I worked in a Dollar Tree and one of the most popular things we sold were small packs of Pokemon Trading cards.

I worked in a Dollar Tree and one of the most popular things we sold were small packs of Pokemon Trading cards. From what I’ve heard Magic booster packs were one of the most profitible things in the industry for decades and Konami makes a lot of money from the YuGiOh trading card game. Hearthstone is also pretty profitible and I ,for the life of me, cannot understand why people find the randomness of getting cards more acceptabe than lootboxes (even digital cards). Any thoughts on why this is?

I think it’s because of a few additional factors that affect physical card pack sales over digital loot boxes. Hearthstone actually doesn’t count in this, primarily because Hearthstone is a purely digital game and it has been mentioned by some of the government regulators (e.g. Belgium).

First of all, there’s a “convenience barrier” to buying a physical booster pack of cards. Players can only buy physical booster packs in a store or online. Either way, they are time and space limited – if they buy online, they have to wait for delivery. If they buy in the store, they must do so during the store’s open hours at the physical store. While this isn’t a huge barrier to overcome by any means, this does severely curtail “impulse buys” – the player really wanted it at that moment, but hours or even days later may not have the same desire. This is a huge deal when e-commerce sites carefully track things like the number of clicks it takes to get to a purchase. Having to wait for hours or days before you can actually buy the thing is a pretty big deterrent.

Secondly, physical card packs can’t have any of the additional “feel good” bells and whistles that designers, programmers, and artists can add to enhance the rush you get when opening packs or loot boxes. Pretty animations, music, sound effects, and visual effects like colorful explosions serve to heighten anticipation, excitement, and fun. You usually get a buildup of sorts – some sort of small indicator of what you might get inside the pack, like a flash of colored pattern, a puff of smoke, etc. These sorts of elements are designed to keep players engaged while opening packs. You just can’t get these when opening a physical pack of cards. Opening one pack of cards is basically the same as any other. The most they can do is adjust the material of the wrapping and the art/color/visual design of the pack itself.

Thirdly is the emotional reaction. Humans tend to be funny when it comes to whether something is “real”. Cards are still physical objects and players still feel like they actually own them. Digital products are still a somewhat new thing and, for many people, don’t actually feel like real things. This puts them in a bit of cognitive dissonance – they gave up their very real money for this thing that isn’t real to them. And, if it isn’t what they wanted, it feels worse because it heightens the feeling they didn’t get anything. With physical cards, you can hold it in your hand and say “at least I got these. Maybe I can trade them.” You can’t do that with physical goods, so it makes it feel bad.

Finally, there’s just a lot more people who play video games in general than play card games. There have been people complaining that the booster pack model is gambling almost since its inception, especially with select CCG cards reaching hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the secondary market. However, they never really gained that much traction because they never gained enough of a critical mass to get anyone outside of the circle of card game players to take notice. The number of players buying randomized digital goods in video games is significantly greater than those simply buying physical card packs.

These factors might not seem like a huge deal on their own, but they work together to make digital packs more “sticky” and feel worse when not obtaining a chase reward than physical purchases. I’ve definitely experienced it personally where I stockpile currency in a gacha game for a long time and then pull, thinking “I’ll only spend this much of my savings” only to realize a few minutes later that I’ve spent far more than I originally planned. I believe that a combination of these factors is a large part in why people tend to get more up in arms about loot boxes and digital goods than they did about Magic and Pokemon cards.


The FANTa Project is currently on hiatus while I am crunching at work too busy.

[What is the FANTa project?] [Git the FANTa Project]

Got a burning question you want answered?

Source: askagamedev
I worked in a Dollar Tree and one of the most popular things we sold were small packs of Pokemon Trading cards. From what I’ve heard Magic booster packs were one of the most profitible things in the industry for decades and Konami makes a lot of money from the YuGiOh trading card game. Hearthstone is also pretty profitible and I ,for the life of me, cannot understand why people find the randomness of getting cards more acceptabe than lootboxes (even digital cards). Any thoughts on why this is?

appcodemarkt

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*