Sunday, July 9, 2017

What's Wrong with Magic? What's Right with Magic?

I may be a less-representative voice, but I think the answer to the question 'What's Wrong With Today's Magic?' is 'almost nothing.'

The point of a for-profit game is to maximize profits, while keeping other metrics healthy. Wizards continues to maximize profits while steadily increasing the size of the player base and expanding the number of products it publishes for the game. The overall TCG market is doing great. The Big Three paper TCGs are doing great: Pokemon and Yugioh. All three companies are very responsive, and turn their focus on a dime when they encounter a rough spot. Each company focuses on a specific demographic, and Magic has the most to gain when expanding their audience demographic. Magic still has room to grow by appealing more to young women, and also by appealing more to the 30+ demographic.

The biggest threats to paper Magic are digital TCGs and other games. Hearthstone came on the scene very strong, but has plateaued. I think the biggest threat to Magic (paper and digital) is the move away from TCGs, whenever it happens. I hope this move happens many decades from now, and if that's the case, there's a whole-lot-of-Magic left for us to enjoy.

At the tactical level, the small things that are wrong with Magic, IMHO are:

1. A close relationship between Wizards and some of the secondary market companies that can blowback against Wizards. I would call this one the 'insider threat' to the game.

2. Paper forgers for out-of-print cards continue to improve the quality of their forgeries.

3. Vorthos is not the fourth type of player, just deal with it. We are here to play Magic, and fantasy fiction is a small side show.

4. The obsession with value is a distraction. Magic is a game with collectible pieces, and the vast majority of these pieces have no economic value now and forever. 'Magic Finance' is really a benign ponzi scheme. Baseball cards, comic books and stamps have been where Magic Finance will be.

5. The obsession with the Reserved List going away is another distraction to the game. The reserved list cards will only be reprinted after Wizards ceases to be a company and by some other company, and what would be the point of that, since by that time all TCGs will be out of fashion anyways.

6. Reddit is a troll echo chamber where alters are more important than deckbuilding. Reddit is where I practice my eye rolls.
What's RIght with Magic? A lot, almost everything. Standard is going to be in a much better place next summer. That's all I really need to stay in this game.