Fans of tabletop games have either played or have heard of Catan. It is one of the most recognized settlement building board games ever. It has received multiple expansions, editions, spin-offs, and video game adaptations. There is even an official line of beer. Now, it seems that this iconic board game will be coming to the virtual tabletop platform Board Game Arena.
The news of Catan's arrival on Board Game Arena came from a post on their official website. The post itself was brief, simply stating that the game would be available as premium content "later this year." Their social media posts simply show a gif promoting the game's arrival to the platform.
On the whole, Catan's arrival to Board Game Arena was to be expected. The current owners of the game's license, Asmodee Publishing, bought Board Game Arena back in February 2021. Furthermore, Asmodee's recent acquisition of the platform did coincide with Board Game Arena's recent price increases for their premium subscriptions. By Board Game Arena's own admission, this increase was due to the shear volume of licensed material the subscription provided and the increase to insure that royalty costs would be covered.
In this context, adding Catan to Board Game Arena does make sense from a business perspective. While the platform is still widely used thanks to its free content, for about $5 a month you could play with major officially licensed board games on the platform. Given that certain board game prices can range from $40 to over $100, for some players a flat subscription would be more economical. Not to mention it can lower the bar of entry to those interested in the game but don't want to blind buy a physical copy of the game with no idea of what they're getting into, or potentially get turned off by the game's multiple iterations and versions.