Today, Wizards announced that it would be discontinuing its popular Magic Online service, citing falling sales, coding issues, and rising costs. Magic Online is expected to, according to the Wizards spokesman, be shut down on January 1st, 2006.
In this article, written in five minutes in the MTG Salvation Editorial Basement, we explore reactions to Wizards' announcement, as well as their motivations in doing it.
"People just aren't buying anymore..."
Aaron Forsythe, who announced the changes today, talked of the decreasing sales of online cards, saying that it simply was not making enough money to justify its continuation, in light of increasing maintenance and coding costs. In particular, Rosewater said that sales in the Standard (T2) format had been falling in their last Market Report (2/20/05);
The Sales Department looked at the earnings statement and said... "Well, if it's doing that badly, why are we continuing with it?"... they were only considering it at first, but then they looked at the sales of the Betrayers of Kamigawa set, in comparison to other sets... people just aren't buying enough anymore.
In addition, Forsythe said, other factors had been driving up the cost of maintaining and expanding Magic Online. In particular, Forsythe said, the cost of implementing new sets into the Magic Online programming, and integrating them with all of the other sets from throughout Magic History, had become prohibitively expensive; more expensive than had been anticipated at the time of the creation of Magic Online;
When we first conceived Magic Online, we weren't so much thinking about the interactions between the cards, and how that would have to be programmed... we were more thinking about gaining the vast market we knew was out there for online gaming... but after a few months, it became clear that the venture would be expensive... the coding alone would mean that it'd be weeks after the release until we could release a new set Online... it just got to be too much.
Wizards' announcement has sent shockwaves through the Magic community, who have been complaining about Magic Online since its release several years ago. Many claimed that Wizards was wrong, and that Magic Online's sales had actually increased in recent days, many of them saying it was largely through their own efforts.
kamigawa_r_teh_r0xx0rs, a regular member on many Magic: The Gathering message boards, had this to say about Wizards' announcement;
Quote fromomg wtf ewre they thinkin i know thut its not vry good btu i spent lots f monye on magic online cards and if theyr sutting it down ill lose all that i dont want to lse money why wzrs why plz dnt do this i don't want this i lik my money and my cards and magic online and il pay more and give you candy and flowers and il pay mur if u want jst dnt shut down magic online!
Qwerty, a moderator here at MTGSalvation, echoed the sentiments of the loss of MTGO.
Quote fromIn this day and age you would think that WoTc would actually want more profit, old statements like the reserve lists have never stopped companies like WoTc from finding ways around them. Infact MTGO is the perfect alibi, it failed because WoTc failed to take the corprate standpoint and use MTGO as away of reprinting older cards. Think how much profit they could make by selling Beta!!!!. Their loss....
Another regular forum poster, one Gondwanalandian, had this to say;
Quote fromOMG!!@!@!! I HATE WISARDAS SOOOOOO MUCH NOW! I WISH THEY"d JUST DIE!!! THEY'RE SHTTING DOWN MAG IC ONLINE AND I HATE THAT! FU WISARDS!
Others expressed their opinions in a more calm and thought-out manner;
Quote fromI don't think this is a wise move on Wizards' part. For one thing, the data they used to determine this is not indicative of the overall trend; Type II didn't do as well because of Arcbound Ravager's domination. Betrayers didn't sell very well because there wasn't much in Betrayers that people wanted. I don't see why they're making this decision right now.
Our own ButteBlues18 had this statement to offer:
I believe this was a move in the right direction. All those MTGO players are fat anyways. It doesn't take much for them to get off their fat asses and walk a little bit. Exercise is KEY for the nerds in today's society. I bet you more than half of all MTGO players make Michael Moore look like the fricking Olson twins!
Finally, sneakyhomunculus had this to say;
Quote fromI have seen this coming ever since the whole Spellfire Online fiasco. People just aren't that excited about cards when they can't show them off to their girlfriends. Magic is all about popularity and athletic performance and you can't experience that if you don't come out of your room or change clothes. Playing with yourself and posting on internet forums just isn't something normal Magic players like to do.
It is reported that their cries fell upon deaf ears.