News came out this week of Asmodee acquiring Days of Wonder. It should be interesting to see what changes, if any, this heralds for the board game industry. Initial impressions seem that a combined Asmodee/DOW should strengthen Asmodee’s digital capabilities as well as expanding their footprint in North America. Conversely, DOW gets better access (maybe more seamless?) to the European market and a huge catalog of games.
What is harder to say is what this might have to offer gamers. I have spent a lot of time in my careers in industries that have undergone tremendous consolidation over the past several years. In fact, I would be surprised if there are many industries that haven’t. In general though, I have rarely felt that those consolidations trickled down to any real tangible benefit for me.
So I don’t think lower prices should be expected, and I would actually hope that wouldn’t accelerate the DOW publishing schedule. To me, DOW is the Blizzard of board games – slow, deliberate releases but they are always high quality. You could perhaps even extend the analogy further to a similar emphasis on high quality production and mass market appeal, eschewing high-end geek only products. I like the DOW release schedule – it fits my buying and playing style.
If better logistics makes more Asmodee and more DOW games available to people on both sides of the Atlantic (and around the world), well, that is a clear win for the gamer. I think both the network and perhaps additional capital could help keep more games in print and available and distributed in a manner to get to more of us quicker.
It seem to me, the real meat of the deal though is the digital capability of DOW. Asmodee has to be salivating at the thought of getting access to that experience and know-how. As has been noted many times, DOW is very successful with their digital games (at least in no small part because the games they are based on are good) and that success drives board game sales. Conversely, I am sure I am not the only board gamer who started with the tabletop versions and since purchased the digital as well. Asmodee has a great catalog of print titles and I would expect we’ll start to see more of their offering on app stores soon.
It will take months to even see the beginnings of how this acquisition will impact the land of board games. It will be interesting to watch and see how it develops. Consolidation often takes place in bunches, too. Will we see a handful, or even a rush, of these over the next year? We could wait and see. In the meantime, I think I want to play Ticket to Ride…