Earlier today, Wizards of the Coast announced the new Wizards Creator Program, aimed at helping build up the growing community of content creators using the new Magic the Gathering Arena (Beta) platform.

The program will give eligible content creators (50+ viewers on streaming or 1,000+ views on demand) access to special perks, a members-only line of communication with Wizards of the Coast, and early preview access to new content in Magic the Gathering Arena.

Additionally, members of the program will receive in-game items that they can share with their own communities as well as increased visibility and promotion from Wizards of the Coast’s official social networks and platforms.

The announcement does not come as a surprise as many modern eSport platforms have a small community of privileged content creators who provide direct feedback and gain the support of the production company in exchange for producing quality content that promotes the platform.

Some in the community may, in their most adult voice, refer to this practice as “shilling.” However, there’s a clear difference between pandering to a company in exchange for gifts and creating a relationship with that company that’s mutually beneficial.

Wizards of the Coast will get more quality content creators on-board and they’ll get direct feedback from some of their most dedicated players who will be getting their own feedback from their communities. The content creators will be getting some much needed assistance in building up their channels. Nothing in the agreement, as far as I can tell, requires the content to be positive.

A more legitimate concern the community is likely to voice is what Wizards of the Coast has in store for content creators still using Magic the Gathering Online. After all, MTGA is still in beta, and while the community around that platform is growing, the communities that support formats like Draft, Commander, 1v1 Commander, Pauper, Cube, Standard, Modern, Legacy, Vintage, and my personal favorite, Momir Basic, are all still confined to Magic Online for the foreseeable future.

Now, Magic Online does have a beta program where players can test out upcoming sets and provide direct feedback to Wizards of the Coast, but it isn’t as fleshed out as this new creator program seems to be. I believe Wizards of the Coast when they say they will continue to support Magic Online, but the support they’re giving Arena is clearly far beyond Magic Online’s. Time will tell what it means for the Magic Online community.

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13

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