Wizards of the Coast vows to double down on digital, including a Magic ‘reimagining’

13 January 2017
53._Gameplay-94137.png Duels of the Planeswalkers
President of studio hints at virtual adaptations such as an MMO or augmented-reality title

Wizards of the Coast has big plans for digital adaptations of its tabletop games such as Magic: The Gathering, the publisher’s president Chris Cocks has revealed.

Formerly of Microsoft (perhaps hinting at things to come), Cocks took over the Magic and Dungeons & Dragons outlet last year, replacing long-term chief Greg Leeds.

Writing on the Wizards site, Cocks said that the company had created a dedicated Digital Games Studio, comprised of video game experts from such big-hitters as Valve, Warner Bros, Activision and BioWare, and rolled the existing developers of Magic Online into the new team.

As well as “reimagining digital versions of Magic and other Wizards games” – potentially referring to Magic Online and the Duels of the Planeswalkers series – Cocks suggested that the properties might be taken a step further into the virtual world with ‘other games and experiences’.

“What would it be like to throw fireballs as a Planeswalker in an MMO, or quest for treasure with your friends in a D&D augmented-reality game?” he asked.

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Leading the charge into this new territory is another video games veteran, David Schwartz, who counts Microsoft, EA, THQ and Midway among the companies on his CV.

“He is building a publishing team to explore partnerships and collaborations that will bring Magic and D&D to unexpected settings, genres, and platforms,” Cocks explained.

Cocks finished up by highlighting an increased focus on not just new virtual spin-offs, but better digital experiences for Wizards’ existing physical products, proposing solutions to finding tournament matches, tracking in-game achievements and organising local game nights as among the ‘in-store and online interactions’ the reshuffled technology team would be working on.

Of course, the increased concentration on digital could be a response to the movement of video game developers towards creating digital-only tabletop experiences in games such as Hearthstone. Whether Wizards has aims to directly take on the juggarnauts of the virtual world remains unclear for now, but it should hopefully result in some exciting titles set in some of the best tabletop worlds around.


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