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Author Topic: Wizards MTG sales tanking?  (Read 778 times)

Marchand

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Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« on: November 21, 2022, 10:13:37 AM »
I have zero knowledge of or interest in Magic: the Gathering for its own sake. But I was clickbaited by this YouTube video suggestion, which claims M:tG sales are tanking because of Wizards/Hasbro price gouging.

https://youtu.be/smJ4vnBnQ4E

He doesn't go into much detail, but a quick google says Wizards just hiked card set prices 11%, which isn't that much above inflation so I don't know if you can call it "price gouging".

Hasbro's "Wizards and Digital Gaming" segment showed a 16% drop in revenue in Q3 2022 vs Q3 2021. But Wizards are saying the decline in revenues is because their new M:tG card sets are coming out in Q4 this year rather than Q3 as usual. So maybe we need to wait for Q4.

Thought I'd see if there was any corroboration from those who follow more closely. Or views on what it means for Wizards. I would quite like them to die in a ditch (metaphorically speaking), but seems too early to be getting excited on this evidence.

Posting here not in "Other Games" as my main interest is what it means for Wizards, rather than M:tG as such; sorry if wrong board.

By the way, a piece of laminated card with a picture of some grassland on it trades for EUR230. WTF? I agonise about spending £20 on a pdf.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 10:15:53 AM by Marchand »
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Cathode Ray

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2022, 11:46:11 AM »
It's not price gouging.  11%is nothing compared to the rate of inflation.  ...But in times of recession/high inflation, people spend less of their income on luxuries and more on necessities.

Fheredin

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2022, 02:22:58 PM »
Magic is a ludicrously expensive game. To give you a bit of context, my Cube is a value cube, includes a half dozen proxies, and I spent over $200 for the cards back in the day. Most Standard decks run around $200, and most Modern decks are $500 to $1000.

Yes, you heard that right. $1000 for sixty cardboard cards. A good number of the cards in this video are classic dual lands, which have historically commanded extreme prices.

I think this is a shame because EDH and Draft are amazing games (or at least were...five years ago...) and to this day a $40 precon EDH deck can put up a fight with a deck which costs five times that provided you're in round-table.

Magic is totally going to go through a major collapse from the macro forces. It's not just inflation is killing the disposable income; it's that opening packs is a gambling addiction and that when prices of the cards you are going for collapses, the gambling addiction weakens. The drop in card prices is not over. Not by a long shot.

jhkim

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2022, 03:26:52 PM »
I think this should be in the "Other Games" forum rather than the RPG forum.

https://www.therpgsite.com/other-games/

Jaeger

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2022, 03:27:20 PM »
I have zero knowledge of or interest in Magic: the Gathering for its own sake. But I was clickbaited by this YouTube video suggestion, which claims M:tG sales are tanking because of Wizards/Hasbro price gouging.

https://youtu.be/smJ4vnBnQ4E

He doesn't go into much detail, but a quick google says Wizards just hiked card set prices 11%, which isn't that much above inflation so I don't know if you can call it "price gouging".

Hasbro's "Wizards and Digital Gaming" segment showed a 16% drop in revenue in Q3 2022 vs Q3 2021. But Wizards are saying the decline in revenues is because their new M:tG card sets are coming out in Q4 this year rather than Q3 as usual. So maybe we need to wait for Q4.
...
By the way, a piece of laminated card with a picture of some grassland on it trades for EUR230. WTF? I agonise about spending £20 on a pdf.


It's not price gouging.  11%is nothing compared to the rate of inflation.  ...But in times of recession/high inflation, people spend less of their income on luxuries and more on necessities.


...
Magic is totally going to go through a major collapse from the macro forces. It's not just inflation is killing the disposable income; it's that opening packs is a gambling addiction and that when prices of the cards you are going for collapses, the gambling addiction weakens. The drop in card prices is not over. Not by a long shot.

In my opinion, it is a combination of several things, WotC benefitted greatly from the kung-flu boom in sales. Both for D&D and MTG. So there will be a natural downturn just from that.

But for MTG, this is the real reason for their long-term issues:



WotC is saturating the market. With all the knock-on effects that entails, and they are showing no signs of stopping.

Hasbro/WotC is also a converged corporation at this point. They are creatively bankrupt.

This is evident both on the D&D side and MTG side with the recent releases of uninspiring product.

Gamers love, love, love, love, their favorite gaming IP. To ridiculous levels of loyalty.

So just through the inertia of loyalty; sales will be decent for a while.

But the current business practices that they are engaging in have proven to cause declines in sales and IP popularity in every industry that has adopted them.
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hedgehobbit

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2022, 03:45:27 PM »
He doesn't go into much detail, but a quick google says Wizards just hiked card set prices 11%, which isn't that much above inflation so I don't know if you can call it "price gouging".

From what I was hearing from my friend's kids, the complain wasn't so much about the regular decks but the special packs like the Warhammer 40k themed ones.

For example, a normal booster retails for $85 for 18 packs of 20 cards or about 23 cents a card. The 40k decks are $65 for 100 cards or almost three times that. This is retail price for both BTW.

I've also heard complaints that their paper and print quality has been suffering lately. But I've been hearing this off and one for the last couple of years.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 03:49:58 PM by hedgehobbit »

Zelen

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2022, 04:38:22 PM »
I'd be in favor of classifying Magic packs as gambling.

This is even more true when it comes to online Magic, where there isn't even the pretense of a limited supply of certain cards.

