Does Hasbro own Wizards of the Coast?

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The relationship between Wizards of the Coast and its parent company, Hasbro, has seen several changes since Hasbro acquired Wizards of the Coast in 1999 for $325 million. Initially, the acquisition was aimed at expanding Hasbro’s presence in the growing games market. Over the years, this partnership has evolved, with Wizards of the Coast’s position within Hasbro undergoing various structural modifications.

When the acquisition first occurred, it mainly garnered attention due to Wizards of the Coast gaining the rights to distribute the popular Pokémon Trading Card Game in 1998, which later transitioned to The Pokémon Company in 2003.

Throughout its history under Hasbro’s ownership, Wizards of the Coast has experienced shifts in its role within the parent company. In 2001, it was integrated into Hasbro’s game division, which stirred controversy among fans as it was perceived as a loss of autonomy for Wizards of the Coast.

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However, in 2021, there was a reorganization within Hasbro that granted Wizards of the Coast more independence. Hasbro announced the creation of three divisions: Consumer Products, Entertainment, and Wizards & Digital. Wizards of the Coast became its own operating division within Hasbro, tasked with overseeing the expansion of Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and other games, as well as digital licensing for all of Hasbro’s properties.

Despite this increased autonomy within the structure of Hasbro, Wizards of the Coast’s decisions and proposed changes, such as alterations to the Open Gaming License and updates to licensing terms, have sparked significant backlash from fans and independent creators. Issues such as the firing of employees, proposed changes in licensing terms, and perceived market misunderstandings have fueled fan discontent and skepticism toward Wizards of the Coast’s moves.

Furthermore, in 2023, Hasbro’s significant success with Dungeons and Dragons-related projects, such as “Honor Among Thieves” and “Baldur’s Gate III,” resulted in considerable earnings and accolades. However, the company also announced layoffs affecting around 1/5 of its workforce, including several employees from Wizards of the Coast, attributing the move to challenging retail conditions and lower-than-expected earnings.

Despite Hasbro’s success with certain franchises, its financial performance across various sectors and the subsequent layoffs have drawn attention to the company’s strategies and leadership decisions. The CEO’s substantial bonuses juxtaposed with employee layoffs have added to the controversy surrounding Hasbro’s handling of its workforce and financial management.