Wizards of the Coast expected to launch Magic: The Gathering Arena on mobile devices in 2020 but delayed those launch plans into 2021. With early access on Android right around the corner, Wizards of the Coast offered the first details and look at the mobile client of the popular Magic: The Gathering digital platform in its January 2021 State of the Game update. The update confirms that Magic: The Gathering Arena will incorporate cross-platform play. That means players can use a single account and card collection to play on Android, iOS, PC, and Mac and against players on any of those platforms.
Images of the mobile version of the game reveal some tweaks to the user interface to better suit smaller, more rectangular mobile phone screen. Player avatars are off to one side instead of front and center. Similarly, opponents' hands are off-center and will be "tucked" at points and then untuck as needed. Playing a Magic: The Gathering game on the mobile client works like playing on a PC or Mac but uses touch activation instead of point and click mouse controls.
Wizards of the Coast stresses that Magic: The Gathering Arena on mobile devices will be real Magic: The Gathering, despite the challenges the game's complexities pose. "We do not intend to change how we approach Magic design to specifically accommodate mobile play," the State of the Game post reads. "Nor do we wish to provide a limited, watered-down mobile experience. Instead, our goal is to optimize and make improvements to the gameplay experience across all of our platforms so that playing on your phone is just another 'and' to the Magic experience. We're most of the way there, and you'll see improvements in the months ahead as we expanded our supported devices."
Magic: The Gathering Arena launches into Android early access on January 28th, alongside the debut of Magic: The Gathering's newest expansion set, Kaldheim. Compatibility with lower-spec Android devices, iOS devices, and tablets is in development.
The State of the Game update also revealed the roadmap of features coming to Magic: The Gathering Arena soon. Kaldheim and Android early access launch in January. Additional mobile platform support, the upcoming Strixhaven expansion, and Historic Anthology 4 are all in development. In the further future, the development team is working on concepts for the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms expansion, the Pioneer Masters set, deck sharing, and improvements to the collection interface and play blade.
Magic: The Gathering Arena is available now on PC and Mac.
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