To be honest it always puzzled me why no one prints out their own magic-compatible cards. I guess you'd have to change some of the iconography, and you couldn't use the exact same names as existing cards. But I'd pay so I don't have to put a handwritten note on a proxy card.

Jaeger

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2022, 07:50:50 PM »
...
To be honest it always puzzled me why no one prints out their own magic-compatible cards. I guess you'd have to change some of the iconography, and you couldn't use the exact same names as existing cards. But I'd pay so I don't have to put a handwritten note on a proxy card.

One company did a digital clone. They got lawfared into submission - having to license game mechanics from WotC even though the patent for MTG had expired. When they inevitably could no longer pay the license fee, they went under.

The OGL let the cat out of the bag for D&D. I guarantee those in charge of D&D post Ryan Dancey wish that it never happened. They would much rather do licensing deals for all 3pp.

But there is no such OGL for MTG. WotC will practice lawfare and sue the absolute fuck out of you. Expired patents and inability to copyright rules be damned...

*EDIT* -  It's worth remembering that Magic money is what has allowed WotC to get away with any and all fuckery associated with D&D. Magic money allowed WotC to buy D&D, and hire new people to make 3e. Magic money allowed WotC to completely drop a still technically profitable game line with 4e, and suck saltwater for a year before they released 5e.

In my opinion the fortunes of the two properties are very linked.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 08:14:26 PM by Jaeger »
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Marchand

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2022, 07:45:34 AM »
I think this should be in the "Other Games" forum rather than the RPG forum.

https://www.therpgsite.com/other-games/

Possibly although the intent was more to get views on what it means for Wizards (and therefore D&D), rather than MtG specifically. I'm fine either way.

Magic is totally going to go through a major collapse from the macro forces. It's not just inflation is killing the disposable income; it's that opening packs is a gambling addiction and that when prices of the cards you are going for collapses, the gambling addiction weakens. The drop in card prices is not over. Not by a long shot.

My emphasis.

Forgive my ignorance but the idea is you buy a deck of cards not knowing exactly what is in there, but hoping for the rare ones (that presumably have the best stats to help you win the game)? A bit like Panini stickers back in the day, if you have any idea what they were?

Not that I should be remotely surprised, but it is just great to hear that the oh-so-virtuous WotC makes most of its money from punting essentially a gambling product - I'm guessing without any of the health warnings or gambling addiction info that accompanies more mainstream forms of betting.
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Armchair Gamer

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2022, 08:17:35 AM »
[Forgive my ignorance but the idea is you buy a deck of cards not knowing exactly what is in there, but hoping for the rare ones (that presumably have the best stats to help you win the game)? A bit like Panini stickers back in the day, if you have any idea what they were?

  Yes, but Panini at least let you trade back your duplicates for those you needed, at least in the US market in the mid-80s. Magic is more like baseball cards, complete with the 'investment' myth.

Ratman_tf

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2022, 08:58:39 AM »
Edit... misunderstood post.
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Chris24601

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2022, 10:26:08 AM »
As the cost of gas, food, rent and utilities rise and jobs whose pay can compete with inflation dry up, the disposable income of those most likely to buy games evaporates.

Yet they think turning the flagship ttrpg into a subscription service (probably with micro-transactions on top) at this point in time is a winning strategy. For WotC failure truly is the only option.

Marchand

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2022, 01:14:49 PM »
Understanding the M:tG business model raises the question for me of why Wizards haven't been called out on it. I mean, somehow I don't think the core M:tG demographic are at the more affluent end of the scale. Wizards are big enough that you'd think some journo or other might see some mileage in rustling up some stories of people who are addicted and have suffered some impact on their lifestyle.

Makes me wonder if the virtue-signalling in D&D is wokewashing to cover up what sounds like a pretty dubious business model in the more financially significant M:tG part of the operation.

I know I said I wasn't interested in M:tG specifically but I am now going to go back on that a bit and ask, if you win a game by slapping down a $100 card, doesn't that just make you look like a total wanker? That might be a complete misrepresentation of how the game works. But if the more expensive cards don't help you win then why do people pay for them?
"If the English surrender, it'll be a long war!"
- Scottish soldier on the beach at Dunkirk

"Sorry, we don't have the facility to take you all prisoner."
Lt-Col John "Johnny" Frost, responding to German offer to discuss surrender terms, Arnhem, Sept 1944

Greentongue

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2022, 02:06:43 PM »
Yes, often the more expensive cards determine win or lose however, you are usually playing with people at the same level or expensive cards.
There is also the "art value" of some of the cards.  The shiny ones go for 5 or 10 times what the same plain art ones do.

The 'wanker" is the one that doesn't say up front that they have the high end cards and then stomp the other players with them.

Jam The MF

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Re: Wizards MTG sales tanking?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2022, 02:21:09 PM »
As the cost of gas, food, rent and utilities rise and jobs whose pay can compete with inflation dry up, the disposable income of those most likely to buy games evaporates.

Yet they think turning the flagship ttrpg into a subscription service (probably with micro-transactions on top) at this point in time is a winning strategy. For WotC failure truly is the only option.

This is solid reasoning.  The acquisition of multiple professionals from Microsoft; shows that they are commiting to a digital format, in a big way.  It's no longer about the game itself, it's about simply trying to maximize their revenue stream alone.  It's purely a business decision, but not all business decisions pan out.
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