Caldaia Strongarm
27, Apr, 23

Hasbro Claims “MTG Is Strong” Despite Ongoing Backlash

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Despite the prevalence of a certain global pandemic, MTG’s profits have been soaring throughout recent years. Reaching new highs one year after the next, the new Blueprint 2.0 strategy from Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro is undoubtedly paying off, especially for MTG. So much so, in fact, that last year MTG achieved an incredible billion-dollar valuation for the first time ever. 

Moving into 2023, it appears Magic: the Gathering is on track to the exact same thing again. As, in their latest revenue report, Hasbro has revealed that MTG is stronger than ever before! While this is obviously something for Hasbro to be excited about, it’s unclear how long this will last. As, thanks to a recent controversy, Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro are now facing immense backlash. 

Profit Aplenty

Shalai, Voice of Plenty
Shalai, Voice of Plenty | Dominaria

As is to be expected around this time of year, Hasbro recently delivered its Q1 earnings report to investors. Within this webcast presentation, Hasbro didn’t have the best news about its overall profits. Stating that revenues had declined 14% year-over-year within Q1, Hasbro isn’t off to the best of starts.

That being said, however, within the presentation, Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks wasn’t lamenting the 14% decline. Instead, Cocks stated, “First quarter results came in ahead of our expectations and positioned Hasbro to meet our full-year financial targets.” Alongside this, Cocks also noted “Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming delivered strong fan engagement,” thanks to recent releases. 

Those recent releases are one major positive for Wizards of the Coast, as Magic: the Gathering revenue increased “16% Year-Over-Year.” From this, it certainly seems that MTG is poised to have another record year that pushes the billion-dollar valuation. According to Hasbro, this impressive revenue increase was predominantly thanks to the “successful release of Phyrexia: All Will Be One.”

Alongside this tentpole release, MTG’s back catalog of sets also performed better than expected in Q1. Modern Horizons 2, for instance, “officially became the game’s first $200 million set in the first quarter.” As if that wasn’t reason enough for Hasbro to celebrate, the Universes Beyond Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks also got reprinted for the fourth time! Furthermore, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth has reportedly debuted with record-pre orders already.

Supplementing this compelling performance from Magic: the Gathering, Hasbro also lauded Dungeons & Dragons’ recent performance. As you might expect, this is largely driven by the release of the Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves film. Overall, the Wizards of the Coast segment saw a net revenue increase of 12%. 

Calamitous Controversy 

Zacama, Primal Calamity
Zacama, Primal Calamity | Rivals of Ixalan

Unfortunately, for Hasbro, while there has been plenty to celebrate in Q1, this is not expected to last. As Hasbro states during a press release, “We expect MTG revenue to decline in the second quarter based on year-over-year release timing.” While this dip would be mitigated by a strong third quarter, it’s nevertheless not ideal.

Alongside the year-over-year ebb and flow of sales, Hasbro may have more cause to be concerned than usual. This is thanks to the company facing a rather immense backlash following a controversy that has only worsened. 

Over the past weekend, every single card in the upcoming March of the Machine: The Aftermath set was leaked. This was all thanks to one MTG YouTuber, oldschoolmtg, who opened up a trio of Collector Booster boxes on camera. While many MTG players were understandably delighted by this unexpected leak, Wizards of the Coast was less happy. So much so, in fact, that Wizards confiscated the product from oldschoolmtg. 

While oldschoolmtg returned the product without much fuss upon being asked, the story didn’t end there. As, it was revealed that in order to retrieve the unreleased product, Wizards of the Coast employed “The Pinkertons.” Infamous for union-busting practices and worse, MTG players and with wider gaming industry weren’t too happy about this

With MTG players criticizing Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro relentlessly across social media, it’s safe to say the backlash has been immense. So much so, that it may well affect MTG’s bottom line, as many players are threatening to stop purchasing products. Should these threats ring true, MTG’s Q2 report may well be worse than anticipated. Whether or not this happens, however, remains to be seen. 

Universes Beyond Goes Above and Beyond

Factured Identity
Factured Identity | Doctor Who Universes Beyond Commander Decks

At the end of the day, despite all the recent backlash thanks to the Pinkertons debacle, MTG is as strong as ever. In fact, Chris Cocks said nearly enough exactly that during the investor presentation. Stating “MTG is strong,” it’s clear that Magic will continue to be a significant component within Hasbro’s product catalog. 

While MTG may be primed for some disappointment in Q2, throughout the rest of the year, there’s a lot to be excited about. After all, there is a new series of Universes Beyond Commander decks coming out later this year. Themed around the beloved British television series, Doctor Who, this product may match the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks sales success

Furthermore, within 2024, Wizards of the Coast has even more Unvierses Beyond crossovers up their sleeves. With Assassins’ Creed and Final Fantasy crossover already confirmed, it may not be long before Universes Beyond becomes a much larger part of MTG’s identity. Considering player opinion around this product line has steadily been improving, this may not be the worst thing in the world!

Read More: MTG Players Baffled as Major Character Turns Into a Boat?!

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