While Wizards of the Coast struggles to combat logistical issues affecting physical versions of Magic: The Gathering due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the collectable card game’s digital alternative continues to go from strength to strength.
As per Wizards parent company Hasbro’s financial results for Q1 2020, MTG Arena has experienced its “strongest period since launch” over the last three months, with CEO Brian Goldner attributing at least part of the game’s unprecedented success to last month’s release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Fans have been incredibly receptive to the latest Standard expansion, with impressions considerably greater than that of 2020’s first three-part Standard release, Theros: Beyond Death.
Hasbro certainly isn’t ignorant of the overall impact COVID-19 is having on gaming habits, either, believing that much of Arena‘s increased popularity is a result of Magic fans turning to online matches as a substitute for tabletop tournaments and get-togethers.
Indeed, local game stores, which not only sell new products but host various competitions as members of the Wizards Play Network, have had no choice but to close their doors for the foreseeable future, with physical releases of Ikoria not due to go on sale until later this month as a result. What we’ve yet to see, then, is how much of an impact such prolonged closures will have on revenue of physical products going forward, but until then, Magic: The Gathering Arena has proven to serve as a worthy surrogate in absence of any other options.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is due to launch next week, May 15th for tabletop and will be followed sometime in the summer with beginner-friendly Jumpstart packs. See here for everything we know about the latter.