Wizards Of The Coast Signals Increased Video Game Investment

Chris Cocks, the president of Wizards of the Coast, took to the company’s website today with some interesting things to say about future plans. A list of goals for the company lines up a clear agenda; Wizards of the Coast is investing more heavily in video games and technology moving forward, which should produce a direct effect on its biggest brands, including Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. 

While few specifics about any one project are provided, Cocks presents the evidence of several ongoing initiatives within Wizards of the Coast, all of which relate back to increased digital involvement. First, he highlights the recent creation of Wizards’ Digital Games Studio, led by Jeffrey Steefel. The studio includes designers drawn from places like Valve, Cryptic, Warner Bros, Activision, and BioWare. The Magic Online game has already been folded into this development group, and Cocks suggests that additional projects may be forthcoming. 

In addition to that internal studio, Cocks also points to the hiring of David Schwartz, who is heading up a publishing team aimed at increased partnerships and collaborations. Among the possibilities, Cocks wonders: “What would it be like to throw fireballs as a Planeswalker in an MMO, or quest for treasure with your friends in a D&D augmented-reality game?” He stops shorts of claiming that either of those projects might currently be in active development with any partner studios.

Finally, Cocks discusses the goal to make existing game infrastructure work better, thanks to a technology team led by Arron Goolsbey, suggesting that tournament matchmaking, game planning with friends, and even achievement tracking, are all priorities that might have additional technological solutions forthcoming. 

You can read Cocks’ full statement at the Wizards of the Coast website.

Our Take
Taken as a whole, the post is short on details, but coming as it does from the company’s president, it’s clear that Wizards of the Coast sees the value in integrating digital features with its popular tabletop franchises, and more aggressively investing in those elements moving forward. D&D, in particular, has struggled in recent years to find a breakout video game hit – especially compared with the late 1990s, during which time D&D helped shape the face of the video game role-playing scene through games like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment. Across its properties, Wizards of the Coast has no shortage of great fictional worlds to explore that could be explored in digital formats; here’s hoping they find a good way to leverage those worlds in the coming years.