Would Paizo ever buy the rights to the DnD brand from Hasbro?


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I've only recently seen the playtest for DnD next. I know I'm way late, but still ,my verdict on this is :this won't save DnD.

Also read up on where the DnD brand stands within the Hasbro company and it looks like they value it somewhere inbetween the dirt under their fingernails and the dust on the floor.

So hypothetically,if Hasbro decides they won't bother anymore and get out of PnP RPG's completely, would Paizo even be interested?


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Are you asking this question in the hopes of getting Paizo staff to reveal what might be critical strategic information that would impinge directly on their corporate financials?

Because if so, I think you'll be disappointed.


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This was asked in another thread recently, and my response was "it's probably not worth the licensing fee to them". Given current Pathfinder sales, it's entirely possible that slapping a D&D logo on the books and paying a percentage to Hasbro could actually end up costing more than the extra sales bring in.

I'm also somewhat uneasy at the idea in general due to it meaning people losing jobs, people that - whatever anyone's opinion of any edition of D&D - didn't have much to do with the overall decision of what that edition should look like.

A more positive way to look at Hasbro keeping it in-house (other than people keeping their jobs, which itself is very positive) is that D&D as competition can only mean Pathfinder having to keep on improving. Without that major alternative, the incentive to put out the best game possible lessens somewhat.

I make no secret about the fact I've switched from D&D to Pathfinder, but that doesn't mean I want it to stop being made - quite the opposite, in fact.


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Hasbro will never sell the brand, not when they can still potentially make money off of licensing for computer games, movies, books, etc

They'll shelf it before they sell it.

Silver Crusade

Is it just me or does the Wizards site have a lot less people than it used to?


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I really just want Paizo or some third party would buy Dark Sun and Dragonlance from them. Hmmm maybe I could start an online charity and do it myself...


WOTC just has a lot less support in general it seems. At least outside of MtG.


LizardMage wrote:
I really just want Paizo or some third party would buy Dark Sun and Dragonlance from them. Hmmm maybe I could start an online charity and do it myself...

Careful what you wish for.


I think a fair amount of people would like it if that happened to one or both those settings.

Sovereign Court

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What i would like is that either Hasbro makes all IP monsters open content or they sell the licence to Paizo so that they can use them. Guys like Graz'zt or mind flayers and beholders.

Dark Archive

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Lisa Stevens answers some of these questions and gives her thoughts on these things in one of the Know Direction podcasts. Her answers are really good. I don't remember exactly which podcast, but I'm pretty sure it's one of these. Enjoy!

GENCON 2013 018 - AUNTIE LISA'S STORY HOUR.

GENCON 2013 015 - PATHFINDER: 2013 AND BEYOND
.
PAIZOCON2013 SPECIAL 024 - AUNTIE LISA'S STORY HOUR.

Dark Archive

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The rights to the D&D brand are worth way, way, waaaaaaaaay more as IP than just as sales of the RPG. As an RPG, it's essentially worthless to Hasbro's bottom line, so hypothetically they might license the name out for tabletop, but they'll never sell it off. Well, not for a price Lisa and Vic could afford without selling off Paizo.


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Hama is right. I'd love to have a truly compatible mindflayer.


LizardMage wrote:
Hama is right. I'd love to have a truly compatible mindflayer.

Plenty of homebrew conversions out there. Supposedly pathfinder is backwards compatible on its own too, and you can always do the work yourself if you don't think so.


Well ideally it would be awesome to have a " standard " and a dream scarred ultimate psionics version.

My search-fu must suck cause I always find the ones that have taken down in forums.


I don't understand why people think hasbro will never sell the rights.As soon as they think there isn't any economic sense in keeping them they are gone, trust me.

Its not even a competition thing, if hasbro sells dnd they are out of PnP RPG's ,so they could care less about Paizos market share at that point.They are already not making enough money with 4e, if 5e fails to substantially exceed 4e's numbers that should be it for them as far as I can see.

Sovereign Court

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Sleet Storm wrote:

I don't understand why people think hasbro will never sell the rights.As soon as they think there isn't any economic sense in keeping them they are gone, trust me.

Its not even a competition thing, if hasbro sells dnd they are out of PnP RPG's ,so they could care less about Paizos market share at that point.They are already not making enough money with 4e, if 5e fails to substantially exceed 4e's numbers that should be it for them as far as I can see.

