Yesterday, Huddle dropped the first box since late March, offering premium NFL draft content in combination with signatures, and a few other sets. This Box format obviously is becoming a common way to disseminate premium content in an attractive form, and I have wondered if this becomes a win win for everyone along the way.
When you see that Bunt has made this a monthly offering to their customers, and now Huddle has started to use it too, we start to see that it is better to offset high investment bundles with more than one card at a time. It also draws parallels to physical cards, something that can add an allure to those of us who also collect in that manner.
Additionally, its not one card for the price, and most of the boxes do not come with a guaranteed “this is the card you will get.” Fostering a gambler mentality, where users are enticed to go back more than once, helps Topps, but it also increases the value of the best cards in the box.
For whatever reason, regardless of count or subject in any of the apps, a guaranteed card will not be worth as much as a pack pulled card when all other things are equal. Users want to know that it was TOUGH to get the card they want, and it makes it even harder when other less desirable cards are also included in the box.
Of course, if too much junk lands in the box, no one will buy it, so the producers have to walk a fine line between offering a ton of bang for the buck, and so little that it scares people away.
At the same time, any time something is offered via bundle purchase instead of coins, it devalues the in game currency below what it was. Bunt offers a coin purchase option, which is equivalent to a bit more than what the bundle would cost, but we dont see Huddle offer that option for people that have saved up enough to buy. With so many people only participating in the app to collect coin bonuses and cross trade when they get something good, coin purchase boxes might be a way to invite that in.
In terms of continuing to cater to the lower end crowd, including F2P, boxes are pretty much out of their consideration. Offering smaller packs with lesser content seems to help a little more in getting them involved, but most of the time these users are looking up at a ceiling of what they can logically expect to be in the market for.
Right now, its pretty clear that the SWCT community absolutely hates when new variants are released into the app, and its because there is so little value left in obtaining base variants when they all immediately go on sale, and few people in the app actually care about a master collection anymore. Using box formats that include other super premium content outside of base variants might have softened that blow, and I am curious if things would be as toxic if people got more value outside of just buying a specific card for $99.99.
I really like what Huddle and Bunt have done because it gives a guaranteed chance at some of the best looking content in the game. Although it is possible to walk out with a dud, many of the boxes do deliver the kind of value that will give you a nice return on your money. For some, it will be out of their price range to pick up, but that doesnt mean that the big spenders need to starve either. Both apps have done a very good job at spreading the content over all the different price points, and this is a way to bring things up a few notches. The lower spenders usually will still have access to packs at a coin rate, even though the premium content is absent.
My only fear is that boxes will be overused, and built to spread out junk content that cant sell in other formats. Hopefully dedicated product releases will continue to happen, and the boxes wont be “lets dump all these dead inserts into a bundle and price it at $34.99.” These types of things need to be well planned and well executed. We have already seen MAJOR issues with Bunt, but it looks like all has been corrected for the next go around. If the next box goes smoothly, Im not sure I would have any problem continuing to commit to the format.
Overall, these types of adjustments in the way the app functions become very very interesting. They keep the game fresh and help to progress the platform. At some point in the future, new tech will come along and another format will be discovered. Until then, Im going to continue having fun ripping packs like this.