Helmehytte Invest created

I have received quite a bunch of mail and questions about the newly created Helmehytte Invest AB, which I have posted on LinkedIn and Facebook. So here it is in short:

Helmehytte Invest is my personal investment company, created by me to use for owning share, stocks and invest in external companies. So it currently wont have any real operational activities. My day job is still at GamersGate, and that won’t change for a foreseeable future.

For a time I have been thinking about starting my own company, and now its done! The first real investment was stocks in GamersGate.

Battlefield Play4Free Beta access

Cool! Today I received a code for the Battlefield Play4Free Beta. Last year I had a blast with Battlefield Bad Company 2, and really looking forward to Battlefield 3 later this year. In the meantime I will checkout the Free2Play version. Currently installing, and have hopes that its better than Battlefield Heroes.

Apps “locking” in customers

Apps have become a common expression after the success of iPhone/iPod application system. Its become huge business on Apple devices and Google Android Marketplace. Recently Apple logged over 10 billion downloads through the App Store. Sure, lots of Apps are free, but the numbers are interesting.

What I find more interesting is how the apps really create its own echo system for both Apple and Google. Their own digital download channels, which they own and operate. And Apple owns both the Hardware, Sales/Distribution Channels, Software, and get 30% of all the revenue generated by sold Apps.

From a customer perspective its interesting to see how this affect which device (system) we choose. For example, I am a big Apple fan, owning an iPad, iPod, iPhone and an iMac. I purchase and download new apps all the time. Mostly games, and between 1 – 5 dollars. And now when I have invested so much money in apps through Apples system, I am very unlikely to change to the Google system, cause I would then have to purchase all the apps again. Even if the apps isn’t that expensive, I still have invested quite a lot of money in Apple Apps.

In some way customers is making a bigger decisions now when they have to purchase mobile devices. The Apps will be a heavier factor in the choice of which system to pick.  Its interesting because Apps really adds value to the system and devices, so its in the interest of both Google and Apple to get the latest and best apps to their platform.

Best of 2010

Now 2010 have come to an end, and its time to summarize 2010 when it comes to Games, movies and music. I am quite happy with 2010 in some areas, less in some.

Games:

  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
  • God of War 3
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty
  • Vanquish
  • Bayonetta
  • Darksiders

Comment: Like last year the favourite was a game that came and took me by surprise. God of War 3 was excellent, but Castlevania Lords of Shadows just came and took my breath away. Therefore Castlevania, like Batman last year, is the game of the year for me. Mass Effect 2 was way better than the first one, and I really enjoyed it. StarCraft 2 was better than expected for me, had a blast with the biggest PC title of the year. Both Vanquish and Bayonetta, both from the same studio, just came and was really fun and excellent.

Music:

  • Equilibrium – Rekreatur
  • Heaven Shall Burn – Invictus
  • Swedish House Mafia – Unit One
  • Parkway Drive – Deep Blue
  • Raunchy – A Discord Electric

Comment: Here we find a couple of surprises as well! First the release of a new Equilibrium album, which just appeared! If not as classic as the last album its definitely the most played this year. Heaven Shall Burn also just released a new album, and man what energy! Then we have Swedish House Mafia… House music. After our Ibiza vacation were there were SHM merchandise all over the place and getting back to Sweden their were everywhere.

Movies:

  • Inception
  • The Social Network
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Machete
  • The A-Team

Comment: Not a very impressive year when it comes to movies. Don’t really recall any extraordinary movies, but hope for the end of Harry Potter next year.

2010 for me have been quite much about work and traveling. E3, GamesCom and Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It seems 2011 won’t be less work though. I am very excited what 2011 have to offer. The big thing I look forward to is for Anna to move here (Stockholm) and we will move to a bigger apartment, hopefully.

Also, one of the big thing for me in 2010 is how my interested in Stocks and the Finance world really have increased. I started already in 2009, but this year its starts to become even more important. All the money I save I try to invest in a smart way in stocks. Following the stock market is also a way for me to learn about corporation, business ideas and generally how business works. Hope for better investments in 2011!

Google’s Chrome Web Store is really happening!

In the US, the worlds biggest Search Engine have taken the step (outside the mobile platform) to start selling applications. And not just any applications, web browser applications (apps)! Throught the newly opened  Google Chrome Web Store you have the ability to purchase web browser apps. At the moment its only available for in the US territory. People with mobile phones or other devices running Google’s own operating system Android have had access to apps before. But this is a new direction, but in line with their plan for their upcoming PC operating system to compete with Windows.

