Panini's trying something new .... can't fault them for that! Personally, I see this as a brilliant business move if they stick to it. Long term, Panini now rids the obligation to get a particular player to sign a particular card.
Why is that so important for panini?
Panini (and other companies) go to great lengths to get players to sign cards. There are travel costs, logistic costs, customer service costs ... not to mention the actual manufacturing costs & what the athlete charges.
Now they can focus on the players & cards that are easier to obtain.
Additionally, top players like Adrian Peterson, Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Jordan .... ect sign deals with other companies that makes it difficult (if not impossible) to get guys to sign. Often times companies insert an autograph redemption in a product before they even know if AND when the player will sign.
Now panini just will give you points. They know a certain % will never be used - just like a redemption card for a player - but now they aren't on the hook for a particular card/set/player .... which should mean less headaches for Panini.