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Longtime employees for Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering have been hit hard by Hasbro's new string of layoffs to close out the year.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 14, 2023

2 Min Read
Cover art for the 5th Edition players handbook of Dungeons & Dragons.
Image via Wizards of the Coast.

At a Glance

  • With low toy and game sales expected to last through 2024, Hasbro is cutting staff before the holidays as a "last resort."

Earlier in the week, Dungeons & Dragons owner Hasbro laid off 1,100 (or 20 percent) employees. These reductions, which are expected to last "18 to 24 months," affect teams for both the popular TTRPG and the equally popular card game Magic: The Gathering.

These cuts follow on from the 800 layoffs back in January. And as a result, the game industry has now surpassed 10,000 layoffs for the entirety of 2023.

Per the Wall Street Journal, the cuts were attributed to "weaker than expected" sales for games and toys that are continuing into the holidays. The slump came after "historic" highs thanks to the pandemic, which proved to be a boon for D&D in particular.

With low sales expected to continue next year, Hasbro cutting positions was a "last resort" option, explained CEO Chris Cocks. He further stressed the 1,100 cuts are a way to "keep Hasbro healthy" in the long term.

"While we’re confident in the future of Hasbro," he continued, "the current environment demands that we do more. I know this news is especially difficult during the holiday season."

Hasbro's inconsistent 2023

During 2023, Hasbro started the year off with controversial changes surrounding its Open Game License (OGL). The OGL was later changed, though not before other TTRPG companies like Paizo said they'd jump over to licenses with more freedom.

Later in the year, it released the well-liked film, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. But its biggest win came in Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3, which recently won Game of the Year at the Game Awards.

In his full, uninterrupted speech, Larian's Swen Vincke thanked the D&D staff who helped Larian during the game's production. "I’m really sorry to hear so many of you were let go," he wrote. "I hope you all end up well."

On social media, now-ex employees from the D&D and Magic teams lamented getting cut from the company. Those affected include longtime game design director Mike Mearls and Megan Donahue, who lead the creative and production teams for Magic's Universes Beyond line.

As noted by Dicebreaker, Universes Beyond is quite profitable for Magic, as it features themed decks based on popular properties like Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who. Its future rollout includes sets for Bethesda's Fallout and Square Enix's Final Fantasy.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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