And among the first publishers to release games on the Web Store we find Electronic Arts, Zynga, Digital Chocolate, Jagex, Spryfox, Bigpoint and Namco. They will inially start with just over 200 games. But most of those partners are probably already signed thanks to the help of the Android Marketplace for Andriod Mobile decides. Here Google have sort of taken the position were Mircosoft could have been, having the dominant Mobile OS for none-Apple mobile phones. Microsoft’s answer is the new Windows Moblie 7, but the question is if it will be dead on arrival.

It will be interesting to see the potential of the games and other applications they will release going forward. Will it be yet another platform for games, similar to GamersGate and our competitors? It seems Googles focusing more on building platforms and offer services than its core business, search. Well, its all business right to expand and develop its portfolio. And looking at the success of both Apple’s iTunes and digital distribution stores for PC/Mac games, this is a very lucrative market. Owning the distribution channel and the customer. And customers, or rather users is key for Google. Knowing as much as possible to display better directed Ads, which generate more revenue. So taking the step into distribution is something else from their core business. But hey, its Google! Would could they possible fail? Oh wait… Google Wave. But stop! They still rethinking that project.

Then we have Apple, which is its own success story! Not only do they own and control their own distribution platform (iTunes), they are also hardware manufactures. So the Apps build for Apple product will ONLY work on Apple product. One manufacture, one platform. But its still it makes millions both for Apple and its third-party developer. And they have their own web browser as well! Wouldn’t surprise if they start selling Web browser Apps as well, through iTunes of cause.

They are truly trying to take over the internet, and at the moment they are also battling Facebook for the time, attention and clicks from the worlds billions web users. Facebook have done what Google did to Microsoft, “steeling” good workers/programmers. And to lock-in users as much as possible. Which is really good from a business perspective but not away’s from a customers/user perspective. For exmple this is happening in the PC/Mac games industry at the moment with our biggest competitor, Steam. They are locking in customers in their service and make developers and publishers reliant of them. Will write another post on this later.

But the battle of the web giant is about to begin.

Chrome Web Store

Google Chrome Web Store

Google help the fight against Piracy

One of the two biggest websites online (the ohter being Facebook), Google have joined the fight against piracy. With tons of torrent and other piracy sites, they will of cause be listed in Google. This will probably be (as with most businesses online) the main source of new customers/users. And if you cut this source of new user, you might hit the pirates just right. So Google now works at making it easier for content and copy rights owners  to “delist” piracy sites.  This will probably quite a mighty blow toward the pirates. But at the same time you could question the sort of Openness philosophy Google have about listing everything online.  The power of Google on the internet is needed to be discussed in details. So who better to make it harder than those guys? It will be interesting to follow up and see if it have made an effect.

But you can divide piracy into two categories, content ripping and distribution. Pirate Bay for example is only a distribution network enabling content rippers ( the ones who get hold of content to distribute). They don’t host or hold any files. Both categories are equally problems, but they enable each other. A simple concept. You have to have good content to attract more customers/users, but at the same time massive amounts of customers/users make it attractive to distribute into. You have to kill both content ripping and distribution to really crash piracy. Googles action will limit sending new users to the torrent/piracy sites. Not prevent the content from being ripped. But its a step in the right direction.

More details about the new changes go to the Google Public Policy Blog.

Hot topic: WikiLeak

The hottest topic right now is WikiLeaks and the consequences of their recent publication of thousand of highly classified US diplomat documents. And according to the founder of WikiLeaks, its only the beginning. The next batch of document releases will be about big bank corporations, and it will apparently hurt. Well, its already started to take effect (If you look at the Stock prices for some of the mentioned companies).  No denying this have made an impact and hot topic on the news all around the world. While at the same time the founder is accused for raping a girl here in Sweden. He is hiding and only make statement over the web.

All over the world politicians and high position people is making statements, condemning WikiLeaks revelations and what is to come. Calling it illegal and

What WikiLeaks have done is to get their hands on classified documents and publishing them. The result will be improvement how similar documents and information will be handled after this. But will it be enough? It similar to the piracy dilemma. You have to balance protecting your product (information), and not making it to hard for your customers to consume their latest purchase. And not risking becoming the society from George Orwells 1984. A government that spies on other countries or its own people, would need an additional internal layer spying (supervising) the external spying department.

