D&D in the News - Could Disney buy Dungeons & Dragons?

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D&D in the News
Could Disney buy Dungeons & Dragons?
2012 November 6
by Michael Tresca

MTV Geek floated a rumor that, hot on the heels of Disney purchasing Lucasfilm for nearly $4 billion, the Mouse House is in discussions to purchase Hasbro – and with it the Dungeons & Dragons brand.

Talk about this news here.

 

 I wouldn't worry about it (or hope for it) until we hear a more credible source or if the deal goes through.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Not only that but this is coming from a company which just purchased Indiana Jones and basically said "Eh, we could care less about that". These guys only bother themselves with properties that can generate BILLIONS in revenue. RPGs haven't done a billion $ in their entire history on Earth. If Disney did buy Hasbro they would probably not even notice the existence of D&D, let alone do anything with it. Heck, M:tG and all of WotC would mean nothing to them. I'd be more afraid of them just closing the whole thing down because they lack an motivation to be bothered about it.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Not only that but this is coming from a company which just purchased Indiana Jones and basically said "Eh, we could care less about that". These guys only bother themselves with properties that can generate BILLIONS in revenue. RPGs haven't done a billion $ in their entire history on Earth. If Disney did buy Hasbro they would probably not even notice the existence of D&D, let alone do anything with it. Heck, M:tG and all of WotC would mean nothing to them. I'd be more afraid of them just closing the whole thing down because they lack an motivation to be bothered about it.



Unless they see that there is a possibility for them to turn those franchise into Billions in profit thru a better handling of the brand (i mean...there is no way Disney could handle the brand worst than WotC & Hasbro is doing it right now)
Kingdom Hearts d20 lol. May actually be a fun game, my wife loved that game.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

ugh, d20 (3rd edition based rules?) no thanks...i would rather let Squarenix design the game mechanics
Erm you do realise 4th ed and D&DN are still d20 derivitives right? I just use d20 as its easier than typing 3.0/3.5/4th/PF/D&DN which all use the basic d20 mechanic.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Erm you do realise 4th ed and D&DN are still d20 derivitives right? I just use d20 as its easier than typing 3.0/3.5/4th/PF/D&DN which all use the basic d20 mechanic.


That's...rather inaccurate.

"d20" is a specific term, the name of third-party content based on 3e published under the OGL.

Not everything that involves rolling an actual 20-sided die is "d20" given this context.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Erm you do realise 4th ed and D&DN are still d20 derivitives right? I just use d20 as its easier than typing 3.0/3.5/4th/PF/D&DN which all use the basic d20 mechanic.


That's...rather inaccurate.

"d20" is a specific term, the name of third-party content based on 3e published under the OGL.

Not everything that involves rolling an actual 20-sided die is "d20" given this context.

It actually isn't all that clear-cut. If some 3PP had released 4e it would be considered an OGL licensed d20 game, albeit one that tweaks the d20 core rules a bunch. Considering that there are plenty of d20 based FRPGs that have diverged quite a lot from 3.x D&D that really isn't all that big a deal. The fact that it is a WotC published non-OGL game makes it a matter of debate as to if 4e can be considered 'd20' or not. In the most strict sense I guess it isn't, but in a more general sense it certainly falls within the umbrella of d20 type games.

Honestly, I'm not all that much of a fan of universal systems and I don't see vast value in things like d20 personally. Core rules are just not that hard to construct. D&D's value to a Disney would be as a brand and IP, and frankly it is reasonably well-known, but it isn't a brand that engages a lot of people. Nor is it one that has had a lot of mass-market success in any form. Bluntly D&D means some geeks and a couple VERY bad b-grade movies and some ancient video games to most people. It has some potential but I'd guess a Disney type company has a billion things around with "potential".
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I probably menat d20 D&D then. Strip away the powers and the 4th ed core is not dramatically different from Star Wars Saga or 3.5 core.

Skill points +3 if trained isn't that different from half level +5 if trained. Even the numbers are going to be similar.

 THe cores of the game are very similar beyond the generic roll a d20 add numbers beat a DC type mechanic. You could grab the 4th ed rules, rip the classes out and plug in 3.5 type classes if one wanted to although numbers would have to be tweaked of course. Its also not hard to add 4th ed powers to a 3.5/PF game.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Erm you do realise 4th ed and D&DN are still d20 derivitives right? I just use d20 as its easier than typing 3.0/3.5/4th/PF/D&DN which all use the basic d20 mechanic.


That's...rather inaccurate.

"d20" is a specific term, the name of third-party content based on 3e published under the OGL.

Not everything that involves rolling an actual 20-sided die is "d20" given this context.

It actually isn't all that clear-cut.