Because there will always be economic sense to keep it. For licencing games, boardgames, movies and shows. And they can shelve it indefinetly if they want.

D&D isn't just pen'n'paper. There are whole lines of novels. And other stuff.

I have converted allmost all IP monsters that i need, but i would still prefer an official Paizo version with their customary twist. Something along the lines of IP monsters revisited.


Good Hama, do you happen to have a Flayer of Minds?


See, thats where we disagree.A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

There is no value in shelving a brand name if you can sell it.If it doesn't actively make money right now its a liability and needlesly binds money.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Untrue. It costs Hasbro nothing to shelve the Name. If they had to pay considerable sums to maintain the naming rights, yeah, they'd want it making money regardless.

But what they've invested is a sunk cost, and the name is an Asset. As long as it's making ANYTHING (from reprints of novels, if nothing else), they are getting a positive return on investment.

No reason to sell it cheap enough for Paizo to do something with it. they own it for money, not love of RPG's.

==Aelryinth


Because of copyright theft there is generally a retrenchment or risk taking within intellectual arts as a viable income stream for a company.

The key question is what is D&D worth as a income stream?

Unless some crpg's come along utilising the system - probably not a lot I would think. It may be that there is a big brave experiment involving CRPGs and home content (such as the Baldur's Gate/Neverwinter Nights modding communities) but for the pen and paper game unless the CRPG is a big success I can't see any great developments coming anytime soon.


The other thing to bear in mind is that if it *was* for sale, it'd go to whoever was willing to pay the most.

Now, that would have to be a company that wanted the name badly enough, had a real use for it (which means they can see it improving their business substantially), and could afford it.

With that in mind, I could see the name going to a non-RPG company in order to use the trademark, and the RPG being completely abandoned, before it went to someone with the intention of actually printing a D&D RPG.

I could envisage a computer game company buying it (or at least, a company that owned a computer game company). I could envisage someone buying it just to print the novels. I could even envisage someone buying it just to make D&D-themed toys. I'm not sure an RPG publisher would have both the money and the inclination.

That's all speculation though. I can see Hasbro shutting the RPG down and keeping the brand for other things (or simply to get income from licencing) before they'd sell it off. I still hope it doesn't come to any of that though, as I said earlier there's some good reasons to hope the game stays alive at WotC even for those of us that don't intend to buy another bookcase full of books for it.


Aelryinth wrote:

Untrue. It costs Hasbro nothing to shelve the Name. If they had to pay considerable sums to maintain the naming rights, yeah, they'd want it making money regardless.

But what they've invested is a sunk cost, and the name is an Asset. As long as it's making ANYTHING (from reprints of novels, if nothing else), they are getting a positive return on investment.

No reason to sell it cheap enough for Paizo to do something with it. they own it for money, not love of RPG's.

==Aelryinth

If you can sell it then its not a sunk cost,a brand name is only an asset if the brand is recognized, so every year nothing is published it loses value.


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Matt Thomason wrote:

The other thing to bear in mind is that if it *was* for sale, it'd go to whoever was willing to pay the most.

Now, that would have to be a company that wanted the name badly enough, had a real use for it (which means they can see it improving their business substantially), and could afford it.

With that in mind, I could see the name going to a non-RPG company in order to use the trademark, and the RPG being completely abandoned,

Haha:) get ready for DnD the ENERGY DRINK.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

As I pointed out, they only care about the income stream, not the sale value of the investment. As long as its generating positive revenue on their original expenditure, they are golden and can simply ignore any theoretical sale value.

Their threshold is probably fairly low. I expect that as long as it's making 5-10% of their original purchase price, which is probably quite easy, they have no reason to ever get rid of it, seeing as how it has next to no maintenance cost.

And that's why they won't sell unless the brand gets hammered down to very, very little revenue. They can sell it based on optimistic increases over current revenue, but they are happy to keep it based on original price, which has a vastly lower threshold.

==Aelryinth


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Sleet Storm wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:

The other thing to bear in mind is that if it *was* for sale, it'd go to whoever was willing to pay the most.

Now, that would have to be a company that wanted the name badly enough, had a real use for it (which means they can see it improving their business substantially), and could afford it.

