Hasbro vehemently denies claims that it “ruined” Magic: The Gathering

In November, analysts at Bank of America issued a rare double-down on Hasbro shares, arguing that the gaming giant was destroying its long-term value. Magical: The Gathering brand by printing cards. On Thursday, CEO Chris Cocks and Wizards of the Coast president Cynthia W. Williams strongly pushed back against the claims. During a nearly 45-minute “fireside chat,” executives openly defended their strategy while revealing important details about the future of the collectible card game and its sister role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

The presentation, archived on the Internet, was opened in detail Magical player base. Then, about 25 minutes later, UBS analyst, presenter Arpine Kocharyan came to the matter.

“There is an allegation that you printed too many cards,” Kocheryan asked. “What’s your one-sentence answer to that?” Williams began by explaining that major releases are not produced on a limited basis. Instead, the company uses a “print-on-demand” model, whereby Hasbro pushes more cards into the sales channel after the initial release when retailers demand more. Williams continued:

Our post-launch average sales volumes for our tentpole, premiere sets were flat in 2022 compared to 2021. Overall, there is no evidence Magical overprinted and “Magical need to reduce print runs to support prices” — this is a misunderstanding of our business and our customers. If our prices for a potential product increase significantly right after launch, it simply means we’re not meeting customer demand adequately, and we’re leaving millions of players frustrated by not being able to get the card they want to play.

Williams later countered another claim, this one coming from the latest vocal cast Magical community online – that is, the drop in prices on the secondary market is proof that Hasbro releases a lot of card sets every year. Williams’s response:

We understand that some players focus on the collectible trading aspects of our product, and we’re always happy to see players enjoying and appreciating our products years after initial release. However, we do not participate in secondary market activities Magical products, nor do we make any profit from trading or sales. Here’s what we heard from some of us [Wizard’s Play Network-affiliated local game] Stores that trade and sell cards after the initial sale, like any other market for collectibles, some products and individual cards become more collectible than others, and values ​​can change over time due to many external factors – many of which are the number of cards printed entirely not related to We have no clue [have] there have been any broad adverse changes in buying or selling interest Magical products.

Williams and Cocks also opened up about fan reaction to the recent release Magic: The Gathering 30th Anniversary Edition. The announcement of a nearly $1,000 box of four 15-card booster packs angered many longtime players because it contained reprints of incredibly rare cards, including the legendary Black Lotus. Hasbro has heard that feedback loud and clear, Williams said, and has responded in kind by releasing fewer of these sets to market. In the meantime, Magical‘s Warhammer 40,000 card set – part of its burgeoning Universes Beyond initiative – is now in its third printing, and Hasbro is making as many cards as possible to meet consumer demand.

Magical This year will be our first billion dollar brand,” said Williams. “We’re growing this brand ahead of the industry and pushing the boundaries of where we can take the product. Most of the time we get it right […] and sometimes we step back and listen to customer feedback.”

Williams went on to say that fans should expect six tentpole releases in 2023, just like in 2022. However, these releases will be spread more evenly throughout the year.

“We had a really tight release schedule in the second half of 2022, driven in part by supply chain issues,” Williams said. “But in 2023, we’ll return to our preferred release cadence of about two months between our tentpole kits, with individual micro kits sprinkled in between.”

Immortal fans Magical expect more crossover with those that don’t.Magical Intellectual properties like Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who. In the future, such collaborations will become the primary method of launching new players, executives said.

So what does all this have to do with D&D? Williams said there are many growth factors that lead to success Magical will apply to D&D as well, especially when it comes to digital content. MagicalAccording to executives, the biggest area for growth is the digital space. The so-called “hybrid players” – that is, players who play Magical both with physical cards and using online Magic: The Gathering Arena – spend 40% more than others Magical players. So the goal is to open up similar opportunities for players to spend money through the newly acquired digital toolset D&D Beyond.

“Dungeon Masters […] only make up about 20% of the audience, but they are the largest share of our paid players [today],” said Williams, who previously served as general manager and vice president of the Game Ecosystem Business Team at Microsoft. “For the rest of the players at the table, we believe digital will allow us to offer more options to create rewarding experiences.”

You don’t have to work hard to read between these lines. Hasbro is already getting customers to download digital content with free material through D&D Beyond – like this holiday season’s digital advent calendar. Players should expect more microtransactions in D&D Beyond throughout 2023.

Source link