Given that Valentine’s Day just occurred with a push for sales of cards, chocolates, and two player boardgames, it was nice to see Wizards of the Coast making up with a couple of other members of the game industry whilst at the same time pushing stores into using its EventLink OP software.
WotC is certainly using the stick rather than the carrot in getting stores to sign up for the new(ish) Wizards EventLink system, which replaces the current Wizards DCI Reporter event reporting system (see "Wizards of the Coast Threatens to Remove Stores From the WPN for Not Switching to Wizards EventLink"). Don’t sign up for the new reporting software, get removed from the WPN program. WotC is certainly well within its purview in requiring stores to register with the new system and certainly wants all stores to use EventLink when the company starts sanctioning in-store Organized Play again as there is no way it wants to have stores running events on both platforms. Some stores are likely running remote events via EventLink, but since WotC in-store Organized Play is still banned until at least March 10 and the majority of WPN stores run only in-store OP, forcing them to sign up for EventLink or lose WPN status seems a bit heavy-handed, especially during a epidemic which has seen a number of stores close and a greater number struggling just to stay in business. However, given all the support that WotC has given to stores in the WPN program over the past year, finding a few minutes in the day to register for the program is probably not a great price to pay (see "Rolling for Initiative -- How Publishers Are Helping the LGS in the Time of Quarantine").
Also in WotC news, following on the heels of the announcement of a settlement in the legal dispute between WotC and the co-creators of the Dragonlance mythos that will result in the publication of three new Dragonlance novels (see " Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman Announce a New 'Classic Dragonlance' Series "), we now have a settlement in the dispute between WotC and Gale Force Nine (see " Gale Force Nine, Wizards of the Coast Settle"). As in more cases of this type, details of the settlement were not released to the public so we do not know if one side made any payment or agreement to the other but I am certainly glad to see the dispute settled. Gale Force Nine's Spell Cards and Token Sets are our best selling third party supplements for Dungeons & Dragons 5E and I would certainly have hated to see anything disrupt the supply chain for them, especially as they have remained out of stock for weeks from our suppliers under normal conditions.
The settlements probably put the final kibosh on my thoughts about Hasbro shopping around WotC to other companies (see "Rolling for Initiative -- A Case for the Possible Sale of Wizards of the Coast Being on the Horizon"). Hasbro also gave Magic: The Gathering credit for a major share of the company’s 16% growth in US and Canadian revenue with an eye-popping 78% growth in operating profit during the Q4 of 2020, primarily due to social distancing and calls for people to stay at home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19. Given the size of any other publisher in the games industry, seeing someone else eying a purchase of WotC is like a shark eyeing a whale. The shark loves the idea of eating the whale but there is no way it could feasibly do so. However, I do still think it feasible that Hasbro would shop around the D&D component of Wizards sometime in the future.
Email email@example.com with your thoughts about that idea, EventLink or the lawsuit settlements.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Scott Thorne
Posted by Scott Thorne on February 14, 2021 @ 9:34 am CT