MTG, D&D publisher Hasbro lays off 1,100 workers ahead of Christmas cover image

MTG, D&D publisher Hasbro lays off 1,100 workers ahead of Christmas

D&D and Magic: The Gathering publisher Hasbro lays off 1,110 workers, impressing even Scrooge in terms of callousness.

Ah, the Christmas season. Holiday cheer in the air. Companies getting rid of employees en masse. Truly, it is a time of giving. In the case of Hasbro--the publisher of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons--the only thing they gave 1,100 of its workers was mass lay offs. The company announced late Monday that it is cutting roughly 20 percent of its work force two weeks before Christmas. The lay offs come mere months after the company cut 800 jobs across its portfolio.

The published claimed to have 6,490 employees at the end of 2022 and, with the lay offs, says it will save the company $300 million annually by 2025. The news of the lay offs to workers first reported by the Wall Street Journal paints a picture of a company in Hasbro that is in free fall. After all, one doesn't just get rid of 1/5 of its workers on a whim, right?

And yet, 2023 has seen records profits and cultural notoriety for two of its biggest products in MTG and D&D.

Hasbro lays off 1,110 workers as MTG prints money

2023 has been a year of exponential growth for Hasbro's most well known geek properties. In addition to Dungeons & Dragons becoming a cultural touchstone, one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year in Baldur's Gate 3 stems from that universe. In addition, Magic: The Gathering continued to proliferate, branching out into myriad properties. This includes collabs with Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings, Tomb Raider, Fallout, Final Fantasy, Marvel, and more.

And yet, Hasbro stated in regards to its lay offs of workers that “The market headwinds we anticipated have proven to be stronger and more persistent than planned,” which Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks wrote in a memo to employees.

These aforementioned headwinds relate to a pandemic and lockdown era of prosperity for companies like Hasbro. However, in the following years a downturn in profits within the market sank investor expectations. So, despite banner years for MTG and D&D the lay offs at Hasbro appear as a course correction.

“Cost-cutting is not a strategy,” Cocks said. “We’ll continue to grow and invest in several areas in 2024.”

No matter what reasoning is given, the optics of Hasbro workers receiving lay offs so close to the holiday season isn't a good one. And yet, the wheel spins on as the company prepares for more major MTG releases at the start of 2024.

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