Bunt 2017 is Here – Questions are Plentiful

Ladies and gents, Baseball season is upon us, and for the first time in a long time, my excitement on a new year is tempered by decisions made seemingly out of left field. As much as I want to be excited about 2017, I feel like recent revelations have made my own feelings on the new year a bit less about getting elbow deep in the new features to more focused on seeing how the general population reacts. So far, saying it hasnt been pretty is an understatement.

First, it looks like the app is getting a pretty big visual upgrade, and new look for 2017, even though the features are relatively flat. The overall structure of the game is relatively the same, but things definitely look more focused on interface for the users.

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We also see that there is a new feature of sorts coming soon, and it looks like a new form of a gameplay mode that may not be focused around contests. This is good news, but considering how much work still needs to be done on developing app features, im not sure this is the right direction to go.

Rightfully so, Kris Bryant is the official cover athlete of 2017 Bunt, which I fully support. No one is better than the MVP and World Champ. I think that the base cards will follow suit as all the updates we have seen are really nice in visuals, but less so in functionality. The design team really is Topps’ best asset.

This is where things get quite hairy.

To start, card counts on inserts that are not LE will be removed from visibility, something that makes absolutely no sense. Not only was this structure reviled in Skate, but it will be even more so in Bunt. Card counts are not the enemy, and I warn against doing anything to piss off the users in a time where everyone is still wary of what happened with the app’s trajectory last year.

Bottom line, the primary goal should be bring more users to the Topps apps. The secondary market value on eBay has crashed for a number of reason around non-LE inserts as it is, but that is far from a reason to make such a trivial change on something that is bottom line functionality for users within the app. This wont bring new people to the app, and if anything, will further contribute to a lack of value in anything that isnt 10 count in the apps.

If the goal is to piss off loyal spenders, consider it achieved. If the goal was to piss off loyal spenders by making the dumbest possible small change that has sweeping consequences to a vital statistic used by all participants, that’s good to go as well.

Open edition cards, as it is, are a worthless trick to extend pack odds and take weight off the design team to build new cards. Its good for Topps, because it means they can pump packs full of junk while not really adding true valuable content or new features that bring the apps forward on a regular basis. Its time to find ways to make the apps more enjoyable to play, rather than continuing to add content in this fashion.

Removing the card counts only makes this worse in an app where ripping packs and collecting sets needs a value marker for both vets and rookies alike. There is an argument that not all cards are serially numbered on the physical side as well, but at the same point, more and more are being built that way to overcome the steep decline in hobby participation over the last two decades.

Let me put this simply:

  • This does not speak to priority number one which is growing the user base
  • This is a trivial decision that has massive ripple effects within the bunt economy
  • It was widely hated in the previous app where it was used
  • It makes things more difficult for new users to understand the game
  • It has no basis in data that shows it will have a positive result

If people hate it, and it doesnt have a reason in the technology that it has to exist, why does it exist? WHY PISS PEOPLE OFF MORE IF YOU DONT HAVE TO?

Overall, this season will be a true test of the resiliency of the Topps Digital team to overcome hurdles they have set up in previous years. All the primary statistics that show department health are on a decline per the public app statistics. Downloads are down, spend rankings are down, daily active users are down. If Topps doesnt see that developing the new product features is a primary driver to curbing this decline, they need to wake up and fast. They need to cherish their users, not deliberately make them upset. They also need to captivate our attention, and new sets and new cards dont have the massive ability they used to. This format has been going on for too many years for new content to a driver. It has to be new features. That is the answer to all that ails. Until that is ready, stay the course, dont rock the damn boat.

Again, ill wait and see how Topps addresses this, but it needs to be addressed. I would hate to see things continue to peter out instead of becoming the next big thing it deserves to be.


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9 Responses to Bunt 2017 is Here – Questions are Plentiful

  1. Apeshot says:

    It’s frustrating to watch this 2 year train wreck. I really want Topps to make a lot of money. I am not opposed for them to find revenue opportunities. However, it’s sad to keep watching them take short term money at the expense of long term investment and customer retention. Taking card counts off cards is a short term money grab. I’d love to write a whole paper explaining how to improve the apps. I have 30 ideas.

  2. ribors says:

    Why bother rearranging the icons at the bottom of main page into a different order than all the other apps? Is it a big deal? Not really, but it’s just plain stupid as I naturally expect to view “my cards” by pressing the button in bottom right corner, not the middle button (and so forth). Who the hell thought it would be a good idea? I can accept paywalls & higher pack prices as necessary business decisions, but stuff like this drives me crazy as there is no good reason for this.

    With all of these app updates across the board (and ensuing glitches like on Bunt & SWCT), the expansion of cards with no count, and the ongoing disinterest how cards are organized/sorted in all the apps, it’s clear to me that on many different levels Topps remains so out of touch with what their users–who are collectors–really want.

    • tmoney says:

      I was sad when I saw the counts removed in the notes this week. My only thought to why is that someone there thinks that by removing count, cards that are truly popular will become valuable and not just cards based on count? Which is wrong. We as collectors understand that count is not everything, but we still consider it fundamental for digital trading/collecting. But I have no idea what they are thinking. The removed counts in SWCT with part of S4 base and I know that was not well recieved.

      BUNT was doing decent when I started in 2015. You are right about one small thing that causes ripples through community. And yeah their metrics are falling, I personally have never been as unactive as of late across the board. Well see what happens in the coming weeks. Any hope for marathons this year? Signature series value last year was pitiful I thought. I guess thats just due to declining secondary economy in general?

    • tmoney says:

      Maybe they are going to add this new skin to the other sports apps soon, if not all 8? Bunt is just the guinea pig this time. Reminds me of the time when they tried a new build/skin in Kick and it caused mass crashing to the point that had to emergency roll it back. At least this was smooth.

  3. Kidpolska1 says:

    I am a newbie, so I am trying to find as much info as possible regarding playing in contests and strategies for exchanging that I can. I started about 2 months ago, as BUNT16 was wrapping up. I am not adverse to spending, just need to figure out what my realistic limits should be. Will be checking back frequently for updates…glad there are folks like you out here providing info, as TOPPS does a piss poor job of explaining how things work with the app.

  4. Mark Zentkovich says:

    I like the easier card exchange with no equipment needed

  5. How do you get to the card exchange

  6. Bill Morrow says:

    Does anyone know how to exchange a equipment card? This is the green, white and red card that looks like a ticket. It says that I can exchange it for a card but how is that done? I have 9 of these thing and have no idea on how to get another card for them. Tops doesn’t tell you or at least I haven’t found a place that tells you how to do it. Any help would be great! I thank you in advance.

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