In the early 2000s, Wizards of the Coast, in collaboration with Leaping Lizard, was hard at work developing a digital version of Magic: The Gathering. Unlike previous digital incarnations of Magic – or really any trading card game – this was not going to be a game based on the concepts of Magic or set in the Multiverse of Magic, but a faithful translation of everything that made Magic successful as a trading card game: collecting cards, trading cards, building decks, playing matches, and participating in tournaments. In order for this model to work, however, we had to take a leap of faith and hope that players would be as invested in collecting digital versions of the cards as the were in collecting the paper versions.
It may be hard to believe, but this was long enough ago that the concept of digital objects was a radical new idea. Magic Online was released in June of 2002, almost a full year before Apple unveiled its now ubiquitous iTunes Store and five years before Amazon released its Kindle digital book reader. In short, the idea of a digital economy was very new and Magic Online was on the cutting edge. There was no roadmap of previous success and certainly no guarantee that players would want to collect digital versions of Magic cards.
Wizards wanted to find a way to build player confidence in the digital version and reinforce that Magic Online is just an extension of Magic in general. Thus the Redemption Program was born.
Fast forward to 2013 and we see Magic: The Gathering continuing to grow in global popularity. With this growth, however, the costs associated with printing, processing, shipping, and the general administration of the Magic Online Redemption Program have increased to the point at which we must make a change.
Starting with the Gatecrash redemption release in March, and for every redemption release thereafter, the handling cost for set redemption will be increasing to from $5 to $25 per set redeemed. We will not be changing the redemption rates for Return to Ravnica or older sets, nor will we be changing the current shipping rates.
Thank you for your understanding.
Magic Online Business Manager