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It’s 2023 And Card Games Are Making A Huge Comeback

Some may argue that card games never truly disappeared, so how can they make a comeback? While technically true, there’s no denying that card games dipped in popularity over the last ten or twenty years. With the emergence of 3D gaming and consoles, traditional card games took a back seat. Certainly, it’s been a long time since people got excited about upcoming releases – or since a card game was one of the most highly-rated games in an app store.

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In 2023, this has changed. Card games are making a remarkable comeback and now seem to be more popular than ever before. New titles and variations are released all the time, with many mobile app stores and digital game libraries having loads of card games in their top-rated titles. We’re interested in where this revival has come from – and here are some of our thoughts on the matter.

Card Games Are Perfect For The Free-To-Play Era

Recently, the gaming industry has shifted towards the idea of free-to-play games. Huge companies are introducing games – like Riot’s first-person tactical shooter, Valorant – that don’t cost a penny to download. It makes the game accessible, and revenue is largely generated via in-game cosmetics. The problem for many game developers is that it costs a lot of money to make games, so they’re cautious when it comes to offering them for free.

With card games, things are totally different. They’re very easy to make, meaning they fit the free-to-play bill perfectly. Marvel Snap is a brilliant example of this – it’s free, yet money gets made through selling different cosmetics to help people make their deck look unique. The cosmetics don’t influence gameplay, so everyone wins.

On the other hand, you’ve got classic card games like Spades, which can be played online for free. Cosmetics aren’t a viable option here, but developers make money by putting ads on the screen. It’s simple, doesn’t impact the player’s enjoyment of the game, and helps the developer make money. People love free games and card games are excellently suited to being free.

Huge Investments From Big Franchises

We mentioned Marvel Snap above, and it is one of many examples of huge franchises entering the card game industry. Gwent is a hugely popular three-card game on mobile devices spawned from the Witcher game series. The interesting thing about this is that it began as a mini-game within the main game, yet got so popular the developers decided to release it as a free-to-play mobile game.

A more recent example is the hotly anticipated Star Wars Unlimited trading card game. Star Wars is obviously a huge franchise with a massively devoted fanbase. When a big brand like this enters the trading card game, it’s bound to attract lots of attention and boost the popularity of other games within the genre.

That’s the key point here: franchises are making huge investments and drawing their audiences to card games. As a result, people start enjoying these types of games and go looking for others. It creates a snowball effect that’s partially responsible for the card game comeback in 2023.

The Pokemon Effect

Cast your mind back a few years ago and Pokemon cards were the talk of the town. No, we’re not talking about way back when – we’re on about the start of the pandemic and through 2021. During this period, Pokemon cards went crazy. Everybody wanted to buy them and the price of some cards went through the roof. Rare finds were going for hundreds of thousands of dollars – people became rich overnight thanks to keeping their old cards in mint condition over the years.

Fast forward to now and the hype has died down a lot. However, the effect of this hype still lives on. Many people were invested in the Pokemon trading card game over this period, and it encouraged them to look into other card games. People started playing Magic: The Gathering, Yu Gi Oh, and more.

The interest lives on to this very day – which is partially why Star Wars is bringing out its aforementioned trading card game. Companies know that people love the concept of trading cards – even if they never play the game. More to the point, people also realize that trading cards represent decent investments. Collect some now, and who knows, in the next few years there could be another explosion of hype that makes you rich!

Simple and Addictive

Finally, card games are making a huge comeback because they’re simple and addictive. Okay, sure, some card games are complicated at the beginning, but they’re easy once you get a hang of them. Solitaire is one of the best examples of this. You start off not having a clue how everything works, but it quickly becomes an addictive game that you play to pass the time.

If you look at how popular mobile games are, it’s no surprise that card games are gaining traction. They fit the mold of mobile games better than anything. You can play cards against other people from around the world, fight against the computer, or enjoy single-player games. All the while, you do this while opening an app on your phone during your morning commute.

There’s a reason games like Candy Crush have been so successful for so long. They include simple gameplay and an insane replayability factor. When you look at this description, it sums up pretty much every card game perfectly. No matter what type of card game it is – be it a deck builder like Marvel Snap, a three-card game like Gwent, or a classic playing card game like Spades – it’ll be easy to play and keep you playing for weeks on end.

Don’t expect the card game hype to die down anytime soon. Trading cards are making moves, deck-building games are growing massively, and there’s always room for classics like Uno and Solitaire. It’s funny how so many new and innovative games can come out all the time, but things as simple as cards will always come back around.


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