Business of RPGs
the Game Table
By Lezlie Samuel
Publishing Group Operations Coordinator
lived in the worlds of our characters, the game designing wizards here
at Wizards of the Coast would use psionic abilities to know exactly what
customers want, employ spellcasting powers to create perfect products
overnight, and teleport the games directly to players who want them. But
until "game designer" becomes a new prestige class (hey, we're
working on it!), the process of planning, developing, marketing, and distributing
roleplaying products remains a little more complicated. This regular feature
offers insight into the business side of fun and games.
month, I thought you might want to hear some of the cool things that are
happening with our RPG brands in the near future. One of our goals here
in the Tabletop Roleplaying Game division is to find ways to build our
RPG brands -- to increase recognition of the names of the games you love
to play (Dungeons & Dragons, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and
so on). Sure, our first goal (as with any profitable company) is to sell
more products, but what better way to do that than to build awareness
of the underlying brands? Thus, we strive to find ways to create additional
products, services, etc. that fulfill the needs and demands of each brand's
core customers, while simultaneously introducing more people to those
brands through uniquely targeted product offerings. We try to use every
avenue possible to increase brand recognition, improve the image of our
brands, and further solidify our market position, thereby helping us to
sell more products.
the purchase of Wizards of the Coast by Hasbro, Inc. opened several smoothly
paved and fruitful avenues to aid us in achieving these goals. Rather
than relying solely on our own marketing, what better way to get our name
"out there" than to attach our brands to Hasbro's board games,
toys, and varied other merchandised and licensed products? Plus, Hasbro
offers the resources and necessary contacts to help Wizards of the Coast
break into television and even the big screen.
in store? First, steadfast fans (and soon-to-be steadfast fans) of Dungeons
& Dragons and Forgotten Realms will be able to experience
the Forgotten Realms setting in a live-action television
series. This project will rock the charts! Fireworks Television (a
division of CanWest Entertainment) will develop and produce the series.
This is the company behind the top syndicated television shows Andromeda
and Mutant X. Plus, for all you dark elf fans, Fireworks also plans
to launch Dark Elf motion pictures after the premiere of the series. In
other words, get the candy and popcorn ready, folks!
to the Forgotten Realms series, we have many other exciting deals
in the works. Fantasy is extremely hot in Hollywood right now, so our
brands are in high demand! We have made a deal with an animation company
to produce fully interactive movies for D&D, through which
we hope to make superstars of the many heroes and monsters we all love
so much. These will be essentially "pick-a-path" stories on
DVD, where the viewer can make decisions for the hero using a simple remote
else? Soon, Dark Sun will come back to life in a fully animated
series targeted at teens and adults. Last, but not least, we have a producer
developing the Spelljammer brand for TV and movies.
to all these entertainment deals, we have many other crossover and merchandising
opportunities with Hasbro's outside licensing partners. Hasbro's licensing
division has had such a huge success with USAopoloy's Dungeons &
Dragons Clue board game crossover that it is currently closing
a deal for a traditional Forgotten Realms comic book series. Our
staff is also working diligently on several licenses for t-shirts, posters,
and other retail items.
D&D has reached a level of awareness as a brand that has made
it a cultural icon, our team still strives to cultivate a larger niche
in the market by employing every resource available. With the assistance
of Hasbro's many divisions, we hope to dissolve any negative perceptions
about our brands so we can focus our efforts on making the products that
D&D players want to have, even if they have long since abandoned
the game stores. We'll bring them all back somehow, and a few more to
you catch the previous Business of RPGs article?
Learn who's who among Wizards' business staff!
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