Online games are the fastest-growing segment of the electronic games industry. Magic: The Gathering brings the original trading card game, played by an estimate 7 million worldwide, to the online game-playing audience and introduces a new genre of online games -- electronic trading card games that feature digital objects. Magic: The Gathering Online will launch with more than 1,600 Magic cards players can use in matches against other players 24/7. The many Magic Online game rooms will enable players of varying levels to find each other at any hour of the day for everything from casual pick-up games to official tournaments and chatting about their favorite game and trading with other players.
"Magic: The Gathering is widely viewed as one of the best games ever created and it's exciting to be bringing all of the fun of Magic to the online gaming community," explained Joe Hauck, Vice President of Trading Card Games for Wizards of the Coast. "Our R&D team and developer Leaping Lizard have done a beautiful job of taking Magic online, with thousands of richly illustrated Magic cards, fully integrated rules, rooms for every level of player, online player rankings and more. Feedback from testers has been overwhelmingly positive."
For those new to Magic: The Gathering, the game's step-by-step online tutorial and practice rooms make it easy to learn. Further, Wizards of the Coast will offer a Free Trial feature to introduce Magic Online to players. Players will be able to choose from several ready-to-play Magic decks and use the cards to learn how to play and to practice. "We felt it was important to offer new players an easy, no-cost way to find out what Magic is all about," explained Kyle Murray, Director of Marketing for the Magic: The Gathering brand. "Also for new players we'll be publishing articles on the game's official web site offering tips and strategies for playing Magic." The Magic Online web site, www.mtgonline.com, will launch in late-May.
More than 60,000 players have participated in the Magic Online beta test since February 2002. The game is scheduled for release next month. Players will be able to purchase a starter game (MSRP $14.99), which will include the online game CD, a certificate good for one ready-to-play online theme deck, a Magic: The Gathering rulebook and the Magic Online manual. Players can also choose to download the game for free and will have access to the Free Trial decks for use in the game's practice rooms. Additional cards will be offered in 15-card booster packs (MSRP $3.29) and 60-card, ready-to-play theme decks and tournament packs (MSRP $9.99). In a gaming industry first, players who collect a full set of Magic Online cards will have the option to redeem their online cards for physical Magic cards.
Magic: The Gathering, invented by Richard Garfield and first released in 1993, is the most widely played trading card game with an estimated million players in 52 countries and more than 100,000 official tournaments held annually.