Hasbro, the parent company of Dungeons & Dragons developer Wizards of the Coast, announced the acquisition of D&D Beyond, one of the franchise’s most popular fully licenced digital toolsets and online marketplaces, on Wednesday.
On its official website, Wizards stated that it had “no intentions to quit supporting D&D Beyond,” and that all customer purchases will be recognised in the future.
Curse created D&D Beyond, which was released in 2017. At its core, the platform is a web and mobile application that gives players and Dungeon Masters (DMs) the tools they need to play D&D in person or online. A character builder, a character sheet, and a digital dice-rolling tool are among the features.
It allows DMs to digitally purchase official campaign books and other materials for use within the app. D&D Beyond’s prices for D&D books are typically similar to those found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local game store. Fandom bought D&D Beyond in 2018 and, according to Hasbro, the partnership has been quite profitable since then.
“Over the previous three years, D&D Beyond’s royalty payment to Hasbro has constituted a major contribution to Dungeons & Dragons’ fastest increasing source of revenue,” Hasbro added. Wizards — and its associated digital businesses, like Magic: The Gathering Arena — earned more than $1 billion in the first quarter, according to financial records.
Since the release of 5th edition D&D in 2014, Wizards has become a significant percentage of Hasbro’s overall earnings. Wizards’ business unit accounted for 72 percent of Hasbro’s operational profit in 2021, with $547 million in operating profit.
In light of this, the $146.3 million cash purchase of D&D Beyond from Fandom appears to be a modest price to pay to secure a platform with reputedly close to 10 million users, many of whom have flocked in over the past two years of the ongoing global pandemic. Cynthia Williams, the Wizards’ new president, has loftier ambitions.
In a press release, Williams stated, “The strategic acquisition of D&D Beyond will deliver a direct contact with fans, delivering vital, data-driven insights to unlock prospects for growth in new product development, live services and tools, and regional expansions.”
“Now that Wizards is a part of the company, the brand’s leadership will be able to develop a cohesive, player-centric vision of the world’s finest role-playing game across all platforms.”
Does this indicate that in the future, players will be able to buy a book that has a digital code that unlocks content in D&D Beyond? That’s unknown, but Magic: The Gathering used a similar technique not long ago, selling commander decks with digital codes inside that unlocked cards online.
In the meanwhile, Wizards does not offer PDFs of 5th edition D&D materials. For D&D Beyond and other licensors like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, books like Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and the upcoming Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel are only available as physical products or as in-app content.
Through a cooperation with OneBookShelf, Wizards sells their back library as PDF files, including first and third edition content.
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