Upper Deck Tries to Evolve the Trading Card With LCD Screens

By  |  Friday, April 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I can’t say my finger’s on the pulse of the trading card beat, but Upper Deck’s upcoming Evolution football cards seem like a neat gimmick.

According to Switched, each “card” measures a half-inch thick, and includes a small LCD screen. A 60-second highlight reel rolls automatically when you open the cardboard flap covering the face of the card.

The Evolution cards arrive on April 12. No idea why Upper Deck is pushing a new kind of football card in the middle of baseball season, but whatever.

It’s funny, because as a childhood baseball card collector, I never associated the decline of trading cards with the rise of personal computers and the Internet. Baseball cards had their own problems, including the strike of 1994 and market oversaturation. I was in early middle school when the market boomed, and¬†I specifically remember being soured by the glut of premium cards, which were expensive for kids my age.

But in hindsight, playing cards are just another example of physical media doomed by digital. The stats on the back of the cards are instantly accessible on a smartphone, as are highlight reels. The very idea of collecting and trading players has been replaced to some extent by fantasy sports. Even if the trading card market hadn’t become oversaturated in the early 1990s, it’d still be in trouble today.

Upper Deck’s new cards won’t change that, of course. They’re just another reminder that no dead-tree media is safe anymore.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Gabriel Says:

    Oh boy, would this have excited me as a kid. There's just something about tearing open a pack of cards wondering what you're going to get, and having something physical to look at and show off — I don't think any online-based "trading cards" could ever match that. This product seems like a good compromise between old and new media.

    I don't know if anyone is going to care, though, but I've been out of baseball card collecting for a long time. I was in middle school like you during the premium and insert craze of the '90s. Between the strike, the fact that there was no possible way to collect everything anymore (I enjoyed hand-assembling sets), and the fact that people were throwing away any card that wasn't an insert, I really had my fill of the hobby.

  2. Rip Says:

    You know i have been wondering why isn't there Trading Cards app.