Huddle Headlines: Recapping the Q&A with ToppsMarc and ToppsEd

For the first time this year, we saw a Q&A posted with ToppsMarc and ToppsEd, producers for Huddle. They tackled a LOT of questions that were pressing, and did a great job following up on what many users had on the top of their mind. I want to break down some of the more important questions and give my thoughts.

The following questions and answers are copied and pasted from the article in the app. It can be found here if you would like to see it in the entirety.

Question: When will there be a card count on android I’m blind trading without knowing values?
Answer: We are working on fixing card counts on the back of certain cards. Should be good-to-go in the next update.

This is a huge issue with the game and continues to cause trading problems, not only for new cards on Android, but old cards everywhere in the game. I have had trades that I am providing a lopsided amount of cards for something only to have it turned down because no one can see card counts. Hopefully this is fixed soon, and I am glad they are aware.

Question: Will BOH, Editors Choice, FOTW and Fan Choice return? What about MNF inserts? 
Answer: Best of HUDDLE (BOH) will, indeed, occur again (another production delay), EC will occur, FOTW will not, and Fan’s Choice will not. MNF inserts will not.

Production delay seems to be the buzzword that is floating around the app, and I think we have all guessed what they are referring to. Based on what we see in Star Wars with similar wording from the team, its clear that the approval process with a full license is different than what it was in prior years. Based on my communication with the physical side of the card business, I know how difficult the NFL can be in approving physical trading cards, and the stuff they have to go through. Its only plausible that the same thing would happen here.  That also goes to show why Fan’s choice and other cards of that nature may not be possible.

That being said, I am happy to hear that EC and Best of Huddle will come back, as both were VERY popular inserts last year.

Question: Will there be permanent boosts?  
Answer: They will be permanent boosts but nowhere near the amount we released last season.

We all knew that Boost Mania from 2014 was a result of the switch back to head shots that happened in week 2. In the article released right after the switch happened, Huddle said the focus would shift to gameplay. When the boosts exploded in popularity, they went a little nuts because people kept buying.

Now that they have a full license, that isnt needed as much anymore, which makes complete sense.

Question: When will tapjoy work again?
Answer: We are working on fixing Tapjoy! We understand there have been issues. Trust me, this has not gone unnoticed!

Another issue that is plaguing the app, but it might be just in the way people use it. Many people do not complete the offers from inside the app, instead going to the tapjoy site and using that page, which is easier to navigate. Both ways should generate coins, but from talking to people who use the latter way of getting tapjoy coins, it never works. I have had no problems when completing offers inside the app itself. Both should work perfectly, as I know there are a lot of people that rely on this for coins. Hopefully this is fixed soon.

Question: The points situation kills me every time. Will there be a time I can count on it to run smoothly?
Answer: We are working on PTS lag and trying to improve every week. Our engineers have been on this.

I actually dont think the points lag is all Huddle’s fault, but processing the stats received through the scoring API might be well within their control. Right now, points run 5-8 plays behind live games, which is a big issue when offenses are running more and more quickly. You almost need a play tracker to ensure you get all the points. I can see this one taking a bit longer to fix, but it could be more about the stats API than anything.

Question: Why no VIP or FOTW? Recognizing those fans who spend money and/or time only benefits Topps.
Answer: It was an internal decision that we felt was best for our staff and platform. This was discussed internally for SEVERAL months.

Ahhh yes, one of the bigger questions they had to address. This had to be a tough decision, and one they knew was not going to be very popular. I think that overall, VIP had both good and bad things associated with it. It was a polarizing program, as many people felt it was unfair to free players, and others felt they wouldnt spend without it.

I can see where having the full license would incite Huddle to re-evaluate, especially when you see the shortage of coins and high pack prices in the app right now. Because there are so few coins floating around, opening packs is a luxury in itself. The NFL’s license adds new cost to the game for Topps, and they definitely need to ensure that spending is there to pay for it. That is a focus for them either way. Without VIP coins, it forces those pay users to give into more spending to get the premium cards. It might cause more buyer tension, but they are banking that it isnt enough to keep people from diving in. The cards look awesome this year, and I know it hasnt stopped me at all.

More importantly, VIP was probably a beast to manage. With how much work has to go into the app now, its pretty clear that it was a feature they felt they could survive without. I think it remains to be seen how the spending performs without VIP, but I also wouldnt take your in game buddy’s word for it either. Just because someone says they are done spending, doesnt necessarily mean they actually are done. Trust me on that. With factoring in the production delays, adding MORE cards on top of the ones they need for the game to run probably wasnt something they want to mess with.

More importantly, I see a huge amount of influence in 2016 Huddle from Star Wars Card Trader, which also has opted to go VIP-less all year without problems. SW also has the high insert counts and pack prices that fluctuate in a similar fashion. Not much pushback has existed for a number of weeks, at least not in the way Huddle is getting blasted.

I think the difference is that the SWCT community started stronger because of the structure of the original packs. It created a different type of community than Huddle or Bunt, mainly because everything was readily available wihtout much spending that was needed. The game was probably not making as much money as a result, and with a costly license like the NFL, that couldnt happen again with the new build for Huddle. Without that ramp up time to get people hooked, Huddle didnt get the same chance to build from within, and has left people a bit bitter over the way things are shaking out.

All in all, Huddle is a business, and the goal is for them to make money, as any business does. There was obviously careful consideration internally about removing VIP, but at the same time, I would guess the production delays and other logistical issues were not considered along that same line. We are still in the VERY early stages of 2016, and I can see a lot of changes happening as they always do. Regardless, looks like VIP is gone for good, and personally, as a Black VIP, I really dont care. The license is reward enough, I can do without the cherry on top of this giant sundae and still feel happy. If you feel different, that’s up to you.

Question: Will our licensed cards exist next season once your NFL license expires or will they go away? This is important to us.
Answer: NFL license will continue to exist and your cards will not go away.

Huge, HUGE, HUGE question here, and a great answer. For those of you who do not know, Topps Football Cards will likely not exist the same way next year that they have for the last 60 years. Panini (a competitor) has secured an NFLPA exclusive license, which means they are the only company that will be able to create and sell trading cards of current players.

What you might not have known is that digital licensing and physical licensing are separate, and this was a great confirmation.

Overall Thoughts

There are a few unanswered questions that remain, outside of things like QB passing yards counting correctly and other things. What everyone has to remember is that this is still week 2 of 16, and that doesnt include the months of playoffs that will be like another season all together. They will adjust and they will change things to match the needs of the business and the needs of the community.

As awesome as the new license is, it doesnt come without hiccups – which we see every year regardless of what the situation is. There are just some things that will always pop up, which I can assure you Topps’ apps are not alone in experiencing. I have to give them credit for remaining dedicated to having communication like this with the community, something I really dont see at all with any other apps I play.

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