Buy Your Silence | Streets of New Capenna
23, Feb, 24

MTG to Drop Three Major Languages in 2024

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Throughout recent years, Magic: The Gathering has seen an utterly incredible boom in popularity. Thanks to Universes Beyond sets like The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, MTG has broken new ground. In 2023, Magic even became a billion-dollar brand thanks to its newfound success.

Despite multiple sets breaking sales records and Universes Beyond attracting new players, it now seems MTG isn’t ineffable. Recently, Wizards of the Coast has announced that, during 2024, MTG will be dropping three major languages from production. With this news dropping amid an incredibly exciting spoiler season, MTG players are shocked, to say the least.

Paper MTG Loses Two Languages

Revel in Silence | Strixhaven: School of Mages
Revel in Silence | Strixhaven: School of Mages

In their recent news post, Wizards announced they’re ending support for both the Portuguese and Chinese (Simplified) languages in MTG. This change will take place later in 2024 following the release of two major sets.

Following the release of Modern Horizons 3 in Q2 later this year, Portuguese-language MTG cards will no longer be produced. After this, the production of Chinese (Simplified) cards will halt after the release of Bloomburrow. Thankfully, despite the change on paper, Portuguese will still be supported on MTG Arena.

Alongside the announcement of exactly what is being cut, Wizards acknowledged the impact this change would have on many players. Stating “We know this change hits especially hard,” Wizards commended Chinese and Portuguese players for making “the game feel global and welcoming.” To stop these words from being hollow, Wizards stated they will continue to support local and regional play in both these regions.

Beyond this gesture, Wizards also explained exactly why this change was being made. Unsurprisingly, it all comes down to money and the costs of making MTG. In Wizards’ own words, “Portuguese and Chinese (Simplified) product sales have not kept pace with rising costs across the board.”

Notably, while sales for these specific language cards seemingly don’t surpass their cost, MTG isn’t unpopular in these regions. This is thanks to English-language MTG cards being the go-to for many players globally. Confirming this, Wizards wrote, “Even in countries where Portuguese is the primary language, we see significant numbers of players choosing to purchase English cards.”

Ultimately, while the prevalence of English-language MTG cards should soften the blow of this change, it’s nonetheless disappointing. After all, this change will make MTG a good deal less inclusive since there are billions of Portuguese and Chinese (Simplified) speakers globally.

MTG Arena Loses a Language Too

Deafening Silence | Throne of Eldraine
Deafening Silence | Throne of Eldraine

As if it wasn’t bad enough that paper MTG is losing two languages, Arena is also being affected. During their article, Wizards stated that following Modern Horizons 3’s release, “Magic: The Gathering Arena will also end all support for Russian.” Curiously, unlike the changes to paper Magic, this decision was not given a major explanation.

Due to this lack of explanation, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has caused this decision. Since this war began in 2022, however, it’s unlikely this is the real cause behind this change. Instead, as with the changes on paper, this is likely due to the financial cost of localization.

While, again, this change is a major blow, according to some MTG Arena players, this localization won’t be missed. According to u/ViaDiva on Reddit, “I think that localization is a joke anyway. you can’t search for cards properly, the fonts look bad, and the translation is just weird and barely legible at times. Magic feels way more natural and clear in English for me.”

Ultimately, while the lack of localization, even if dubious, is for the worse, Wizards does have all the data. Thanks to this, WotC will be astutely aware of just how many players are using the Russian language option. Using this information, Wizards has hopefully made a sensible decision here. That being said, many MTG players are nonetheless still going to be disappointed.

Following this change after the release of Modern Horizons 3, only eight languages will be supported on MTG Arena. These languages are English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean.

Big Business Paves the Way

Greed | Fourth Edition

At the end of the day, much to the dismay of players, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro, are businesses. Thanks to this inescapable detail, profit will always reign supreme and dictate the game’s future. Subsequently, should a product or language not be selling, Wizards will almost assuredly cut it.

From a business perspective, this is the right thing to do since cash is king. From a human perspective, however, this change is obviously terrible as it will stop some people from playing. Considering all the money that MTG makes, some could easily be spared for a decent localization team.

Hell, since MTG is a billion-dollar brand, it’s almost insulting that only six languages are supported on paper. Unfortunately, as much as the lack of languages is disappointing, it’s not something that we can change. So long as Hasbro is in charge, cash is always going to be king. We can only hope that additional languages won’t be cut in the future.

Read More: MTG Fallout Cards Reveal the Price of a Baby

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