From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
The makers of Magic: the Gathering have been making some interesting product decisions over the past few years. I haven’t been especially concerned about them, but one refrain seems to be their mantra when people question the different directions they choose:
“It’s not for you”
I’ve never cared for this response. It sounds like arrogance. While many businesses will have a product range to appeal to different types of consumer, the way in which Wizards have gone about their product line recently has seemed needlessly antagonistic.
For those who don’t indulge in Magic (a wise decision, in may ways!), cards are typically sold in boosters for $4 in the US and usually more than that elsewhere, depending on exchange rates.
In recent years they have introduced ever more premium versions of boosters at ever increasing prices. The past few sets have included the usual $4 booster, but have also had boxes of ‘collector boosters’ priced at $25-$30 per booster. Yes, you read that right.
The next set slated for release is called Double Masters. The ‘Masters’ line of sets typically contain no new cards, just reprinted versions of older cards. This is often welcomed by players who weren’t around the first time cards were printed. In demand but out of print Magic cards can experience large price rises over time. Wizards of the Coast understand this and typically price packs in Masters sets around $15, since the cards in those packs would cost more to acquire individually.
This new Double Masters set raises the floor on this higher pricing method. The boosters costs double a normal Masters set. In addition, players can buy a box of two ‘VIP packs’ for $100.
This video is one of the more reasoned (and reasonable) responses to this.
At this point it’s difficult to escape the notion that Wizards of the Coast choose to deliberately restrict the supply of in demand cards in order to eventually sell them back to players at ever-inflated prices.
This seems like the kind of myopic strategy that will succeed right up to the moment when it fails. Other games that have tried this aren’t around any more, as the point of failure tends to take the game down with it.