American game publisher Wizards of the Coast LLC (commonly abbreviated as WotC or just Wizards) was originally a retailer of video games and now publishes fantasy and science fiction titles. Hasbro purchased the firm in 1999, and it is now a division of Hasbro.
When Hasbro restructured in February 2021, Wizards of the Coast was elevated to the position of head of its new “Wizards & Digital” business. The firm was originally a role-playing game publisher, but in the mid-1990s, Magic: The Gathering helped popularise the collectible card game genre.
Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game publisher TSR was purchased by the company, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game was licensed by the company. Situated in Renton, a suburb of Seattle, the company’s corporate offices are located.
Playing games, board games, and card games are some of the products that Wizards of the Coast produces. A number of Origins Awards have been bestowed to them. The firm also created sports card sets, including sets for association football, baseball, basketball, and American football.
Peter Adkison created Wizards of the Coast (or WOTC) in 1990 in Seattle, Washington, and its present offices are in adjacent Renton. The firm was named after a Dungeons & Dragons wizard guild Adkison was in. Initially, the firm primarily produced role-playing games like Talislanta 3e and The Primal Order.
The Primal Order, a 1992 supplement for any gaming system, got Palladium Books into legal difficulties by referencing Palladium’s game and system.
The case ended in 1993. In 1991, Richard Garfield contacted Wizards of the Coast with the concept for a new board game named RoboRally, but WOTC rejected it due to production costs. Instead, Adkison requested Garfield to create a game that was both portable and fast to play.
Wizards introduced Magic at the Origins Game Fair in Dallas in July 1993. At Gen Con in August 1993, the game sold out of its 2.5 million cards supply, which was supposed to last until the end of the year.
Wizards partnered with The Beanstalk Group in 1994 to license the Magic brand. Wizards followed up Magic with RoboRally, which won the 1994 Origins Awards for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Board Game and Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game.
In 1994, Wizards acquired SLA Industries from Nightfall Games and Ars Magica from White Wolf. Richard Garfield’s The Great Dalmuti earned the Mensa Best New Mind Game Award in 1995.
Wizards introduced Everway in August 1995, before discontinuing the brand four months later. 1995 sales topped US$65 million.
Present Day Wizards Of The Cast
In February 2020, Hasbro CEO Brian D. Goldner said that Wizards of the Coast was doing well and that the business aimed to increase WotC’s sales between 2018 and 2023.
A good first year for Magic: The Gathering Arena and the sixth year of growth for Dungeons & Dragons were also highlighted.
A week later, Polygon reported that the D&D team will be changing discriminatory depictions of a group known as the Vistani, and in-fiction counterpart for the Romani people. The business also aims to modify character creation to allow for more character kinds.
To disparage non-white peoples of the real world, especially those of Asian or Black origin, some races in Dungeons & Dragons have historically been innately wicked.
Wizards of the Coast introduced a sensitivity warning to certain vintage digital items in July 2020. Many of these goods depict Asian, Mesoamerican, and Middle Eastern civilizations.
According to The Washington Post’s Sebastian Modak, the tabletop community supported these revisions. “Wizards of the Coast emphasized its recent attempts to bring in more diverse perspectives to develop the next D&D sourcebooks due out in 2021,” Modak noted.
However, Orion D. Black, a seven-month contract narrative designer for Wizards, described a workplace where they felt tokenized and disregarded. The company’s discussions regarding race and alleged treatment of minority staff have inspired gamers to seek out alternative tabletop roleplaying experiences, he said.
In February 2021, Hasbro revealed a restructured firm with three divisions: Consumer Products, Entertainment, and Wizards & Digital.
Wizards & Digital will concentrate on extending current games, producing new ones, and controlling digital licensing for the whole company, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal also claimed that although Hasbro’s net sales declined 8%, Wizards of the Coast’s revenue increased 24%.
Wizards of the Coast announced a rebranding with a new logo and website. WBIE Vice-President of Production & Creative Ames Kirshen, previously of WBIE on DC Comics game franchises including the Batman Arkham series, oversaw Wizards’ new development video game company in September 2021.
The studio’s first project will be a high-budget G.I. Joe game. Taking over as CEO of Hasbro in 2022, Cynthia Williams became president of Wizards & Digital. On April 13, 2022, Hasbro announced that Wizards will buy D&D Beyond from Fandom.
- Archetype Entertainment in Austin, Texas, U.S.; opened in April 2019.
- Atomic Arcade in Raleigh, North Carolina, led by Ames Kirshen, formerly vice-president of production and creative at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE), opened in September 2021.