Experimentation

Posted in News on September 21, 2018

By Wizards of the Coast

As Magic has hit that 25-year mark, you've probably noticed that we have been experimenting more with new products and new expressions for Magic. Lately, we've launched a few more experiments in trying to get the right product to the right player in the right way.

In the past year, we've tried allowing stores to sell boxes for pickup on Prerelease weekend, we've tried localized content with the Global Series, and we've released Theme Boosters. The recently announced Guilds of Ravnica: Mythic Edition is another one of these experiments.

We know Magic is a global brand, and almost everything we produce is for a global audience. We also know that not every experiment is ready for the global stage. Just as digital products sometimes beta test in small markets before releasing them wider, we have also experimented with region-specific products like the Global Series; occasionally, we will even produce products with limited distribution for various reasons, such as production costs, logistics, or a worthwhile desire for localized content. Some experiments will work, some won't, and we'll keep trying new things.

One of the core tenets of our fan-focused strategy is to make sure we deliver Magic to players when, where, and how they want it. For example, Magic has long been available on Amazon from various stores and distributors, but we've formalized a direct relationship with Amazon in the United States to give players who order their product through that channel a better experience. (In many parts of the globe, Magic has already been available directly from Amazon and other online retailers). To that end, Magic will also be available directly online from Walmart and Target in the United States as well.

The goal here isn't to divert customers to these channels, it's to meet the customers who are already there and give them a better experience. A formalized relationship gives us the ability to better distribute product to players who aren't lucky enough to live near one of the many awesome local game stores, to market to players where they are already shopping, to make sure that Magic is represented in a way that is worthy of its awesomeness, and to grow the game for the entire world.

While this may seem like a radical shift in philosophy, it is more an acceptance of how people interact with our game. Many players already purchase Magic on Amazon and at large retail stores. Expanding the availability of Magic will only serve to grow the overall player base, and formalizing that relationship helps bring them into the community in ways we haven't been able to before. We must meet gamers where they are if we want to show them how great Magic truly is. And for the many WPN stores out there, our efforts to grow Magic will come back to you in the form of more players and new initiatives that highlight the benefits of gathering together in a local store.

But we also wouldn't leave it at just that. Local game stores, especially the stores who participate in the Wizards Play Network, are vital to Magic and to Wizards of the Coast. They provide great play experiences, fun places to shop, and are a center for the gaming community. That is why we support them with organized play programs like Friday Night Magic and Prereleases, with promotional items and exclusives like Signature Spell Book, special edition D&D covers, with early release of product, and with Buy-a-Box promos. To further support them, we've already begun work on new tournament software and an improved event locator, and we have other specialty products coming down the pipeline aimed specifically at local stores. More experiments, if you will.

All along the way, we're listening to and very appreciative of feedback. For example, our experiment with Mythic Edition resulted in quite a bit of feedback. We were able to address some of that by supplying a limited amount of this product to ChannelFireball Events for sale at Grand Prix between now and the end of 2018, including at events outside the United States and Canada. You can preorder Guilds of Ravnica: Mythic Edition from ChannelFireball for pickup at Grand Prix right now! Head on over to their preorder website for more details.

You will see more product and distribution experimentation from us in the future. Sometimes, those experiments are going to fall flat, and other times, they may be far more popular than we anticipated. These experiments are intended to develop innovative and surprising new products that keep Magic exciting for the next 25 years.

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