Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. The company holds an exclusive patent on trading card games (TCGs) and their method of play and produces the premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, among many other trading card games and family card and board games. Wizards is also a leading publisher of roleplaying games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, and publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers.
Over-pricing: In October 2022, a 30th Anniversary Edition of MTG was released that offered four packs (not tournament legal) for $1K. Only a limited number were printed and single box was "gifted" to each game shop. The Anniversary Edition was called out as an example of corporate greed rather than a fan/series celebration because the pricing was too high for most fans to afford and the print run was too small for most Whales to obtain a box. For comparison, a 20th Anniversary edition in 2013 cost only $39.99. In 2022, Hasbro stock took more than 33% downside, which, according to Bank of America analyst Jason Haas, could be attributed to Hasbro's increasing prices and overprinting of Magic cards, driving down their long-term value: "Collectors are liquidating, retailers are cutting orders, and stores are losing money. Players can't keep up and wallet fatigue is real."
New OGL: In early 2023, after 20 years of use, a new Open Gaming License was revealed that would nullify the previous OGL agreement, require creators to pay a 25% royalty (including crowdfunded projects), and allow Wizards to exert control over fan works, including cancellation. Furthermore, Wizards can now use fan created works without permission or paying royalties. The move was met with a fan boycott of Wizards products. Companies like Paizo and Kobold Press, which have used the OGL out of convenience, released plans to separate themselves from anything D&D related going forward and will establish their own, "system neutral open RPG license" that would be "open, perpetual, and irrevocable". In response to the backlash, Wizards delayed the new OGL but announced they still had plans to release in the future, provided D&D Beyond subscriptions remained steady. Wizards disabled the ability to unsubscribe from D&D Beyond shortly after their announcement.
A statement released by Wizards on January 14 2023 in response to the backlash only further agitated by fans by saying: "You're going to hear people say that they won, and we lost because making your voices heard forced us to change our plans. Those people will only be half right. They won—and so did we." Consumers were upset with the "you don't matter and didn't force us to change" tone of the message that refused to acknowledge any wrong-doing on the company's part or address concerns from fans, instead playing it off as "We're all in this together". That same day Wizards staff leaked emails where consumers were called "obstacles" just "over-reacting" to the new OGL by higher-ups within the company.
Burglary: In early 2023 WOTC sent Pinkerton agents to raid streamer Dan “Oldschoolmtg” Cannon's house to reclaim official cards he had legally purchased. The wrong set had been sent by accident and Dan was threatened with jail time, a $200,000 fine, and getting the sheriff involved if the cards were not returned. They were seized without a a court order and Dan was not refunded the money he had spent on the cards.