Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hey Upper Deck - Enough Kobes!!!!

Time for a little rant.

I was excited to see some sneak peek photos of upcoming products from Upper Deck's Comic Con booth, but was dismayed to see yet another Kobe Bryant - this time in a MPLS throwback uniform of the Minneapolis Lakers.

We now have the following Kobe figures:

Purple uniform
Gold uniform
White uniform
Black edition
MPLS edition

The advertising flyer for the Platinum Club showed a platinum Kobe planned for the future as well.

That's SIX Kobe Bryant figures. God help us if he gets traded to another team and we have another round of home, away and retro uniforms to go along with these!

Good grief - ENOUGH!!!!

Now that more All-Star Vinyl figures are coming out I'm seeing the product release strategy Upper Deck is using and I'm not altogether thrilled. Rather than come out with a good assortment of players, we're getting a smaller assortment of players being reissued ad nauseum. Doe we really need six different paintjobs of the same guy? Especially when there have only been three players done in NBA licensed vinyls so far? (Other than Kobe, we have four different licensed LeBron James and three different Dwayne Wade figures.) Do we really want a collection that looks like "Attack of the Clones" more than a good collection of different players?

I'm also concerned with the intense focus on limited edition sizes and high retail prices, which suggests a priority in secondary market value. The edition sizes to these figures are very small - 250 to 500 for the non-regular pieces. Then to charge $50 for regulars and $75 - $100 for exclusives . . . ouch!

I'm also troubled by the requirement that you have to buy the basic figure to get the more limited versions. On sale day, you can't just buy the black edition figure - you must buy the black figure AND the two pack of regular and alternate version figures . . . for $200. That's a lot to have to pay to get three figures at retail price.

I'm starting to wonder who the target market is for All-Star Vinyls. Are these made for collectors . . . or speculative investors? I know Upper Deck has a long history of demanding top dollar for their products - if you doubt this, look at what autographed items go for on Upper Outrageous.

There are some positive things coming out of Upper Deck - the upcoming NFL figures look very good, for example. Unfortunately, I have a feeling we're going to get lots and lots of looks at them because we'll probably have a half dozen of each put on the market. I like many aspects of the new Platinum Club as well - the whole collector club concept is the subject of an entire blog entry, which will be posted very soon. But even with the good aspects I'm seeing, there are some very real concerns about how this product line is being produced and released, serious concerns that make me question the long-term potential for All-Star Vinyls.

Labels: , , ,