Eternal is one of the great card games to come out of the digital tabletop gaming surge. Developed by a group of Magic: the Gathering veterans and the talented team at Dire Wolf Digital, Eternal has a growing and welcoming community. What the game did right to start with, is create a free-to-play model that is fair to players, but also offers enough incentive to open wallets. You don’t need to pay a penny to compete as rewards come fast, but you will quickly find a reason to justify spending some cash on the game; if only to support the devs.
Another part of Eternal’s success is in the gameplay itself. Since this is a digital game, band-aids can quickly be applied when cards or decks become too powerful. These quick fixes can be something as simple as adding a new hoser card as a daily quest reward or by rebalancing the cards and then letting players get the full amount of in-game currency they may have spent on those cards back for a short window. This keeps the game lively and competitive without having one or two decks that dominate a format until the next set arrives.
On top of all of that, the gameplay feels wonderful and is fairly easy to understand. With a load of puzzles and story campaigns, even those that have never played a card game before will find ways to learn the ins and outs of the game without much issue.
While the game has been successful on PC and mobile devices, the announcement that the game is coming to Xbox is exciting for any fan. This will bring the game to a larger audience, allow the developers to figure out how to best make the game playable with a controller, and likely lead to releases on other consoles. The PS4 is an obvious next step, but a port to the Switch should be easy with the native touchscreen.
So what does this announcement mean for the future of Eternal in an already crowded market? It is hard to say, considering others have tried. Both Magic and Hex made their way to consoles and while the former did well it was not a full-featured TCG like Eternal. Hex is and it has not seen as much success, likely because the game is a bit pared down for the PS4 and is too similar to other card games.
With Artifact just around the corner and Magic Arena picking up a large viewing audience on streaming services, it is hard to say where Eternal will fall. Once it hits Switch or PS4 I will likely play it more frequently. A quick game or two to get my daily quests in after an evening of RDR2 seems like a perfect fit, as opposed to having to move from the comfort of my couch to my computer or pulling out my phone. I’ll happily play the game in 4K on a larger screen. This is a great move by Dire Wolf Digital, but the community will have to get on board for it to be a true success in an already crowded market.