Hasbro admits it "misfired" with D&D OGL and was "too aggressive" with MTG pricing

Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit promo image with book, dice, and DM screen
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

D&D owner Hasbro has admitted that it "misfired" on the D&D OGL controversy, but claims that it has since seen success by changing tack.

Announced during the Hasbro Q4 2022 earnings call, chief executive Chris Cocks quickly addressed the issue that swept up the Dungeons & Dragons brand and publisher Wizards of the Coast for much of January this year.

"We misfired on updating our Open Game License, a key vehicle for creators to share or commercialize their D&D-inspired content," he says. "Our best practice is to work collaboratively with our community, gather feedback, and build experiences that inspire players and creators alike. It's how we make our games among the best in the industry. We have since course-corrected, and are delivering a strong outcome for the community and game."

This 'course-correction' refers to Hasbro completely backing down from the controversial changes at the end of January. Rather than scrapping the original Open Game License in favor of a new and more restrictive one, it was revealed that "we are leaving OGL 1.0a in place, as is. Untouched."

Cocks also admits that Hasbro mishandled Wizards' other big-name brand, Magic: The Gathering.

"Our growth in Wizards was not without its challenges," says Cocks. "We were too aggressive in some of our pricing assumptions, notably our 30th Anniversary Edition of Magic, and pulled back on available supply, impacting Q4 results."

However, Cocks thinks the future is bright. To be precise, he expects "Wizards of the Coast and digital games to be up mid-single digits" in terms of profit - one of the only corners of the business to do so. This was certainly true last year, with Wizards of the Coast being one of the few areas to show "strong growth" in spite of a difficult financial quarter for Hasbro overall that resulted in plans to lay off 1K staff.

Plans for the long-teased D&D virtual tabletop service also continue unabated. Cocks mentions that it's on track for launch in 2024, claiming "we see exciting possibilities in all-new virtual tabletop that unlocks new consumer value choices, brings imaginations to life, taps into the scale effects of user-generated content, and creates seamless remote and in-play play possibilities across phones, PCs, and tablets with triple-A graphics and intuitive controls."

Want a distraction from all the drama? Don't miss our interview with Frosthaven creator Isaac Childres, and be sure to check out the best tabletop RPGs along with the best board games.

Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to the latest Lego news. I've been writing about games in one form or another since 2012, and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.