There are a lot of reasons why people love digital cards, and even more reasons why they spend more time on the app than any other app on their phone. Some of it has to do with the content, but that isnt the ONLY reason. I feel like an oft overlooked element of the apps is user vs user competition, and I am not just referring to the gameplay elements involved. The Topps users live to compete, and it benefits both the business and the users to have outlets for that desire. I feel we arent getting enough.
Before I get killed here, I know that the contest setup on the apps is designed to provide a competitive gameplay system that allows users to employ strategy to win. This content is fun, no doubt about it, but I think a lot of people would like to see a lot more focus on delivering some amazing ways to play along, above and beyond what is currently available. We want to battle in every element of the game, including the status of our collections.
I think that because the contest system isnt monetized in a way that generates a lot of revenue, its a secondary focus for apps like Bunt and Huddle. The main focus is still delivering compelling content in a way that tickles that part of our brain controlling our spending habits. Im not saying that is necessarily the wrong approach for Topps, but it leaves a lot to be desired in a big part of the reason why we play. We want to be the best at whatever it is we do in each of the games.
This is my plea. I want more ways to be recognized as the best. The best at collecting who I collect, the best at playing along with live games, and the best at any and every last part of the app. We need more ways for users to be recognized and done so in a way that promotes that competitive approach. Its a driver like nothing else.
In Star Wars specifically, there is no gameplay outlet for users to feel like they can have a public win. Considering how much could be built and incentivized within the app to highlight top collectors, Im not sure why that hasnt been a huge focus. Encouraging competition among users should have a lasting effect in spending, which is further showcased when you see releases centered around “the person who can get the most XXXXX will get a special award…”
For a long time, hoarding has been a huge focus in SWCT, as a crowd-sourced gameplay scenario that still hasnt really been systemically supported in a way I find all that appealing. Things like hoarding leaderboards, and collection showcases still havent made their way to the app, and users who dedicate the time to amass huge collections rarely get recognized for their dedication. If no one can really “win” in this sense, it should come as no surprise when people start to drop off over time.
Bunt is the exception to the rule in terms of a formalized user recognition program, as the fan of the week continues to have a big focus each time the article is published. Im not sure Im ready to call it the answer to the problem, but its a start to building a better program for giving the community a place to be featured within the official ranks within the app.
Considering that all four of the Topps apps have a collection score indicator, im not sure what purpose it serves if the top users dont have a place where their status can be recognized. Levels in Bunt are an interesting concept in itself, but with the collection score apparatus still in place, users continue to recognize that above the level.
Bottom line, I am asking for more opportunity to showcase the best of the best, and continue to give us a reason to be passionate above and beyond a casual user. Content is still number 1 with a bullet, dont get me wrong, but this other element needs to be a much closer number 2. Every business book in existence talks about how recognition can drive behaviors that would not normally be exhibited, and I think we have gone too long without extra focus on recognizing the contributions of individuals in the community in the four apps.
Let me ask a question to give you perspective. In SWCT, they release base variant after base variant, expecting individuals to spend. What purpose does owning those cards serve if your character collection is never public unless someone seeks you out?
Additionally, as mentioned prior, contests similarly need a major attentive eye on a daily basis in season, offering great prizes and highlighting users for their performances. Bunt has many winners each day, but we never actually see who really knocked the cover off the ball.
As a long term strategy, Topps’ focus on user vs user competition will breed a better and stronger community, a more intense drive to achieve top status, and more spending to get there. Everyone wins. Users can finally feel like their massive investment of time and money will be seen by others, and those on the cusp can see just how close (or far) they truly are. Give us a measuring stick, and I can guarantee we will use it.