WizKids RIP


The Topps Company announced today that WizKids will immediately cease operations and discontinue its product lines.

Scott Silverstein, CEO of Topps, said “This was an extremely difficult decision. While the company will still actively pursue gaming initiatives, we feel it is necessary to align our efforts more closely with Topps current sports and entertainment offerings which are being developed within our New York office.”

Upon notifying our partners, Topps will immediately pursue strategic alternatives so that viable brands and properties, including HeroClix, can continue without noticeable disruption. To that end, WizKids will continue supporting Buy it By the Brick redemptions for Arkham Asylum, and the December Organized Play events for HeroClix.

For consumer announcements, please refer to www.wizkidsgames.com over the coming days for further information.

From http://www.wizkidsgames.com/wk_article.asp?cid=41914

It's not clear from that statement whether WizKids was in actual financial trouble or not.
Heck, they seemed fine at GenCon.

The issue is not whether you're profitable.

The issue is whether you're profitable enough.

This makes me start to wonder what Hasbro will take from this.

Hasbro really screwed the poo on 4th Edition when they failed to get the online component ready for the launch, and then they exacerbated the problem when they announced the monthly membership charge for access. They lost their window, the enthusiasm waned, and the price was too high, and now I predict WotC is going to get shut down. My guess is the division will be reduced to a skeleton staff after the holidays, however, I don't think Hasbro will sell off the property because they still want to control the D&D brand. Expect a total paradigm shift to online and console-based games.

P.S... More signs of trouble, most of the game stores in my area never bothered to stock the Demonweb Minis. It seems the "Dungeons of Dread" and "Against the Giants" lines were very poor sellers.

Well, I wouldn't stock the Demonweb minis either, especially after they've already come out and said Skirmish is dead and no longer supported. Nobody wants to buy a product that has no support to it.

Hahaha, Those gang of choads totally deserve this for 4th edition. I hope those pack of asses
crash and burn! The only thing I'm mad about is that Hasbro won't lose money.

It's all their fault, pissing off fans and marketing to the wrong demo, Kids these days don't play
roleplaying games when they have on-screen ones with crazy grafix, minimal intelligence required,
and tons of realistic blood & gore. They should market to the stereotypical D&D group of
nerdy, literate, and creative older teens. The fantasy novel crowd.

Anonymous, are you serious? Do you think WotC, the Magic- laying goose will be shut down this year? I think that's extremely unlikely.

Gazgurk, you're now officially on my Ignore list.

Just how big is that list, zip?


I'd love to knock Hasbro for profiteering, but that's what businesses do. They make profits and return investments for their stock and stake holders. It's easy to fall into the habit of thinking that they make all these games for *you and you specifically*, but if there wasn't a return in it they wouldn't do it. That would make them a pack of asses...continually losing money hand over fist to satisfy a small niche market. Smaller companies can get away with it, doing things for the sole purpose of passion alone; but bigger ones just can't. Their bottom line is way too big to engage in that kind of business model.

Besides...if it wasn't for Hasbro I wouldn't have had GI Joe. And if I hadn't had GI Joe, I'd be a much different person today. They still hold a small part of my heart just because of that. Besids, it's kind of neat that they've built an entire business on the back of nostalgic cachet by bringing back toy lines that people have almost forgotten about. They did it with GI Joe, and then they did it with D&D many years later. We studied them as a success model in a business course i took (along with Phillip Morris, Pfizer, and a bunch of other companies that you wouldn't think would be on the same "amazing success" list as Hasbro)

Whether we approve of the smell of their breath or not, they did breathe new life into something that was slipping slowly away. They may have done it for profit...but do *you* go to work for free? Would you keep going if the cheques stopped coming?

I don't see them shutting down WoTC, but they very well may be in the midst of their last kick at the D&D can. And who can blame them? They've ridden that horse, now it's time for something else. They don't make GI Joe action figures anymore either, and I don't hate them for that. (edit: they actually *do* make GI Joe action figures...but notice how they waited years to make them again? They had to build up the excitement, not just amongst new fans of the line, but anticipation amongst old ass weirdos like me; and old ass weirdos like me are still going to say "I don't like how they did Stormshadow!" or "Why does Hawk look like a football player!" or "the only reason they're doing this is because of the live action movie...stupid Hasbro!". They're brilliant business people. If you want a game made by gamers for gamers, with gaming being the bottom line rather than profit...you need to switch to something other than D&D my friend)

Back to the topic though; too bad about WizKids. I wasn't ever in to any of their product, but I know alot of people that were. Still, as with all things, something else will spring up to fill the niche as it always does and those gamers will still get their fix.

For some reason I find this important to the conversation, just because it's devolved into yet more Hasbro and WoTC bashing. Nothing stays perfect forever. If a company acquires another, it's usually because that company has started to do business like they do anyways so they may as well add them to the chart. If you read it, read all 4 parts of it...it's another take on things that consumers rarely see.

I know it's not exactly "new" information, but it is what it is.

I mentioned this article to my group last night; they were greatly confused. I confess that I am not exactly clear on things myself.

I do, though, find that I agree with Scott's comment about the "last kick at the D&D can," as is noted elsewhere. It does make one wonder, though, about the future of the hobby.

Re: Death of the Minotaur article... Why do the good always go so wrong?

Resist Barack... resist!

I'm not that worried about the future of the hobby itself, to be honest. I'm no expert, but these things are cyclic. I was a DJ for ages, and people were always proclaiming "the death of drum & bass!" It never happened. It disappears up it's own ass from time to time but it's always going to be there now that it's there to begin with.

