If you havent started playing Pokemon, im not sure what you are waiting for. It has taken the nation by storm, and quickly become the most popular game in the history of the app store. With that, I am going to try to compare apples and oranges, so please entertain my line of thought here.
The success of the app isnt necessarily unexpected, but its exponential growth in the market is nothing short of astonishing. No one thought Pokemon Go would ever be a failure, but no one really expected it to explode like this either. I think the same could be said, on a smaller scale for Topps Digital, or digital cards in general. This leads me to question whether or not the full scale adoption of digital gaming could have a positive impact on the card trading apps we love.
Bottom line, it would take a fluke of unimaginable luck for any Topps apps to reach the level that Pokemon has reached. But, as more and more people are willing to spend money on digital goods, like micro purchases in both the Topps apps and Pokemon go, will there be a more stable approach for the way the market sees apps of this nature? I have to say yes, as there is a fervent fear that some day the apps will go *poof!* and be gone for good. I dont think that is a reasonable concept at this point to entertain, but the success here might spell a new era of smartphone market growth.
With SWCT, there is going to be overlap of geek culture and Pokemon culture, as the target market happens to of a similar ilk. If you remember back, no one really expected SWCT to explode either, and yet, it got more coverage in a few months than Topps did all year prior. National news organizations are still looking to cover the rise of that app, more than a year after its initial success, and I have a feeling the attention on digital is only going to get more intense.
Of course, this leads to a genuine sense of curiosity surrounding how much revenue results from that type of coverage, and as we have seen with Pokemon, it can be white hot. As more and more Topps licenses continue to mature, either with new movies or new seasons, or enhancements to the brand, we will get a better picture of how well the company can handle growth. We have seen hiccups in new app development, when its clear the team is spread thin, and errors take place. Hopefully Topps has a plan to bring more resources on board so the eventual market evolution doesnt hurt as much.
Pokemon is life, trust me on that, as it is only one step of many to bring alternate reality to smartphones in the future. I am confident in Topps’ ability to jump on that hype train, and I am also excited to see how the next few months shake out. WWE, as posted earlier, is a huge win. It goes without saying that new attention to the marketplace in which they reside is going to get them more eyes on their product. Now its up to Topps to figure out what to do with those eyes, so that the ventures can reach the potential they have.
To me, the biggest difference between the impact of Pokemon and Topps apps is the price point. I have played this app for 2 weeks and am still only $19.99 in. Regardless of your spending level, you still can hit big and your team can be on par with anyone that puts in the time.
Pokemon looks for the small purchases in bulk – $5 here, $10 bucks there and spreads it out over hundreds of thousands of users. Topps has the approach of pulling hundreds (or thousands) from a group of between 100 – 500 users.
My fear with the Topps’ approach is that is needs to be handled with superior customer attention as alienating too many users puts the entire app at risk.
Personally, my experience with support has been horrible. I purchased bundles on TWD on day 1 and still have not received the coins – despite over 2 months of follow up and providing the same screen prints over and over. I also recently bought a bundle in Huddle, only to see the pack never appear. After 6 days, their response was that they “gave me permission” to get a refund from iTunes. I am someone who has spent thousands some months on coins, and yet I am treated like a waste of time when their app has issues. Recently, I have been spending MUCH less, because I don’t feel that there is much value in overproduced signatures and low count cards
Topps has a Golden Goose right now and I only stick with it because I have a lot riding on it, but they risk losing a lot of high paying customers by ignoring customer service and flooding the market whenever they find something that customers want.