The End Of Magic Story: On Paywalls, Advertising, and Magic: The Gathering Lore

The End Of Magic Story: On Paywalls, Advertising, and Magic: The Gathering Lore


oh hello this video will be an exploration of the shift from free episodic stories made available on the magic Story website to longer form narrative ebooks which will be sold for 399 each starting with the upcoming throne of L drains set is this moving the magic story behind a paywall is the magic storyline advertising for the game which therefore should remain free or is the magic story a product like any other that should therefore carry a price tag these are the central ideas I will be discussing in today’s video but first this video is brought to you today by audible and I specifically wanted this video to be brought to you today by audible because it allows me to give you a free copy of a Magic the Gathering audio book start listening with a 30-day audible trial in your first audio book plus two audible originals are free visit audible.com slash tellurian community or just text tellurian community to five hundred five hundred and there you go one free credit for any audio book on audible completely free and i of course am going to point you to the upcoming War of the spark forsaken audio book get it for free just by using my audible link or use your credit for any audiobook any audio book inaudible z’ library for free but I have to really recommend using your credit towards War of the spark forsaken because then you don’t have to spend a single dime of your hard-earned cash on the sequel to war of the spark so start your audible journey today for free with a free audio book of your choice just by going to audible.com tellurian community to 500 500 free the price is right [Music] on July 25th Wizards of the coast presented two key pieces of information in a singular announcement about Magic the Gathering storyline the wilder quest by Kate Elliott which will tell the story of throne of El drain will be available as an e-book for 399 on September 4th 2019 one month before the throne of El drains set is released Wizards of the coast also confirmed that magic story the free episodic stories that have been a feature of their online website for well over half a decade would be coming to an end with no continuation in the foreseeable future the biggest and most consistent reaction to this announcement was that this would essentially be taking the magic story which has been free since 2012 and placing it behind a paywall of three ninety-nine for each ebook my own immediate reaction which I tweeted out was that putting the magic story behind a pay wall is demonstrative of not understanding your own product or purpose and bad business the magic story is essentially an advertisement and a highly effective one at that it creates new fans and solidifies loyalty and enfranchisement of existing ones you should not charge for ads but is the magic storyline an advertisement or a product is this really a paywall or something else entirely and just how important is the magic storyline to Magic the Gathering anyways since 2012 when it was originally called uncharted realms magics story was a weekly column on the daily MTG Wizards of the coast resource website since that time it has essentially been the primary source for in-depth story information and it’s only been recently that long-form novels such as War of the spark have been offered for the magic storyline so for a long time magic story was not just the primary source it was the only source also free episodic magic story was released even after the Greg Weisman novel was for sale on shelves this year so well of course getting accurate numbers is difficult it is fair to say that at its piqué as well as when it previously operated under the name unchartered realms magic story had very high traction and impressions ultimately a larger and wider audience than even the early print novels of Magic’s history so why the shift to a for-sale a book rather than a for free story that is open to everyone and anyone the first reason is that by shifting to ebooks instead of magic story it allows a return to the long-form novel and despite my less than stellar opinion of Weissman’s Wharf the spark novel this is something I can really get behind having to limit storytelling to short episodic web articles only means there’s an enormous amount of detail history character development and other story elements that will often have to be left out due to only having a short amount of space within to work so obviously a novel offers more or at the very least different possibilities than a short story though of course this is in no way applying that novels are superior to short fiction merely different they offer different things and an expansion of things in this example but to this I would invoke the age-old wisdom of why not both there’s also many advantages to short fiction many things short fiction can do that long-form narratives can’t and thus I fully support expanding magics storyline into long form novels but I don’t see why short form fiction needs to go away as a result the answer to this appears to be the forever classic bottom line things cost money to make well whereas magic story was written in-house by Wizards of the coast employs novels like war of the spark children of the nameless and the wild herb quest are being written by established authors of the fantasy genre Greg Weissman Brandon Sanderson Kate Eliot we’ve got upcoming works by Django Wexler and more these have been announced and obviously this talent needs to be paid for their work so having a price tag on the magic novels makes sense and I would never argue against that in fact as a fan of the return to novels in the long narrative form I in no way would argue that a book on the Shelf and ebook for my tablet an audiobook for my headphones should simply be free unless of course you use my audible link which allows you to get an audiobook for free just by going to audible.com slash tellurian community or texting to learning community – 500 500 but the issue here isn’t that the e-book has a price of 399 the issue is that what we have been given for free since 2012 is being taken away and seemingly replaced with something that has a price of 399 hence the accusations that this is tantamount to a paywall what’s more is the idea that the magic story is essentially an ad for the game of magic and advertisements as I implied shouldn’t have price tags this year’s advertisement for war of the spark must have cost a small fortune to produce from amazing rendered animations to the licensing and recording of an established and popular music artists work I would be willing to bet that this ad for war of the spark was the most expensive trailer Wizards of the coast has ever produced but it was money well spent the trailer went on to become the most viewed video ever in the entire history of magic the gatherings YouTube channel it was trending on social media for a significant amount of time and did everything an advertisement is meant to do it reached out to potential customers and not only made them aware of the upcoming product but yeah it got them excited about that product as well it generated buzz and apparently more of the spark was one of the more profitable sets of Magic the Gathering like you know in the game’s history so well obviously there were many factors leading to that the incredibly successful