Upper Deck has announced the debut of a new, sports-themed virtual world for kids that marries physical trading cards to a massive, multi-player online gaming experience (MMOG). The new site – www.UpperDeckU.com – will offer boys and girls a place to share their passion for sports, competing, socializing and online game-play in a safe, fun-filled virtual world environment.
The key to unlock the expansive features of UpperDeckU is to enter special codes printed on the inside of foil wrappers of select Upper Deck sports card releases, debuting with 2009 Upper Deck Series One Baseball. UpperDeckU will officially launch on Feb. 3, 2009, to coincide with the in-store arrival date of the aforementioned baseball release.
What makes Upper Deck’s new online gaming experience marks the first time a true virtual world and MMOG will feature officially licensed team gear and player assets combined with the support of an existing offline product. And although the special wrapper codes debut in 2009 UD1 Baseball, additional wrapper codes will follow just one week later inside Upper Deck’s 2008-09 Series Two Hockey release. Only select 2009 “kid-friendly” brands will feature the special game-play codes printed inside the wrappers.
“UpperDeckU really makes baseball card collecting relevant to today’s kids. Our site links real-world card collecting with an engaging online game and social experience,” said Louise Curcio, Upper Deck’s vice president of Marketing. “It’s a win-win situation for hobby dealers and shop owners as well since UpperDeckU should translate into more and more pack purchases by kids who already engage in online games and virtual world sites.”
At launch, UpperDeckU will feature environments for baseball and hockey, but additional sports “Decks” will follow throughout the year. UpperDeckU allows participants to create their own avatars, build personal spaces, play games, socialize in real time with other kids and join teams and clubs. What’s more, kids can earn achievements and “level up” as they progress through UpperDeckU’s virtual world.