Whether you’re a competitive or casual Magic player, trader, or collector, CardSphere offers a little something for everyone! And with USD as the trading currency, you can trade confidently!
Check out our first Community Spotlight Interview with CardSphere. Today, we speak with one of the developers of the website, Tom Reece.
Thanks for doing this interview! We're always happy to support you guys.
Tom: Thanks so much for supporting Cardsphere! And thanks for taking an interest in my thoughts.
Q1: What's your history with Magic: the Gathering?
Tom: In school, I would tease my friends for playing a card game when they could be playing video games. At the time, it was World of Warcraft and Halo for me. I was wrong. I didn’t come to appreciate Magic until later when I received a “Heroes vs Monsters” duel deck from a coworker as a wedding present (thanks Brian!). He taught me how to play and fostered my interest in the game. Now I am addicted. I have been primarily a standard player but I’ve tried it all. My favorite way to play is to Winston Draft while drinking some good beer.
ElspethFTW: I’ll admit I was a big time video gamer before an old friend of mine got me into MtG, myself!
Q2: In our first interview with Ted, we went into how Cardsphere came to be. So, as one of the developers, what were some of the major challenges you had to solve in order to make you guys' ideas into reality?
Tom: Package matching, in other words determining "what you can send and who can you send it to”. There are 6,500 users, 107,000 wants, and 1,526,000 haves in Cardsphere. Take all of those users, all of those cards, add variables like condition, language, finish. This is quite a lot of chaos to make sense of. When you load the ‘Send’ page of the site, all of the permutations are calculated in less than a second. And this is a rather small amount of users! multiple it by 10 or 100!
Michael is brilliant. He wrote the package matching algorithm and optimized its performance. We tested it during development with datasets of various sizes to ensure we have room to grow. And we do. :)
All of this is running on an operating cost of mere hundreds of dollars per month instead of thousands.
ElspethFTW: The work that you guys have done to create such a smoothly functioning website is incredible! I can’t wait to see what else you guys are cooking up feature-wise!
Q3: Do you think that peer to peer trading like Cardsphere will catch on to other segments of gaming, such as other trading card games and perhaps even video games at some point?
Tom: Well, I can say fairly confidently that we will not begin to tackle any of these segments anytime soon. Sorry if that’s bad news to anyone. It’s just that we have not mastered Magic trading yet. We have a lot of work to do!
In the early days of Cardsphere, I had a couple of guys approach me with similar questions. They wanted to pick my brain for their own idea. I wonder how they’re doing now? Contact me.
ElspethFTW: You guys are definitely making Magic card trading a lot more fun for sure. CardSphere is awesome progress.
The reason I asked is this question because I feel like it’s an untapped market when moving horizontally through the collectibles industry. I think some people have tried to do it with some other collectibles and video games. Just seemed like a cool idea.
Q4: I know you guys have full-time jobs outside of Cardsphere! How do you find a good balance between work and "play”?
Tom: Well, lately I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus while I work through some real life issues. I was quite active in the beginning and intend to get back to that. I am trying to get back into the swing of things again. Michael’s answer to that would be funny to because he doesn’t find a good balance. He works his ass off. He’s definitely the brain.
ElspethFTW: It’s crazy how these projects can really suck you in. It’s always good to come back to “real life” for awhile. :-P
Q5: And the question I ask in all of my MtG interviews in some shape or form: if you could change just one thing about MtG, what would it be?
Tom: This answer may seem a bit weird coming from someone who makes a cardboard trading website... but I really wish this cardboard wasn’t so valuable so that everyone could enjoy everything about it. At the same time, I do understand that Magic may not even be around today if not for the chase.
ElspethFTW: I do know what you mean. Really, it comes down to the microeconomy that has been created by the supply and demand of particular cards, something that Richard Garfield didn’t really foresee when he first created the game. Honestly, as long as people want to play anything like Magic, there’s always going to be a secondary market with its peaks and valleys and nuances.
But, yeah, in a perfect world, it would be awesome if anyone could just get the cards we want :) I think that CardSphere helps a lot in that regard, honestly.
Tom: Thank you again for being interested in my opinions. And thank you for your interest in Cardsphere. Let me know if there is anything we can do.
ElspethFTW; Thanks again, Tom! Really excited to watch you guys grow!
To sign up for CardSphere and see what it’s all about, check it out at www.cardsphere.com .
You can also find CardSphere on Twitter @realCardSphere and on Facebook, Reddit, and Discord.
** Disclaimer: I was compensated in absolutely no form for this interview. It was done purely for the good of the Magic the Gathering community and the goodness of my own heart ;)
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