Now that Huddle has launched and there is a lot of changes implemented from the builds of other apps, I wanted to make sure I had a chance to dive in before doing a full write up. I have had some time to get acquainted since Wednesday night, and here are a few things that are worth your time to consider.
#1 – Content
Right now, Huddle has no physical cards that they can use for digitization. The physical side is no longer NFL licensed, andthat means digital is tasked with carrying the brand name beyond the post. The base design is our first look at that venture, and it is refreshing to see what the team came up with. Not only did they create a great looking base design, but they found ways to highlight a digital format, instead of building off an existing design and finding ways to fold it into the needs of the app.
We are going to get a lot of BRAND SPANKING NEW DESIGNS from Huddle this year, and from what Neil Kleid was saying on Twitter, they might not be giving up on those fan favorite set names. If we will get new takes on old favorites, im completely on board. Things like Inception, Fire, and Museum all deserve to be carried on, so why not build a digital brand out of the history we love?
At the same time, physical football is gone. I sincerely hope Topps Digital is not going to come around and say “FOOTBALL IS STILL HERE!” because that isnt the approach I would take. Make digital into the brand it has always deserved to be. Invest in creating an experience that preserves the history, but doesnt try to recreate it.
#2 – Levels
We saw the level system in Bunt get introduced, and honestly, I thought it was an AWESOME idea. It didnt turn out to be all that important in the grand scheme, mostly because it just became an award delivery device.
I think there are a lot of reasons why this needs to be expanded, and the Huddle Greats set that are delivered through this level system is really cool. Its a perfect way to breed exclusivity into leveling up, especially if the players continue to get better as the levels increase.
I just hope that we also start to see level exclusive access to parts of the app that make it worthwhile outside of rewards to chase additional progression.
#3 – Contests
The simulated contests are a fun and interesting way to whet our appetites for the season. It also institutes the potential for a ticketing system that I hope stays around for the rest of the season.
Basically, it would be cool to win tickets that can be exchanged for any kind of loot, especially loot that is applicable to better performance in contests. Think about saving tickets and exchanging for exclusive boosts, or a pack that is built around players who are top point scorers? Possibilities are endless through card exchange.
Similarly, with fewer contest weeks available than Bunt, hopefully things wont be as stale here as they got mid season in baseball. At the same time, contest prizes need to reward effort over luck, and really deliver in a similar fashion to what we saw in the playoffs.
#4 – Communication
Huddle has been notoriously quiet in communicating with the users, and that just cant happen here. If they are the brand for football, they really need to ramp up the engagement on social media.
Topps as a whole needs to get behind Huddle and showcase that digital remains a powerhouse worth people’s attention. We see rankings across all the apps coming down to earth, and I believe its a combination of poor sales strategy and poor communication as a whole.
You rarely see the main Topps account tweet about digital, and that is really unfortunate. Without full support from all aspects of the business, Huddle will not reach the potential it could. Same goes all around. Not saying they need to tweet every release, but definitely showcase more often what digital brings to the table.
#5 – Rookies
Right now, the rookie crop is getting a lot of attention because Dak Prescott is lighting it up in the pre-season and the season is getting closer to launching. Im guessing with Panini in control of the rookie premiere, they likely didnt give huddle the access they probably would have gotten in previous years.
This means rookie content could be sparse until they can pull and process photos from the preseason. I havent seen any rookies in the base set yet, but that doesnt mean they will be absent forever.
Hopefully Huddle finds a way to incorporate the rookies earlier rather than later.
Again, this could end up being a make or break year for the app. If things live up to the hype, they are in for a banner season. If not, its going to fall on the team to figure out how to improve and quickly. The NFL is not a cheap organization to do business with, and Im sure the brass wants big numbers and fast. Based on the offseason setup holding true for 2017, I am confident they can make a splash.