In the realm of Dungeons & Dragons, strange things are afoot. The air is thick with anticipation, as the game teeters on the edge of a not-so-new ruleset revamp and an ambitious virtual tabletop project. Riding high on the success of Baldur's Gate 3, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) finds itself in a peculiar predicament. On one hand, there's talk of massive layoffs and the lingering scars from the catastrophic OGL fiasco. On the other hand, rumors are swirling about a potential sale to none other than Tencent, the colossal conglomerate with its fingers in more pies than a hungry dragon.
The whispers began when a Chinese news outlet, Speed Daily (as translated by Pan Daily), reported that Hasbro, the parent company of WotC, was "seeking to sell its well-known IP 'Dungeons & Dragons.'" They cited Hasbro's "financial crisis" as the reason behind the speculation. It's a puzzling move, considering D&D's immense profitability, with record-breaking years for Hasbro according to last October's financial report. Selling off D&D would be like tossing a crate of diamonds overboard to keep your ship afloat—a desperate measure for desperate times. And while the situation might be challenging for the toy industry as a whole, I don't think we're at the point of spontaneous violin-playing just yet. Wizards of the Coast themselves provided a comment to Dicebreaker, stating:
"We regularly talk to Tencent and enjoy multiple partnerships with them across a number of our IPs. We don't make a habit of commenting on internet rumors, but to be clear: we are not looking to sell our D&D IP. We will keep talking to partners about how we bring the best digital experiences to our fans. We won't comment any further on speculation or rumors about potential [mergers and acquisitions] or licensing deals."
So, there you have it, dear adventurers. D&D is not up for sale. Instead, it's more likely that Tencent, who already holds a 30% stake in Larian Studios, is considering investing in another D&D game. And why wouldn't they? After all, Baldur's Gate 3 has soared to meteoric success. Another licensing deal isn't just "not out of the question," it's a downright brilliant idea.
Under normal circumstances, this news might not have caused such a stir in forums and headlines. But the current atmosphere surrounding D&D is one of trepidation. Hasbro's layoffs included esteemed members of staff, including game designers, art directors, and even Liz Schuch—the company's former Head of Publishing and Licensing, who had dedicated 28 long years to Wizards of the Coast. With all these changes, it's no wonder that a sense of unease permeates the minds of TTRPG fans. The uncertain times cast a shadow, leaving many susceptible to speculative panic. And honestly, who can blame them?
In the ever-shifting landscape of Dungeons & Dragons, the dice continue to roll, and rumors continue to swirl. But fear not, brave adventurers, for the heart of the game remains steadfast. Whether Tencent pours its riches into a new D&D adventure or not, the spirit of imagination and camaraderie will endure. So, gather your party, sharpen your swords, and embark on epic quests, for the world of D&D is as vibrant and captivating as ever.