With that in mind, I could see the name going to a non-RPG company in order to use the trademark, and the RPG being completely abandoned,

Haha:) get ready for DnD the ENERGY DRINK.

Jones soda did D&D themed sodas.

Grand Lodge

LizardMage wrote:
do you happen to have a Flayer of Minds?

You can find one in this PDF of non-OGL monsters converted to the PFRPG: Direct Link


Sleet Storm wrote:
Haha:) get ready for DnD the ENERGY DRINK.

Hmm.... Tell me more. Does every drink come with xp and loot? If I drink 10 do I level up? If WoTC is involved does my level of system mastery get rewarded by knowledge that the blue drink is balanced but green is OP?(red is a trap, ofc) They have to be sold in editions of course.... Great, now I've got a lot of bad jokes and references in my head.


Uh, no. A company sells an asset if they think the money they could get from the sale would generate more income elsewhere than the income the asset is providing if they don't sell. Unless they really are more interested in having the IP.


Exactly, especially when utilizing their rights requires further investment into a product line that has already shown a low performance in the past.

Hasbro has sold non performers before you know? Nothing quite as big as DnD but still.


MrSin wrote:
Sleet Storm wrote:
Haha:) get ready for DnD the ENERGY DRINK.
Hmm.... Tell me more. Does every drink come with xp and loot? If I drink 10 do I level up? If WoTC is involved does my level of system mastery get rewarded by knowledge that the blue drink is balanced but green is OP?(red is a trap, ofc) They have to be sold in editions of course.... Great, now I've got a lot of bad jokes and references in my head.

No but it comes in Potion Flasks.


You also have to consider if someone else having the IP might be able to infringe on other areas of yours that are successful. Such as a D&D card game challenging Magic.


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Sleet Storm wrote:

I don't understand why people think hasbro will never sell the rights.As soon as they think there isn't any economic sense in keeping them they are gone, trust me.

Its not even a competition thing, if hasbro sells dnd they are out of PnP RPG's ,so they could care less about Paizos market share at that point.They are already not making enough money with 4e, if 5e fails to substantially exceed 4e's numbers that should be it for them as far as I can see.

The reason is because it's against Hasbro corporate policy - they never sell brands, they shelve them for twenty years or so and then 'relaunch' them, hoping that new parents will buy what they fondly remember liking for the next generation of kids.

The other thing worth mentioning is that the D&D the RPG is an irrelevancy to a company the size of Hasbro. D&D overall doesnt even make it onto their annual reports (WotC is the company which makes magic and that's been doing exceptionally well for them). Selling D&D is potentially missing out on the revenue from a movie or computer game. Of late Hasbro has been pushing such crossovers heavily, so the chance of selling a brand has probably got even less remote in recent years.


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Sleet Storm wrote:
Hasbro has sold non performers before you know? Nothing quite as big as DnD but still.

Are you sure it didnt license them? I wont pretend to have any inside information, but that's what I'd heard - it never sells the rights outright, but it doesnt mind licensing a languishing brand.


No, it sold rights.The only example I could find right now is Scruples but I am sure theres more.
They also sold Infogrames bought it back then sold it again.

EDIT: Oh , found another big one Hasbro actually owned the rights to Atari and sold them to Infogrames they also sold their Hasbro Interactive branch to them. So yeah, they do sell Brands.


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I found reference on wikipedia of them selling a failing subsidiary to another company (Hasbro Interactive), however they sold it for 100 million dollars. Pretty sure Paizo doesn't have that laying around.

And yeah their track record is generally to shelf products, then ten years later re-release them. I am not sure they would even bother with that though, as I suspect they don't really interfere that much with WOTC other in maybe making broad decisions. Even if DnD next undersells, I am betting Hasbro is looking at that property as a potential moneymaker for movies, etc. They are apparently sueing to get the rights back, and if they can make a movie from BATTLESHIP, than DnD products should be a piece of cake. ESPECIALLY factoring the recent success of the LOTR movies or Game of Thrones.


I'm not sure what the point would be in Paizo purchasing the D&D properties. Habsro would likely want a pretty penny and Paizo, at least according to Dun & Bradstreet, only has about $4.5 million in sales (http://www.dandb.com/businessdirectory/paizopublishingllc-redmond-wa-16115 283.html).


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Sleet Storm wrote:

No, it sold rights.The only example I could find right now is Scruples but I am sure theres more.

