans alike.
As approved by Hasbro and the Fandom Board of Directors, the purchase of D&D Beyond will become effective and close in the second or third quarter of 2022.
D&D Beyond is available on the official website, via Google Play for Android devices and the App Store for iOS.