Hasbro Employee SPILLS THE TEA on Wizards of the Coast Layoffs!

Hasbro axed over 1,000 employees before Christmas, including many key Wizards of the Coast employees. Now a former WotC employee is spilling the tea on what went down and what the current mindset of WotC is in relationship to Magic the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.

Additional Context:
The recent layoffs at Hasbro, which have significantly impacted its subsidiary Wizards of the Coast, have been a source of considerable concern and surprise in the gaming industry. Despite Wizards of the Coast’s strong performance, particularly in its digital gaming segment and with franchises like Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and Magic: The Gathering (MTG), they have not been immune to these cuts.

Wizards of the Coast’s revenue had been on the rise, especially with the success of projects like “Baldur’s Gate 3”, contributing to a 40% increase in year-on-year revenue. However, despite this success, Hasbro’s overall financial health has been less robust, with falling total revenue and share prices, primarily due to challenges in the toy sector. This situation has led Hasbro to undertake layoffs as part of a broader strategy to address these market “headwinds”.

The layoffs at Wizards of the Coast are part of Hasbro’s plan to lay off 1,100 employees, which represents a significant portion of its workforce. The decision has been met with criticism, especially considering the success of Wizards of the Coast’s franchises. The layoffs could potentially lead to a ‘brain drain’ where talented individuals from Wizards may move to other companies in the industry. This situation is exacerbated by controversies like the attempted revocation of the Open Gaming License, which had a significant backlash in the tabletop gaming community.

Notably, Paizo Publishing, which produces the Pathfinder series and is a competitor to D&D, has capitalized on the situation by positioning itself as a more appealing alternative to Wizards of the Coast for both players and professionals. With Paizo’s workforce unionizing and the introduction of the Open RPG Creative License (ORC), there’s potential for talent from Wizards of the Coast to migrate to Paizo or other independent studios.

The layoffs have affected key personnel in the D&D and MTG teams, including senior development editors, art directors, game designers, and communications managers. This loss of talent could impact upcoming projects and the overall operation of Wizards of the Coast.

As Wizards of the Coast prepares for D&D’s 50th anniversary in 2024, with several new projects planned, these layoffs have raised concerns about the future direction and success of their beloved franchises​​​​​​​​.

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