Within the past five years, the world has grown much smaller due to the onset of “Web 2.0”. With this great crusade from real-world consumerism into the online world, nearly every industry is attempting to gain a foothold in this new gold-rush. Retail Stores are closing their big box stores in order to use their money towards online sales. Even car commercials boast their ability to connect to the internet over their safety.
Collectable Card Games are not immune to this extreme shift towards online consumerism and online entertainment – and it appears to be the saving grace of both the casual and competitive Collectable Card Gamers.
With the introduction of Web2.0, also known as “the interactive internet”, has proven to be akin to the industrial revolution in terms of Trading Card Game potential. How does this happen, exactly?
A Congregation of the Masses
The most important reason as to why the internet is revolutionizing the Trading Card Game industry is due to the fact that the entire consumerbase is able to play against one another. That never existed in paper-format. Because the games were being held in a physical location with a paper-format, playing a simple casual game proved to be very difficult. A consumer would have to first build their deck, then take it over to a friends house, or a local shop to find a player to play against. If neither were readily available to that consumer, they likely will not play the game in even a casual sense.
In order to combat this, paper format card games created weekly events. The most popular of such is Friday Night Magic, which attempted to bring the members of the community together around the game they love.
None of that is required anymore with a digital format. Now, not only can a consumer find an opponent from their own home, the entire consumerbase is available in the same location at all times. While a paper-format consumer is confined to players within the same proximity of that consumer, the digital format allows one consumer to converse with thousands.
By allowing the entire consumerbase to be in such a confined space, the game itself improves drastically. There is more discussion about the games strategy. From this comes a greater level of competition. Because more cards are available, a wider range of decks are more readilly available to play. Play improves drastically from this in both the competitive and casual realms. Because of this increase in deck-quality on the casual side of the game, the competitive side of the game also improves due to a larger competitive playerbase.
The internet-based trading card game also offers many benefits to creators, as well. Paper-format games cater more to the competitive players than casual gamers. Because only a select few players out of the playerbase are considered competitive, creators rarely meet the expectations of most of their players. However, Online Trading Card Games greatly increase the satisfaction of the casual player: There are more opponents to play against, more cards available to deckbuild, and more teachers to teach the basics of the game.
Developers are catching onto this very quickly, as well. Within the past 5 years,many online trading card games have been developed and have seen great commercial success, including PoxNora, Urban Rivals, Ederon, and Chaotic. Most recently, the Pokemon Trading Card Game has confirmed their development of an online client for their paper-formatted game.
This is a drastic change in the buisness model of the Trading Card Game companies. However, it is one that comes with great benefit to both its consumer, as well as the developers.