Magic the Gathering Arena has officially entered a closed beta with an open streaming license, meaning for the first time ever, footage and livestreams of the exclusive beta are available to the public. After years of anticipation and development, the world’s most popular trading card game finally has digital representation.
Wizards of the Coast, the developer of Magic the Gathering, lifted their privacy agreement with the closed beta testers of Magic the Gathering Arena on March 22. With this change, Wizards of the Coast also released thousands of invitations to players around the world.
Southeastern Louisiana University Junior Arkeith White said, “Magic is the grandfather of every modern trading card game. They created a genre of games and have dominated the print market for decades.” White explained that Wizards of the Coast have never found success with a digital iteration of Magic the Gathering. For White, the lifting of the privacy agreement lets him see what has been going on behind closed doors for quite some time now. White hopes to come across a beta key of his own in the near future so he can experience the digital card game first hand.
Southeastern Sophomore Luke Manteaux said, “My dad introduced me to Magic before I could read. He taught me how to play and gave me a small collection of cards.” Manteaux explained that he has not played the game since he moved to college but an online platform could rekindle a lost interest.
For some players, the convenience of an online collection of cards would simplify looking for specific cards. Southeastern Junior Jaime Hunt said, “My collection of Magic cards fills up about 12 shoeboxes. A digital platform would really ease storage and organization.”
Wizards of the Coast have tried and failed to enter the digital market before with their earlier project Magic Duels. Magic Duels failed due to a dated game engine that did not account for more advanced card mechanics. Magic Duels also ran on a different rule set than paper Magic the Gathering, an element that did not sit well with most Magic the Gathering fans. Magic the Gathering Arena on the other hand, uses the exact same rule set as print Magic as well as including a powerful system that is easily malleable to accommodate even the most difficult mechanics.
White said, “I really hope Wizards of the Coast gets this game right. Magic the Gathering is too famous to not have a digital presence.”