When it comes to digital cards, I’m not a huge expert. For the past few years, Topps has been the king of digital cards. The main reason why I haven’t gotten into them is because I don’t have a device that supports their apps. I’m probably the last person in the world that doesn’t have a smartphone, but I haven’t had the need for one yet. You have to admire the attention and respect that collectors have given to digital cards though. Many people have spent a lot on these digital cards that don’t even physically exist.
Upper Deck has thrown their hat into the ring, but it comes with an added twist that we haven’t seen before. Its called Upper Deck e-Pack. Simply put, it takes a product that physically exists and allows you to open it in a digital way. I’ve given it a try, and the site is very easy to use.
Sign up is totally free. Upon signing in you can choose which product you’d like to open. Right now the only product available is 2015-16 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey. You can open a single pack, box, or even a case right there on the site. Upper Deck provides a free 3-card pack each day to open. All of your cards are stored in your account. If you wish to sell or take possession of the cards you pulled you can export them to your Check Out My Cards account.
I don’t like to compare Upper Deck’s e-Pack to the stuff Topps is doing. Even though the e-Pack has some exclusive cards, the real innovation here is the way to digitally open a physically existing product and get the cards to you. With the rise in popularity of digital cards that Topps has brought us, it makes you wonder if cards printed on cardboard will one day be a thing of the past. All of these new mediums raise a lot of questions. Perhaps cardboard still has a future. Maybe collectors were just looking for a modern way of opening a product and storing it. The e-Pack sure helps manage all of those pesky base cards that you may not have room for. Then again, the e-Pack could be a momentary thing that holds us all over under virtual cards are the norm. I do agree with Upper Deck when they says its hard to appreciate an autograph and/or relic card that can only be viewed within an app. To me, a digital “hit” like that will never compare to holding the real thing.
Upper Deck has been rumored to be going out of business for years. It certainly hasn’t happened yet. They don’t make as much product as they use to though. Hockey and entertainment properties in addition to their memorabilia business is what they do now. I hope they stick around a for awhile. It would be cool to see how the e-Pack pans out. For all we know it could rejuvenate people’s interest in opening cardboard based products. e-Pack I believe is a true game changer. Keep your eyes on this.