The future of gaming products produced by WizKids will depend on the ability of Topps to find a buyer for the company’s brand names and properties after Monday’s announcement that Topps was closing the WizKids operation.
“This was an extremely difficult decision. But in light of the current economic conditions, we feel it is necessary to align our gaming initiatives more closely with Topps’ current sports and entertainment offerings, which are already being developed within our New York office,” said Topps CEO Scott Silverstein.
WizKids, founded by Jordan Weisman in 2000, made a highly successful debut in the gaming market when it launched Mage Knight, a collectible miniatures game. Topps purchased WizKids in 2003 with hopes of not only expanding into the gaming market, but also adding sports-based games.
The company launched SportsClix in 2004, a game that featured collectible miniature figures of MLB players, and discussed plans for expansion into other sports. But sales of MLB SportsClix were significantly lower than the company expected and the product was cancelled after two years.
WizKids is based in Seattle, meaning one logical buyer would be Hasbro, parent company of Seattle-based Wizards of the Coast. Wizards also produces some collectible miniatures games. Others in the gaming industry have speculated that Upper Deck might be a possible buyer. The company launched a World of Warcraft miniatures game this week and, like WizKids, is a licensee of Marvel and DC Comics.