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Dungeons & Dragons didn’t own its own digital toolset — but it will now

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D&D parent company Hasbro is acquiring D&D Beyond

Image: Wizards of the Coast

Hasbro, the parent company of Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast, is acquiring D&D Beyond for $146.3 million in cash. The popular tabletop role-playing game has licensed D&D Beyond as its official subscription-based digital toolset since 2017.

D&D Beyond is the digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons, where users can create characters and run campaigns with fellow players. It’s also where players can buy digital versions of Dungeons & Dragons books, in addition to the subscription fees. Wizards of the Coast is promising that all purchases made, characters created, and campaigns run are not going anywhere. The all-cash acquisition is, however, still subject to regulatory approvals.

You may have assumed that D&D Beyond was produced and owned by the Dungeons & Dragons owners all along, but it was operated by Fandom, the hosting service for nerdy wikis like Wookieepedia and this one for Elden Ring. This deal shifts D&D Beyond from a royalty-based revenue source for Wizards of the Coast to in-house development, and with that, it brings along its nearly 10 million registered users — who range from a free tier to a $5.99-per-month subscription — as well as their precious data.

While you can already buy official D&D digital content and source books through services like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, Hasbro is positioning itself to control more of the digital revenue stream instead of just relying on licensing and royalties — especially now, as it reports 80 percent of D&D players have played the game digitally in 2021.