In an open letter addressed to 'Friends of Magic' and posted on the Wizards of the Coast website, Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, announced that he is stepping down to concentrate on personal interests.  He will continue to work with WoTC as a consultant rather than as a full time employee.  Garfield estimates that he will still spend one day a week at the WoTC offices.  Unlike some of the other employees who have left Wizards since Hasbro acquired WOTC, Garfield expressed no animus towards the toy industry giant, stating that Hasbro was his 'first choice' for publishing any independent projects that he creates.


Given the success of Magic and the material rewards it must have brought its creator, it is astonishing that Garfield has stayed in the trenches this long; his commitment to games and gaming goes far beyond what many feel toward their various jobs and professions. Even if he never invents another game, Richard Garfield remains a very important figure in the pop culture industry.  He invented the most popular card game since contract bridge, and in so doing totally revolutionized fantasy gaming throughout the world.  The 'collectible card game' is one of the key pop culture innovations of the late twentieth century, and it has had a profound impact on the sports card industry (where it has kept many dealers afloat through tough times) and on the comics business (likewise) as well, to say nothing of its effect on fantasy gaming, where CCGs consistently dominate sales  (see 'Top Ten Cool Games').