Augmented reality has been a topic of discussion within the social circles of new media marketers for quite some time when it comes to jumpstarting the print media industry again. There have been a few instances where AR has made its way to mainstream – the most prominent one being a Mini Cooper print ad but outside of Mini, not much has turned heads.
Topps however has a chance to seriously evolve their product line with the introduction of AR baseball cards. While e-ink may be utopia for collectors of cards with real time stats updated on the card itself, AR may be the best model to help bridge the static world of print to the dynamic world of digital.
(nytimes.com) Beginning Monday, collectors who hold a special Topps 3D Live baseball card in front of a webcam will see a three-dimensional avatar of the player on the computer screen. Rotate the card, and the figure rotates in full perspective. It’s called “augmented reality,” a combination of a real image with a virtual one.
“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,” said Steve Grimes, chief digital officer at Topps.
Card collecting is as much part of our national pastime as the game itself but is nostalgia enough to grab the attention of kids who grow up in a club penguin/pokemon analog/digital world. With PC penetration at 956 million homes, this is a great step forward for sports, technology, and fans as well.