More than an Advertisement?

Six months ago I posted that Magic on Xbox Live was a Trojan Horse of sorts: an online ad calling on lapsed players to come back to Jamaica. You know, all of you millions of players from the 90s or early 00’s that have given up the game: try it again! Fall in love with the easy XBox game, want more, then get back into buying the cards (whether physical or online).

It seemed like a reasonable supposition. And to some level, no doubt it’s true.

Then a friend linked this today: XBox Live’s topselling titles. Duels of the Planeswalkers, #1. Now, I have no idea what time period that sample measures: the week? the month? But regardless, it’s half a year after release, and this game has serious legs. A lot of people have been playing this game who were just curious about it, or got roped into buying it to play with friends. Duels turned out to be more than just an ad, and I imagine it’s contributing nicely to Hasbro’s bottom line, more than even they expected.

In any event, the success speaks not only to the power of the brand, but also some good game design choices: supporting the trifecta of co-op, single player, and competitive play supports different kinds of players, and encourages the network effect growth that multiplayer games (online or not) can do best.

(No, I don’t have any Hasbro stock anymore.)


  • I’m still waiting for the time when they finally release M:tg on Facebook so I can destroy all my free time (and spare change) playing the game and spamming the heck out of my friends with feeds.

  • Thanks for the plug. 🙂 Lots of stuff went right on this one, and you’re right…it’s adding to our bottom line nicely by pulling in/re-engaging all those fringe and lapsed players from yesteryear. The bigger effect is seen even on the paper side, where loads of people are getting back into stores with tons of owners telling us how much DotP has meant to them. Magic Online is sporting some pretty amazing increases in new accounts immediately after pushes on Xbox too. The time period you captured for the OP here was when MSFT was kind enough to make us their XBLA deal of the week, which (predictably) really spiked sales, but even without that push, we’ve hung around the top 5 for going on 8 months now, and I think we’ve only been out of the top 10 for a day or two.

    Pretty amazing indeed.

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