advertising is certainly going to be one of them so is there any value to having a Magic the Gathering storyline if it’s not profitable in and of itself I would argue that there is extreme value in this it creates an extreme amount of both interest and loyalty in existing players many Magic the Gathering players get obsessed with and continue to buy and play Magic the Gathering for reasons other than just competing in competitive magic many become engrossed in the characters their stories to such a point that you could argue there is a significant number of customers who are paying money that are only doing so because of the existence of a rich and engaging story but I think it also generates interest in potential customers – seeing the face of magic gathering the characters on a piece of artwork er a book cover or in an ad and wanting to learn more about who and what they are finding yourself connects to them through them being relatable or interesting those sort of factors you want to figure out what’s going on and for many the story can be a gateway into the game itself drawing in new players and solidifying their continued loyalty once they become customers in this sense the stories are an advertisement for the game and thus it can be argued that there is a benefit to spending some money that you will not see a return on such as the money spent on the war of the spark trailer or money spent on making the magic story columns even if you are not seeing an immediate return on it through direct sales the advantage to free magic story on a website is that people can link and share those links with customers and potential customers who might not otherwise pay for the story so for example a former magic player being given a link to the magic story where we returned to DOM and area and revisit many classic characters that players familiar with has the potential to get a click get a read and lo and behold maybe get them interested in the dama Neriah set going into their local game store to pick up some packs play in a pre-release what-have-you whereas that person might not have shelled out 399 for the complete ebook so is the shift from magic story to audiobooks essentially putting the magic story behind a paywall well yes and no in reality it is two different things linked only through them both beings storyline items what we are seeing is an introduction of a series of e-books written by established fantasy authors ebooks that you’ll need to purchase while the existing that we had magic story which up until recently was in-house created content that was provided for free is being taken away these are two separate things the ebooks are not the magic story in audio form with a price tag they are something new that happens to have a price tag in isolation had for example Wizards of the coast you said hey get ready for a new series of e-books by Kate Eliot this would have been nothing but a positive more is more as I always say but since this was given to us as a give and take away you get this new thing but lose an old thing in other words I do think it fair for customers to compare the two and see that one comes with a price tag whereas the other which has been around for a long long time was free and so we feel like we are losing the free thing well we are losing the free thing and we see the other thing is essentially a replacement even though if you really think about it that’s not completely accurate and we see all of this during that time of record profits it’s not literally putting magics story behind a paywall but it is reasonable that people can feel that way and it’s a shame too because there’s a lot to be excited about about these new e-books for throne of El drain the first thing and this is what’s really got me hyped about them is that none of them are written by Greg Weissman but the next is that we are getting names like Kate Elliot and Django Wexler and that is an exciting prospect in terms of world building narrative and expansion getting access to a large pool of talented and in some cases name recognition level fantasy authors such as Kate Eliot or Brandon Sanderson is a great asset to the story even if for every Sanderson you’re going to get a Greg Weisman and there’s another advantage to having these ebooks as well and it’s one that we can even see as a form of advertisement by having ebooks that will be listed on every single ebook platform meaning exposure to potential new customers is going to be increased so someone is browsing fantasy titles through barnesandnoble.com or whatever and they see oh wow Kate Elliot’s Magic the Gathering novel listed and they might choose to buy it become interested in the game in the set and become a potential new customer there’s no disadvantage to expanding into the ebook territory the issue is the perceived swamp and I think that that’s a real travesty here is that this is a good thing that’s getting a bad reputation through the loss of magic story but I also feel strongly that the value and having ebooks should not undercut the different value in having in-house talent and care play significant role in the development of the Magic the Gathering storyline from concept all the way up to complete short stories and novels the talent of an in-house story team means that you can better track and develop characters so that for example you don’t produce the most overwhelmingly positive storyline and development for your central character ever and then oops accidentally have it completely washed away and retconned by outside authors coming in and not knowing about or being properly tuned in to those developments which is something that actually happened and I really want to be clear on something else having that in-house talent and in-house story team doesn’t mean that people should be working for free one argument that makes me frustrated about this issue is people saying that we need to pay for the e-books so that the person writing it gets paid um I think that the person writing it whether it’s magic story for free or an e-book for sale needs to get paid no matter what whether you the company make it available for free you still need to pay your artists and workers at the end of the day it is extremely saddening to me that during what has been called the most profitable year Magic the Gathering has ever had we are having something taken away as a result magic story existed during those less profitable years and I would have liked to see the reaction to exploding profits be looking for ways to expand and give more not take away and give less so my final conclusion is that these are two separate and the ebooks are an interesting and exciting offering but they do not necessitate in any way the loss of the free magic story which can and should have been viewed as a worthwhile investment that helps the larger business and success of Magic the Gathering but now I want to hear from you do you plan to buy this upcoming ebook for throne of El drain are you sad to see the magic story go or do you think it’s the correct decision by Wizards of the coast just how important is the magic gathering story to you and what form should it take let me know in the comments below and remember to pick up your free audiobook from audible.com slash tellurian community or texting tellurian community to 500 500 thanks for audible for helping sponsor this video and you can help the channel out greatly just by visiting that link [Music]