Hasbro Denies Sale of Dungeons & Dragons to Tencent, Sort of

By Todd Russell Feb26,2024

Yes, the headline is somewhat old news, but follow the deeper story that lies herein.

Too often the IPs, the franchises, the characters, the stories, are gobbled up by Jaws-sized corporate fish. Hence, the story of Dungeons & Dragons, that began with publishing by a company named TSR in a little town in Wisconsin called Lake Geneva.

D&D eventually was bought by Wizards of the Coast in 1997, when TSR, was near bankruptcy, and then in 1999 Hasbro bought Wizards, the current owner as of this writing. Hasbro spun Wizards into a separate division within the company in 2021, and that’s where the current fate of the beloved D&D franchise lies.

Unfortunately, Hasbro has been having some financial trouble and rumors have been swirling that Chinese mega game company Tencent is interested in buying Dungeons & Dragons from Hasbro.

Backed into a PR corner, Hasbro really had no choice but to come out and deny the rumors, but read their denial carefully:

Wizards of the Coast, the Hasbro division that publishes Dungeons & Dragons and games including Magic: the Gathering, denied the rumors, claiming while the company has multiple partnerships with Tencent, “we are not looking to sell our D&D [intellectual property],” and the company would not comment any further on “speculation or rumors about potential M&A or licensing deals.”

Dungeons & Dragons Publisher Denies Selling Game To Chinese Firm: Here’s What To Know (msn.com)

That last sentence.

They are still making deals and not going to comment on what those are. Maybe Tencent is interesting in a licensing deal and not a full acquisition? Has Tencent made any D&D games? Tencent has a huge foothold in the mobile market.

Have also been hearing rumors that Stern Pinball might be interested in making a D&D pinball machine. No idea if this will happen, but that last sentence and other commentary from Hasbro, including the success of Baldur’s Gate in 2023 suggests this is a property Hasbro would be foolish to sell, even if it would help their bottom line. So, there statement refuting any interest in selling could be true.

(Sidenote: would you like to play a D&D-themed pinball someday? I sure would! The vast, vibrant world of D&D offers a pinball theme so much potential.)

But what if the price is right? Tencent has a ton of money. Do they offer a crazy amount of dough to buy D&D from Hasbro? Maybe, maybe not. We don’t really broker in rumors and speculation here at PlayGamesMore, but what makes this story interesting, at least to this author, is that a beloved IP has been moved around from the original, creative source.

With these moves, does the creativity in the source material die a little? Would say it kind of does. There’s certainly been a lot of disappointment in Star Wars since Disney bought it from George Lucas. There have been some bright spots, like The Mandalorian but overall, not sure how many people believe Star Wars has gotten better with Disney than it was with its original creator.

And yet, there are some really good Star Wars games that have come out under Disney’s purview, so maybe gaming-wise it hasn’t been as negatively impacted as it has in the movies. Personally, I’m in the camp that feels the original trilogy was all the story necessary of the original characters. We didn’t need the prequels and definitely didn’t need parts 7, 8 and 9. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of worthwhile Star Wars universe stories waiting to be told, Disney just hasn’t mined, created and shared many of them to date. Perhaps, in time they’ll get more out there.

Your turn. What do you think of Tencent possibly buying D&D from Hasbro someday? Think it would make it better, worse or little change over the current situation?

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2 thoughts on “Hasbro Denies Sale of Dungeons & Dragons to Tencent, Sort of”
  1. Todd I would LOVE if Stern had a Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon pinball table. They use the voices and animations from the show as minigames. Use a great playfield like ACDC and the original theme song as the main title theme. It would sell like hotcakes!

    1. Interesting. So, you’d like it to be the animated D&D version for the pinball? That is a cool show. I would much rather see D&D pin than John Wick and Journey. Am sort of split on Pokemon, because I can see a lot of really creative Insider Connected possibilities with Pokemon.

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