Monday, January 11, 2016

Not Going Digital

Digital cards seem to be one of the hottest things in the hobby right now. The only problem, I don't like it and sometimes I don't get it.

I have always been about physical objects. I still listen to CD's in a download era. I still buy DVD's in a Redbox/download era. I still pay by bills by mail in an email era and I still buy cards from a store. Why? Because I can physically see what I paid for. I don't have to give it back. I won't lose it due to a glitch. I know my bills will arrive safely.

I guess you can call me old fashion, but I don't get the appeal of having pictures of cards. If I wanted just pictures, I could just as easily go to Panini's blog and grab this....

Panini America 2015 National Treasures College Marcus Mariota 

Boom! I even got this for free! HUGE HIT!!

Paying to get nothing seems pointless and doesn't appeal to me. I have seen other collectors pay $80 for a digital card that they will never touch and it makes me shutter. I have heard other pay even more. Big shutter. Those types of numbers could land you something pretty significant you can actually hold.

But, I guess, big guess,  I can see the appeal for some. Opening digital packs to chase your favorite teams/players might be fun. Trying to land the rare cards before your friends. For me, I would rather open up a physical pack and do those same things. Pulling a digital autographed card or rare card is as appealing to me as that picture of the Mariota above. It's just a picture that holds no value.

I am not saying there isn't a place in the hobby for digital cards. There obviously is and it helps keep the card companies going which is a good thing. I guess I am mainly saying it definitely isn't for me.

Other than not being able to physically touch the cards, here are a few other concerns that I have about them.
  1. They hurt LCS'. You can't buy digital cards from them and if you are spending all of your hobby funds on digital, we will continue to see the LCS' disappear. Would probably hurt card shows as well.
  2. I am hoping it is being used as a bridge to collecting for kids but not the whole idea of collecting. If the future of collecting all goes digital because we teach kids this way, the hobby could disappear.
  3. Bonding with kids and other collectors. There was nothing more memorable for me than sitting down with my father and sorting cards and getting together with friends and trading. You can't do that on your mobile device correctly. That's like having Christmas dinner and texting the person across from you asking them to pass the mashed potatoes. Where is the human interaction most of us seek?!
But I do have a solution as a way to help with these concerns and still move forward with the digital cards. These ideas may also draw me in if ever put forth.
  1. Instead of buying packs of digital cards, buy packs of real cards to find codes to unlock digital cards. Make these digital cards run at 1:4 or 1:6 packs. Don't let us know who it is, what kind of pull it is or how rare it is. Part of the fun will be the unveiling!
  2. Once the digital card is unlocked, give the person a choice of claiming the card as a physical card or letting them risk it in a fantasy type game. 
  3. If the person decides to gamble their card and they lose, they don't get the card or a prize. If they win,well that's up to the company what happens from there.
I find this solves all of the dilemmas I see with digital cards. It keeps physical cards as top priority which keeps LCS', bonding, and may help draw in kids who want to not only collect but play an online type of game. I know that many of you won't agree as some of you fought back hard against me and my beliefs  about the digital cards, but I know some that will agree.

I don't think digital cards are horrible overall if they are used the right way. If they are used strictly to make money and are not here to help the hobby expand, than that means they are not being used the right way.

These are just my thoughts. You can leave yours below but if you disagree, please don't be on the attack. Make your points valid and without threats. It's great to have a discussion, not great to turn it into a war. We are all in this hobby together.


  1. I don't get digital cards at all. I want a physical card. Every once in a while I'll see a cool looking card on ebay and then I'll see that it's a digital card and I'm disappointed. I like your suggestions. Topps did something similar a few years back with actual cards from previous years. It was fun to see who you were going to get and then you could trade them and have them shipped if you wanted to.

  2. I'm the same way about the physical aspect of things. However, I do pay most bills electronically now because many businesses force you to. My bank years ago stopped sending back the physical cancelled checks I write. The rental company for my apartment complex made rent payment via electronic payment mandatory last summer. I still get my W2 tax physically and have to hunt for the dang tax booklets, forms sadly I often have to print out the electronic form, but send my return via snailmail.

    I don't like the digital card thing either. When Topps did their "E-Topps" think I thought that was stupid, but at least the "owners" of the cards had the option to receive the physical card. Your solution described (an commented on by Daniel Wilson) is as Topps did a few years back with it's Million Card Giveaway. They were giving away physical cards, not a specific series of 1s and 0s on a dang computer. Topps "Bunt" game/cards whatever is even more stupid than their E-Topps idea. I think Ebay should ban any "digital" sales, of ANYTHING.

    I can understand the concept of digital cards from the simulation aspect for some kind of demo, but for collecting it is silly.

  3. I have a feeling my resonse to this will be all over the map, so try and follow along.
    First off collecting is a mindset soley determined my the collector, and no one else. People collect all sorts of weird stuff, it doesnt make them a non collector.
    My experience of collecting cards dates back to 1978, with a period during the 1990s where i was away from the hobby, and started back with my son's birth. Ive always been and probably will always be a loyal topps supporter. Up until last season it was with either the flag ship Topps product or its heritage cards that i collected. Last year with the esposure of digital cards, i fell in love with the Allen & Ginter cards and my son became a huge Gypsy Queen fan. We have a lot of fun cracking packs and collecting cards. I also use cards as a motivational tool incompleting school work with penalties that allow me to open packs he would have earned ��
    I can only speak of the latest addition of digital cards specifically Bunt Kick SWCT and Huddle, im a fan of these games as well as the cards produced for them. I believe there is a distinction between playing and collecting in each of the sports games. My experience has determined that im a player of the games with a small desire for collecting insert sets that i like. As with anything you make and take what you want from an experience. I have found that the digtal card games have brought me and my son closer together. It has also brought individuals together from across the country who share the same bond of collecting cards. I have real world friends whom Ive only spoken to digitally with a group on fb who enjoy playing the digital apps, some have met up at ball parks, others we connect with beyond fb. We have done case breaks of physical cards together. Its similar to the kitchen table just with a larger exposure.

    As a whole i think topps digital card apps have brought me further into the hobby. I search for an expanded selection of physical cards. Ive made friends with two different LCS shout to Steve at Legends cards in Fayetville GA Great guy and shop! Take kick for instance, 2 years ago if you asked me what the MLS was i would tell you thats how i sell my house. I now know its our profesional soccer league, and you know what its a pretty darn cool sport and league. Im looking forward to Atlanta United starting playing in 2017 ! I also purchased some Topps Apex boxes of soccer cards, for the first time in 44 years i bought physical soccer cards. Without the digital game not a chance that would have happened.

    As for buying selling...ebay..its up to the collector and his wallet to determine if something is worth it. no one else has a right to tell him/her what he or she can buy and where to buy it. If you look at the numbers some of the best selling physical cards from series2 were in fact the bunt redemption cards limited to 25.

    .It is what you make of it, and it doesnt have to be either just needs to be fun for you

  4. Dude I totally agree. I think the idea for having a code in a pack was a excellent idea. I do play the Topps digital card games but really at the end of the day I would rather be sitting somewhere I can organize and look at my real cards and not having to worry about a glitch or internet signal.