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Topps 3D Live Baseball Card  (Source: The New York Times)
Topps hopes new baseball cards will get kids buying again

For decades, fans of baseball have collected, traded, sold, and bought baseball cards. The cards have been around since the 1950's and offer fans images of their favorite players along with stats and other information.

For all of those years, Topps baseball cards have not changed significantly. The cards are still made from cardboard and offer stats and other information on the player. However, Topps is set to take the baseball card world high-tech by offering a new Series I Topps 3D Live baseball card.

Steve Grimes, chief digital officer at Topps told The New York Times, "This is the ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ version of a baseball card that will get kids to buy more. We see this baseball season as a redefining moment for us."

The new cards use technology from a company called Total Immersion. The tech has reportedly already been used in the theme park and auto design markets for a while. With Topps, the technology allows fans to take the baseball cards, hold them in front of a webcam and on the computer screen they see a 3D avatar of the player on the card, which can be used to play basic games like batting, catching and pitching.

The card can be turned in any direction and the avatar will face that direction allowing the fan to see the avatar from all sides. The high-tech baseball cards are an attempt by Topps to regain some of the former market it once held and has now lost to the internet where facts about players are easier to find. The New York Times reports that baseball and other sports trading cards were once a $1 billion business, but the business has declined to $200 million yearly.

Topps was purchased in 2007 by Michael Eisner's Tornante company along with Madison Dearborn Partners for $385 million. According to Eisner, Topps expects to ship 10 million combined packs of the Series 1 baseball cards with each pack of 12 cards selling for $2 and Topps Attax cards selling at $1 per pack of five.

Eisner said, "We take technology as our friend. The playing card is the beginning, not the end."



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But...
By MikeMurphy on 3/9/2009 1:19:58 PM , Rating: 2
But will it come with that classic stick of gum? If it does, I'm there :)




RE: But...
By SublimeSimplicity on 3/9/2009 1:24:58 PM , Rating: 5
sort of, if you hold the pack up to a web cam, an avatar of a stick of gum will appear. You can't chew it, but you can view it from all sorts of angles.


RE: But...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 3/9/2009 1:32:37 PM , Rating: 5
You can't chew Topps gum either -- or at least from what I could remember as a kid. The stuff was stale, hard, brittle and would break apart into tiny pieces in your mouth.


RE: But...
By nosfe on 3/9/2009 1:35:24 PM , Rating: 3
now why did i read that "would break your mouth into tiny pieces"?


RE: But...
By Anonymous Freak on 3/9/2009 4:07:59 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah, that's about right. The gum stopped being edible in the late '70s. (Which also happens to correspond with the last time they actually *MANUFACTURED* the gum.)


RE: But...
By chmilz on 3/9/2009 1:39:02 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The stuff was stale, hard, brittle and would break apart into tiny pieces in your mouth

That was your teeth breaking apart in your mouth, not the gum.


RE: But...
By i3arracuda on 3/9/2009 2:05:34 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
You can't chew Topps gum either -- or at least from what I could remember as a kid. The stuff was stale, hard, brittle and would break apart into tiny pieces in your mouth.


You're supposed to chew that stuff? Huh. All this time I thought it was just a marketing ploy by the makers of Quickrete; some sick, perverted play to hook the youth of the nation on their convenient, ready-to-mix, fast-acting line of cement and concrete products. Just add water!


RE: But...
By bplewis24 on 3/9/2009 2:38:59 PM , Rating: 3
When I was a kid we used the stick of gum as weapons when we pretended to be ninjas. Tape a couple of them together and they are very potent ninja stars.

Brandon


Ha
By bobcpg on 3/9/2009 12:58:09 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Topps baseball cards have not changed significantly. The cards are still made from cardboard and offer stats and other information on the player.


Will the show the amount of steroids use in miliLiters or liters?




RE: Ha
By Dreifort on 3/9/2009 2:12:05 PM , Rating: 5
specially marked inserts will be the "Steroid" or "juiced" versions of these 3d cards.

These special edtn cards will offer a larger version of the 3d model on your computer screen, but the side effects are less RAM available and smaller Hard Disk available.


RE: Ha
By Gul Westfale on 3/9/2009 11:08:55 PM , Rating: 5
prolonged use will make your hard drive floppy.


