MVP044: Round Table – Will Magic Digital Next Make Magic an E-Sport

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Magic Digital Next

Is Magic Digital Next Wizard's Answer To Hearthstone?

In this round table episode of the Manaverse Podcast Tom, Wayne and John discuss the future of Magic: the Gathering. We also discuss how it may impact local game stores. With Wizard's announcement of Magic Digital Next and the declaration that Magic is in the top 5 of E-sports, it appears that Wotc is trying to make some bold moves to keep it's current momentum going. With Hearthstone dominating the digital card game market in a matter of years, it's seems hard to believe that the Magic Pro Tour of Magic Online could ever be a contender when it comes to streaming and growing an audience. Yet, that what Wizards hopes to accomplish with Magic Digital Next.

Magic Digital Next Blueprint

During the show we speculate on what Magic Digital Next will look like and how it will operate since details are scant at the moment. We also talk about how it might fit into the current Magic/retailer ecosystem that exists today. Will Magic Digital Next help game stores the way Duels of the Planeswalkers did, or will it draw away customers similar to Magic Online?

Magic Brands

We also discuss an article recently released on the Daily Dot, The Problem With Magic No One Is Talking About and challenge some of the authors contentions about local game stores and their function within the Magic economy.

Listener Question: What do you think Magic Digital Next will look like and how will it impact the business of selling cards? Let us know in the comments down below!


The Problem With Magic No One Is Talking About

Hasbro's Investor Announcement about Magic Digital Next

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Wayne Mittlesteadt @dueling_grounds

John Coviello @shopofmagic

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  • Kyle

    I feel like they could digitize a physical event. You don’t want to get rid of the poker-esque physical presence of the players, because that showmanship, gamesmanship, and personality is a part of the game and can draw in viewers. But, just like how televised poker shows you what’s in everyone’s hand and shows you percentages etc etc, Magic could do that too. Magic Digital Next could facilitate that.

  • Tomtraplin

    Great point Kyle, I think you’re right. Wotc could definitely do more to add production value to a broadcast of a Magic tournament and they would have plenty of good examples to look to like poker. I would bet they won’t go that route though because of the added costs to an operation they already view as not worth the effort. Maybe Magic Digital Next (what a terrible name by the way) will be the solution that makes it cheap and easy for them to make better broadcasts but we’ll have to wait and see.

  • I have the impression that Magic Digital Next is a code name, and that the final name will foreground the Planeswalker IP. (FWIW, D&D 5.0 was code named “D&D Next.”) Also, Wizards appears to be investing so much in MDN, it’s reasonable to imagine tournaments will showcase the platform. I imagine high-level Magic tournaments will shift to using it. That slide indicates that MDN is meant to appeal to competitive players, and presumably also facilitate “Premier Play.” What’s more, switching to a digital platform solves Wizards’ judge compensation problem (not the way I’d like it to be solved, but Wizards would be foolish if they weren’t considering this).

  • That’s an interesting way of looking at the situation that I hadn’t thought of. I think part of the reason for that is because I haven’t been very impressed by the way Wizard’s has handled their digital products so far. MODO has been a disaster for the last decade or so, but if Wizard’s can turn that around and really invest in MDN than I think you might be right. They could be looking at a platform that could modify or replace a lot of the existing Premier Play structures they have right now and somewhat solve their judge issue at the same time. Time will tell if they manage to create something up to the task but at the moment, their past efforts don’t give me much confidence they will be able to pull it off.