Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University. This week, Thorne talks about the possible impact of Disney Lorcana entering the TCG market.
Generally, in any product category, one can arrange the products in it as if they were steps on a ladder. There is a product on the top step, a product on the second step, one on the third step and so forth. In the hobby game market for TCGs the steps have generally been Magic: The Gathering followed by Pokemon, then followed by Yu-Gi-Oh! (although Magic and Pokemon flip occasionally). In the mass market, the steps of the ladder have been Pokemon, then Magic, then Yu-Gi-Oh!, with all the other brands of TCGs fighting for remaining market share in both the mass and hobby game market (see “Top Collectible Games – Fall 2022“).
However, the pending arrival of Disney Lorcana appears ready to upset this status quo (see “A Different Brand of TCG Magic Makes Its Debut“). As noted in the article, Disney Lorcana debuted on the TCGplayer Sealed Products chart at #6, still five months out from its release date. I’ve heard of stores ordering cases of boosters, the first release of the game, well before the release of the rules for the game. Stores are betting on heavy interest in this game from the hobby games market, as well as a large crossover from the Disney fan base, to drive sales in Disney Lorcana.
Although Ravensburger plans to develop a strong organized play program, I would expect that most of the customers coming in from the Disney market will not understand the concept of OP, but will want to get the promo cards and pins included in the OP Kit (see “Ravensburger Announces DisnesyLorcana Organized Play Program“). However, I will bet that unless Ravensburger establishes some strong guidelines and methods of policing the program, the company will see many of those promo cards and pins appear for sale on the secondary market. I know that happens with the promo packs that Wizards of the Coast provides for use with Magic OP, and WotC has far more experience with policing OP programs than does Ravensburger.
It will prove interesting to see how such a strong IP entering the TCG market will affect the ranking of the top three lines, given the ubiquity of the Disney brand. Currently, I do not expect it to push Magic or Pokemon permanently off the top two rungs of the ladder, at least not permanently, but it certainly will give Yu-Gi-Oh! a serious run for its money over the next year. Unlike the recent anime based TCGs, such as One Piece CG and My Hero Academia, Disney has a much wider fan base and a greater likelihood of drawing avid collectors into the market. I could see it developing a customer base much like that of Pokemon, which has a huge market, but a comparatively small number of people who actually play the game. The majority of Pokemon customers are kids (and their parents) who really don’t know how to play the game or make up their own rules. I could easily see Disney Lorcana developing a similar customer base. If I was Konami, I would be somewhat concerned.
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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.