E3 Coverage - Magic Online III
I met with Wizards of the Coast on Thursday morning and they revealed to me a new version of Magic Online due to go live in the third quarter of 2006. Essentially, they give away the software for free (and there's no subscription fee) and you then sell you content as you go. There's new content released every 3 months. People collect and trade digital objects (like cards). There's a significant market on Ebay. There are 6 million paper (or real card) players and 250,000 electronic players. There are 400 million digital objects in the Magic Online universe and they host 2 million games per month.
The client is a gathering place for players. It allows access to the store. You build a card deck. There's tech support in the chat rooms. There are gameplay rooms where you go to play against other players. There's a spectator mode so you can watch other players compete. Graphics have been updated to DirectX 9. AI has been improved.