Magic Duels: Origins will be ‘Free to Play’, Not ‘Pay to Win’
Who says virtual booster packs can’t be fun?
In a break from their usual money grubbing practices, Wizards of the Coast and their parent company, Hasbro, have decided to de-annualize their beginner focused Magic: the Gathering series Duels of the Planeswalkers and make it free to play. What this means is that instead of buying the game for a flat price (usually 3-5 bucks on iOS and 15-20 on other platforms) and playing to unlock better cards and decks, players will instead be able to download the new Duels: Origins client where they can pay for booster packs to improve their decks.
But all hope is not lost. Everything in the game can be earned by simply playing. In an interview with The Star, Hasbro brand manager Teoh Tse Liang said that
“While paying allows the unlocking of booster packs which will offer a little bit of advantage in the game, players will have equal footing with other players in terms of game content”
He went on to add that Wizards is not fond of the ‘Pay to Win’ concept, saying that it ultimately ruins the game play experience.
What the free to play model also adds is the ability to update the game with new content over time as opposed to releasing a new game every year. It will be interesting to see how this plays out considering the digital free to play card game market already has a top dog in Hearthstone. One can only assume that Wizards is going after the same market as Hearthstone. The problem is that Hearthstone’s competitive/professional player base are all centrally located on one client, whereas almost all competitive Magic is played in real life, with real cards. Additionally, no sanctioned competitive Magic takes place in any of the Duels games, all digital competitive and semi-competitive play is relegated to Wizards’ other online platform Magic: Online.
This announcement has led to a lot of speculation and theories and more questions than answers, but it will be interesting to see what happens with Magic Duels: Origins when it is released.
Magic Duels: Origins, other than having the least informative title of a game ever, is set for release on iOS July 7th with PC, Mac, and Xbox One versions coming a week later and the PlayStation 4 release dropping sometime in August.