Magic’s revenue fell in the second quarter of 2020 when compared to the second quarter of 2019, despite extremely strong sales from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, which became Magic’s best-selling Spring set of all time.

“Magic: the Gathering revenues were down in the quarter as forecast,” Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said in today’s earnings call. “The brand is performing well overall and set up for a good second half of the year.”

Goldner explained that the year over year decline in revenue was due to a variety of factors. Q2 2019 was actually Magic’s most successful quarter ever thanks to the release of Modern Horizons in June 2019, while the comparable set in 2020 (Double Masters) is scheduled for August. Hasbro also moved shipments that would normally occur in April through June to earlier in the year in order to minimize disruption from COVID-19, pushing some of Q2’s revenue into Q1. Altogether, Hasbro’s total gaming category (in which Magic is included) revenue declined 19% year over year, though the combined Q1 and Q2 revenue rose 4% year over year. (Magic’s revenues are not reported separately from the larger total gaming category.)

This decline came in spite of the fact that Ikoria, which had a staggered release in April and May 2020, “is going down as the best-selling Spring set of all time,” according to Goldner. Magic has had a strong series of Spring sets over the last three years, with the release of Dominaria in April, 2018 and War of the Spark in May, 2019, making Ikoria’s success during the COVID-19 pandemic even more impressive.

“Magic Arena was up in the quarter,” Goldner continued. “We did see over 2.5 billion games played in total [at the end of Q2] which is up from 2.1 billion at the end of Q1.” In addition, “Magic Arena players are still spending about 9 hours a week on average” playing the game. He also revealed that Wizards’ partnership with Tencent, which will distribute MTG Arena on desktop and mobile in China, is set to begin by the end of 2020.

As for tabletop, Goldner acknowledged that the closure of many local game stores hurt Magic’s in-person play. However, he noted that “the Wizards Play Network stores expanded by double digits in the quarter so, we’re seeing more stores reopening.”

Goldner also spoke about Hasbro’s response to the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement. “We remain deeply committed to using our brands, our resources, and our expertise to help make a difference in our local communities and around the world,” he said. “We’ve applied this belief to the ongoing dialogue across our company around racial injustice, listening and looking within ourselves and our organization critically and honestly. While we don’t have all the answers, we have never been more committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and using our brands, our entertainment, and our influence to make a difference in the world.”

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