Category Archives: Marketing

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

My first car, a Volvo!

Today released the Swedish car simulator developer SimBin their new Free-to-play game in collaboration with Volvo, Volvo the game. A game based on In-game advertising model. We have been in contact with SimBin regarding this, and even joined in with sponsoring. With 2 GamersGate cars, were even I is one of the drivers! My first car! :) Hope this game become a great success! Both for Simbin and for Volvo.

And please, try out the game and borrow and drive my new car 😉

Volvo S60 Concept

Volvo S60 Concept

Video: evolution of advertising

Found this video yesterday. In just three and a half minutes it illustrate the changes the society have gone through when it come to advertising and how we react to it.

In the past, advertising must have been much easier. A limited amount of brands, not to much competition. Today its another ballgame. The channels have expanded and so have the means of using them, as well as the competition. An evolution that have contributed to marketers re-thinking and becoming even more aggressive in how they push their message into our brains. One example is using “smart” (un-ethical?) methods to print brands in our brains at a very early age. Nowadays, even before we are borne, our parents get bombarded with messages and they try to get into our mind from the day we are borned. Those “Persuaders” won’t stop for nothing to reach us and lock us in.

Even with all the new theories and study s that show how marketers must be smarter and rethink how they reach people and build loyal customers, they still doesn’t seem to want to let go of they old ways of marketing. Banners for example is still a big part of the internet and its economy, but everytime I’ve through work tried it, its been a big disappointment. Instead I try to focus on building a top notch service with great content that people love and by them self want to recommend to friends. Building tools that enable loyal customers to easy tell their friends, instead of spamming and scaring potential customers away.

Also take the time and energy to go out and talk to your customer, on blogs and forums. Not just advertise, but truly talk to them about everything. And not only your products and brand, but everything. Be authentic and engage. The tools to communicate with, not just to your customer,  is better, cheaper and easier then ever before. Use them, but don’t abuse them.

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Adapt the organization, not vice versa

Just finished reading Seth Godins book, Meatball Sundae and got many great ideas and insights. With all the projects and development I have at work, reading this book right now just spawned many great thoughts and enhanced my current ideas for our different project at work and our tactics and philosophy.

Seth Godin - Meatball Sundae

Seth Godin - Meatball Sundae

The big thing that struck me from this book was the focus on how organizations and companies NEED to adapt to the new Marketing trends and concept. Instead of looking for ways to utilize the new marketing tools like Twitter, YouTube and Google, take the opposite approach. If you want to leverage the power of all those new tools and trends, you need to change and adapt the organization, not just trying to use the tools, with the old Marketing thinking.

You can’t just use the new tools the same way you used the old. Old marketers need to go back to school, learn to think in a different way. All the trends Seth presents are really spot on with todays developed market and society. Not that every business and company need to use all trends, they open up many new options that reflects how we use and live with the new connected media, on a deeper level. And how the market still holds open spots, and thou we have seen many developments. And there much more to come I believe.

The best thing is how all the new ideas and thoughts in my mind are things I can adapt and work with right now, in this moment in my working life. And thats a strong power. It something to read a book and get inspired, but its even better if you can translate those ideas and thoughts on your business in the moment. It spawns even more ideas. New knowledge and inspiration is perishable!

Now Ill start on his latest book, Tribe.

Black and White Marketing

Agents and Dealers

Agents and Dealers

Last year (I think) I read Stephen Browns The Marketing Code, a book were he sort of make fun of the whole Da Vinci Code hysteria, and at the same time wrap in some good points and muck today’s over hyped marketing world. A book I really enjoyed, as I both liked the Da Vinci Code and anything that makes fun of marketing.

Now I’m reading his latest book, were he continue to ride on the Dan Brown wave, and this time is Angels & Demons (which according to me is better than the Da Vinci Code) that have become Agents & Dealers. As with Dan Browns book, this new one is connected with the previous. Althou, I found Agents & Dealers to be harder to really grab me, I’m now starting to get into it more and wanting to read on.

I’ve only read half of the book, one thing I read today that got me thinking. The Author tell a story, at the same time as we put in some (sometime almost ridiculous, but fun) messages about todays hectic and over hyped marketing and retail business. In today’s connected world, were more people can reach out and make their voice heard, more and more self learned “expert” arise and have their own theory and idea on how to increase business and revenue. I read many forums and sites about the new trends and theories, and some sounds more relevant than others. All, thou try to make their theory or area of expertise sound like the one and only that counts. Stephen make, once again a great ridiculing of this phenomenon.

It seems that according to Stephen, you can find marketing and retail theories in almost everything. The thing that cough my attention was when he mentioned Black and White Marketing.