Comic books FTW!
By Motoman on 3/9/2009 1:55:30 PM , Rating: 1
...only socially inept strange people collect baseball cards.

Normal people without any odd habits with strong social skills collect comic books.

...and spend several hours a day reading/posting on web sites.




RE: Comic books FTW!
By joeindian1551 on 3/9/2009 6:34:18 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
by Motoman on March 9, 2009 at 1:55 PM

...only socially inept strange people collect baseball cards.

Normal people without any odd habits with strong social skills collect comic books.

...and spend several hours a day reading/posting on web sites. /sarcasm


You were missing a small part.


RE: Comic books FTW!
By Motoman on 3/9/2009 10:02:21 PM , Rating: 3
...I find it very disturbing that one would need that tag on a comment like that...


RE: Comic books FTW!
By joeindian1551 on 3/9/2009 11:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
If you spend any time on internet message boards then you should know how difficult the conveyance of sarcasm is. I'm just trying to help out.


RE: Comic books FTW!
By Raidin on 3/10/2009 5:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
Not when he has done such an excellent job making it perfectly obvious.

You, sir, have ruined another classic internet joke!


By Chris Peredun on 3/9/2009 1:03:59 PM , Rating: 1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_Judgement

I'd like to see them add some manner of animations. Augmented reality is fun when it's done right.




By whirabomber on 3/9/2009 1:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
They need an eye of judgement fantasy baseball game for the PS3.


By afkrotch on 3/9/2009 2:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of this Japanese game thing.

http://www.atalude.net/archives/2008/12/03/a-day-w...

Cept, I don't think guys will want to be removing their favorite baseball player's clothes. Or do they?


By Carl B on 3/9/2009 10:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing.

EoJ originally went with Hasbro/Wizards, then for the last set to Upper Deck; we can probably imagine that if nothing else, Topps was in the mix somewhere along the line as the potential contract for card production. Whether the idea came from EoJ or elsewhere, the end result certainly is similar.


By Carl B on 3/9/2009 10:29:53 PM , Rating: 1
I was thinking the same thing.

EoJ originally went with Hasbro/Wizards, then for the last set to Upper Deck; we can probably imagine that if nothing else, Topps was in the mix somewhere along the line as the potential contract for card production. Whether the idea came from EoJ or elsewhere, the end result certainly is similar.


The real reason kids don't buy cards...
By Stacey Melissa on 3/9/2009 2:33:06 PM , Rating: 2
... is that they're way too expensive these days. Over the last several years, card makers have been trying to increase the value of their cards, so they're no longer commodity items. They succeeded, and they shut out kids with normal allowances in the process. I really can't see these new Topps cards helping.




By afkrotch on 3/9/2009 5:01:18 PM , Rating: 3
I think it's more technology getting in the way. Buy baseball cards or save up for a new game on your Wii, 360, PS3, PC, DS, PSP, etc.

Not to mention the anime card games like Pokemon or Yugioh.


general electric
By Murloc on 3/9/2009 2:57:07 PM , Rating: 3
you can try it here: http://ge.ecomagination.com/smartgrid/

with bad computers this sucks.




RE: general electric
By Dreifort on 3/10/2009 9:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
here is another video of this technology that will be used on Topps baseball cards...

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1903121


webcam
By strikeback03 on 3/9/2009 3:23:58 PM , Rating: 4
Someone is trying to invent a use for webcams?




Lots of Memories
By ExarKun333 on 3/10/2009 7:53:54 AM , Rating: 2
I have a lot of great memories growing up and collecting baseball cards. Most of gimmicks from the last 15 years have been geared toward collectors, and it makes sense where the market is now (1 Billion --> 200 Million). This seems like a turn in the right direction to get kids (and adults) interested again in baseball cards.




RE: Lots of Memories
By Chimpie on 3/10/2009 9:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. A few things, IMO, that killed the industry:

-- Adding outrageous chase cards to packs.
-- Raising the price of a pack from $.69 to $2+/pack
-- And then lowering the number of cards per pack from 15 to around 5 to 7


Here's a YouTube video of it
By Chimpie on 3/10/2009 9:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
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