Should Sports Cards Be In Video Games?

For years manufacturers have been trying to get more people interested in The Hobby.  One of the main demographics companies have been targeting is kids.  With all the high-tech toys out on the market, one of the last things many kids find interesting is sports cards.  Products such as Topps Attax and MLB Showdown are just a few of the many products companies have created to try and attract more kids to the industry, but it hasn’t really worked too well.  I highly doubt that even the Topps 3D venture will go far.  The last thing kids want to be treated like is kids.  This is why many of the kid friendly products don’t perform too well.  If I were “Hobby King” for the day you want to know what I’d do?  I’d try to incorporate sports cards into popular video games such as Madden and MLB The Show.  I’m not saying devote an entire portion of the game to cards, but slightly incorpate trading cards into the game.  For example, when reading the bio of your favorite player there could be a section that lists some of their key cards that have been made up to that point.  Since most of the popular entertainment systems have internet access, why not allow people to click on one of those key cards and provide them with more information.  Perhaps it could even point them in the right direction of where to purchase cards like that.  If a company really wanted to get involved with the gaming industry, maybe they could sponsor online events and the winners could obtain certain products.  Current manufacturers don’t seem to get very far when they try and do this stuff by themselves.  I think they need to see what people are interested in and try to incorporate themselves into that market.  What most manufacturers have done so far is the total opposite.  They try to create something slightly innovative and then hope people will come to them, when in reality it should be the other way around.


11 Responses

  1. Sponsoring events makes a lot of sense… I’m surprised you don’t see more in-game ads.. placed on the walls or pieces of the game. They could promote new products this way. Movies have really hit the niche by changing the movie poster ads that are placed in everything from Tom Clancy games to the GH series.

  2. Should Sports Cards Be In Video Games? YES
    I would love it, but will it ever happen? I doubt it

    Here’s why:

    As for sports cards in game – It’s an idea but no company is simply going to allow another company to make money off their product without seeing something in return. Case in point Topps/UpperDeck over the O Pee Chee style. That said how do you determine the value? The card companies of course value their product more than the game companies because its just a small feature in their game that actually takes 80-120 people and more than a year to make. The game company’s lawyer’s fees over the legality probably wouldn’t probably make it not worth it and that’s just to get one company on board. If you wanted more than one company in the game, could you imagine the hoops to jump through to appease both card companies? Now if the card companies actually just thought we don’t need to make money off this – let’s just see if this helps us sell product. Then that would be awesome. The card companies would also need to give complete control to the game company because if they placed limits or want a say on how its presented. That would just delay the game and delaying 100 people is big money.

    As for advertising in game – all they would have to do – is pay a game company who makes the game and its not cheap. For those movie posters in game (if I remember reading correctly) its 4-6 grand and for a huge billboard its 10 grand. Those are actually easy to add to a game because it only takes an artist to put them in. If you talk adding links and other what not – that’s when programmers and QA come into to play to make sure it all runs correctly. Its not just putting a link like its the internet. Games are their own beast, which must be created from scratch. That would easily triple the cost (probably more) since they want those people on the game play and not advertising.

    Sorry to rant – GREAT topic

  3. Some very interesting points raised here, which has got me thinking!

  4. Chris – Thanks for the info – 10k for a video game ad actually seems pretty cheap. I’m surprised it’s not more.

    Obviously it depends on if the product’s demograph and the game’s demographic match, then it seems like a pretty good deal with a lot of cross-promotional possibilities.

    10k to hit your demograph countless times – I think it sounds pretty good.

    You’re right – great topic and discussion.

  5. Great reads Ross.

    Just may work.

    • wow. thanks for the comments everyone. i didn’t know this would spark so much interest. maybe someone from EA Sports will hire me to come up with ideas 🙂

      • Sorry to rain on your parade, but I had that thought when I played RBI Baseball back in 1988. Its far from original and I am pretty sure I played a game on the N64 or PlayStation that had Topps cards in it.

  6. Topps did attempt to enter the video game market back in 96 but the game was canceled. Here are the magazine ads for it.

  7. The latest version of madden I have is madden 07, so im not sure what the newer versions have, but I know on ’07 there is a thing where you can purchase madden cards(some of which come with cheats for the game) with points you earn by playing the game. I doubt any of the card companies had something to do with that or there would be some sort of licensing on the cover, but its a start.

    And, you mentioned topps 3D Live. Upper Deck previously had their kids rewards program, which they ended for the start of UpperDeckU, from which i hear is pretty popular among the kids. I have even seen some commercials for the site while watching sportscenter

  8. […] & Video Games Unite Posted on August 14, 2010 by rosschrisman2003 Last year I wrote a post about how card manufacturers should try to enter the video game industry.  Well, it looks as if […]

  9. […] like I predicted the future once again.  About three years ago, I wrote a blog post on how I think sports cards should be integrated within video games.  Last year, Panini had Marshall Faulk sign some cards for insertion in copies of Madden 2012. […]

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