The hobby gaming industry, and the greater collectibles world at large, have been eagerly awaiting the release of Ravensburger's Disney Lorcana, the first TCG making extensive use of Disney's characters and IP. But now, a surprise lawsuit threatens to hold up the game's release, carrying potential ramifications for the entire hobby gaming industry.
Attorneys for The Upper Deck Company (UDC) filed suit on Wednesday against Ravensburger North America, Inc. and designer Ryan Miller over the design of their forthcoming TCG, Disney Lorcana. In the suit, UDC alleges multiple charges, among them premeditated theft of the game's design on Miller's part—they claim Lorcana bears "uncanny similarities" to work Miller did as a freelance game designer on Upper Deck's previously unannounced game Rush of Ikorr. UDC also alleges that:
"Miller’s acts in pilfering the game design Upper Deck paid him to create and using those designs to develop a competing trading card game for a competitor were aided and encouraged by Ravensburger, who now seeks to profit from the stolen intellectual property."
What Is Lorcana?
Revealed at Disney's D23 fan convention in 2022 and slated for a September 1st, 2023 release, Disney Lorcana is one of the most anticipated game releases of 2023. The use of Disney characters and other brand IP gives Disney Lorcana broad, mass appeal, with the potential to disrupt the status quo of the trading card game market. Limited edition six-card collectors sets of Disney Lorcana cards sold out on release at D23 and now have secondary market prices on sites like eBay in the tens of thousands of dollars.
What Upper Deck Wants
In its prayer for relief, the lawsuit by UDC seeks general, special, and punitive damages, legal fees, and other relief including those as seen fit by the courts. The most important among these requests for relief, from a market perspective, is the request for "injunctive relief enjoining Ravensburger from publicly releasing Lorcana."
Why It Matters
Such an injunction, if granted, could cause disruptions up and down the market supply chain, especially for any retailers or distributors who may have already submitted preorders for product in anticipation of an August 18th soft release in hobby stores. Tying up money that could be spent on other products is not what any retailer on a narrow budget wants to find themselves doing.
It's also important to consider the potential business lost not just by Ravensburger, but by the gaming hobby industry as a whole. Disney Lorcana has the potential to draw swaths of new collectors and players into the hobby gaming market on the strength of their connection to the Disney IP alone: the recognizability of Disney names and characters could provide the kind of pull Magic, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! can't even dream of having. That's potentially thousands of new customers who might not have ever set foot in a hobby gaming store before.
A Developing Story
This is a developing story, and we will update it as new info becomes available in the coming days. Quiet Speculation has reached out to Ravensburger for comment but has yet to hear a reply.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the lawsuit? Are you excited about Disney Lorcana? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.
On June 9th Ravensburger North America's Twitter account had the following responses:
A full PDF of the Upper Deck court filing is below.