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Magic Online Development Update

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Summary
The Dark Ascension set release broke Magic Online’s concurrent user and activity records. The new client project continues to progress in a closed beta. We have two concurrent infrastructure and feature bundles under development for release in 2012.

New Client
Our external vendor completed their contribution on the new WPF client in Q3 2011. Our internal dev team was always going to maintain and grow the client going forward as the client was integrated into the greater system’s code base. The WPF platform is delivering on its promise of lowering barrier to entry. New users will be able to download the new client and be up and running in less than 5 minutes on a typical internet connection. We are responding to beta and usability study feedback to continually improve on the new client design and implementation, while we also work on polish and bugs. In the coming months, the WPF client will become available for all to use on production as a beta client. The V3 client will continue to be available for some time after the beta client launches in order to smooth the transition to the new client.

Infrastructure Update
Activity during the Dark Ascension release period was significantly higher than previous online releases. The system performed well, and user reimbursement requests and customer contact volume were below our targets. A component-by-component review of system performance by our Live and Architecture teams showed that the system looks like it is going to continue to hold up to the increases in users and activity. We will continue to work on our infrastructure to ensure that the system supports all the expected growth.

2012 Maintenance
The Live team continues to ship fixes to all levels of the system during our monthly maintenance builds. Their work on internal tools, reporting systems, infrastructure bugs, and such is not always visible to our customers, but it is an important part of the system’s stability and usability. Stability during the Dark Ascension release was another indication that the ongoing tuning and debugging performed by the Live team is paying off.

2012 Magic Online Development Plan

  • Deliver Quality Card Set Releases – Ongoing
  • Updated eCommerce Infrastructure (with improved PayPal User Experience) – Q2 2012
  • New Client UI - In closed beta and usability studies
  • New Tournament Play Format for Q2 2012 – in closed beta now
  • Next Feature/Infrastructure Bundle – Q4 2012
  • Planechase Support – Late June 2012.
  • Leagues – will be built together with significant infrastructure updates to our game and tournament management services with work beginning early in Q4 2012. The target delivery date will be established after that project gets scoped and scheduled.

Gordon Culp
Director – Game and Brand Systems Design
Game and Brand Systems
Wizards of the Coast, LLC

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