Hasbro logoHasbro’s annual Investor Day event is an opportunity for the company to promote its strategic “Brand Blueprint” among investors. For those readers with an interest in corporate strategy, toy marketing, or even just a better understanding of the major drivers in the mass-market toy and game business, I highly recommend listening to the recorded presentation (which runs about an hour).

From that presentation, however, I’d like to call gamers special attention to CEO Brian Goldner’s description of the Magic: The Gathering brand blueprint (see his presentation slides below). Using Magic as an example for how digital products are essential to the development Hasbro’s “franchise brands” (its biggest and most important properties), Goldner revealed plans for a product he referred to as “Magic Digital Next“.

Our stories are told to foster the personal connection audiences demand. These stories are curated by fans, personalized around brands, and told through a variety of mediums…

In a world where stories create personal connections with consumers, the role of digital is omnipresent in franchise brand development. This connection requires creating a digital ecosystem that spans from ideation and development to learning about a brand through engagement and stories to purchasing and ultimately interacting and playing with that brand. At Hasbro, the digital ecosystem is developed and celebrated throughout our organization…

I want to speak briefly to how our investments in digital for one of our franchise brands, Magic: The Gathering, will expand the opportunity and audience for this global franchise. At the core of the Magic blueprint is storytelling. We activate Magic stories on every platform, analog and digital. The story we’re telling today is around the Battle for Zendikar set, which is resonating very strongly with gamers around the world. In the past few years, we have doubled the number of play events and stores running these events. By the end of 2015, over 800,000 official events will have run in over 6,000 store locations around the world, this year alone. And we expect this trend to continue and the brand to continue growing. Perhaps our biggest opportunity to keep expanding Magic is to improve the digital Magic ecosystem. We know Magic players want to play in person at events and also play similar level competitions online. Right now we have digital offerings at both ends of the knowledge and engagement spectrum. Magic Online is for the highest level players and we have Duels as an entry experience. The greatest opportunity for Magic is to create a new digital experience leveraging contemporary technology to create a seamless digital experience that meets all the players needs from new players to pro players. This is what we are investing in and we have a team in place to deliver the first new Magic Digital Next product in the next few years. In the meantime, we will optimize the Duels and Magic: The Gathering Online experiences to continue driving the overall Magic business.

MtG Brand Blueprint Slide 1

MtG Brand Blueprint Slide 2

MtG Brand Blueprint Slide 3

  • Comments Off on “Magic Digital Next” in Development by Hasbro

Magic Duels_ Origins logo

I would have posted this a bit sooner, but as soon as I heard about it I had to make sure to log into my Steam account and set it up to start downloading. That’s right. Wizards of the Coast’s Magic Duels: Origins just hit Steam, having been available for iOS for a few weeks now. The game is free to play with in-game purchases, though all content can be unlocked through play.

The game will be available for the XBOX One on July 31st, with a PS4 release later this year.

  • Comments Off on Magic Duels: Origins Now Available on Steam

Magic Duels_ Origins logoMagic Duels: Origins is now available for iOS devices!

Magic Duels, which replaces Duels of the Planeswalkers, introduces exciting new features, including:

  • Regular updates from corresponding Magic set releases
  • Hundreds of new cards from the upcoming Origins set, including powerful Planeswalkers
  • Virtually endless solo gameplay against thousands of AI opponent decks
  • Expanded multiplayer options including Two-Headed Giant Mode
  • All-new Skill Quest tutorial system that teaches gameplay quickly and easily-just like learning from a friend
  • Deck Wizard offering step-by-step deck construction guidance for new players, and an advanced Deck Builder allowing experienced players to build from scratch
  • 100% earnable content means players can play free!

The game will be available for XBOX One and PC via Steam later in July, with PlayStation 4 releasing later this year.

  • Comments Off on Magic Duels: Origins now available on iPhone and iPad!

PAX East 2015—Magic the Gathering

header_imageMagic the Gathering has some really exciting upcoming releases. During PAX I got a chance to see stuff from the upcoming Dragons of Tarkir and Origins sets, as well as get a hands on look at Magic Duels: Origins. Let’s start with the latter, shall we?

Magis Duels: Origins – July 2015

Magic Duels is replacing Duels of the Planeswalkers as the digital format for Magic play. The game will be free to play with additional sets, challenges, etc… unlockable via in-game coins. Coins can be purchased, or can be earned through play. I was assured that all in-game content can be unlocked without spending a single real-world dollar. Magic Duels is also moving away from the yearly release schedule that Duels of the Planeswalkers used. It will be a game client that is constantly updated with sets available for purchase. This will eliminate the issue of buying expansions for a previous version of the game that don’t carry over to the next year’s version.

Magic Duels

The first set that will come with Duels will be the Origins set, with Blood, a Tarkir-themed set, being released shortly after. This is why we haven’t seen any Tarkir cards in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015. The Origins set will have campaigns for each of the five main Planeswalkers, chronicles their journeys from a mage into the Planeswalkers we know and love today. I got a chance to play a bit of the first campaign, and the gameplay is smooth as expected. Also a welcome addition, the timer has been sped up a bit keeping the game moving at a much faster pace than before.

Did I mention they’re bringing Two Headed Giant mode back? Oh yeah, they are.

Dragons of Tarkir – March 2015

I’m more excited about Dragons of Tarkir than I’ve been about a Magic set in a long time. The set, as expected, is chock full of dragons. The story has Sarkhan ressurecting dragons in past, changing the history of Tarkir. The Khans never rose to power, and instead the clans are now led by might dragons. The legendary dragons are amazing, each sharing the characteristics of the clans we’re familiar with from the previous sets. Sarkhan has also become much more awesome.


I’m sorry for the blurry pic, but I wasn’t that close to the screen here. The biggest thing here is his -8 power, which is blocked by the lovely people’s heads here. It allows you to take any number of dragons from your deck and place them directly on the battlefield. For free. Take a second to digest that. I need this card.

Origins – July 2015

Up until now we’ve had sets that frame out a world and the events that take place in that world. Origins changes that a bit, focusing on the more personal lives of the Planeswalkers. To do this, we’re going to see some new dual-sided cards in the game. The interesting part about these is that the first side is a normal character that you would summon into the battlefield. Once certain conditions are met, the card flips to reveal a Planeswalker. For example: Liliana Vess was a healer before her spark. You can summon her, and she has the ability to bring back a dead creature as a zombie. When you do this she’s exiled from play. You can bring her back as Liliana Vess as we know her, a Planeswalker Necromancer. It’s really cool how it works.


  • Comments Off on PAX East 2015—Magic the Gathering