Is the HARRY POTTER TCG destine for the Vault?
OK, what does that mean?!? Well, “Wizards of the Coast”(WOTC) has a Trading Card Game (TCG) “vault” for games that they no longer produce and sell. The vault holds game info, rules, and card lists. WOTC puts their DEAD games there. Is Harry Potter the next to be vanquished to this repository? I hope not.
The problem is that the situation looks bad for the Harry Potter game. Is this looking at the glass and saying it is half empty? Yes. Let’s look at the WOTC’s stable of TCGs and all the new stuff on the horizon for each.
WOTC has seven TCG’s in production at the moment; they are:
Magic: The Gathering
Major League Showdown
Magic is WOTC’s jewel. The card game that each other TCG producers would like to emulate. The game has been around for about a decade, and has 25 expansions. Magic has two “league” types of events going for it, Friday Night Magic and the Arena league. Magic is here to stay!
Pokemon has been going through a lot of growing pains. This is not WOTC’s fault. A Japanese company owns Pokemon. They exert a lot of control over how, and what gets released to the market place. This “control” can have adverse affects on the Pokemon community. Even so, Pokemon is poised for a whole new experience with the BattleZone “League/Tournament” and two new expansions on the horizon (Aquapolis in January and Skyridge in Spring ’03).
Star Wars has a new expansion call “Battle of Yavin” due out on March of ’03. I did not get any league info for this game, so I am unsure if there will be one in the 2003 year. Not having a league is not helpful in development of the game.
Major League. The Major league group consists of the MLB, NFL, and NBA. All three seem to going ok. WOTC web site has lots of information about all three. It appears that MLB will start up in the March timeframe for leagues. The NFL card game has new boosters for 2003. Only the NBA portion of this trilogy looks to be not running leagues at this time and there is no info about the future.
So this leaves us with Harry Potter. If you call a WOTC store near you (if it hasn’t closed yet), you get a comment like this, “There will not be a HP league in January”. Not a good sign. Ok, so call WOTC in Seattle Washington where WOTC has its headquarters. They are a bit more diplomatic about it. They say, “We do not have any information about that.” When asked about leagues. WOTC can talk your ear off about other leagues starting up in January. This “no information”, speaks volumes. What about the next expansion set? Same answer! Oh, this IS bad. No leagues and no more expansions. Does this mean the end of Harry Potter? Maybe.
I firmly believe that the Harry Potter leagues as we know them are done. I do not see WOTC continuing to support that aspect of the TCG. Nothing that they have said recently makes me think that the leagues will come back. This is a shame. But this does not mean the end of leagues entirely. WOTC stores will not be having leagues, but other stores will continue to have leagues using the old materials.
Does this mean no more new cards? This is hard to say. When I did my Harry Potter TCG demonstration at my local United Artists movie theatre during the movies first weekend I was surprised at the number of people who knew about the cards but NOTHING about the league. Terrible. They go hand in hand. The league message got lost in the jumble that is the Harry Potter Tsunami! It doesn’t help that there are also “movie” trading cards. What idiot made that marketing error? This is the same situation that Topps Pokemon cards had on the Pokemon TCG cards. Most people do not understand that there is a difference between the two. This only helps dilute the game base and piss off parents when they get the “wrong” product. Well, I did not answer the “new cards” question.
In my opinion, there will be at least one more set. Why? Because of the lead-time to bring this sort of product to market and the fact that there is still a large fan base for the cards from collectors rather than players/collectors. The other factor here is that Harry Potter is here to stay. There will be more books, movies, and other toys. It is possible that WOTC can make more money by getting rid of leagues and just making cards. We will just have to wait and see.
I am hoping that HP continues to be produced and that I am wrong about the leagues. Time will tell. In Maryland there will be at least one store that will continue to hold HP league. That store is the former Dugoutzone in Eldersburg (it is now known as the Arena). Will Harry Potter become WOTC’s 11th game to be put into “The Vault”? Lets hope NOT!
Here are the games that are currently in the “vault”.
Legend of the Burning Sands