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Will Hasbro produce customizable D&D miniatures?

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Hasbro announced yesterday a co-venture with 3D Systems to leverage their game brands in the 3D printing space. With the announcement of Wizards of the Coast relaunching its Dungeons & Dragons miniatures, could there be a customizable miniatures game in the near future? The Hasbro/3D Systems venture intends to:

...co-develop, co-venture and deliver new immersive, creative play experiences powered by 3D printing for children and their families later this year. This partnership combines Hasbro's world-renowned portfolio of consumer brands, extensive play expertise and retail reach with 3DS' powerful portfolio of 3D printing products, platforms and perceptual devices to mainstream new and innovative play and co-creation experiences at home and online.

It's uncertain as to exactly how Hasbro plans to use 3D printing, but it seems likely they will be partnering with their core brands (Transformers, My Little Pony, Magic: The Gathering) to create customized products. It might be entirely possible to produce your own Transformer or Pony in the future.

There are signs that 3D printing is threatening to upend traditional miniature channels. The 3D-printing boom has launched multiple Kickstarters featuring miniature games or board games with miniatures. Games Workshop certainly noticed in June 2012 when it issued a cease-and-desist letter to Thingiverse for publishing 3D plans of Warhammer-style figurines.

Hero Forge's ongoing Kickstarter to create a customizable 3D printed miniature platform is well past its $95,000 goal at over $280,000, with just 60 hours to go. The launch of a fully-customizable 3D-printing platform will certainly impact the current pricing structure of the miniature industry, as players will be able to create the exact miniature they want, when they want, without resorting to randomized packs.

Hasbro President & CEO Brian Goldner said:

We believe 3D printing offers endless potential to bring incredible new play experiences for kids and we’re excited to work with 3D Systems, a recognized industry leader in this space.

We should hear more in 2014 about Hasbro and 3D System's plans.

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