I watched two guys open a starter box of Topps Attax each on some obscure website called Beckett. They tried really hard to get excited about the cards but failed. One even said something like '... well you play a game. I don't think I will be playing it but I might collect the cards. They look pretty good.'
It was a little understated as the Attax brand is a huge money spinner for Topps, accounting for about a quarter (according to the Wall Street Journal) of their turn-over. The Match Attax football version has been huge in the UK and Europe. According to the experts the reason was that Topps combined the card collecting habit of old with the new fantasy role-play competitive game of trying to build a winning combination of cards to defeat an opponent.
I will throw my idea in too.
Being a primary school teacher I saw how popular the Attax were on the playground. Firstly they were affordable (8 good quality cards for 50p), secondly they looked good (bright colours, nice pictures) and thirdly there were special 'chase' cards. The children desired them and they traded like anything to get them, even purchasing the tin, book, folder and magazine to obtain the limited cards. They really only wanted to collect the base cards of the team they supported- Manchester United, Chelsea, West Ham United, etc. A few wanted the entire set, but all of them wanted to own some of the Shiny, Glittery Rainbow Foil cards. Very few, if any of the children I saw trading cards actually played the game.
However I'm not sure of the longevity of the product. Topps milked the product for what it worth this year with Match Attax Extra, Match Attax World Cup Edition, a supermarket Attax special pack and Slam Attax. Plus Panini leap on the band wagon with Adrenalyn XL , spreading the demand very thin while keeping supply super high. There are half full boxes in all stores around my way. So whether it is as popular next year we have to wait and see.
But the guys on Beckett were right.
They look pretty good.
I was gifted 9 packs of Topps Attax baseball which I will open in my ongoing search for Red Sox at 'Pursuit of Red Sox'