Yu-Gi-Oh! Is Faltering, But Fans Feel Konami’s Ignoring Them

During a recent Konami shareholder meeting, the game company’s president addressed concerns that its latest free-to-play Yu-Gi-Oh! game, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, has negatively affected the franchise’s growth. A shareholder noted that Master Duel’s play style poorly translates to the popular trading card game’s tabletop and official card game tournament rules, echoing what fans have been saying. But Konami President Hideki Hayakawa only doubled down.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is a cross-platform trading card game where players can purchase booster packs, build personalized decks, and compete against one another in online matches that was released in January for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC.

The issue is that its gacha game rules and streamlined play are vastly different from Yu-Gi-Oh! table card and online card games. Yu-Gi-Oh! is notorious for having a revolving door of rule and regulation changes related to banned cards and moves, which would make hopping from Master Duel’s streamlined approach to an online or tabletop version difficult to adjust to.

“New users who started with Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel may give up when trying to start Yu-Gi-Oh!. This was the case with a player I actually met at a Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG [official card game] Duel Monsters tournament. Isn’t it necessary to consider how to eliminate such cases?” the shareholder said during the June 28 meeting.

“I found it extremely regrettable that players who had started playing [the] Yu-Gi-Oh! card game were not able to do so for long,” Hayakawa responded during the meeting, according to a browser translation posted to Twitter by pro duelist and Yu-Gi-Oh! champion Jeff Jones.

Master Duel literally does not allow anyone to get used to the actual TCG,” Jones wrote in agreement on Twitter. “Besides being automatic and not explaining why things work the way they do, the completely different forbidden list and card pool makes it even harder for new players to transition.”

The same shareholder noted the poor reception to Master Duel’s official live-streamed tournament matches, which he blamed on the lack of ability to surrender a game where defeat was a foregone conclusion.

“As someone who tried to get into Yu-Gi-Oh! recently, the card game basically being just ‘You win in a few turns’ kinda put me off from wanting to play,” ResetEra user Jawmuncher wrote, echoing the shareholder’s critique. “Like I bought a deck that had all these cool ideas but good luck seeing any of that shit actually play out.”

The unnamed shareholder suggested Konami change the Master Duel rule preventing players from pre-emptively quitting, saying it could allow players to “be able to make a strategic choice to start over with the next game, which would also improve the appeal of live streaming.”

Not only [do] we want Yu-Gi-Oh! to be more enjoyable to play, but there is also that valuable perspective that ‘enjoyable to watch’ is a very important subject that has been relevant for several years,” Hayakawa answered. “I think your opinion is absolutely correct and I will convey it to our company to make the proper considerations for the next livestream.”

Hayakawa concluded his response by plugging the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship which will be held in Japan and livestreamed across the world.