They also sold Infogrames bought it back then sold it again.

Okay (although as I understood things, scruples reverted to the inventor - it wasn't sold back, hasbro only purchased the rights for a limited period), then the reason remains that it's the subsidiary benefits. The RPG is a nonevent, financially, but movies, books and video games are all potentially rich sources of revenue. Hasbro won't sell it because leveraging brands in that way is their current strategy.


I'm not sure what company you are talking about but Atari Inc was bought by Hasbro for 5 mil and sold to Infogrames for 11,6 mil.

DnD is obviously worth much less so no they wouldn't want 100 mil for the rights I don't think.

The movie licensing thing doesn´t really convince me.Theres been two movies already and they sucked donkeyballs both artistically and at the box office.I think people underestimate the importance of actually having the game out that is associated with the brand.DnD hasn't shown itself to be a crowd magnet,they tried.

People that aren't somehow invested into the game don't care about it, you wont sell a Dungeons & Dragons shirt to somebody who never played the game.


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Sleet Storm wrote:


The movie licensing thing doesn´t really convince me.Theres been two movies already and the sucked donkeyballs both artistically and at the box office.

The movies can earn the IP holders licensing fees, regardless of their success. Irrespective though, there just has to be potential for success - the drizzt novels seem like a great opportunity.

Quote:

I think people underestimate the importance of actually having the game out that is associated with the brand.DnD hasn't shown itself to be a crowd magnet,they tried.

People that aren't somehow invested into the game don't care about it, you wont sell a Dungeons & Dragons shirt to somebody who never played the game.

They don't have to care about it, they have to know about it. Nongamers have some idea of what D&D is, they've never heard of Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu or anything else (by and large)


What I am saying is that the Brand has no "draw" outside of the gaming industry.
You can publish fantasy novels movies and videogames without it,its only really relevant to a small group of fans.


Sleet Storm wrote:

I'm not sure what company you are talking about but Atari Inc was bought by Hasbro for 5 mil and sold to Infogrames for 11,6 mil.

DnD is obviously worth much less so no they wouldn't want 100 mil for the rights I don't think.

The movie licensing thing doesn´t really convince me.Theres been two movies already and they sucked donkeyballs both artistically and at the box office.I think people underestimate the importance of actually having the game out that is associated with the brand.DnD hasn't shown itself to be a crowd magnet,they tried.

People that aren't somehow invested into the game don't care about it, you wont sell a Dungeons & Dragons shirt to somebody who never played the game.

The rights to the DnD movies were sold before Hasbro bought WOTC, and from what I understand there is a whole sordid affair going on there.

The movies flopped because there was a bare minimum effort put into them, from everything to the budgets to the scripps.

While a Hasbro produced DnD movie is not guaranteed sucess, you can bet they will invest much more money into it and pitch it for a summer blockbuster/Christmas release.


Sleet Storm wrote:
I've only recently seen the playtest for DnD next. I know I'm way late, but still ,my verdict on this is :this won't save DnD.

I don't know a lot of people who actually think that D&D needs "saving". I know almost no one with any experience in the industry who thinks that.

Quote:
Also read up on where the DnD brand stands within the Hasbro company and it looks like they value it somewhere inbetween the dirt under their fingernails and the dust on the floor.

That's not true, at all. D&D was, only a few years ago, lined up as a core brand within Hasbro that was expected to hit fairly substantial sales metrics. Unrealistically high, I'd argue, but it clearly demonstrates that Hasbro saw a lot of potential in the brand.

This just strikes me as armchair speculation combined with a lot of wishful thinking.


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Sleet Storm wrote:

What I am saying is that the Brand has no "draw" outside of the gaming industry.

You can publish fantasy novels movies and videogames without it,its only really relevant to a small group of fans.

Sure, but the drizzt books have sold millions - it's not easy to retain the rights to the forgotten realms without the rights to D&D (could drizzt fight a mindflayer?).

Plus the brand is recognised - that's valuable without being a "draw". The new movie about D&D means something that the new movie about Pathfinder doesn't.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Sleet Storm wrote:

What I am saying is that the Brand has no "draw" outside of the gaming industry.

You can publish fantasy novels movies and videogames without it,its only really relevant to a small group of fans.

