Once strictly limited to heated arguments in the corner of a
school cafeteria, collectible card games, or CCGs, have entered the
digital gaming market.
With the push towards "free to play" (F2P) microtransaction-based
mobile and social games, many companies have taken an interest in
digital CCGs because of their ease of development and monetization.
CCGs are games where players purchase randomized "booster packs" of
cards with different abilities and interactive features, to build
"decks" to compete against other players. The player base is
maintained through cyclical releases of new sets of cards that
change the game in different ways.
The first CCG to find major commercial success was
Magic: The Gathering
, which continues today as a subsidiary of
A wave of imitators copied Magic's success, including Japanese
Many others existed as niche projects, but the growth of video
games as a competing medium, and the established success of the CCG
revenue stream, have resulted in another rush of developers to the
A CCG may succeed or fail depending on how well it courts the
"midcore" demographic. This refers to the balance between making a
game tactically deep and rewarding enough to reward your hardcore
competitive gamer, but also accessible enough to encourage a more
F2P games generally try to ascribe to the 80:20 rule where 20% of
your player base is paying (in this case, hardcore players) and
therefore subsidizing the 80% who may not (casual players).
) CCGs such as
Rage of Bahamut
War of the Fallen
Ayakashi Ghost Guild
rank as some of the highest grossing apps in mobile gaming. They
combine addictive gameplay with accessibility, and incentivize the
hardcore market with premium priced cards.
As imitators to successful games flood the market, some companies
are taking great steps to differentiate their games from the
(ATVI) brought the digital CCG battle back to the physical world
with their respective
Both games work via figurines with chips embedded in their bases.
Players use them to interact with an accompanying video game
through proprietary hardware plugged in to a
(SNE) PlayStation or
(MSFT) XBox console.
Different figures affect the video game in different ways, and with
both companies leveraging numerous recognizable intellectual
properties and artificial rarity, expect the riots at Toys 'R Us to
continue into the foreseeable future.
And Activision is doubling down on the CCG market as it enters Beta
, a digital CCG based on the massively popular
With players growing to accept the F2P business model and a proven
revenue stream, CCGs are shaping up to be a genre more developers
will embrace in the future.
Do you think CCGs have mainstream staying power? Consider this
"power nine" of digital and physical CCG developers and partners.
Click on the interactive chart to see data over time.
1. Apple Inc.: Produces PCs, mobile devices, and portable digital
music players, and sells related software and third-party digital
content. Market cap at $478.93B, most recent closing price at
2. Activision Blizzard, Inc.: Activision Blizzard, Inc. publishes
online, personal computer (PC), console, handheld, and mobile games
of interactive entertainment worldwide. Market cap at $19.52B, most
recent closing price at $17.46.
3. Walt Disney Co.: Operates as an entertainment company worldwide.
Market cap at $121.83B, most recent closing price at $67.61.
4. Hasbro Inc.: Engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing
of games and toys. Market cap at $6.48B, most recent closing price
5. Konami Corp.: Develops, publishes, markets, and distributes
video game software products for stationary and portable consoles,
as well as for use on personal computers. Market cap at $3.4B, most
recent closing price at $24.50.
6. Microsoft Corporation: Develops, licenses, and supports a range
of software products and services for various computing devices
worldwide. Market cap at $291.99B, most recent closing price at
7. Sony Corporation: Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells
electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer,
professional, and industrial markets worldwide. Market cap at
$19.89B, most recent closing price at $19.68.
): Provides Web search and advertising solutions worldwide. Market
cap at $334.72B, most recent closing price at $1003.30.
9. Zynga Inc.: Develops, markets, and operates online social games
as live services played through the Internet and on social
networking sites and mobile platforms. Market cap at $2.9B, most
recent closing price at $3.65.
This story by
originally appeared on
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