Is Hasbro Selling Dungeons & Dragons to Tencent? Separating Fact From Fiction


Hasbro denies rumors it’s selling Dungeons & Dragons IP to Tencent, says valuable D&D brand is not for sale despite financial struggles.

Dungeons & Dragons fans were shocked this week by rumors that Hasbro could be looking to sell the beloved tabletop roleplaying game to Chinese conglomerate Tencent.

But are the rumors true, or simply unfounded speculation?

Let’s take a closer look at the facts.

Where Did the Rumors Originate?

The rumors seem to have started with a report from Chinese news outlet Speed Daily, claiming unnamed sources said Hasbro was in early negotiations with Tencent for the sale of various Dungeons & Dragons rights.

The scope of the alleged deal was unclear.

No other major outlets have yet confirmed these rumors.

Hasbro and its Wizards of the Coast division, which publishes D&D, quickly denied the claims, stating they are “not looking to sell our D&D [intellectual property].”

Why Would Hasbro Sell Such a Valuable IP?

It’s true Hasbro has faced financial struggles recently, with its stock falling 17% in 2023 amid disappointing sales.

This led to over 1,000 layoffs in December.

However, D&D has been a bright spot for Hasbro, delivering a “standout performance” in Q3 2023 on the back of the hit video game Baldur’s Gate 3.

Tabletop RPGs have seen a major resurgence lately, thanks to factors like Stranger Things, Game of the Year – “Baldur’s Gate 3” and the blockbuster movie “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Selling off D&D could provide short-term financial relief but sacrifice Hasbro’s most promising long-term prospect.

It seems unlikely new CEO Chris Cocks would make such a drastic move this early in his tenure.

What Does Tencent Have to Do With This?

The Speed Daily report claimed that Larian Studios, developer of Baldur’s Gate 3, was first approached to buy D&D but couldn’t afford it.

Larian then allegedly connected Hasbro and Tencent.

As a massive gaming company, Tencent would have the resources to purchase the IP.

It already works with many Western publishers.

But any such deal would likely draw heavy scrutiny from U.S. regulators wary of Chinese acquisitions.

What Could a Sale Actually Entail?

Rights to produce D&D content are divided into segments.

Hasbro could theoretically sell only certain rights, like video game adaptations while retaining the core tabletop IP.

Or they could license Tencent to produce different games like they did with Larian Studios to develop Baldur’s Gate 3 which ultimately became the Game of the Year in 2023.

But Wizards of the Coast stated firmly no D&D sale is happening.

Full IP transfers are rare in gaming.

At most, Tencent may be licensing limited rights for China or specific projects.

Should D&D Fans Be Worried?

While alarming, the rumor of a total D&D sale seems unfounded.

Tencent adapting games for China wouldn’t significantly impact Western fans.

Of course, developments bear watching should real talks emerge.

For now, statements from Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast indicate it’s business as usual for Dungeons & Dragons.

The beloved franchise should remain under its current stewardship rather than be transferred wholesale to a new owner.

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