Friday, April 8, 2011

Video Trading Cards...The Future? Should Topps Consider Making Their Own?

(Warning:  This is going to be one of the few, if ever, times that I include pictures of cards from other sports, or for that matter, the other card companies.  I apologize for the inconvenience.)

The latest buzz in the last two months was what was revealed at the Hobby summit in Las Vegas.  To wit, the fact that the other two card companies (specifically, Panini and Upper Deck) are now battling it out over what both feel will be the latest innovation to inject interest into our Hobby.  Now if you recall, UD said that they were going to make this huge announcement about their latest idea, one that was to shake the Hobby to its core, in April.  However, at the Las Vegas show, Panini pitched what seemed to be UD's secret to the attendees.

You see, Panini introduced the concept of video trading cards at the show and that it going to make an appearance in their basketball products.  When this was going to happen, however, was not yet announced.

With Panini's news out in the open, UD decided to release their secret earlier than their original April 12 date.  The secret?  That they were going to come out with video trading cards and that they will first arrive with their Football products (UD Football).

Now, it has been a few weeks since the dual announcements were made.  And there has been a lot of response to the news.  A number has been positive, but a lot more have been negative.  A gimmick, some say.  "Why would I want to spend money on that?" ask others.  "What happens when the batteries die?" ask more.  "If I wanted to watch highlights, I'd go to my phone."  All of these sentiments have been posted in message boards and blogs since this first came out.  Why the negativity though? 

Innovation is what is needed to make this hobby relevant again.  And I agree with the sentiment that at least somebody is trying (even if it isn't my favorite card company...yet).  We all want something new, and now that it's being offered, the collectors are complaining???  Aren't the ideas of video cards at least worth a look?

Now the argument that UD had was that at least they (UD) have the products ready.  It only appeared that Panini only had a concept.  And yes, based on the original picture, it looked like that was all it was.  A concept.  At least UD had pictures at the ready of what should be the final product.

Well that was until earlier this week when Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers, and Panini's new spokesperson, showed off what appears to be an actual working model of the card to the boys and girls at The Number One Source in the Hobby.  And unlike UD's cards (which looks like a very thick booklet), Panini's video card looks like an actual card.  Yes, it appears to be as thick as some of the thicker patch cards, but it looks more like a card than what UD showed.

Granted, I don't collect either companies' products.  Nor are either licensed by MLBP.  But while I don't collect either football or basketball cards, it does not mean that I don't watch them (wow, a triple negative...).  But if I were really interested in getting my hands on a video card, I would have to choose Panini's, based on the pictures above.  And this isn't because I don't like UD or anything like that.  But it's because what Panini has looks more like an actual card than UD's. 

I do have my qualms about these kinds of cards though.  What will happen when the battery or power source expires?  Can they be replaced?  Should they be?  What happens when the display cracks (and that can happen)?  It's a quandary for sure.

Which brings my attention to the company I support. 

What are you doing, Topps?  Are you going to pursue the idea of video cards?  Is it worth doing for MLB?  What products would you include them in?  How would you include them (as inserts, a box topper)?  Are you waiting for collector's reaction when these products come live to make your decision?

I don't think that these video trading cards will ever replace the printed cards.  But they do bring something new to the hobby that has never been done before.  Let's hold off judgment until these cards make it to market.  Then we can decide if it's a good thing for the Hobby, or the biggest bust ever.


JayBee Anama


capewood said...

This doesn't look like anything more than a novelty item to me. What's the price point? I can't imagine these can be produced as cheaply as a piece of cardboard.

Anonymous said...

Ugly, ugly, ugly.

When we were kids we were not into 'something new'. We just wanted the next years cards with the next years players. That's what baseball cards are. Not frackin' Sony's on a 3x4 piece of plastic. What happens when adults try to create something new for adults is the junk you see here.