Today I wanted to talk about something that excites most KingsIsle players – bundles! Bundles are Wizard101 and Pirate101 game cards that contain exclusive items. The contents can range anywhere from a castle, to a special housing item, to even a gauntlet. It all depends on the specific bundle you’re looking at. While Wizard101 seems to receive new bundles consistently, Pirate101 hasn’t gotten a new bundle since February 2014 (the Hoodoo Bundle). Pirates aren’t the only ones struggling though. Even Wizard101 players have found it hard to track down bundles in certain stores like Target and Walmart. That got me thinking about the possibility of online bundles. I’ve seen the idea floating around here and there, but I really wanted to delve into it fully from both a Wizard101 and Pirate101 perspective.
Like I mentioned earlier, Pirate101 hasn’t seen a new bundle since 2014. The speculations about why that is could go on and on, but ultimately nobody knows the real answer except KingsIsle. My best guess though, is that the cards just simply weren’t selling. If that were the case, it would make sense why KingsIsle has been hesitant to make a new one. KingsIsle wouldn’t want to put time, energy, and money into a game card that would sit on the shelves. Besides, if consumers aren’t purchasing the cards, the stores selling them wouldn’t be happy either. That’s where the online bundle idea comes in.
Pirate101 is already constantly getting new pets, mounts, or other crown shop items. Instead of putting everything into the crown shop, why not create a new themed set of items and make a new online bundle out of it? With online bundles, KingsIsle wouldn’t need to worry about manufacturing and shipping the physical cards to stores. Similar to how the current online bundles work, Pirate101 players would be able to buy new bundles directly from KingsIsle at any time. No shelves, no middle man, no hassle … or so I think. I won’t pretend to know everything about business (I don’t), but online bundles must surely be less involved than physical cards. I know Pirate101’s avid fans are itching for something new, and although this isn’t exactly the storyline content that they want, it would be something. Some new things are better than no new things.
Wizard101 bundles are a completely different beast. While adding new online bundles for Pirate101 doesn’t present any immediate controversy, Wizard101 is a different story. Wizard101 players are used to getting new bundles, and many even like to collect the physical cards. Taking them away could potentially make some people upset. On the other hand, what about the international players who don’t even have access to the physical cards to begin with? Or the US players who don’t have a Target/Walmart near them? Are you seeing how this is much more complicated than the Pirate101 scenario?
- No need to go store hopping to find the bundle
- Everyone, including international players, would have the opportunity to buy
- Players would no longer be able to collect the physical cards
- Wizard101 name and logo would no longer be getting visibility on store shelves
A Sticky Compromise
A possible compromise would be to have KingsIsle sell BOTH the physical cards and the online option, but even that could get sticky. KingsIsle might have deals with GameStop, Walmart, and Target that could prevent them from selling the in-store bundles online. Companies like exclusive items because they attract potential customers. For example, if you’re REALLY wanting a Fantastic Voyage Gauntlet, you’d need to go find one in a Walmart. That brings you into a Walmart, and Walmart likes that because you may even buy additional products there. (Seriously, when have you ever bought just ONE thing at Walmart?!).
But let’s just say for discussion’s sake that there are no deals … and that KingsIsle could potentially sell in-store and online bundles at the same time. Would the accessibility of online bundles hurt the in-store bundle sales? Would that then eventually lead to the extinction of in-store sales altogether? It may seem far-fetched, but you never know. I personally think it’s interesting to think about.
The (Somewhat) Easier Solution
To avoid a possible mess mentioned above, I think a good solution for the time being is to sell all bundles exclusively at GameStop. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone having trouble finding KingsIsle cards at GameStop. They’re pretty reliable! Not only do they put the cards out quickly, but they also tend to be fairly knowledgeable and helpful (from my experiences). This might be because GameStop is a niche store and has less inventory to keep track of than a superstore like Target or Walmart. The only downside to this is that international players would still be missing out on brand new releases. So although the “solution” wouldn’t be perfect, it would at least alleviate some of the availability issues US customers have been having with Walmart/Target.
What do you think about online bundles? Are they a good idea or bad idea? Do you have any other possible thoughts or solutions? Share what’s on your mind in the comments below!