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Magic: The Gathering Arena hits Steam in May but leaves console arrival unanswered

PC Planeswalkers.

Omnath, Locus of All card art from MTG March of the Machines set
Image credit: Helge C. Balzer/Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering’s digital client, MTG Arena, will launch a Steam version on May 23rd, opening the popular trading card game to one of the largest PC gaming audiences. This news puts the release ahead of schedule and well before any solid news on Arena for current video game consoles.

Publisher Wizards of the Coast dropped the news over the weekend at MagicCon Minneapolis, announcing to crowds of attendees and those streaming from home that the game client previously hosted through Epic Games’ proprietary launcher could now be wishlisted on Steam ahead of its full release.

Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks told investors earlier this year that Arena’s expansion plans wouldn’t move forward until later in 2023 but included eventual releases on both Steam and major consoles. Prioritising a direct tap into the massive PC player base that uses Steam makes sense, and the jump likely won’t be as resource heavy as separate video game clients for the Nintendo Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Wheels tries his luck against Dicebreaker fans in head-to-head matches on MTG Arena.Watch on YouTube

The MagicCon announcement didn’t include any word on when players should expect MTG Arena on consoles - or the Steamdeck, for that matter. Dicebreaker has reached out for more information but did not receive a reply before publication.

MTG Arena’s easily accessible matchmaking, multiple game modes and slick presentation quickly found success among players who didn’t mind the lack of paper MTG’s social element. It supports casual play, limited formats such as drafts and sealed events and several competitive ladders that can eventually lead to Pro Tour invitations and the higher tournament echelons.

It’s also become a bastion of Standard play, a format due for a major overhaul that will extend the rotation of card sets from two to three years. The same changes will be true for Standard play on MTG Arena, but the polarizing Alchemy mode will stick to a two-year cycle to preserve what Wizards calls a “dynamic and fluid” meta environment. The company believes Alchemy players’ high volume of weekly interaction and play better gels with quick and consistent churn of available cards.

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