Evil Marketer

Evil Marketer

Black Marketing are the kind of marketing that aims to fool the consumer. Evil marketers who does what ever they can to sell products and brands, despite the type of product/brand, moral, ethics or even if the consumer have a need for it. This weekend I viewed a documentary about how todays marketers do everything to hook the kids from the earliest year. “Tattooing”  the brand into the mind of the kids, and create them into the futures big consumer generation. For the Black Marketers the moral and ethics, in their best world, don’t exist. Only increasing sales and brand equity, which leads to more bonuses. Money money money. Sales persons that are sanctimoniously nice, when in reality they don’t care, other than there sales figures. “Murder for sales”.

On the other hand, White Marketing and Marketers can use the awsome power of good marketing for good things. I don’t have any problem with increasing revenue, having a strong brand and get the right product to the right person. But when greed and manipulation comes into the mix, I strongly react. Marketing is a part of our society, so all we most do is to work with the medium in the best way we can. Not abuse marketing for bad things.

Videogame TV commersial go holiday crazy!

The game market and industry have been growing every year, and this year continue this trend. Both in terms of revenue and media space. This fall, I have notice and enormous increase in TV commercials for PC and Video games. A list over the games and consoles I’ve seen recently:

  • Fallout 3
  • Resistance 2
  • Playstation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • Gears of War 2
  • Motorstorm 2
  • Wii Fit
  • Wii
  • Animal Crossing DS + Wii
  • Little Big Planet
  • Guitar Hero World Tour
  • Mirrors Edge
  • World of Warcraft – wrath of the lich King
  • Lips
  • Raving Rabbit
  • Prince of Persia

Maybe this is a changing point for game to take more place. The total amount of advertisment games seems to be more than movie and music combined this fall. Here in Sweden at least.

Wario on Wii shakes up Youtube

When it comes to marketing and reach out with your message, its almost always good to stand out. When a media or channel becomes the norm or mainstream for every company to use regularly peoples take for granted that’s how companies will try to speak to us. For example, Youtube have become a great tool for businesses and companies to upload and distribute videos, whether they are commercials or other informational material. And for games, music and movies, its almost standard protocol to upload clips and promotional material there. We, gamers and most people take for granted that sites like Youtube let you find everything when it comes to video recorded clips. And when the hype settles down and everyone is online, the next hard phase comes into play, to distinguish yourself form the masses. Not only does your material have to be interesting, sometimes it requires that little extra to attract peoples attention and interest.

And this special Wario youtube site is exactly that! Just check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/experiencewii

Mixing busniess model for the future of Games

People in the game industry often debate and argue over which new business model(s) will be the most successful one. A tricky question with, according to me, not a one single answer. Here’s a short overview of the different models, some bigger than others:

  • Free to play Games that are free, you don’t pay anything. This models is often supported by the ad-model, or microtransactions to generate revenue.
  • Ad supported (Website ads and in-game ads) – Tied to the model mentioned above. Ether the ads are placed within the game, loading screens or around the game on the site the game is hosted.
  • SubscriptionsYou subscribe to play the game. This model come in different types. Ether you can pay a monthly set price to get access and play many games (portals), or for just one game (MMO).
  • Classical – You pay for the whole game, one time cost.
  • EpisodesThe game is developed and released in smaller bits. You pay less for each episode, but the total sum usually sums up to a full game.
  • Microtransactions/Micropayment – Biggest market for those games today is Asia were its standard for MMO games. You don’t have to pay to access and play the game, but you can “buy” items for your character. Cosmetic or upgrades items.
  • RentalYou pay a small fee to rent the game for a couple of days or 2 weeks and then you have to return the game. And old classic model from the movie industry.
  • Digital Distribution Not so much of a new model, more a “new” way to sell and distribute games. You pay for the game and them you download it to your computer or console and it skip the whole physical disc, box and manual. This is also include a way for publishers and developers to easy release add ons.

When the movie and music industry have felt a decline in revenue, videogames experiences the opposite. The markets changing and companies need to follow, move or die. And if differs depending on geographical location, divided into west (US & Europe) and east (Asia). In today’s hectic west market many publishers and developers are looking to adapt to or mix these different models in hope of creating a steady business or an additional revenue stream. They view the success of microtransactions and free-to-play market, the dominate model in Asia and try to convert the west market. Despite a doubtful belief in the Free-to-play reputation concerning the quality of the games, many people and companies av strong faith in the model. Some see the problem to really monetize from free-to-play games, while some believe it to be the future, from a costrumer standpoint.

While many expert talk view the future for digital content lying in the Free-model, others might not be so optimistic. The Free-to-play model is often mix with other models to secure a steady revenue stream from somewhere. Someones have to pay! Usually its the Ad supported or micropayment, not to everyone’s liking, when some people worry about the affect this will have on the whole creativity process. But some argue that in-game advertising actually can help the developing process and strengthen the brand or product, and not to compare this to how advertisers have work with the television media.

