Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Future of MTG Lies in Casual Adult Players!

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When calling to mind the average person engaging in a video gaming session, chances are
your imaginary character is relatively young. It’s true that a lot of the younger generation
engages with the gaming world, but recent studies suggest that the average gamer may be
older than you think.

Interestingly, according to statements made by Wizards of the Coast President Cynthia
Williams, this trend also rings true for MTG players. Even though MTG may seem like a
children’s card game, stats suggest that the world’s oldest trading card game may actually
be for fully grown adults.

A World Full of Millennials

Taramika, Akroan Veteran by Eric Deschamps

Did you know the average gamer isn’t part of the Generation Z age group, and MTG players
match that statistic? According to ExpressVPN’s recent study, Millennials, or people aged
between 22 and 40, are actually the ones spending the most time gaming daily compared to
other generations. This could be due to the fact that millennials grew up with the gaming
industry and watched it grow or the fact that they have more disposable income compared to
Generation Z.

That said, few gaming franchises have as much of a legacy as Magic: the Gathering. While
the date technically has not passed, MTG is in the process of celebrating its 30th
anniversary. Ironically, in a Fireside chat that occurred in December, Cynthia Williams
announced that the average MTG player is just as old:

“We know a lot about our players. Multiple times a year, we survey tens of thousands of Magic fans on a variety of topics related to the game. Of the Magic active tabletop player, on average, is 30 years old. Players range from about 13 years old to over 45. I think its important to know that one third of our players have less than three years of experience with the game, and another third has been playing for more than ten years. With this wide range of engagement, we also look at how and why they play.”

Cynthia Williams

The Future of Magic is Casual Adult Players

Teferi's Protection
Teferi’s Protection by Greg Staples

This already made massive headlines closer to the chat’s release, but this wasn’t even close
to the end of the statistics Cynthia Williams presented with shareholders listening in to the

“We’ve seen growth in casual players, who we estimate represent about 80% of the playerbase, with the competitive player representing the remaining. This single insight has really lead to a major rethinking of our offerings, and how to serve our growing and more diverse playerbase.”

So, as of December 2022, the average Magic player is a casual adult aged around thirty. As
mentioned by Williams, Magic also has different formats – allowing players to engage with
the world’s oldest trading card game in a way that uniquely suits their taste:

“In the casual segment, the format that’s the most popular, and the format that’s played by more than 70% of players is a social format called Commander.”

Commander Masters

Keeping this in mind, Wizards of the Coast dropped a massive announcement this afternoon
– a set entirely dedicated to the casual player base. Commander Masters, according to
Wizards of the Coast spokesperson Blake Rasmussen, is… “a Master’s set focused on
Commander.” For reference, a Master’s product usually consists of reprinted cards that
actively see a lot of play in the targeted format. Sprinkled on top are some incredibly
valuable and sought-after reprints that the game sorely needs. Currently, Jeweled Lotus has
been announced for reprint, filling this space. For reference, the full-art foil version of this
card currently retails for around $800 each.

In other words, Wizards of the Coast is actively trying to cater to their average player base with casual products at prices adults can buy into. Even the newly announced line of MTG Commander decks releasing alongside the upcoming core set features the first add-ons seen to an older fan-favorite mechanic for the first time in eleven years.

What About Online?

Viral Beetle by Dan Scott

Unfortunately, one thing Wizards of the Coast is known for is keeping their cards close to
their chest. Aside from information given by Williams at the recent fireside chat, we are not
too familiar with the inner workings of MTG’s analytical data. All of the statistics shown were
solely taking example of an MTG player who engages in tabletop gameplay (this could be
strictly tabletop players or the valuable hybrid-type players who are responsible for a majority
of Wizards of the Coast’s revenue), the average player may look a bit different for those who
engage digitally. While we do not know exact statistics for MTG Arena engagement, we do
know who engages with us! Here are the average demographics for MTGRocks readers like

  • The age demographic of our average reader are also millennials! Specifically, an overwhelming 48% of our readers are aged between 25 and 34.
  • About 90% of our readers are male.
  • About 64% of our readers are from the U.S. This is followed up by Canada at 7%.

Considering what we know about the average MTG player up to this point, there doesn’t
seem to be a huge difference between what Wizards of the Coast sees as the average MTG
player versus our personal stats. This doesn’t give much insight into the average digital-only
MTG player, but it reconfirms Wizards of the Coast President Cynthia Williams’s statistics.

If you’re a younger player looking to dive into MTG, don’t let this deter you. Our second highest
age group is between ages 18-24 at about 26%, so there are many like you. This is also a
game you can keep playing over a longer period of your life. There’s a reason Magic: the
Gathering has been around long enough to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Read More: MTG Players Surprised By Ultra Exclusive Unplayable Cards!

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