How To Kill Your Golden Goose — Magic: The Gathering from an Investor’s Perspective
I’ve been an investor in Hasbro since I first got into investing in 2014. It is usually a company that pays dividends well and constantly tries to improve its bottom line for the benefit of its investors. But that’s not why I bought Hasbro (and continued to buy and hold the stock) over the years. No, the reason was because I was and still am an avid Magic: The Gathering (MTG) player. I’ve been playing the game long before I even started investing in Hasbro. And even though Hasbro owns the game, it’s operated by a subsidiary known as Wizards of the Coast (colloquially referred to as WotC by fans and detractors alike).
I could talk about the state of the game, or the terrible things that WotC are doing in their playtesting department, or all the power creep that has burdened the game. However, talking about that stuff will only interest nerds like me who actually play the game. No, today, I’ll be looking at why WotC and Hasbro are strangling the second-largest income earner they have. And why it might be a sign that another company should consider swooping in and buying up MTG from Hasbro. Because if this continues, I’m almost sure we may see a collapse of the MTG economy we know and love.
How The MTG Economy Works
If you’ve listened to any MTG player, chances are you’ll hear how expensive a game Magic is to play. This isn’t just because of the cost of a pack (which is reasonable, at around $US4-$US7 per booster), but the cost of individual cards, known as “singles.” Some MTG singles could run into the hundreds (or, in some cases of foils, thousands) of dollars. In 2021, Polygon pointed out that a single Black Lotus sold for a million dollars at auction. Aside from the exorbitant price of the Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited sets, other non-foil magic cards from recent sets don’t hold that sort of value. However, paying $US4 for a pack and opening a card worth $US45 feels like no other. It’s the reason Magic players play “the lottery” and crack new packs with each new set release. WotC has long since decried the existence of the secondary market (where you…