Disney looks to conquer trading card games with Lorcana

The Walt Disney Company is making a push into the billion-dollar collectible card game (CCG) market that has been dominated for decades by Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon. Disney has partnered with tabletop games publisher Ravensburger for Lorcana, a trading card game that leverages iconic characters and artwork from Disney animation. The first cards debuted as part of the D23 Expo to great fanfare and have been reselling at a hefty markup, signaling a strong initial interest in the concept ahead of its official launch in the fall of 2023.

The cards premiered included new original art for a range of Disney characters including Elsa from Frozen, Captain Hook, Robin Hood, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, Stitch, and Mickey Mouse himself—as featured in the classic short The Brave Little Tailor. Disney claims that Lorcana will “contain more original Disney artwork than any other single product ever created.”

Ravensburger, a German toys and games publisher with global distribution, has a long history in the industry and was a logical choice for Disney, having previously developed a number of products based on Disney properties, including their Villainous line of asymmetrical card games in which players assume the role of a classic Disney villain and attempt to complete their schemes before the other players.

Disney and Ravensburger may have reason to believe that Lorcana can succeed. Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that animation fans are more likely to play games and spend about 60% more per month on games and collectibles, on average – more than science fiction fans and about the same as fantasy fans, but not quite as much as Pokémon franchise fans. Ravensburger is swinging big and has assembled a team of industry veterans with decades of experience working on CCGs.

Lorcana will aim to appeal to Disney fans, newcomers to trading card games, and experienced trading card game players alike. It will need to attract both veteran CCG players from other games and new players who have never played a CCG in order to succeed. While little information about the game itself has been released, the gameplay is said to be more accessible for newcomers than its counterparts, but still have the strategic depth and the combo-building that make collectible card games compelling to CCG players.

Of course, it takes more than a strong intellectual property to succeed in the CCG industry. Many have tried to challenge Magic and Pokémon to claim a piece of the CCG market, and while a few titles have found some smaller niche success, most ultimately fail within a few years. While the Disney characters may attract players initially to try Lorcana, satisfying gameplay and a strong community through organized play are how CCGs build an ongoing audience and thrive.

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