Vivien Reid
19, Sep, 23

Is MTG Arena Coming to Consoles?

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Article at a Glance

Following MTG Arena’s official launch on PC in 2018, the burgeoning digital client has steadily been expanding. At first, MTG Arena expanded onto macOS in mid-2020, with the mobile release following thereafter in early 2021. Alongside launching on other platforms, since 2018, MTG Arena has seen steady development with new features and formats being released.

Despite this steady expansion, however, one platform has remained out of reach for MTG Arena; consoles. Providing a greatly expanded audience, as well as more ways for existing players to play, MTG Arena’s console launch has been a highly requested development for years. Unfortunately, however, Wizards of the Coast has been typically coy with details, playing their cards close to their chests. 

Thankfully, at long last, it appears MTG Arena’s console release has been confirmed! Not only that, but its launch is on the horizon. Ish… So, without any further ado, let’s get into everything we know about MTG Arena on consoles. 

When Will MTG Arena Come to Consoles?

Arena Athlete
Arena Athlete | Theros

Unfortunately, while a console release has been confirmed, it appears that prospective MTG players on consoles will have a while to wait until the game launches. Initially, in 2022, Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks claimed that Arena would launch this year, 2023. Since then, however, Wizards has revised this prospective release date, delaying the game quite considerably. Now, once again speaking to investors, Cocks claimed Wizards was now targeting a “2024 and beyond,” release date for MTG Arena on consoles

While this newly revised release date is a year later than MTG players were hoping for, it’s still worth looking forward to. That being said, we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath until it releases. Not only is this because the console release is still a year away but, unfortunately, players may be left waiting even longer.

As is obvious from this year-long delay, it’s safe to say that game releases don’t always go to plan. Even seemingly simple ports, such as releasing MTG Arena on Steam, took significantly longer than expected. Initially, Arena’s steam release was penned for 2022, however, it was later pushed back to Q3 2023. Somewhat miraculously, however, the game would end up launching earlier than expected. On the 23rd of May, 2023, Magic: the Gathering Arena launched on Steam with a few marginal improvements.

Currently, with Wizards keeping their cards close to their chests, it’s unclear what MTG Arena will look like on consoles. Due to the mouse-centric design of the client, we imagine consoles will make use of a digital cursor, rather than using a tile-based design for navigation. Beyond that, however, it’s unclear how the user interface of MTG Arena may change to better suit the console audience.

Will MTG Arena Come to PS4 and PS5?

Johnny Combo Player
Johnny Combo Player | Unhinged

Within Chris Cocks’ recent Q4 statement to investors, it was claimed Wizards is evaluating “Xbox and PlayStation platforms” specifically. Now I’m no rocket scientist, but this seems to indicate that MTG Arena will launch on PlayStation consoles in 2024. Unfortunately for PlayStation players, however, there’s no indication of which generation of consoles the game will launch on. 

Considering it’s the latest and greatest, the PlayStation 5 seems almost guaranteed to see an MTG Arena release. The PlayStation 4, however, may not be so lucky. Since MTG Arena can run on mobile devices, the game should definitely be able to run on the console without question. That being said, however, due to the console’s growing age, however, this prospect appears less and less likely as time goes on.

Will MTG Arena Come to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S?

Box of Free-Range Goblins
Box of Free-Range Goblins | Unstable

Alongside the PlayStation release, Chris Cocks’ statement obviously confirms that MTG Arena will launch on Xbox consoles in 2024. As with the PlayStation release, however, there is no explicit confirmation about which consoles the game will release on. Once again, the latest generation Xbox Series X and S consoles seem all but guaranteed to get the release. The older generation of Xbox One consoles, however, may not be so lucky.

Should MTG Arena be available via Xbox Game Pass, however, then it is possible these older consoles will be able to play the title thanks to Xbox Cloud Gaming. For the time being, it is unfortunately unclear how Arena will launch on consoles, and if it will be available as a streaming title.

Will MTG Arena Come to the Nintendo Switch? 

Switcheroo | Magic 2013

Unfortunately for Nintendo fans, it appears that WotC does not have plans to release MTG Arena on the Nintendo Switch. At least, this is the indication from Chris Cocks’ recent statement, as he neglected to mention the console as one that’s being evaluated. Considering that the Nintendo Switch features a different architecture from the traditional Xbox and PlayStation consoles, this spurning isn’t too surprising. After all, it’s not uncommon to see Nintendo Switch ports of games being significantly delayed or canceled across the gaming industry.

Despite the difficulties that a Nintendo Switch port may pose, we’re certainly hoping that Arena releases on the console. Thanks to its portability and touchscreen, the Nintendo Switch is an ideal console to play Arena on. Essentially offering an equivalent experience to Arena on a tablet, a Nintendo Switch port seems like a no-brainer. 

Will MTG Arena Come to the Steam Deck? 

Steamflogger Service Rep
Steamflogger Service Rep | Unstable

Better than a hypothetical maybe, MTG Arena has already launched on the Steam Deck! This is thanks to the recent Steam release of MTG Arena, which made the game automatically work on the newfangled console. This is thanks to the Steam Deck utilizing the Proton compatibility layer, which allows many games to easily run on Linux.

To play MTG Arena on the Stream Deck console, all players need to do is tap the download button, and log in with their account! It’s as easy as that!

MTG Arena Console Features

Boon-Bringer Valkyrie | March of the Machine
Boon-Bringer Valkyrie | March of the Machine

For better or worse, judging by comments made by Hasbro and Wizards, the console release of MTG Arena may not be just a straightforward port. Instead, investors have often heard tales of features that will launch alongside the highly anticipated ports. The most interesting out of these is the refactored new player experience, which was teased by WotC President Cynthia Williams.

“So in 2023, Arena will refactor our new player experience to improve onboarding for new players and help them quickly find the play experiences that appeal to them. This will reinforce our acquisition efforts and maximize the impact of our launch on Steam, which is the biggest gaming platform in the world outside of mobile.”

Cynthia Williams

Initially, this statement sounds incredibly promising, however, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. For better or worse, the refactored new player experience on Arena is already here! Launching alongside the Steam release in 2023, this new player experience isn’t anything revolutionary. There’s no dedicated campaign or anything like that, the tutorial just got a little bit better. 

While this definitely isn’t what we were hoping for, it is nonetheless a positive. After all, MTG is an incredibly complex game to learn, so anything Arena can do to help with that is a good thing. Ultimately, however, we’re still waiting for more.

Since MTG Arena first launched players have been longing for a proper campaign or anything to that effect. Alongside undoubtedly delighting veteran players, this would surely benefit newcomers as well. Despite this promise, however, a campaign hasn’t been explicitly confirmed by Wizards. There is some hope that a console release could encourage one to be developed, but that’s mostly just wishful thinking.

Read More: MTG 2024 Release Calendar

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