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Hasbro quote on MtG

Glyfair

First Post
I was reading a recent article on the ICV2 website. It was talking about how MtG's success was a bright spot on a not so great quarter.

There was an interesting quote about Hasbro's take on WotC's management and why MtG has gained in the marketplace.

But just to talk about the core brand reinvention, a couple of years ago, we changed the management team. We have great leadership out on the West Coast. The team had really re-thought that business entirely, really went back out after a trial mechanism in getting young people and people who may have lapsed as users to get back into the brand. They really reinvented the entire play pattern in many ways, but kept the things that were always important to the core player and to the fan. The fruits of that effort are starting to come to be borne out, both in the analog card business as well as the digital business. So I really compliment the team for their efforts in – this is a true case of brand reinvention, re-imagination, all yet keeping the core methodology very consistent for that core fan.
Now, I know some here would find this the opposite of what they have been doing with D&D. Still, I can see a certain part of that vision in the Essentials line. Thoughts?
 

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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
As a Magic player, it is interesting to see how Wizards have changed their handling of the game in recent years. I would say that it's travelling very well, which is no mean feat for a game of its type and age.

What are the changes they're talking about? From what I can see:

* A new core set every year with 50% new cards to attract older and newer players
* More integrated blocks from year to year, so cards aren't so caught up as only being playable with cards from its set.
* A greater emphasis on promoting store-play magic
* More support for multiplayer magic (Planechase, Archenemy)
* A big clean-up of the rules with M10.
* The Deckbuilder's Toolkit to help people starting Magic (too much of a success - it sold out too fast!)

This isn't to say that everything has been a success (the Worldwake set, for instance!) but the game is doing pretty well.

With relation to D&D, we do know that they're just moving into their "Acquire New Players" phase with Essentials. There has been an increased emphasis on supporting casual store play (D&D Encounters), although the success of that program is, in my opinion, mixed. The RPGA's "Living Forgotten Realms" program is at present at a turning point, and it's uncertain as to how it will progress into the future.

Conversely, 4E just in itself did some fairly major changes to the rules that haven't been seen in Magic. (M10 cleaned up a lot of rules, but didn't really change that much in how you play the game). 4E is a lot, lot more controversial as a result, and I'm not 100% convinced that every design decision made was the right one. (For instance, while I like combat in 4E, I think it runs too long - and this is without grind issues).

Cheers!
 

DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
Now, I know some here would find this the opposite of what they have been doing with D&D. Still, I can see a certain part of that vision in the Essentials line. Thoughts?
I think it's too early to tell with the Essentials line.

I think Essentials may lead to 4E brand confusion (it already seems to have even here amongst those of us "in the know").

Brand confusion is probably not a very good thing for the D&D line.
 


mkill

Adventurer
I think Essentials may lead to 4E brand confusion (it already seems to have even here amongst those of us "in the know").
There is a deep-running fear among D&D players that we're on the eve of the next letter upgrade to E&E (Essentials & Evils). Of course, the holdouts who still play A&A (Attics & Ancients) will tell you how this was never a good idea in the first place.
 

The best thing Wizards has done in the past several years is clean house in the Magic department. And the best part of that house cleaning was getting rid of Randy Buehler.

The game was more and more catering to the existing pro player because former pro players, like Randy, were managing the brand and its development with tunnel vision.

IMHO.
 

Stormonu

Legend
The best thing Wizards has done in the past several years is clean house in the Magic department. And the best part of that house cleaning was getting rid of Randy Buehler.

The game was more and more catering to the existing pro player because former pro players, like Randy, were managing the brand and its development with tunnel vision.

IMHO.
hmmm. I've been wondering if the "cleaning house" that has been occurring on D&D side of things has been a good thing or a bad thing for the brand.
 

The RPGA's "Living Forgotten Realms" program is at present at a turning point, and it's uncertain as to how it will progress into the future.
Could you say more about this, Merric? I've played a couple of LFR games, but I've never really been an LFR player in a meaningful sense. What makes now a turning point for the program?
 

Eridanis

Bard 7/Mod (ret) 10/Mgr 3
Now, I know some here would find this the opposite of what they have been doing with D&D. Still, I can see a certain part of that vision in the Essentials line. Thoughts?
On the contrary - I think that "brand reinvention and re-imagination" is exactly what they're trying with 4E and Essentials. (See Heroscape, upcoming board games, ending the traditional hardcover-rulebook model...) Magic has been very successful, and as a MtG player since Legends, that makes me happy. I think D&D, as a brand, has more challenges to reach a broad market, though, and that's why IMO we'll see less "RPG" and more "traditional games" bearing the D&D brand in years to come.

I was about to write that they're "throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks," but that's hardly fair or accurate. As a business, they're trying to find out how to grow their market share, and they're trying many different ways to see what's most successful. We'll be able to say more a year from now when we see how these new ventures play out.
 

SquareKnot

First Post
Could you say more about this, Merric? I've played a couple of LFR games, but I've never really been an LFR player in a meaningful sense. What makes now a turning point for the program?
I don't want to derail this thread, and Merric can speak for himself, but I suspect his comment was in reference to
this post, also discussed in this 20+ page thread over at Wizards.

