Hasbro Rearranging Things Again

August 30th, 2001: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Hasbro Rearranging Things Again

Hasbro, not content to stop fiddling with things, is making some minor changes in Wizards of the Coast’s upper management. Here’s a quote from the press release:

Dave Wilson, currently the President of Hasbro Games, now takes on added responsibility overseeing the Games segment made up of Hasbro Games and Wizards of the Coast. Vince Caluori, Wizards of the Coast’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will report directly to Mr. Wilson… Wizards of the Coast and Tiger Electronics will continue to operate out of their Seattle and Chicago offices, respectively.

So Hasbro has officially established a chain of command that starts with them. Will this have any significant effect? We shall see. In the meantime, WotC’s Ryan Dancey has offered his thoughts on the D20 OGL discussion group:

…Hasbro for its part has treated Wizards with great respect. It has asked Wizards’ opinion on a variety of topics, and has listened more often than you might expect. It has also required Wizards to conform to a level of fiscal discipline that Wizards sought but never achieved as a private company, and that has been hard on everyone involved. Hasbro has given Wizards more than adequate room to demonstrate that it can and should remain an independent, autonomous entity. Wizards’ success or failure in achieving that goal is almost completely due to its own efforts and decisions, rather than some top-down meddling by suits from Rhode Island.

In fact, if there was ever a person who was a better fit for the gaming industry as CEO of the “biggest company” than Peter Adkison, that person might just be Alan Hassenfeld [CEO of Hasbro], who is very much a big geek just like the rest of us who delights in play, imagination and creativity.

Wizards of the coast has more employees than it did before Pokemon. It has more revenue than it did before Pokemon. It has more resources than it did before Pokemon. Being bought by Hasbro has had less effect on Wizards than the first seven digit purchase order from Wal*Mart did. Pokemon’s decline is having more of an effect on Wizards than any request or demand on the part of Hasbro corporate ever has. And Wizards trajectory forward is being determined primarily by decisions made by Wizards, by Wizards managers, than by Hasbro.

Cautious concern seems to be the prevalent feeling in the gaming community right now, with everyone waiting for the other shoe to drop. Stay tuned.

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