I'm more referring to the various books, magazines, etc. that have the big

logo stamped on them.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Stop being such a Pedant.

I actually think it would be cool if they did, Disney is known for making movies, video games, TV shows, and related merchandising. Given the current direction of D&D by WotC-under-Hasbro, us fans of 4e and "tactical combat RPGs" could only gain by such a purchase.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Strip away the powers and the 4th ed core is not dramatically different from Star Wars Saga or 3.5 core.


(empisis mine)

And that brings up an interesting question. If Disney did buy Hasbro, and by extension WotC, what potental would there be of a new updated version of a StarWars RPF be? Or maybe even another Marvel? Or any of the other popular IPs that Disney owns?

what potental would there be of a new updated version of a StarWars RPF be? Or maybe even another Marvel? Or any of the other popular IPs that Disney owns?

Although I doubt it will ever happen, this intrigues me greatly!

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Stop being such a Pedant.

I actually think it would be cool if they did, Disney is known for making movies, video games, TV shows, and related merchandising. Given the current direction of D&D by WotC-under-Hasbro, us fans of 4e and "tactical combat RPGs" could only gain by such a purchase.

They have the creative talent and infrastructure to do those things, but the question is why would they? If they could make a D&D movie and people would shrug and assume it was dorky and bad or they could make a Star Wars movie and even if fans grumble about it the thing will still make 300 million on opening day, it just isn't a contest really.

Also, and I know this is going to sound like sacrilege but I don't think Drizz't and FR are all that amazingly compelling characters or settings. Sure, FR is a fine setting for playing RPGs but that doesn't make it automatically very original or compelling in a wider sense. Movies particularly live on larger-than-life themes. The struggle between freedom and tyranny, the quest of the common man to make a difference, the sheer black-and-whiteness of Middle Earth made LotR a great subject for a movie. It is easy to grasp the plot, clear who the good guys are, dramatic, and provides a platform for exploring the characters. I don't know how you get the same sort of story out of FR. It just doesn't have that sort of larger-than-life organization. It is a much more like a real world, things aren't so clear, people don't single-handedly change the world, etc. It just isn't black-and-white. Exploring that world in an RPG is interesting, but it isn't a particularly promising subject for a movie, and it doesn't have millions of fans waiting for one. Disney can as easily invent their own fantasy worlds, or just build on more familiar myths and legends from the real world. The same can be said for D&D novel characters. They just aren't that popular or uniquely compelling that they NEED to use them. It is easier creatively to start with a blank slate or else a familiar story.

D&D might be served well by Disney, but I can't see how Disney needs D&D.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Disney + D&D reminds me of Watchmen as a Saturday morning cartoon.
 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDDHHrt6l4w

We're just damn lucky that they haven't tried it on Hub yet.  Thank goodness I don't get that channel anymore. 

Then again, the old D&D cartoon was okay, at least when I was 10.   

  
 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Oh man.  That could be really interesting or really disasterous.

I'd be game to see what came out of it. 
Oh man.  That could be really interesting or really disasterous.

I'd be game to see what came out of it. 

It looks to me like the status quo is disastrous. Fans of ALL prior editions (including 4E) appear to mostly prefer what they have, including retroclones, over Next. In most cases Next isn't even their second-favorite edition. (Most of the few ideas that Next borrows from 4th are implemented so badly that not having them would be an improvement - and that's the word of a solid 4E fan.)  There's at least one (I think two but I haven't confirmed the second one) commercial attempt in progress to do a 4E retroclone under the OGL. 

Right now, IMHO, WotC is on track for a failure so bad that when they drop the D&D line entirely, the D&D fanbase won't really notice.

Disney is probably not capable of making things worse. Making things better is much more plausible. 

So if this is going to happen, I hope it happens quickly. 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Oh man.  That could be really interesting or really disasterous.

I'd be game to see what came out of it. 

It looks to me like the status quo is disastrous. Fans of ALL prior editions (including 4E) appear to mostly prefer what they have, including retroclones, over Next. In most cases Next isn't even their second-favorite edition. (Most of the few ideas that Next borrows from 4th are implemented so badly that not having them would be an improvement - and that's the word of a solid 4E fan.)  There's at least one (I think two but I haven't confirmed the second one) commercial attempt in progress to do a 4E retroclone under the OGL. 

Right now, IMHO, WotC is on track for a failure so bad that when they drop the D&D line entirely, the D&D fanbase won't really notice.

Disney is probably not capable of making things worse. Making things better is much more plausible. 

So if this is going to happen, I hope it happens quickly. 


Heh, you're on the money.

If they go through with Next I can't help but think the fanbase will be so burned that no one will trust them.