To summarize, LFR has been run and supported by WotC. Now it is shifting more to a "community driven" effort. The module authors are no longer paid, the ties to the DCI database are changing, Wizards Play Network is stepping away from it, the number of modules per year is decreasing, LFR is no longer Forgotten Realms canon, ... This is similar to what they did with the D&D Miniatures game -- turned it over to fans with permission to use a lot of the IP but mostly cut any financial investment in it.

This may result in a stronger, better, more story focused LFR or it may be the beginning of the end. That whole discussion deserves its own thread, which I'm surprised hasn't shown up yet.

Back somewhat on topic, it looks like Wizards is aiming at Encounters & Game Days as part of its brand revitalization, perhaps at the expense of LFR.
 


Hawke

First Post
I have to say the Xbox Live Duels of the Planeswalkers brought me back in. I hadn't played Magic in a decade and saw it was on sale for a cheap price on arcade. I took a look at the screenshots and it looked very polished. Quickly beat it, bought the expansion (and since the second expansion) and because of the multiplayer ease I was able to convince several never-played-magic friends to buy DotP. Fast forward a few months and we'd all bought a significant amount of cards, one guy has an Archenemy deck. Who knows if we'll keep it up, but we've had a good time and WotC has made some money off of us... so I think some management changes and decisions on how to market paid off.

I think Encounters is much more successful at drawing me in than LFG ever was. Unfortunately for me Wednesdays are my normal game night and while I tried to get in on a thursday season 2 encounters game, it fizzled before it got off the ground. Overall, WotC's brand management seems to be pushing themselves... and we haven't even gotten to Essentials.
 


Eridanis

Bard 7/Mod (ret) 10/Mgr 3
I have to say the Xbox Live Duels of the Planeswalkers brought me back in. I hadn't played Magic in a decade and saw it was on sale for a cheap price on arcade. I took a look at the screenshots and it looked very polished. Quickly beat it, bought the expansion (and since the second expansion) and because of the multiplayer ease I was able to convince several never-played-magic friends to buy DotP. Fast forward a few months and we'd all bought a significant amount of cards, one guy has an Archenemy deck. Who knows if we'll keep it up, but we've had a good time and WotC has made some money off of us... so I think some management changes and decisions on how to market paid off.
I picked up Duels of the Planeswalkers when it came out in Steam. Not only is it fun, but it's been a good tool for teaching my 8-year-old the basic rules. Next... deckbuilding! (wrings hands evilly)
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
I think it's too early to tell with the Essentials line.

I think Essentials may lead to 4E brand confusion (it already seems to have even here amongst those of us "in the know").

Brand confusion is probably not a very good thing for the D&D line.
Hmm. I rather think it won't, and the reason is this: it's not incompatible with the standard line. This isn't like Basic D&D and Advanced D&D which were two lines of products that differed in some pretty major respects.

The reason we're confused at present is because it isn't out. We haven't seen it, and often we're using a version of Chinese Whispers or Telephone to interpret what it actually is.

Cheers!
 

DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
Hmm. I rather think it won't, and the reason is this: it's not incompatible with the standard line.
The question is how well will the information be communicated to game store (or bookstore) staff.

If someone goes into a store and asks what's the difference between "essentials" and "non-essentials" (heh), and the store staff say "there's no difference" that would probably confuse (or, at least, make no sense to) the customer. ("Then why call it something different?")

Or, a person who *doesn't* ask a store clerk may look at the shelf and wonder why some D&D products say "essentals" and some don't. They may then decide it's not worth the time to figure it out and go look at something else. (The cover for Rogue Trader looks cool.....)
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
The question is how well will the information be communicated to game store (or bookstore) staff.

If someone goes into a store and asks what's the difference between "essentials" and "non-essentials" (heh), and the store staff say "there's no difference" that would probably confuse (or, at least, make no sense to) the customer. ("Then why call it something different?")

Or, a person who *doesn't* ask a store clerk may look at the shelf and wonder why some D&D products say "essentals" and some don't. They may then decide it's not worth the time to figure it out and go look at something else. (The cover for Rogue Trader looks cool.....)
Remember, there is a Basic D&D set, which is the starting point for Essentials (and D&D). Once they get that, it will have a list of what to buy next depending on whether they're a player or DM.

Cheers!
 

Hussar

Legend
Hmm. I rather think it won't, and the reason is this: it's not incompatible with the standard line. This isn't like Basic D&D and Advanced D&D which were two lines of products that differed in some pretty major respects.

The reason we're confused at present is because it isn't out. We haven't seen it, and often we're using a version of Chinese Whispers or Telephone to interpret what it actually is.

Cheers!
One could say we're currently staring at the weather.

/me walks away whistling. :)
 

Herschel

Adventurer
Game companies only succeed when they move forward. Riding a wave is fine, but when a product becomes stagnant, they run in to trouble. That often means new blood for a fresh perspective/
 
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