Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is an American publisher of games, primarily based on fantasy and science fiction themes. Wizards of the Coast was founded by Peter Adkison in 1990 just outside Seattle, Washington.
Originally a role-playing game publisher, the company popularized the collectible card game genre with Magic: The Gathering in the mid-1990s. Magic: The Gathering was originally called Manaclash. The game proved extremely popular at Gen Con in August 1993, selling out of its supply of 2.5 million cards, which had been scheduled to last until the end of the year.
WotC acquired the popular Dungeons & Dragons by purchasing the failing company TSR and experienced tremendous success by publishing the licensed Pokémon Trading Card Game.
In January 1999, Wizards of the Coast began publishing the highly successful Pokémon Trading Card Game. The game sold nearly 400,000 copies in less than six weeks. There was such a high demand for Pokémon cards that some sports card series were discontinued in 1999 because so many printers were producing Pokémon cards.
Seeing the continued success of Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering, toy giant Hasbro bought Wizards of the Coast in September 1999, for about US$325 million.
Wizards of the Coast also started a chain of retail gaming stores after the company's great success in 1999 with Pokémon, run under the names "Game Keeper" and "Wizards of the Coast". The stores were closed in the spring of 2004.