Prices on some physical Magic: The Gatherings products will be going up later this year, and a lot of players aren't happy about it. Wizards of the Coast attributed the increase to a sharp rise in production costs, but critics pointed out that the announcement came on the same day the WotC parent company Hasbro reported revenue growth across all segments of the company and an adjusted operating profit of nearly $142 million in its most recent quarter.
The price increase is being kept "as narrow as possible," WotC said, and will impact the following premier set, Unfinity, and Jumpstart products:
- Draft Boosters
- Set Boosters
- Collector Boosters
- Jumpstart Boosters
The price of Commander decks will also be going up with the release of the Streets of New Capenna set.
"Each of these products will increase by slightly different percentages, which we estimate will be approximately 11% across the products that are seeing an increase, allowing for regional variation," WotC said. "These increases also will not affect other product lines, like Masters, Modern Horizons, Secret Lair, Challenger Decks, or Universes Beyond."
Price increases are rarely popular, and that's especially true when they come alongside a multi-million-dollar profit report. CCG player, designer, and streamer Brian Kibler shared this image on Twitter in response to the news:
Kibler also acknowledged, though, that at least some of the backlash is the result of optics. "I do want to note that the fact that Magic pack prices have been the same for *years* (outside of stuff like collector boosters) is pretty remarkable, but it's really funny they're announcing this the same day as their earnings call discussing record profits," he said in a follow-up tweet.
Some of his followers agreed, but plenty of criticism remained, along with some players pointing out that prices have actually gone up (significantly, in some cases) outside of the US.
A somewhat more nuanced discussion of the price increase, and capitalism in general, is taking place on the Magic: TCG subreddit. "This is a push to increase profits," redditor Dekaroe wrote. "While the five year [profit] goal was met sooner, they also predicted a decline in profits [growth] (not negative!) for the next year or two—this is one way to keep the numbers on the pages looking good. Cause let’s all be honest: who is going to stop buying Magic because of this?"
Some Magic players said that they will in fact curtail their spending on the hobby, but Perp703 predicted that an overall cutback on spending won't meaningfully impact WotC's plans or prospects because he thinks Magic is headed the way of free-to-play videogames.
"The 90% of people who play casually aren’t where you make the big bucks," they wrote. "It’s the 10% of players who are considered whales are who you make your money on. It’s why arena has gotten so shitty with its economy—why care about the wants of the many who are f2p or minimal spenders when you can cater to the minority who spends the bulk of the money on the game?"
The Magic: The Gathering price increases are set to begin in September.