Hasbro delays license update for Dungeons and Dragons open-ended game as fan base revolts

Hasbro delays license update for Dungeons and Dragons open-ended game as fan base revolts

Hasbro released a “natural” one — an automatic miss — to convince fans that the rewrite of its two-decade-old open game license was nothing more than a revenue boost.

Their child company, Wizards of the Coast (WOC), which owns the hit tabletop game “Dungeons and Dragons,” has had changes made 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 several 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 it had been in decades.

Some have called the last decade a renaissance for D&D, with pandemic shutdowns only contributing to the game’s meteoric rise in popularity.


A week ago, an OGL 1.1 leak was released that largely nullified this relationship and, among other things, required major third-party creators to pay over 20-25% royalties to WOC for using the system and their gaming products.

This caused a massive backlash among the fan base, with 67,000 people signing an online petition, and cost the company an estimated $400,000 in lost monthly revenue. After a week of facing popular backlash, Hasbro released a statement revoking its new license.

“It is clear from the reaction that we scored a 1. It became clear that it is no longer possible to fully achieve all three goals while still remaining true to our principles,” the company published 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 profit missed Wall Street’s view, and its revenue fell as consumers watched their toy spending more closely because of inflation concerns. (AP Photo/R (AP Press)

“You’re going to hear people say they won and we lost because making your voices heard 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 cold among those demonstrating against the company. While some noted that this was a victory, others argued that this changes nothing and the WOC still intends to change the OGL. The boycott has resulted in approximately 40,000 canceled subscriptions, with that number growing daily. Anger in the fanbase only grew as the WOC president’s recent comments came to light.


“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 call. “But the brand is really under-monetized.”


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

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