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MTG Universes Beyond fees blamed for 37% drop in profits

A major loss in Magic: The Gathering's profits this quarter has been blamed on one fewer set release, and fees paid for third-party Universes Beyond products.

MTG Universes Beyond art showing Sauron

Hasbro has reported a year-on-year decline in profits of 37% in its Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming segment, in which Magic: The Gathering is the main revenue driver. It says a major reason for the loss in profits is higher royalty expenses, caused by the recent plethora of MTG Universes Beyond products.

In its Second Quarter Financial Results for 2023, Hasbro also chalks a reduction in revenue of 11% up to having released one fewer MTG set in Q2, compared to this time last year. Obviously, this is somewhat to blame for the lower profits too, but paying to license sets like MTG Lord of the Rings and MTG Doctor Who is the other main reason Hasbro lists, alongside unspecified “increased investments”.

That said, taking a broader look, things aren’t looking at all bad for Universes Beyond – in fact, quite the reverse. Lord of the Rings is already the second best-selling Magic: The Gathering set of all time (second only to Modern Horizons 2), and it’s expected to smash $200 million in revenue by Christmas. And Doctor Who hasn’t had a chance to make a splash, since it doesn’t come out for another (hastily checking the MTG release schedule) two months.

MTG Universes Beyond art showing David Tennant as the doctor

Meanwhile the digital and licensed gaming part of the segment has had a 33% increase in revenue, due to more D&D Beyond signups and increased MTG Arena profits. Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks also expressed high hopes for the just-released Baldur’s Gate 3, explaining that it should make more for the business than the last 10 years of movie licensing has done.

So while the figures may make things look a bit worrying for Q2, a more in-depth examination shows we shouldn’t jump to any negative conclusions about Universes Beyond right now. Hasbro explained that it expects the next quarter to be one of the best yet for Magic: The Gathering – which surely must be partly on the back of its two UB sets.

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