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Wizards Refocuses

In the last week or two, Wizards has made it clear that they wish to refocus their efforts on just Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. First, they cut a number of novels, including their entire Discoveries line. Then they announced that Gleemax will end in September. Now, they’ve put out a press release that states it clearly, at least as far as their novels are concerned.

I’m interested to see how this will affect the entire company. It’s not unusual to see a business contract like this in more challenging economic times. I suspect the new president of Wizards, originally from Hasbro, is putting on the brakes here. He may even be wondering why Wizards does anything other than publish Magic and D&D. Here’s hoping the wonderful creators at Wizards (seriously, I have an immense amount of respect for them and their work) can come up with excellent answers for them.

Comments 8

  1. The questions this raises are numerous, but one of mine is: what do they mean when they say directly support the D&D brand? Is Eberron not directly supporting the brand? Is Dragonlance not?

    I am pretty sure a number of their internal brands, including the Realms and Dragonlance, stand at least enough on their own as independent novel lines that they don’t actually need to support any gaming whatsoever. It’s very mysterious.

  2. The questions this raises are numerous, but one of mine is: what do they mean when they say directly support the D&D brand? Is Eberron not directly supporting the brand? Is Dragonlance not?

    I am pretty sure a number of their internal brands, including the Realms and Dragonlance, stand at least enough on their own as independent novel lines that they don’t actually need to support any gaming whatsoever. It’s very mysterious.

  3. True, but I suspect the novels aren’t nearly as profitable as the games, at least from Hasbro’s point of view. They can stomach making less money on something if it supports one of their core brands, but if it doesn’t than it’s hard for an executive to justify this “brand extension.”

    Also, you get into things like, “How many novels do we really need each year to support a brand?” They want some Eberron and Dragonlance novels, but is it worth it to do ones that can’t possibly come close to the sales numbers of Margaret and Tracy or Bob Salvatore?

    Of course, that sort of thing can be a death spiral for a division when the accountants start wondering why they’re making so much less than the previous year. These are interesting times, for sure.

  4. Post
    Author

    True, but I suspect the novels aren’t nearly as profitable as the games, at least from Hasbro’s point of view. They can stomach making less money on something if it supports one of their core brands, but if it doesn’t than it’s hard for an executive to justify this “brand extension.”

    Also, you get into things like, “How many novels do we really need each year to support a brand?” They want some Eberron and Dragonlance novels, but is it worth it to do ones that can’t possibly come close to the sales numbers of Margaret and Tracy or Bob Salvatore?

    Of course, that sort of thing can be a death spiral for a division when the accountants start wondering why they’re making so much less than the previous year. These are interesting times, for sure.

  5. The idea is certainly rebranding… but I’m not positive that it’s a good move. I guess time and their account balances will tell–but I really like the folks in that editorial department whom I’ve met, and I want them to be kept busy! I hope the death spiral doesn’t hit…

  6. The idea is certainly rebranding… but I’m not positive that it’s a good move. I guess time and their account balances will tell–but I really like the folks in that editorial department whom I’ve met, and I want them to be kept busy! I hope the death spiral doesn’t hit…

  7. While I am disappointed in the elimination of the Discoveries line of books, I do think that the Wizards fiction catalog was becoming a little bloated. The quality was often very good, but even fans were having a hard time keeping up if they wanted to read all of the books coming out.

    When the Dragonlance books came out, TSR didn’t have many books out and the same is true when Icewind Dale was published. TSR/WotC has varied between publishing non-related fiction (Illegal Aliens) in past and it wasn’t as strong as this batch. Devil’s Cape was a lot of fun.

  8. While I am disappointed in the elimination of the Discoveries line of books, I do think that the Wizards fiction catalog was becoming a little bloated. The quality was often very good, but even fans were having a hard time keeping up if they wanted to read all of the books coming out.

    When the Dragonlance books came out, TSR didn’t have many books out and the same is true when Icewind Dale was published. TSR/WotC has varied between publishing non-related fiction (Illegal Aliens) in past and it wasn’t as strong as this batch. Devil’s Cape was a lot of fun.

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