In the next 48 hours or so, Topps will be launching the first version of their football brand as a digital only product. Topps Digital recently signed a long term deal with the NFL to make their Huddle platform a unique part of their portfolio. This new direction is bittersweet to say the least, but it looks like they are ready to invest heavily in making their digital brands a huge focus for their future. Now that we have gotten the first look at the cards, its clear that Huddle might have a leg up based on their new situation.
This setup doesnt come without pressure, as its clear that Topps has to find extended success now that there is no physical card counterpart. In seeing the great offseason content they have tested, its becoming obvious that their design team is definitely up to the task. Where they had physical products to build from prior, they will now need to create a calendar that is devoid of the source material they once had. In a lot of ways, this could open up a more digital friendly landscape, as physical can present some unique limitations.
The gameplay is really what sets them apart even further from their competition, with live game points contests that drive prize rewards for showing chops in the fantasy world. They are already miles and miles ahead of Panini’s garbage attempt at a digital app, but the gameplay brings them a step further past the marker. Combining this with the on demand content that Huddle brings multiple times per day, and it is a much more interesting take on what makes digital so attractive.
I am fully aware of the stigma attached to digital, as many physical collectors really dont see the appeal. I have said many times that the app is designed as some top flight entertainment, not as a collection that is meant to be passed down to your kids. This entertainment can provide one of the most engaging communities with it, and that’s only the start. If you want something that delivers that type of gamaing experience, and you can put aside the idea that this isnt physical cards, it will be something you thoroughly enjoy. Because many physical collectors cant make that separation, digital focuses more on the people who love fantasy and digital games instead. Its really too bad, because trying it can be the beginning of a quite interesting new addiction.
As the brand unfolds in 2016 outside the confines of physical content, Ill have a ton of coverage on my other site – Digital Card Central. Check out @SCUncensored on twitter as well for up to the minute updates.