How Do You “Collect” Something Dependent on Someone’s Electronic Server?

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Poor Valiant. They try so hard but come out with such pedestrian, mediocre comics. Yet I admire their willingness to keep plugging and trying new methods to get attention, and more importantly, readers.

Their latest announcement, though, just made me scratch my head. Valiant is launching a channel on Quidd, “the world’s first platform for collecting and trading emojis, stickers, and cards.” (iOS only.) I know this is a fogey thing to say, but I have no idea how you “collect” something that’s dependent on a company you’ve never heard of keeping their servers running. A collection is something you have control over, something you can store and sort on your own. They promise digital trading and “exclusive discounts”, but electronic content of this kind is never owned.

Seems like a way to try and suck money from fans for nothing tangible, and another way to try and create a walled garden away from the web. I’m sure it will be forgotten in another couple of years. Even with “multiple base sets with new, free packs added each and every week” and “incentive chase sets spotlighting Valiant’s most wanted heroes and events”.

Hey, did you know that Valiant Entertainment “owns and controls the largest independent superhero universe in comics”? And they’re “one of the most successful publishers in the history of the comic book medium” with “some of the most critically acclaimed comics in the industry”?

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  • James Schee

    Yeah I don’t get it either and its weird how quick things vanish. I was looking at my Comixology account the other day and I some how have a credit for $3, no idea why. My only guess is that something got removed from their service and so they credited me what I paid, which is nice of them.

    Using words like collect is weird to me, as digital has made comics disposable entertainment again for the most part, which isn’t a bad thing though it may sound it. There are things I want to try, or read at that point in time. But that doesn’t mean I’ll ever want to go back and read it or keep tripping over it forever either.

    There are some rarities that do warrant that, and I’ll go seek out the collection of that rare unicorn. But I kind of like thinking of comics in the same way as I do music. There’s stuff I find that I want to listen to over and over again, and then come to a point 4 months later where I can’t stand to hear the first chord from it. Same with comics series now.

  • Steam has trading cards, you get a lot of them free from just playing games. People care enough about collecting a complete set to trade and sell the cards on Steam’s marketplace.

    I *think* Quidd is trying do something like that, but without being backed by “satisfaction of playing a game”.

  • James, that seems a very sensible, modern approach. It’s taken me decades to get to that point myself. But now I look at books, for example, I loved as a kid and realize that they’ll always be available at the library (or for non-fiction, the information is more easily found on the internet) and so I don’t need to be the storage locker.

    Justin, that’s an interesting approach. I think I would value something like that more if it was connected to, as you point out, an accomplishment instead of just something to “buy” (or more accurately rent).

  • __”one of the most successful publishers in the history of the comic book medium”__

    Which Valiant is this? Jim Shooter’s? Acclaim’s? The current one? “Publishers” IS properly pluralized there. ;-)

    Oh, wait, they’re probably referring to the millions of copies they sold of “DeathMate” once upon a time.

  • Jer

    I suspect that “collect” has a different meaning in the post-Pokemon world of today. All of that time spent collecting Pokemon on Gameboys and then you don’t even have a collection to sell off when you’re done. Just a used game that Gamestop pays used game prices for. (A high demand used game, but still – nobody cares if you caught every single Pokemon or if you played it once and threw it in a corner. The collection is essentially worthless except in your own mind).

    I can see it – Marvel Puzzle Quest hits the same kind of “collector” vibe for me that chasing after trading cards or missing back issues in my comics runs did when I was a kid, and then later fighting the urge to complete entire sets of TCG card games. But MPQ has the benefit that there’s actually a game there to collect all of those “covers” and you don’t have to spend any money at all. I don’t see how pay to play trading stuff works when you don’t have a game behind it, but I’m clearly not the target audience for this kind of thing anymore either.

  • James Schee

    Yeah I like that my entire comic collection today consists of only LSH Archives 1-13, LSH The Great Darkness TPB(wish they’d collect 5YL run), Supergirl Archive 1, Superman: Secret Identity TPB, Zot Vol 1 Color TPB & Zot B&W, Watchmen TPB, DC New Frontier Absolute Edition, Sabrina Manga TPBs, Crisis on Infinite Earths original $100 HC and the Complete Calvin & Hobbes collection. That’s it…

  • That’s the important thing, Jer – we aren’t the market these products are aimed at. The question in my mind is … does that other market, the one who thinks this thing is cool, exist in sufficient numbers to be worthwhile?

    James, those titles sound pretty familiar… :)

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