I have always wondered just how much “Wizards of the Coast” figures in the greater Hasbro family. Is WOTC a significant contributor to the bottom line or just a small cog in a much larger machine? A quarterly report might provide some insight, so I examined the Q2 2008 report released today. I also listened to the entire analyst call.
If WOTC made any kind of impact on Hasbro, it would be this quarter. The 4th Edition “Dungeons and Dragons” release was the biggest RPG gaming release in years and it sold very well. I was certain that this would be worth a mention in either the report or the analyst’s call.
The report does not break down profits to specific items, but you can make some relatively safe assumptions based on whether management felt it worth mentioning. For example, this year “Marvel Comics” had great success with “Iron Man.” This translated to toy sales for Hasbro, so “Marvel” gets a mention
From the report: “…MARVEL continued to contribute significantly to the segment in the quarter.”
The Q2 report did not mention WOTC at all(other than a listing of the name at the report’s bottom as one of Hasbro’s holdings.) In terms of games, “Monopoly” and “Trivial Pursuit” are the only gaming items to make the report. I moved on to the analyst call.
Analyst’s calls are deadly dull, but very informative. The management team fielded questions from analysts about long-term plans, performance and holdings. “Wizards of the Coast” finally got two mentions in this portion. First, Hasbro stated that “Duelmasters ” performed very well in Japan. Secondly, they mentioned a company wide “digital initiative” that included video game development, Hasbro games on pogo.com and the “Wizards of the Coast Digital Initiative.”
There was no further detail about the “digital initiative” at WOTC, but I assume it is the “D & D Insider ” and “Gleemax .” This also explains why WOTC pushed the digital components of 4E so hard. They were under orders from corporate headquarters to contribute to the “digital initiative.”
To my mind, the report speaks for itself. WOTC is not a major player in Hasbro’s world, save for the digital initiative. 4th edition was not even enough to beat out Monopoly or the purchase of “Cranium” for a mention in the report.
Relative status of WOTC aside, it also illuminated their long-term goals of more digital gaming. I think we can expect increased focus on the digital subscription offerings and less on dead-tree publications.
Trask, The Last Tyromancer