If you’ve been mildly aware of Magic: The Gathering in the last few years, it will come as no surprise that the massive trading card game makes its parent company, Hasbro, a ton of money. The corporation put a fine point on that sentiment today by claiming MTG will become its first brand worth more than $1 billion.
WotC president Cynthia Williams celebrated this reportedly inevitable fact during the 2022 Hasbro Investor Day presentation, where she said Magic: The Gathering had already brought in over $1 billion in revenue across a 12-month period.
That stated period combines both 2021 and current earnings, which is likely why Williams and the company can’t technically hang the diamond-studded laurels on MTG’s neck quite yet. Still, it’s a massive amount of money produced in no small part by the card game’s explosive popularity over the last two years - the COVID-19 pandemic did little to stymie players’ desire for cardboard, even if it did close many local game stores and play locations.
Williams believes the already successful Universes Beyond initiative will be the jet fuel that rockets MTG into the fiscal stratosphere. Used for brand crossovers such as the recently released Warhammer 40k Commander decks and the upcoming Lord of the Ring sets, Universes Beyond opened the door for MTG’s designers to represent other properties within the 2.3”x1.8” art box. It’s likely no coincidence that the bulk of the Universes Beyond products have consisted of Secret Lairs, limited drops full of reprints and special collectors treatments that are sold at a premium.
According to Williams, she and other Wizards of the Coast leaders expect Universes Beyond sets to very quickly become bigger and more successful than the core sets that once dominated MTG’s yearly product line-up, which are no slouches. Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty was the best-selling winter set in the game’s history when it was released in February of this year and quickly became the third best-selling set ever (selling commemorative booster packs for $999 won't hurt, either).
That could mean a future where crossovers such as the just-announced Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed team-ups - due to land in 2023 and 2024, respectively - are devoted more designer resources and time than on developing new worlds and original ideas. It feels like the Fortnite-ification of MTG, using the card game as a receptacle for a conveyor belt of branded faces, and Hasbro’s biggest names are nothing but thumbs up.
Players are already experiencing card set burnout, but Wizards of the Coast keeps announcing upcoming crossovers. It wasn’t but a few weeks ago that we learned Doctor Who would be wibbly-wobbling their way into a collection of Commander decks. If we are parched in the desert, it seems as though MTG is about to become a broken fire hydrant.