Disney comes through, pours some serious money into D&D as a loss leader to make it a flagship product, gets some hardcore Video Game development tie ins (not lousy flash games, real games), really puts together an edition that supports their games... it could be epic.  I mean Disney can really afford the marketing and all to make the core books a loss leader rather than the flagship that they currently sit as, and with the core books as a loss leader for other products, D&D becomes viable in the long-term, rather than these 4 year edition cycles (because we need to sell core books every 4 years).  
Disney probably wouldn't care much about the D&D franchise at all.  In fact they might care about it so little that they would be willing to part with it.  Now that would be awesome.  Don't get me wrong I think a Disney backed D&D would be awesome (Look at Pixar and Marvel the last two companies Disney bought, the guys know what they are doing) but D&D just doesn't have the draw to be worth investment.

That being said if Hasbro is bought by Disney D&D's chaces of being sold off to a real game design company would be way better (note I am talking about Hasbro and not so much WotC here, WotC has a lot of talented designers but they are crushed by the expectations and managment of Hasbro). 
Well, we might, just might, get a half-way decent D&D movie or TV series, but I doubt it.
If disney does buy Hasbro (and by extension, WotC & D&D), then maybe 6th ed will have halflings with big ears and tails. (OK that's an old joke by now).
Chances are they will either ignore it, try to make it more profitable, or sell it off.
There is an alternative I don't see people addressing, Disney ordering Hasbro to split Wizards off. Wizards doesn't bring in enough money to be worth Disney's time and effort, then Wizards can try making it on its own.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
Well, Wizards was doing well enough to buy TSR, and still be making a substantial enough profit to be bought by Hasbro. May not be in Disney's league, financially, but none of those companies has been around long enough to have theme parks and the movie clout, much less the corporate merchandising. Hasbro was working on it, but is too diverse.

What I hope for, actually, is that the quality and design of disney toys will start to drastically increase with Hasbro's input.
Well, Wizards was doing well enough to buy TSR, and still be making a substantial enough profit to be bought by Hasbro.



Just because Hasbro sees value in owning WotC does not mean Disney is going to see value in owning WotC.

And let us not forget that Hasbro bought Wizards in large part to get their hands on the Pokemon card game.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
Well, Wizards was doing well enough to buy TSR, and still be making a substantial enough profit to be bought by Hasbro.



Just because Hasbro sees value in owning WotC does not mean Disney is going to see value in owning WotC.

And let us not forget that Hasbro bought Wizards in large part to get their hands on the Pokemon card game.



Ok explain to me, I'm not that hot on corporate economics, what about Wotc is a toxic asset that needs to be let go ?

Ok explain to me, I'm not that hot on corporate economics, what about Wotc is a toxic asset that needs to be let go ?



Not much. Sure, they have their share of games that flopped (Duelmasters anyone?), but D&D and especially Magic make up for that, if the stories of insiders are to be believed.

There was a thread on this when Next was announced a year back that contained links to stories by (former) WotC employees. The gist was that Magic was a hundreds of millions of dollars asset (not sure, may be a bit off), and that D&D needed to reach the same level. This couldn't be done with 4E, so they cut their losses and started developing yet another edition. 

Anyway, Wizards is almost literally printing money with Magic. Each set is apparently selling better than the one before it. Magic Online is even better: there they don't even have to print physical cards to get people to spend their cash, they just have to keep the servers going. So any company that lets WotC go is making a huge mistake.

The only danger of Disney buying Wizards is that they might discontinue a lot of products that they don't see the value of. One of which could be D&D. But whether that would happen is almost impossible to predict and depends entirely on the goals of the new owner. 
The only danger of Disney buying Wizards is that they might discontinue a lot of products that they don't see the value of. One of which could be D&D. But whether that would happen is almost impossible to predict and depends entirely on the goals of the new owner. 

It's probably the worst-case outcome if Disney buys Hasbro.

Whereas if Hasbro continues to be independent and own WotC and D&D, in my opinion it's the best-case outcome. And more likely to happen than if Disney is involved.


"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Ok explain to me, I'm not that hot on corporate economics, what about Wotc is a toxic asset that needs to be let go ?



Not making enough money.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
Ok explain to me, I'm not that hot on corporate economics, what about Wotc is a toxic asset that needs to be let go ?



Not making enough money.


Pray tell, where did you get that from?
Pray tell, where did you get that from?



From TSR. They closed down a number of games, and campaign settings, because management didn't see the company making enough money from the line to satisfy them. Didn't stop them from releasing the game or setting, it did stop them from supporting it to the extent they could've.

You may not see Wizards as not worth their time, I may not see Wizards as not worth their time, but Disney may see Wizards as not worth their time. It would be their company, through a proxy, their decision.

