Every major entertainment and toy company has spent the last decade building their own deck of intellectual properties. Whether its movies or merchandising, the company with the most beloved characters and universes has the most opportunity for revenue.
From Teletubbies to Michael Myers, from Mattel's (MAT) - Get Free Report bubble-gum pink Barbie dolls to Japanese collector's card game Pokémon, owning a handful of beloved IPs can give consumers myriad ways to interact with a company.
One of the most profitable ways for consumers to show their love of a favorite franchise might surprise you. Competitive trading card games have been around since the early 90s, thanks to introduction of the fantasy/sci-fi game "Magic: the Gathering". In 1999, Hasbro (HAS) - Get Free Report acquired Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns both the "Magic" and "Pokémon" trading card games -- along with the hit role-playing game "Dungeons & Dragons."
During Hasbro's most recent quarterly earnings call, CEO Chris Cox said that a portion of the company's success was due to Wizards of the Coast. The gaming company saw a 15% bump in revenue. He went on to estimate that 70%-80% of that growth came from "Magic: the Gathering." The immensely popular card-collecting game brought in more than $100M across multiple platforms.
Hasbro, it seems, also knows the value of a good, expansive universe. Last year, "Magic: the Gathering" announced a new series of playable card decks called Universe Beyond. The game would now include cards from incredibly lucrative IPs like Games' Workshop's (GMWKF) "Warhammer 40K" and the BBC's "Doctor Who." Universe Beyond will also include the overwhelmingly popular "Lord of the Rings" universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien.
As Hasbro thrives in the games space, the company is also leveraging its IPs for major motion pictures. "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" looks to be a well-produced and faithful adaptation of the game. While Hasbro tries to bust into the box-office, we all know Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report is the box-office king. And now Mickey Mouse is headed into the gaming space with Disney's own trading card game.
Disney Has its Own Card Game
At Disney's D23 expo, the House of Mouse announced their new trading card game. Lorecana will be a battle-style card game that allows friends and fans to play characters against one another. Each card describes the action the character on the card can complete and how much is "costs" them to play that card.
From the chaotically cute alien Stitch to the evil witch Maleficent, fans can collect card packs to build a strategy for successful battle. Disney has been pretty coy about the game's mechanics, but its indicated that the game will feature an in-universe overarching plot that facilitates the game play.
Disney & Hasbro See the Value in Universe-Building
If Disney's new card game is a success, the game will certainly launch decks based on other IPs under the Mouse's umbrella. Collectors cards for Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel universes could help ensure the longevity of the game. There's also opportunity to tie this trading card game to the mobile game "Disney's Mirrorverse", which is due out next month.
Though it seems that Hasbro has a lot of work to do in the film industry to bring a mainstream audience into the world of Wizards of the Coast, a good IP is more valuable now than ever before. Who knows? If the D&D movie is a success, we could see "Magic: the Gathering" enter the world of big-screen IP success, too.