Right now, Huddle is encouraging people to dive in deep on a certain Topps NOW card with the understanding that the top fans in a number of categories for collecting will get special prize cards. I have actually talked about doing stuff like this in previous posts, and I absolutely think it needs to be done with other sets in the future. Although I think Topps NOW isnt really the best vehicle to use, its interesting to see how the counts stack up.
I think one of the most interesting parts of releases that have a hoarding contest attached is the way the trading economy reacts to the different aspects. If a card is easier to obtain, it makes it even more intriguing to watch, as you see the people who are participating much more willing to overpay for cards that get them closer.
We saw this really take hold in Star Wars when the first Darth Maul monument card was hinted. The whole “contest” element was born out of a few users trying to see who could come up with the largest hoard of one of the easier cards in the game to obtain – a white base card. It has bred a crowdsourced play element to the app, and one of the only reasons I still see a lot of people sticking around who would have normally left.
I have said so many times before that recognizing the user base for certain accomplishments is something that Topps did well originally, but has really failed to measure up in recent months. Users continue to participate in the apps because we want to be the best at something. We want to showcase our wares, and we want to be recognized for it. Not just with the apps, but with other users. I have seen Upper Deck try to implement a portion of this in e-Pack as I mentioned prior with the Ultimate Collection Quest, and I think Topps needs to get back on the horse.
Obviously, a small contest around Topps Now isnt the full spectrum of what could possibly be available, but think about the feeding frenzy that could occur if the right parameters were applied to the mechanics. Its worth mentioning that this is more of a community based win scenario – NOT a way for Topps to monetize things further. Give us a reason to chase above and beyond bundles and pack ripping. We need to feel like there is a way to accomplish things by being a good member of the community through trading, commenting, and participating.
The best combo is a top reward with minor monetization, like we saw back when this first started, and its up to Topps to figure out the ripples on how they can put in the effort to build this, and still get the ROI necessary through passive or active purchases. Let us have our fun, and hopefully the ripples will be sizable enough for it to be a continued part of the game.