Wizards deny reports that Tencent are buying D&D with Baldur’s Gate 3 studio Larian’s help

Tencent Holdings – the biggest videogame company in the world – are looking to buy Dungeons & Dragons off Hasbro, with Baldur’s Gate 3 creators Larian serving as an intermediary. Or maybe not. The above claim surfaced yesterday, while everybody was going nuts about Hideo Kojima’s latest shenanigans, and has swiftly been shot down by Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast, originator of all things D&D that haven’t been created by D&D’s vast and imaginative modding, fanshipping and spin-off-making communities. Curious.

The initial report comes from Beijing-based outlet Pandaily, as passed on by VGC. According to the site, the negotiations are in the “early stages”. Hasbro are said to be considering the sale as a way of resolving their current financial issues, having cut their revenue and profit forecasts last year. The company have now posted consecutive losses for four financial quarters. Hence last year’s massive layoffs, which saw almost two thousand people leaving Hasbro.

The site claims that Hasbro initially explored Larian as a potential buyer for the Dungeons & Dragons intellectual property, following Baldur’s Gate 3’s huge success. But the developer didn’t have the cash, so Hasbro took the matter upstairs to Tencent, who own 30% of Larian. Pandaily note that from Tencent’s perspective, buying D&D would allow them to avoid the copyright fees, revenue sharing and restrictions on development direction imposed when licensing the adaptation rights to another company’s IP.

All of this is seemingly news indeed to Wizards of the Coast, who have now circulated the following statement:

We regularly talk to Tencent and enjoy multiple partnerships with them across a number of our IPs. We don’t make a habit of commenting on internet rumors, but to be clear: we are not looking to sell our D&D IP.

We will keep talking to partners about how we bring the best digital experiences to our fans. We won’t comment any further on speculation or rumors about potential M&A or licensing deals.

Tencent potentially owning D&D, huh! I’m a bit surprised they don’t own it already – they appear to own or have significant stakes in everything else. But given recent experience of the long-term effects of games industry consolidation, I’m hoping that Wizards are on the level here and that the above reports aren’t true.

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