Yesterday, a post about a “big project” linked to Disney Lorcana appeared on LinkedIn. We initially thought it could be a game, but it is now confirmed as internal software.
The post had official art and said: “A big project is on the horizon and my friends are looking for talented developers to make an app in the games space. The project is expected to last for months, if not years.”
Other hints and likes made it seem clear this was a Disney Lorcana project and not another of Ravensburger’s games. Based on certain pieces of information, this sounded like the first step toward making an official Disney Lorcana online game.
Update: A source has since confirmed that this was to do with internal software, not an online client.
Our second guess was a more boring type of app, but something quite helpful to the community – in a less direct way. We’ll leave the speculation on that for another time.
Will An Official Client Be Released?
While this post didn’t turn out to be about an official online Disney Lorcana client – it doesn’t rule one out. Many TCGs have both physical and digital versions. However, don’t expect one soon.
Making a polished, playable, and user-friendly game for a game with ever-expanding rules is a huge task. Especially if Ravensburger planned to monetize it properly to tie in with physical packs. Any potential online version of the game is just a twinkle in Ryan Miller’s eye for the time being.
But with how popular Disney Lorcana has become in such a short time, an official gameplay app would have huge potential for players. It can make the game easier to learn for newbies, less hassle to try out for people on the edge, and more accessible for people who may have difficulty playing at in-person events.
Is Disney Lorcana Online A Good Idea?
TCGs rely on sales of a physical product. If you make that product digital, wouldn’t that mean people just switch online to save money? It depends. If done right, they could both play into each other and increase sales and players.
Modern card games tend to be either online-only, or have a limited client. Magic: The Gathering Arena is one major exception. It’s a very well-polished official app for MTG that has a tonne of different modes, game formats, and features.
It’s also hugely profitable for WotC. Players can buy packs, bundles, card backs, skins, and more through the app. Some real-life products contain codes to get cards in the game, but this is limited. Even with Arena having millions of active players, the physical TCG itself is still very popular.
In Arena, players can compete casually against bots or one another. There are small online events and large-scale competitive competitions done solely through the app, and winning these can gain you entry to real-life events.
Disney Lorcana Online
Whether any official Disney Lorcana online client would have these features would be total speculation. A well-made official app could be amazing news for casual and competitive players.
Some casual collectors or Disney fans haven’t had any experience in TCGs and may be hesitant to try the game if it means having to go to an LGS for the first time. We already have a great official app for keeping track of a collection and counting lore.
If they could try playing the game on the same app – with a nice tutorial mode – it could mean they’re more likely to start playing the game IRL. That means more players, which is healthy for Lorcana as a physical game.
What Will Happen To Unofficial Clients?
There are a few unofficial ways to play Disney Lorcana online. Pixelborn is the most popular app, made by a one-person team. A Patreon funds the servers, and excess is donated – to the tune of over $5,000 to the Make-a-Wish foundation last month. It’s very popular and the de-facto way to play online right now.
There are others like Project Inklore, Lorcanito, and a few Tabletop Simulator mods. When it comes to game rule copyright and law, laws on use can be a little vague. However, use of copyrighted art and design – like actual cards – is clearly an issue.
These fan-made games don’t actually supply the card art, they only have code that handles the rules and actions of cards and effects. For now, the projects haven’t had any issues with takedown requests, but most are aware that is a possibility.
There isn’t any official word on how Ravensburger feels about these games: though they’re definitely aware of them. At a guess, they’re probably “safe” for at least a while.
If an official Disney Lorcana app or online client is released, there is a strong possibility that these unofficial apps could be contacted with a polite cease and desist. Until then, they play a very important role in keeping the game going.