As the Dille Family Trust told Lorraine Willaims regarding TSR, "Sell it."
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
TSR =/= WotC. A lot has changed since the 80's. The only problem D&D could have is that it doesn't make enough money for Disney's taste. But drawing on TSR stories to make a point is outdated.
TSR =/= WotC. A lot has changed since the 80's. The only problem D&D could have is that it doesn't make enough money for Disney's taste. But drawing on TSR stories to make a point is outdated.



Validity is not dependent on age, and bad decisions are ageless.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
Validity is not dependent on age, and bad decisions are ageless.

Perhaps so, but you are attempting to maintain validity with anecdotes of a different company ( usurpers) under different management (wo did not even like D&D) in a different era. There is little evidence of the management style of Lorraine Williams in WotC, Hasbro, or Disney. (I may not be pleased with the direction Next is going, but I do not get the impression that management hates the brand.)

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
TSR =/= WotC. A lot has changed since the 80's. The only problem D&D could have is that it doesn't make enough money for Disney's taste. But drawing on TSR stories to make a point is outdated.



Validity is not dependent on age, and bad decisions are ageless.


But using bad decisions from a long time ago made be one company to predict future bad decisions made by a different company isn't likely to be accurate.

It's like saying that GM shouldn't come up with that neat elecric car design because just look what happened to New Coke.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

But using bad decisions from a long time ago made be one company to predict future bad decisions made by a different company isn't likely to be accurate.

It's like saying that GM shouldn't come up with that neat elecric car design because just look what happened to New Coke.



You have little experience in business, don't you? And BTW, I was talking about decisions made by one entertainment company company to another. Your behavior has more in common with another person than you'd care t think.

(Methinks some people are insisting that one company can't do a thing because it would upset me. Companies don't care about your feelings, as long as they have enough customers to make money off of.)
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
I don't think the question is "could they" buy dnd, wotc etc..  The real question is "why would they ?".  Let's also not forget that very recently Disney bought lucas arts from the man himself for nearly 6 billion dollars.  So the odds of them buying another large company right now is pretty slim.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

I don't think the question is "could they" buy dnd, wotc etc..  The real question is "why would they ?".  Let's also not forget that very recently Disney bought lucas arts from the man himself for nearly 6 billion dollars.  So the odds of them buying another large company right now is pretty slim.



Hasbro owns the marketing rights to Star Wars. Disney has a very good reason to buy it.
I don't think the question is "could they" buy dnd, wotc etc..  The real question is "why would they ?".  Let's also not forget that very recently Disney bought lucas arts from the man himself for nearly 6 billion dollars.  So the odds of them buying another large company right now is pretty slim.



Hasbro owns the marketing rights to Star Wars. Disney has a very good reason to buy it.



I don't believe you are correct.  When George Lucas first brought Star Wars to the masses FOX studios left him the rights to literally everything because they didn't believe in him or in his space epic.  It's a long running joke in fact of "if only they had known".  Disney didn't need to make any deals with Hasbro, they dealt only with the man himself and paid only the man himself.

Furthermore Lucas had a clause added to his will, in the case of his death, that Disney would inherit Star Wars and all rights to it.  Again nothing about Hasbro in there.

Do you have a source ?

"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

I don't think the question is "could they" buy dnd, wotc etc..  The real question is "why would they ?".  Let's also not forget that very recently Disney bought lucas arts from the man himself for nearly 6 billion dollars.  So the odds of them buying another large company right now is pretty slim.



Hasbro owns the marketing rights to Star Wars. Disney has a very good reason to buy it.



I don't believe you are correct.  When George Lucas first brought Star Wars to the masses FOX studios left him the rights to literally everything because they didn't believe in him or in his space epic.  It's a long running joke in fact of "if only they had known".  Disney didn't need to make any deals with Hasbro, they dealt only with the man himself and paid only the man himself.

Furthermore Lucas had a clause added to his will, in the case of his death, that Disney would inherit Star Wars and all rights to it.  Again nothing about Hasbro in there.

Do you have a source ?




Hasbro has owned the rights to Star Wars toys since 1991. They also own the rights to Marvel toys until 2017. Something else Disney owns.

money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=...

well I'll be, you're right !

Disney bought out the company that lucas arts was dealing with to produce the toys way back when.  Thanks for the link

Well then I suppose that answers my question, it would be like buying park place in monopoly to combo with the other one.  Logical acquisition.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

well I'll be, you're right !

Disney bought out the company that lucas arts was dealing with to produce the toys way back when.  Thanks for the link

Well then I suppose that answers my question, it would be like buying park place in monopoly to combo with the other one.  Logical acquisition.



Unfortunately, WotC no longer owns the RPG rights to Star Wars. Disney could have scooped up all of it with one purchase.