At the very least, there will always be products for our consumption. And if we don't like them we have shelves of old products we did like. There will always be gamers as long as there are GMs to run for them, and even some of the ones that don't "get it" from our point of view because they were introduced through things that we don't respect anymore will eventually come around.

It's true what Monte Cook said once in an interview..."what's good for D&D is good for the whole industry". But that doesn't make D&D synonomous with "the hobby". Big players come and go in any industry, but it rarely removes the market completely.

Damn, Did I ever screw up I though Wizkids was an offshoot of WOTC. I didn't know they were
owned by Topps. Sorry about that outburst. Other than being out of place I don't regret a word of it.

@ Scott, As much as I'd love to, I find it extremely hard to switch to another system or an older
edition of D&D(All of which are way better than 3.5 or 4) for a couple of reasons.

1: Hardly anyone plays them.

2: Their usually not well supported.

3: I might just a little harsh here; but a good lot of them are lame.
I bought a Palladium book out of curiosity. Found it unoriginal,
ridiculous, and just bleah.
GURPS is spectacular, but I find it too complicated and it had too
many weird abbriviations. It's also a lot less combat oriented than
3.5 D&D. I like my fighting.

4: Many of them are also d20 rip-offs. It wouldn't really make any difference.

Oh yeah...Palladium is lame. I've never liked the system, and Rifts is kinda wack. My apologies to anyone that has known and loved a good Rifts campaign; but I just don't get it. Someone once told me that it makes a lot more sense if you picture it with metal playing in the background. I like metal too much to put it in the same room as Rifts though.

GURPS can be very complicated if you let it. I can't speak for 4th edition, but in my relatively short experience with 3rd it encourages you to use it how you wish. Unlike other games that do the whole "don't use it if it isn't fun...but removing it ruins everything" song and dance, GURPS really does lend itself to picking and choosing what to use and what to leave out. There's even two combat chapters (though I think you'd prefer the Advanced chapter, while we use the Basic chapter). It is alot less combat oriented only in that it handles everything evenly and doesn't emphasize combat. It leaves where the emphasis lies in the hands of the group using it. I can see how reading through the books though you'd get the impression that combat is downplayed...it's only because it isn't upplayed. We like our fighting (all be it in a cinematic and more descriptive way), and we haven't noticed that GURPS takes away from that. As for abbreviations...GURPS uses far less than D&D ever has, and the rules break down around plain english rather than gamespeak.

On the topic of hardly anyone playing other systems...this is all too true. But, that just means you have to be a hell of a salesman and convince your group to try something new. Maybe they'll find out, like me, that they like tomatoes more than they thought. One of my players was very against the idea of switching to GURPS (as against it as I used to be, which surprised me as my vehemence that I wouldn't need something other than d20 used to know no bounds) and he's very into it after playing a few sessions. For the first session though, he was a bit of a blockhead about it and kept comparing it to d20 and pointing out shortcomings...which I calmly responded to with, "yeah, but if we aren't doing X then Y doesn't matter so much anymore, now does it?" He now waves a flag for GURPS and sold his 3.0 d20 stuff.

Switching systems when you take roleplaying as seriously as we both obviously do (despite obvious disparities between our styles) can sometimes be like breaking up with a long time girlfriend; you know you should do, you want to do it, but packing her stuff sucks and feels too final. Trust me though; if you do it, then you'll suddenly find that you have alot more room on your shelves and you'll never have to move her crap out of the way to get ready in the morning ever again.

Don't get me wrong I find GURPS awesome and all for a heavy story based roleplaying games.
d20 is a more action oriented. Since its a lot easier to think of an exciting story than a good one,
and my groups already tried GURPS too. They like d20 a lot better, their a bunch of meat and potatoes combat guys and since I for the most part don't really care which of the sysytems we're using. We stick with d20. If I ever get the chance I'd like to try some GURPS.

The whole gamespeak issue is a problem too, after so many years all I understand is gamespeak ;D
Another large detail I don't like about GURPS is the hex grid. but I'm no fan of squared either.

I'm no fan of grids period. Don't use them, never have.

SF wrote:
"I'm no fan of grids period. Don't use them, never have."

My ideal game would have a 3D holographic projector in the center of a table that projects the game world, with an in-desk keyboard and screen for the players and gm to manipulate their holographic "mini" and the holographic world. This, to me, would be the ultimate combination of technology and social/tabletop RP for the next generation of games.

Techies, get on it!

Dude, that would be awesome. We should move into the next generation as soon as possible. I want it!

And then we'll call it Non-Massively Multiplayer Offline RPG?

BTW, is everyone familiar with the guy that has a setup with a laptop running the NWN toolset and the overhead projector?
That's the best solution I've seen.

I am not familiar with that/him, zip. Do you know where I could find out more ("guy that has a setup with a laptop running the NWN toolset and the overhead projector" is a rather long google query)?

I think he might be referring to this guy

(on second thought, probably not...because this guy isn't using NWN)

Yeah, this is the guy I was referring to, although for some reason I remembered something about the NWN toolset. Probably I mixed this with some other guy's tools. It might be a good way to avoid photoshopping, though.

Is that setup cool or what?

hmm, this discussion should totally get its own thread.

*jaw hits the floor*

My life just got a whole lot more awesome. I need to kidnap that guy and make him build one for me.

You COULD just go to his site and look around the forums and such for assistance, you know. But hey, if kidnapping works for you... :)

Well that would require back-breaking work on my part when kidnapping involves a thrilling stealth scene. I think it's fairly obvious which path I should take...