How Important is the VIP Program?

Back when the VIP program was launched in 2014 Bunt, I was very supportive of the rewards given to people who regularly spent money on the app. Being that spending greatly influences app success in almost every way, there are a lot of reasons why Topps should take care of these customers.

With the launch of SWCT and 2016 Huddle, the VIP program was either not introduced or phased out. It continued through Bunt and Kick through the year, and as a result, there seemed to be much more of a positive culture around the spending in the app. In SWCT and Huddle, spending is thought of in a very resentful fashion, where in the other apps, that isnt as much of a sentiment. It exists, but I almost feel like the presence of the VIP program has softened the negativity around premium programs.

Now, that’s not saying that VIP cures all that ails the community, but it adds a level of reward that can change the way people think about their spending. Bunt recently announced that their VIP program will be revamped for the offseason, including more of a focus in the participation in their Box Breaks, instead of sums of coins. Users will also maintain the 10k per day bonus, where everyone else will be dropped to 2500.

Either way, I definitely believe that a VIP program’s omission from SWCT and Huddle were likely poor choices in hindsight. Considering how much likely goes into the approval process with licensing bodies with each app, the added content could be difficult, but rewarding in other ways like we are seeing with Bunt is really something I hope they reconsider.

As mentioned before, the act of spending in its own right is something that deserves an added benefit to usage of the app. Although its clear that there is added work for the Topps team, the VIP program has community benefits in that users may not react as negatively to spending driven programs. It wont remove all negativity, but it might actually encourage people to spend more than they would normally. Giving these additional benefits, especially on the side of low count reward cards, will provide quite a bit of added value that shouldnt be minimized.

Here are some of my thoughts on how I would approach a program like VIP, especially in a long approval process like I expect to be the case with Huddle and SWCT.

Past Ideas:

  • Coins – the act of “paying people back” goes a long way on the gold and black levels.
  • VIP Level Based Cards – This type of delivery device will provide exclusivity and status to the people that choose to keep them, or valuable trade bait if not.
  • VIP Packs – These have ranged from great value to really worthless, and it all depends on the content. The program where VIPs could rip packs and pull special cards that delivered coins or exclusive cards was awesome.
  • VIP Sigs – These are great cards that have been nerfed at times because of the way the cards are packed out.
  • Other VIP Cards – Like the VIP sigs, it all depends on how these are packed out
  • Box access – See most recent Bunt program announcement
  • Increased Daily Coins – See most recent Bunt program announcement
  • Free inserts – Diamond VIPs have been given free inserts of their choice in the past.

Other Ideas:

  • Better pack odds – Would be great to see VIPs get better odds on certain packs
  • Special sets – Season long sets aimed at creating season long VIP spenders, or making it more lucrative to continue to be a VIP
  • Early Pack Access – we have seen master access be granted early in SWCT, but the packs in which the cards were available are not worth spending the extra coins. If VIPs could get early access to normal packs, that is much more attractive. The earlier the access the more valuable the access is. What if Diamond Access was a day in advance? Crazy to think about the incentive.
  • Special Variants – VIP variants would be something that add to someone’s desire to attain VIP status
  • Instant VIP purchase levels – Give users the option to buy instantly or qualify through the month
  • Public VIP criteria – No one ever knows how much spending is involved to acheive VIP, and that needs to change for Black and Gold. For Diamond, it should just be a set number of top spenders at the top of the amount spent list.
  • Instant achievement – if you qualify for VIP, you should know right away. Would be cool to give extra weeks of VIP access to people who qualify for the next month early.

VIP Positives

The VIP program has inherent positive results in a lot of ways. I mentioned some through the course of the post, but here is a more succinct version.

  • Gives users a reward for spending more than the casual user
  • Recognizes the users who spends
  • Provides value for usage in the app outside of spending
  • Potentially takes the edge off of user reaction to spending
  • Can encourage more competition among spenders
  • Can encourage more spending and better user participation in certain programs

VIP Negatives

In addition to the positives, there are definitely a lot of negatives as well. This might might relate to some of the reasons why the programs were changed or omitted in the cases we have seen recently.

  • Creates resentment among non-spenders
  • Hard to manage users
  • Added work in building and delivering content
  • Complaints when users have issues with qualifications

Again, many of my observations are done in a vacuum without consideration from the time needed to execute the different elements of the program. I just fail to see how it could hurt. Adding a playoff VIP program for Huddle could be huge. SWCT doesnt have a season, so it can be instituted at any time, even more worth considering as the new builds are launched for 2016.

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2 Responses to How Important is the VIP Program?

  1. This is an important discussion, and a great write up. I achieved VIP status in BUNT for one month this year, and frankly, I have no idea how. I did spend money, but I didn’t know what threshold caused me to enjoy the Gold benefits. I have spent a LOT more money in Huddle and SWCT than BUNT, and will continue to do so regardless of the VIP program or lack thereof. I would greatly prefer there to be one, of course, to reward those of us who do spend, as you mention. A couple of my opinions:

    1) I want to understand the thresholds for each level of VIP (much like airlines publish requirements for award levels)

    2) I want my daily bonuses to remain in place regardless – SWCT is especially generous with their daily bonus, but there are so many wonderful sets and cards that I still need to spend money to get the sets I want. Losing the daily bonus would not really let me spend more real money, just get less.

    3) The monthly bonus enhancement subscriptions are AWESOME. I GLADLY pay for these as they increase my ability to get the sets and cards I want, but also because they are daily handouts instead of bulk, it paces me as well. I noticed that they are doing this for VIP coin awards, and I am all for it.

    In any case, I may cry if my Huddle or SWCT bonus drops to 2500 per day. I was already selective on BUNT due to the higher priced packs, and now it will be a challenge for me to even complete base sets. I will only be looking for specific cards and players in that app. Hopefully they do add a VIP program to these other two if they plan to reduce the daily bonus so I don’t have to slow down there. They are just too fun/too cool 🙂

  2. ribors says:

    This may be a stupid question, but I only started Bunt towards the end of the season and am a very casual player (mainly looking just to pull inserts for SWCT cross-trades). What exactly are the requirements for VIP? The transmission states “How do you attain VIP status for January, you ask? Head to the coin store now and purchase coins!” But their is no VIP coin bundle. Do you have to spend a certain amount or does any coin purchase grant VIP status? It’s very confusing with vague information.

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