Sure, but the drizzt books have sold millions - it's not easy to retain the rights to the forgotten realms without the rights to D&D (could drizzt fight a mindflayer?).

Plus the brand is recognised - that's valuable without being a "draw". The new movie about D&D means something that the new movie about Pathfinder doesn't.

True ,but the new movie about Orcs and Goblins in [insert random and/or nameless fantasy setting here] would probably be as well recieved by the general public as the new movie about orcs and goblins in forgotten realms.

Movies need extremely broad target audiences to make money, especially high fantasy flicks with huge production costs.Again not saying there is no value at all there but just shelving it in the hopes that someday a Pete Jackson might stroll into Hasbros offices and ask them for the license to make a film doesn't make to much economic sense in my eyes.


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but if they want to cash in on the appeal of books like the original Dragonlance novels...or Drizzt...They need to own the own the original settings...which are tied into DnD the game.

I honestly don't they they will completely shelve it. More likely the game would be shelved but the computer games/novels would continue.

And that assumes that DnD next will be a colossal flop. Which is far from certain (In fact based on what people have said, I suspect it will do okay).

Even if they somehow sold the brand...Paizo probably wouldn't/couldn't buy it, since really what are they buying? They don't have the staff to develop the other settings, and I doubt Mindflayers are worth several millions.


Sleet Storm wrote:

What I am saying is that the Brand has no "draw" outside of the gaming industry.

You can publish fantasy novels movies and videogames without it,its only really relevant to a small group of fans.

Ehhhh...R.A. Salvatore is a fairly big name even outside the RPG community. I know a lot of people who read the novels but have never even touched DnD. Hell, I was one of those people for the longest time. The first time I read the Crystal Shard I didn't even know it was affiliated with DnD in any way, shape, or form. So I'd hesitate to say that the brand has no draw outside of the TRPG community.

As for Paizo buying the brand...unlikely, I think. I think if possible they'd buy PORTIONS of the brand (non-OGC monsters, for example) but it seems to me the Paizo staff has pretty much everything they need here. They have their own setting, which they're proud of, so I don't see them buying Forgotton Realms or Eberron or what have you wholesale. All of the base rules are open content, so they don't NEED to buy those.

They have their own Iconic characters and have, as far as I know, never shown any interest in bringing in big name DnD NPCs. Again, they're proud of their own creations, and see no need to use someone else'.


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Sleet Storm wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Sleet Storm wrote:

What I am saying is that the Brand has no "draw" outside of the gaming industry.

You can publish fantasy novels movies and videogames without it,its only really relevant to a small group of fans.

Sure, but the drizzt books have sold millions - it's not easy to retain the rights to the forgotten realms without the rights to D&D (could drizzt fight a mindflayer?).

Plus the brand is recognised - that's valuable without being a "draw". The new movie about D&D means something that the new movie about Pathfinder doesn't.

True ,but the new movie about Orcs and Goblins in [insert random and/or nameless fantasy setting here] would probably be as well recieved by the general public as the new movie about orcs and goblins in forgotten realms.

Movies need extremely broad target audiences to make money, especially high fantasy flicks with huge production costs.Again not saying there is no value at all there but just shelving it in the hopes that someday a Pete Jackson might stroll into Hasbros offices and ask them for the license to make a film doesn't make to much economic sense in my eyes.

Not just random orcs and goblins, drizzt books are mainstream best sellers. A movie about drizzt has a huge leg up over any generic fantasy movie.

The shelving for twenty years and then relaunching doesn't rely on a Peter Jackson. It's just what Hasbro do. The potential movie, video game, board game and novel rights they might be able to license out is a further argument for keeping the rights, not the sole one.


Rynjin wrote:
Sleet Storm wrote:

What I am saying is that the Brand has no "draw" outside of the gaming industry.

You can publish fantasy novels movies and videogames without it,its only really relevant to a small group of fans.
Ehhhh...R.A. Salvatore is a fairly big name even outside the RPG community. I know a lot of people who read the novels but have never even touched DnD. Hell, I was one of those people for the longest time. The first time I read the Crystal Shard I didn't even know it was affiliated with DnD in any way, shape, or form.

Couldn't have proved my point better.You didn't know DnD, you didn't know it was about DnD, yet you still read it.The Brand was not a factor in you picking up or enjoying the book.

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