The modified TCG release could affect Magic, Disney Lorcana, and Pokémon
From the creators of Dixit comes a bold attempt to reshape the market
changinga new trading card game from startup Equinox Studio, will compete with… Disney Lorcana, Magic: Gathering And Pokemon trading card game when it launches on August 26, 2024. Distributor Asmodee, which was acquired by Embracer Group in 2021 for $3.1 billion, announced Thursday that it will fund the game via a Kickstarter campaign. And while an early demo shown to Polygon at this year’s Gen Con conference proved the mechanics attractive, the unique technology layer and business model could change the entire TCG industry.
Anyone who tried to pick up his booster packs Disney Lorcana I’ve become very aware recently that the cards are extremely hard to come by, with unopened boxes selling for more than double the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. But this scarcity is only partly organic. They have also been artificially inflated by speculators, who snatch up large quantities of products to flip them for a profit, or to hide in the hope that their prices will rise over time. Entire websites, sub-sites, and YouTube channels are dedicated to the hobby of profiting from these cards, not playing with them, and it’s clear to see how TCG trading has evolved from a side hustle into an elaborate get-rich-quick scheme – much in the same way trading did back in the day, And later, cryptocurrencies.
Information about the price of these trading cards, as well as the market in which these unique goods could be traded, became so valuable that eBay acquired industry leader TCGPlayer in 2022 for nearly $300 million. (Its employees have since organized, and their union is negotiating its first contract.) eBay even offers a safe, environmentally controlled warehouse to store cards in. As is the case with gold speculators, now Charm Card dealers never need to take possession of the items they own.
In the meantime, my 13 year old wants a 4th Tinker Bell card to complete her steel collections, thanks.
But what if the card game could completely block marketplaces like TCGPlayer from eBay?
What Equinox suggests with its design changing is that each card drawn from the pack is actually a sort of proxy for a digital token that actually represents the value of the card. While the developers confirmed to Polygon in August that its technology does not involve blockchain, a type of token is created and locked into the player’s digital account using a QR-shaped code. The value for consumers, Equinox says on its website, is that if they lose that card, they can have a new card printed on demand and mailed to them anywhere in the world, even in a different language. But the unspoken value of Equinox and Asmodee is absolute visibility and control of their card market.
From her website:
Download our app and scan your entire booster in seconds. Your cards are secure, and you can now enjoy a range of features that will improve your modding experience. Explore the story behind each card and immerse yourself in a very positive, inspiring and inclusive world. (…)
Trade, sell or buy from collectors around the world using your smartphone. At any time, choose cards from your collection and have them printed and delivered to your door, brand new and in your preferred language. Print collections for yourself and your friends. Stolen or lost cards, proxies — the possibilities are endless.
The value of this Asmodee partnership with Equinox is that by creating its own central digital marketplace for its “cards,” it is therefore able to leverage secondary and tertiary sales of those same cards. They’ll be able to make a profit at the initial point of sale — when consumers buy that blind pack off the store shelf — and also in perpetuity, every time the card passes from one player to another.
For example: Rapper Post Malone recently purchased The One Ring – a unique card created for her Magic: Gathering‘s The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth -For 2 million dollars. The owner of that card ran away with all that money, except for the huge amount paid in taxes. Publisher Wizards of the Coast earned nothing. If it was a card for changingpublisher Equinox would have been able to benefit from that deal as well.
If Equinox is successful, other TCG publishers may be forced to follow suit with similar digital platforms. But how this will play out in independently owned game stores around the world, which rely on the sale of individual cards as a profit center, is currently unclear.
A Kickstarter campaign for the game will begin on January 30, 2024. Equinox is currently offering six complete sets on its website to print and play at home for free.