Starting in 2012, the number of large-scale tournaments will increase significantly. Our goal is to double the number of Grand Prix offered next season, putting our 2012 target at approximately 40 events around the world. This also allows us to add events in cities and countries that haven't typically hosted Grand Prix in the past. An important part of building the global Magic community is providing the chance for more players to participate in large-scale Magic events, and the success of the current Grand Prix program is great proof that the player base is hungry for more. When a Grand Prix comes to your area, it's a can't-miss event for all Magic players.
Additional Grand Prix will also help us expand the judge program as we provide venues at more locations around the world to train, educate, and grow the judge community. More Grand Prix also means more Grand Prix Trials, offering an increased number of events at the WPN store level tied to premier play.
Because of the ambitious nature of this schedule, we plan on announcing upcoming Grand Prix and Pro Tours closer to when they occur rather than announcing the entire season at once. Look for the first wave of 2012 Grand Prix to be announced later this year.
Another significant change next year is that Pro Tours will become private events focusing solely on the main tournament. The Pro Tour will continue to feature the same high level of competition as before, with expanded online coverage highlighting even more breaking news, exclusive deck tech, and hot cards from the top minds in the game. For players looking to get their fix for public events and other activities previously offered alongside the Pro Tour at Magic Weekend, the expanded Grand Prix program will provide ample opportunity to interact with the wider Magic community at large-scale events.
As many hobby stores create great, large-scale play events and we add large-scale Grand Prix Magic events, we will be eliminating Regional Prereleases in North America starting with the Magic 2012 Core Set release this summer. The store-run events and Grand Prix will more than fill the absence of Regional Prereleases, providing players with similar opportunities to gather with hundreds of their fellow players for a shared gaming experience. This also shifts the focus of new set celebration events to Wizards Play Network locations.
We are also looking at ways of making in-store play more compelling. This has already begun with in-store National Qualifiers in the United States and Canada for 2011, and will continue with the increased number of Grand Prix Trials run at Wizards Play Network locations in support of the expanded 2012 Grand Prix schedule.
We're constantly working to provide players with more meaningful play experiences at all levels around the world. By taking this opportunity to refocus our programs, we're excited to continue developing the right events for the right audiences.
Look for more detailed information for all of these program changes later this year. For further discussion on the changes discussed here, be sure to check out "The Week That Was" on Friday, April 15 (English only).