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Universes Beyond license hurts MTG operating profits for Q4

Universes Beyond is behind a lot of Magic: The Gathering’s financial success, but this quarter Hasbro has felt the cost of its licensing.

MTG Universes Beyond Q4 profits - Wizards of the Coast art of Frodo reaching for The One Ring

Hasbro has revealed its Q4 financial results, and it seems like the MTG Universes Beyond license is taking a toll on Magic: The Gathering profits. According to a report from February 13, operating profit for Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming fell by 2% “due to higher royalty costs associated with Universes Beyond”.

Universes Beyond refers to a line of licensed products that have been releasing since 2020. What began with third-party MTG Secret Lairs has ballooned into full MTG sets based on other franchises. Previous financial reports hyped up the Warhammer 40k Commander decks, which were so popular (and profitable) that Hasbro had to keep reprinting them.

Our MTG aficionado Matt Bassil has sung the praises of Universes Beyond in the past, and it does seem like the line is good for Magic’s finances overall. Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming saw a 10% year-on-year revenue increase in Q4, and Hasbro reckons the “strong performance” of the best-selling Universes Beyond Lord of the Rings set is behind some of that growth.

Plus, it seems like a lot of Hasbro’s future plans for MTG involve Universes Beyond investment. In the same call, Hasbro CFO Gina Goetter says that, while Magic revenue is expected to be flat or down in 2024, “Magic will be back to growth in 2025 as we expand our Universes Beyond lineup”. CEO Chris Cocks also says to expect two premier Universes Beyond from 2025 onwards.

The cost of that license might feel like more of a squeeze in months to come, though – as Hasbro predicts Wizards of the Coast revenue is predicted to decline by up to 5% in 2024. The forecast comes after Hasbro’s total revenue declined 15% in Q4. Combine these numbers with the recent slew of Hasbro layoffs that cut Wizards of the Coast staff, and the future looks wobbly for the trading card game publisher.

You can read more in Hasbro’s Q4 financial report. For more about Magic: The Gathering, be sure to follow us on Google News. We can also tell you about the upcoming MTG release schedule and the latest MTG Arena decks in our dedicated guides.