Tencent to buy D&D?

Just a few minutes ago I noticed a couple of posts on social media about a news article on the site Pandaily (which I have never heard before). I did some googling and found a handful of other sources but unfortunately I don’t know if they are trustworthy or not.

The articles claims that Hasbro (which currently owns Wizards of the Coast) are interested in selling the Dungeons & Dragon brand to another company. Larian Studios which created the highly successful Baldur’s Gate 3 video game were supposedly approached by Hasbro but refused out of financial reasons. According to the article they referred Hasbro to Tencent, which owns a minority share in Larian Studios.

Hasbro owing D&D was bad, but giving it into the hands of Tencent would be worse. Tencent is a huge Chinese multi-national tech conglomerate and holding company based in Shenzen. Over the last years they have quite heavily invested in Western companies in the video game industry. They fully own or are major shareholders in companies like Funcom, Riot Games, Turtle Rock Studios, Techland, Klei Entertainment and others. I can see why a brand like D&D might fit into their portfolio, but much like Hasbro before I have my doubts they understand the TTRPG market. My guess is that their focus will mainly be on D&D video games, movies and the like. Why would Tencent be worse than Hasbro for D&D?

Compared to Tencent Hasbro is a small Mom-and-Pop shop. Tencent had a revenue of about $ 78 billion in 2022 compared to the $ 5.8 billion made by Hasbro. Hasbro is mostly about toys and games, while Tencent has a much larger portfolio. It’s easy to see that D&D would just be an extremely small part of Tencent’s overall business. And I have my doubts that the people in charge have any passion for the TTRPG hobby or even understand it.

In my opinion D&D belongs into the hands of people who love and understand the TTRPG hobby. Turning it into another soulless brand to be exploited will probably kill it. Will the TTRPG hobby survive even if D&D as a brand gets turned into a soulless husk? Probably. But I still think D&D as the grandfather of all other TTRPGs out there doesn’t deserve such a fate.

At this point all of this is speculation. Perhaps Hasbro will find another buyer who gets my approval. Perhaps they’ll keep D&D. Perhaps Tencent DOES understand the hobby, and we’ll see another D&D golden age. Who knows? What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you care who owns D&D and if so, what do you think about Tencent as a future owner of Dungeons & Dragons? Please share your thoughts below.

UPDATE: Several sources have pointed out that the most likely scenario is that Tencent is interested in the rights to make D&D video games and not the whole brand. This actually sounds more reasonable than Tencent being interested in the whole shebang. It would also be strange for Hasbro to sell one of their major brands at that point.

UPDATE #2: Wizards of the Coast denies the whole thing. Read all about it here.