From the comments that Goldner made, however, it doesn't appear that Magic Digital Next is meant to replace either platform. As Goldner says, "Magic Online is for the highest level players and we have Duels as an entry experience." So it would seem that Magic Digital Next is meant to be developed for those somewhere in between, which is the vast majority of Magic players. The TouchArcade article, "'Magic Digital Next' Aims to Bridge the Divide Between 'Magic Online' and 'Magic Duels'" seems to back up this idea.
While I feel that Magic Digital Next is a strange name for a game, the concept is a good one. There is thinking among Magic players that they will be adopting a code redemption system similar to the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online platform. While I've personally found this system a bit awkward in building a collection strong enough to build competitive decks, it has quite a following. Considering that the codes come with every Pokemon TCG product, it seems like a good act for Magic to follow if that's the direction that they decide to go.
At Toy Fair 2017, Hasbro finally revealed a screen capture of Magic Digital Next:
- Upgrading to state-of-the-art back-end technology and systems to sustain and constantly improve digital and tabletop experiences;
- Improving and expanding the way you play the Magic trading card game digitally;
- Dreams of delivering deep gameplay experiences in Magic worlds and fiction on diverse gaming platforms and genres.
So it would seem that you'll be able to play Digital Next on your PC, Xbox, Playstation, and mobile phone, which is a good thing. I like that they seem to be pushing immersing players in worlds much like Magic Duels tries to do. From the looks of this, it looks like Hasbro is going head-to-head with Magic's primary competition, Hearthstone. That makes sense. From what I'm seeing, this looks more like a stepping stone to the highly-competitive Magic Online. But will they eventually merge the two?
I'm not really one to speculate without more facts, but right now, it looks like Magic Digital Next targets the audience that doesn't already play either Magic Duels or Magic Online. If that's what it's intended for, this should be a great development for Magic, and perhaps steal back some players from Hearthstone. Magic Duels is a nice introductory experience, but Magic Online is too much for some people to invest in if they don't plan on being competitive. Magic Digital Next should provide a solid middle ground. I'm definitely looking forward to future developments for this "state-of-the-art" Magic the Gathering experience.