UBS conducted its “fireside chat” with Hasbro, which was primarily focused on Magic: The Gathering, at 11 am ET on December 8, 2022.

The fireside chat featured Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks and Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming President Cynthia Williams fielding questions moderated by Arpine Kocharyan of UBS.

In the early portions of the chat, Williams' addressed Magic's brand strategy as well as the status of organized play. She noted that the segment of the Magic fan community growing the most was the "hybrid" players (players who play Magic both in-person and on MTG Arena), who are the highest-spending segment of the consumer base. They spend 40% more than other segments, according to Williams, but it was unclear as to how that was divided between tabletop and online purchases. Williams also mentioned that there has been a "bold return" to in-store play, and revealed that in-store play is back to about 75% of what it was pre-pandemic.

Kocharyan posed a question as to whether or not Magic was overprinted, a question prompted by allegations of overproduction by by Jason Haas of Bank of America when the company downgraded its rating of Hasbro’s stock (see "'Magic: The Gathering' Fireside Chat"). Williams insisted that overprinting was not an issue because demand is higher than ever, and most Magic releases are print-to-demand:

"In aggregate, there is no evidence that Magic is overprinted," said Williams. "And the sentiment of Magic needing to cut print runs to support prices; that's a misunderstanding of our business and our customers. If prices of a print-to-demand product rises significantly soon after launch, that simply means that we are not adequately meeting customer demand and we are making millions of players unhappy at their lack of ability at acquiring the cards that they want to play."

One of the aspects of potential overproduction not addressed by this response is the reprinting of valuable Magic cards, which may decrease their value on the secondary market. Later in the chat, when asked if she was concerned about the secondary market value of the cards dropping, Williams deflected:

“Like any market for any other collectible products, some products and individual cards do become more collectible than others," she said. "And values can change over time due to a multitude of external factors, many entirely unrelated to the number of cards.”

Williams noted that the Universes Beyond: Warhammer 40,000 Commander Decks were on their third cycle of printing, due to reorder demand (see "Pushes Back 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Warhammer 40,000' Set"). Cocks chimed in later by mentioning how important Universes Beyond was to future growth in the overall Magic The Gathering brand strategy.

Williams also addressed the sales of the Magic 30th Anniversary Edition, and said that WotC "…scaled back the expected supply to ensure a great collector-expected experience."

Cocks and Williams also briefly addressed the impact of inflation and supply chain issues on the brand. Cocks talked about the cost build-up in printing, and how it has resulted in increased prices per pack on booster products. Williams discussed how supply chain issues caused a more compressed release schedule in the second half of 2022 (see "PRO: TCG Market in Flux").

They then moved on to briefly discussing the status of D&D. Williams noted that Dungeon Masters are only about 20% of the playing population, but make up the bulk of the purchases. Additionally, Cocks believes that the Dungeons & Dragons brand has greater recognition than Magic: The Gathering; WotC will be focused on growing all its aspects as a tabletop game, online game, toy, and entertainment brand in 2023. Cocks also believes that the upcoming D&D movie will be a success as an activation point for the brand and he is "long on D&D."

For more information on future releases of Magic products, check out ICv2's 2022 calendar (see "‘Magic: The Gathering’ Release Calendar For 2022/2023").