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Hasbro delays update to Dungeons and Dragons open game license as fans revolt

Hasbro delays update to Dungeons and Dragons open game license as fans revolt

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Hasbro released a “natural” – automatic pass – to convince fans that rewriting its two-decade-old open-play license is about anything but increasing revenue.

Theirs children’s company, Wizards of the Coast (WOC), which owns the hit tabletop role-playing game “Dungeons and Dragons,” had leaked changes to its open game license, causing an uproar among fans.

In 2000, WOC released OGL 1.0, which allowed third-party creators to use WOC characters, rules, game systems, and products in their creations. This symbiotic relationship has spawned a cottage industry that includes some hit shows like Critical Role, Dimension 20, Not Another D&D Podcast, and Dungeons and Daddies: Not a BDSM Podcast, which in turn has brought more attention to the game and WOC than through recent decades.

Some have called the last decade a renaissance for D&D, with pandemic lockdowns only adding to the game’s meteoric resurgence in popularity.

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A week ago, a leaked OGL 1.1 was released that largely nullified this relationship and, among other things, required some major third-party creators to pay upwards of 20-25% royalties to WOC for use of their game system and products.

This has caused a huge response among fans with 67,000 signing an online petition and costing the company about $400,000 in lost monthly revenue. After a week of dealing with the public outcry, Hasbro released a statement returning its new license.

“From the reaction, it is clear that we have thrown 1. It has become clear that it is no longer possible to fully achieve all three goals while remaining true to our principles,” the company issued in a statement. “It will not contain any royalty structure.”

FILE – This April 26, 2018 file photo shows the Hasbro logo in New York. Hasbro’s third-quarter earnings missed Wall Street’s view and its revenue fell as consumers watched their toy spending more closely on inflation concerns. (AP Photo/R (AP Newsroom)

“You will hear people say that they have won and we have lost because your voice being heard has forced us to change our plans. These people will only be half right. They won – and so did we.”

The reception of the announcement was lukewarm among the protesters against the company. While some noted that this was a victory, others argued that it changed nothing and the WOC still intended to change the OGL. The boycott resulted in approx 40,000 canceled subscriptions with this number increasing daily. Anger among fans only swelled after the latest comments from the WOC president came to light.

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“D&D has never been more popular and we have really great fans and engagement.” Wizards of the Coast President Cynthia Williams told investors in December during a UBS virtual chat. “But the brand is really undermonetized.”

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D&D has seen a surge in popularity among third-party content creators, having been featured in the Netflix hit “Stranger Things,” and is sure to see another bump from the upcoming film “D&D: Honor Among Thieves.” The release of OGL 1.1 has been officially delayed.


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