Wizards of the Coast Is Trending Towards Huge 2021 Despite Disappointing Dark Alliance Launch

Wizards of the Coast experienced a breakout quarter over the past three months, despite an underwhelming launch of its Dark Alliance video game. Hasbro released its quarterly earnings today and highlighted the performance of its Wizards of the Coast division. The company experienced external net revenues of $406 million during the second quarter of 2021, driven largely by two "record" launches of the Strixhaven and Modern Horizons 2 set releases for Magic: The Gathering. Net revenues for the year exceeded $649 million, an increase of about 63% compared to the same time period in 2020. Hasbro noted that Wizards is on pace for another record year, although it expects second half revenue to be slightly less explosive due to a less-packed release schedule.

Hasbro also commented on the disappointing launch of Dark Alliance, the first in a planned slate of Dungeons & Dragons-themed video games. Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner noted that Dark Alliance did not meet the expectations of either the company, nor of its players. However, Hasbro would continue to invest improving both the game play and in downloadable content. Despite the disappointing launch, Goldner noted that the game was a "modest investment" for Hasbro and that the company did not project its poor launch to have any material effect to Wizards of the Coast's results. Hasbro would also continue to invest robustly in digital games, including a number of new Dungeons & Dragons games. Notably, these games would have an array of different price points and would contain a mix of first-party games and third-party games such as the upcoming Baldur's Gate III.

Interestingly, during the comment section, Goldner noted their was one other area that Hasbro was investing in when it came to D&D - that of a "digital roleplaying area" that's partially analog and partially digital. Goldner cited this as a "great opportunity" for the D&D brand moving forward. Goldner did not provide another details, but Wizards of the Coast previously released a survey that included a section about a service that offered digital character sheets, a subscription-like model to access various D&D rulebooks, and virtual tabletop options that could be used either online or for in-person play.

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Full details from Hasbro's quarterly earnings can be found on the company's Investor Relations page.