And when developers worry about the creative process of developing games, publishers and retailers more often focus on the revenue, money aspect. Publishers have much power to decide with project to invest in, and therefore chose to try out different business model mixes and find out if it works. A clear example of this is the increasing focus on developing MMO, after the huge success of World of Warcraft, with its subscription based model. You buy the game, and in order to play you pay a monthly fee. This have brought Blizzard a ton of cash! Every businesses dream, a very steady income every month. But in order to keep paying costumer they have to spend some on costumer services and regular updates. This model how ever demands a game that is so good it will keep people playing for many many months/years. Subscription only work on everlasting games like MMO. For regular singleplayer focus games free to play or subscription becomes a bit more trickier.

For games with a average playtime of 10 to 20 hours, the best model often is the regular pay, own and play. As the game industry expand and find new audience and demographics, all the new business models find their places and fans. There isn’t one final model, rather everyone complement each other. And sometimes the best alternative is a mix between different business models. Always depending on the kind of game. Don’t just stir blind on one option, but find the right model for your business and the kind of game you wanna make to reach the right audience. Its always about the game you make, the creative process. And yes, you could try to fit a game into a special b-model, thou that’s risky business to try to force a creative product to adapt according to a certain way. And I thing we should focus on making great product, and maybe not invent the wheel all over again with every game, rather refine how we develop and distribute games to fit better into today’s digital climate.

And maybe not just focus on one model, but find ways to mix them in new interesting ways. One example I have thought about is a game like Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare, were the biggest part of the game basically is the online mode. People spend much of their play time online with this game. What if the developers (Infinity Ward) and publishers (Activision) released the game for free. You could download it and play the singleplayer campaign (which is very short) for free, but you had to pay a small amount for every month you spend playing the game online? Okay, this presuppose people want the game to play online, and that people like the game online to be ready to pay for the online mode.

I think the current divided market is great. It forces developers to thing in new creative ways to develop games and how to monetize on those ideas. The rise of new business model that complement each other, and adapt to how the market evolve. This debate is far from over, which model is the “best” one, but my mind is set. There can be one definite model, it just always comes down to what kind of game you want to create and who’s your target audience! Let the game decide, don’t develop the game concept and idea after a stated business model.

Game Business Model

Game Business Model

Virtual beer – a smash hit!

No doubt, the iPhone have taken the world by storm. Many newspapers and site use headlines like “iPhone-killler” when they report of new phones from other manufactures. Overall its a device with many functions and possibilities for new software. To really secure the future of the iPhone Apple just had to release a SDK for small and big companies to develop their own software, and a platform to release and distribute through. This have proven to be a big success for Apple.

And it have also been a success for some of the developers of the Apps. Like Swedish developer Illusion Labs, with their hit App game Labyrinth. It can be ether downloaded for free or you can pay and get the better version. And now they have a new free App called iPint, developed for the company Carling how is a beer producer. A sort of Advertgame that makes use of the iPhones accelerometer. The new company have received some good press lately, specially for iPint.

Many see this new platform as a great new way for marketers to work with for their new products and brands. To develop new, easy, cheap and funny advertgames/applications that will create great buzz. Instead of old dusty static ads, companies and agencies can create new innovative and interactive applications and games. I’ve seen some news and text about mobile marketing, which is basically displaying ads when people surf through the mobile. But this is a new way to work with mobile marketing, to truly leverage the potential in the phone to build a brand and or make good money directly.

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Now they compain!

First up, I’m definitely against monopoles (not the game :) ), regardless of market and industry. Competition is important not just to push companies to develop their products and services, but its equally important with at healthy price control and work protection. And when we talk work protection I mean legislation to prohibit companies to fire people uncontrollably. I’m in the middle of reading the Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein which may explain my view on the corporate world at this moment.

Google Yahoo Logos

Google Yahoo Logos

But usually their is always one company or actor who is the leader in one market. Apple on Mp3 player, Amazon for online shopping, Facebook on Social networks, and Google in Search! Yahoo! have long been in second place after Google, and Microsoft who missed out on the whole search business have recently tried to obtain Yahoo, and failed. Instead Yahoo! and Google have decided to work together. The deal basic meaning is that Googles search ads will be displayed on the Yahoo site, and probably their content network. The sum of this would mean that Google and Yahoo! “control” much of the Search ads network on the web.

This have sparkled some strong reactions from big companies, ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and the United States. Especially from the ANA who believe the deal will:

“likely diminish competition, increase concentration of market power, limit choices currently available and potentially raise prices to advertisers for high-quality, affordable search advertising.”

Adage.com

Undoubtedly this question have stirred up a thing or two. Like I said, I’m against monopoles, but those companies complaining should just shut up! If they could or were in the same situation they probably would have done the same decision. They just wish they were the ones to totally dominate the market and be the biggest. Every company have that function, to work towards being the biggest, gain more market shares and constantly increase profit. And now they complain when two actors join forces and dominate one market. Hell, if Wal-mart could dominate one market they wouldn’t complain!? Theres so much fucking hypocrisy from big multinational companies. And from my view, Google is one of the few “nice” companies out there. My faith in big companies is very limited, next to zero. I’m not afraid of Terrorist, I’m afraid of corrupted corporations and their evil peoples in suits!!

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