They have become an extension of journalism, taking it to a new level. I don’t say its right or wrong, simply observing and finding it fascinating how the whole situation is developing. Its good for the public to get the knowledge of our chosen representative are acting. But on some level there’s a risk of jeopardise the life of many people if to much or the wrong information is leaked. People who didn’t deserve to be exposed. A continuing balance between how much information should be shared or not. Where should we set the limit?

I think its good that we get to know if companies and governments are acting unethically or immoral. As long as they are given a chance to make amends. It’s not okey however, if the only result is hurting or damaging innocent ordinary people. Then you can ask the question if damaging relations between countries to the extent that there is a risk of war is ethical or moral?

What WikiLeak did wasn’t new, they only did it in a bigger more sceptical way. And it seems to have worked, reading and hearing about it everywhere.  It would be interesting to hear what the founder of Wikipedia things of the parallel using Wiki- at the beginning.  I think its very exciting to see what will come next, and how long the hype will last.

GamersGate Holiday Show Episode 1!

Today at work we published the first episode in of our Holiday Show, in connection with the December Holiday GiftGuide we currently have live. Me and Angelica recorded this yesterday, and I can’t deny that I was nervous. Don’t know if that shows :) Now we will make a new episode each week for December. Sharing tips from the Gift Guide and more. Then we have to see if there is an interested in continuing producing those shows. Now that its done, it is kinda fun.

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Received and Unboxed Assassins Creed Brotherhood today!

Finally, after much wait I received my package at the office! And today it came, fron my friends at Ubisoft Nordic I received my copy of one of the biggest game this year, Assassins Creed Brotherhood for Playstation 3. And they sent the Special Codex Edition. Packed with extra content, soundtrack, behind the scene movies, a map over Rome and much more. All in really cool box! Now I only need to find place for the box.

My co-workers wanted me to open it right away. So while doing this Angelica filmed my Unboxsing (seen below, Swedish talk). Now I only need to find the time to play it. Probably this weekend. Have really looked forward to this third instalment as the two previous games was great.

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OffiSync = Good for customers

The other day I read about a new free program available (for free) online called OffiSync. A nice little program which enable you to connect your Google Docs account with Microsofts Office. So basically you can work on your computer in Word, you can save it up in the cloud to your Google Docs account. Which enable you to always access the document later, as long as you have internet access. Its such a basic feature, but yet so powerful! The ability to connect the most used offline and online office work package  is really useful, and really good for customers.

This program was created by a third-party company, with the same name as the software. Ideally, the two IT giants would collaboration them self. Of cause they want every single person on the planet to ONLY use their software/solution. To own the customers, but sometimes collaboration is better, for the end consumer!

Collaboration,something that I think believe companies often forget, can benefit the end customers more then they can imagine. With all the new devices, operating systems, social platforms and new software programs, the connection between those and the ability to transfer files, documents, information and other media fast and easy between them.

I would like to point to two great examples, DropBox and Facebook Connect.

DropBox is a cloud file saving service, were I can upload and store my files. Then I can access them any time either through any web browser or the DropBox client.  Got introduced to this service through a business contact at work. She showed me how she used it to access all her work files on her iPad, without storing all files on the actual device. A true killer-app that made it possible for her to actually work with her iPad instead of caring around a heavy laptop. And the connection/integrations with the iPad apps is crucial for this to work.  Now I use it all the time to send files from my work computer to the home computer, fast and easy.

Facebook Connect is a feature Facebook offer everyone to freely implement on their web sites / software and games. Take a web site for example: It enables users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site. Another example is StarCraft 2, or rather Battle.Net (its online network). It uses Facebook Connect for players to through their Facebook profil add friends to their Battle.net friends-list. I never had to know my friends Battle.net names or anything. Just connecting through Facebook and right away I had 20 friends on my Battle.net account! And their is so many more ways to utilize this feature.

With all the competition out there in the market today, I think its better to focus on, what gives value and improve any service for the CUSTOMER! I mean, I have a lots of account to different services and it would be great if I could connect them better. To collaborate instead of forcing your customers to limit them to your service. Sure it might be a good service, but by thinking more openly and see the potential in collaborating, it can become great!