Category Archives: New Media

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.

Beatles on iTunes. Content vs distribution

Today Apple had a little announcement, they will start selling Beatles songs on iTunes. Its among the few Apple announcement that only focusing on adding new content, instead of new features or technology. And it raises the question on content versus distribution.

The ultimate is to have the best content on the best distribution channel(s). But the news of Beatles on iTunes shows how long it can take before adding the best content. Apple is the leading digital distribution platform for music in the world! Every record label, artist and group do everything they can to be selling on iTunes. Specially when you take into consideration how dominant the iPod is for mobile music players, and buy music on iTunes might be the only way to have your favourite artist on your iPod.

And its the same by looking at Spotify for example. Spotify is at its core a free distribution platform, that tries to acquire as much content as possible to attract new listeners (accounts). Which in terms increase the potential for advertisers, potentials subscribing paying premium accounts and finally getting songs sold through the service. A basic but interesting business model:

Expanding content catalog = Attracts more users

The more users = More content owner should want to have their content for new/potential consumers.

Improved reaching to potential customers/consumers = Better chance to turn into paying users.

Still its in some way contradicting. A content service is mostly attractive if the user base it huge. But to get a huge customer base, you need to have great content to attract new users.

It’s the same for us at GamersGate. To attrach new customers we need to have the latest games. But in order to get the latest game we need to constantly increase the user base, so all our partners and potential partners wants to sell their new games at our store. We see a lot of new competitors poping up all around us, but I can only imagine the difficulties for them to build a customer base from scratch. We started with a lot customers from the Paradox Interactive community as our best customers.

One interesting blog post discussing this is from GamesBrief, about Electronic Arts acquisition of mobile publisher Chillingo, the publisher behind Angry Birds. Read this great piece, discussing EAs shifting focus on acquiring user installbase/new distribution instead of new IPs/Development Studios. How EA got the installbase from the great success of Angry Bird through the Crystal system.

Its the same if we look at valuation of sites / companies like Facebook or Zynga. The increadible high valuation of those companies have nothing to do with technology, ONLY numbers of accounts/users. Without Facebooks 500 milion users, then the core service is only okey. Here the content (features/applications) isn’t the big USP attracting new users. When it comes to social medias, (most of the time) the amount of active users is what attracts new users!

Beatles @ iTunes

Beatles @ iTunes

Twitter business model-s

Twitter is really one of the fastest growing phenomenon on the web in recent year, along with Facebook. Becoming a communication standard within basically a year, its on almost every webpage. It have expanded with x millions accounts today. Couldn’t find any numbers but I can only guess. And making expressions like “I just Tweeted this and that” a common expression.

But like most IT start ups, they still haven’t found the right business model to make substitutional revenue from. Google had the same problem in the beginning, but finally developed one which is now one of the standards when it comes to web advertising and marketing (CPC). For Google it came natural, complementing with their basic service. For Twitter its a different ball game.

Discussion online have been when and if Twitter will file for a IPO. Rumors about this have been shot down time and time again by the company. Still, before going public you need a steady revenue stream. As my interest in private stock investment have been increasing lately I am interested to see how they develop and if a IPO opportunity will show it self within a couple of years.

And it looks like Twitter is investigating different business models and which could work for them. Nothing revolutionary. One model is a classic ad-driven model, selling sponsored/promoted Tweets. Also opening for third-party applications to be connected to their service. Another model copies the Free vs Preimum model, such as Spotify. Were everyone get to access and use the service for Free, but if you want to follow special twitter accounts/people, you have to pay a premium fee. Quite a risky model, but could work good for the more confidential business 2 business users.

Its great that they are actively looking at different business model, cause revenue needs to come from somewhere. I can imagine that hosting and running one of the biggest services online isn’t by any means cheap. But at the same time its a tricky question. Ideally you want to follow the Google concept, were the revenue source won’t interfere or distract to much for the regular users. And like Facebook its a social platform, were people come to communicate with friends, follow conversations and news. I mainly use it for getting all news feeds collected in one place. On Google, Adwords/Sponsored Ads works and complements the vital Search function. And people would be furious if a payment requirement were implemented. I think selling premiums have its limited potential, and ads will struggle the same way as one Facebook. Looking forward to see what more business models they will come up with.

And they have also launched a new service for everyone without a Twitter accounts, Fast Follow. Its like the Facebook public setting were everyone can see and follow tweets, by using your cell phone. I think this is one part in their strategy to attract more people and bind them up for a real Twitter account. Get them interested, and when they want to join the conversation, then a registration is needed and you are there. From a business prespection (using Twitter to communicate to potential customers) this is a great idea! If, by some chance, we get the option to talk not only with the ones following our Twitter feed, but others as well through the same medium, its a win-win. Will be interesting to see if this service will be a success or not. Not totally convinced myself.

Facebook and Twitter on Xbox

Now finally Facebook and Twitter on Xbox 360 have gone live. Downloaded them today and just briefly tried them out, and I don’t feel that blown away. How I understood it you have to enter the both services separately, and you can’t do anything else when you use them. Thats okey I guess, but it would be much more powerful it they accessable also when playing games. We don’t want to exit the game to access social services. For example wouldn’t it be great to be able between matches in Modern Warfare 2, to tweet the result, or tell everyone on Facebook the score? I haven’t explored the Xbox version completely and to connect with Xbox Live friends, it seems they have to “activate” the applications.

And along side this we also got confirmed today that Facebook will also hit Playstation Network with the new 3.10 firmware update.

Its interesting to see how the social sites like Facebook, Twitter and even Last.fm is expanding to new territories such as the video game consoles. Companies start (or already have) understood the power of working with the social sites. For example at GamersGate I created our Facebook group and our Twitter feed (@Gamersgate). Its a great tool to communicate with our fans and followers. And its wonderful how we can connect all the services together. For example how every time I write a Tweet (which doesn’t happen often) it automatically generate a Facebook “what am I doing?”. And I am just learning more about Facebook Connect and the possibilities it offers. I look forward for the time when we only need one account that’s connected to all different services.

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DeView: Free: The Future of a Radical Price

Chris Anderson - Free: The Future of a Radical Price

Chris Anderson - Free: The Future of a Radical Price

On my way to Germany last week I finished reading Chris Andersons book Free: The Future of a Radical Price. The expectation from the Long Tail have been sky high, and though not as good, or revolutionary as the Long Tail, its still a must read. Some part very rather slow to get through while some chapters I found felt more valued in my opinion. What I like about is how Chris don’t claim that everything should be free, rather how the concept of Free can be utilised to build business from scratch or even for big companies to stay competitive. Even some example when the big boys have to adapt to the changing digital market, thanks to the spread use of free software and services on the web. How Google is one of the biggest forces pushing and expanding free.

I really like the part were he write about combining Free and Paid, with a lot of great examples.To use Free to build a potential customer base, and then charge for a premium service for those who want more advanced features or more storage.

Maybe what I missed was a discussion of which companies that can benefit from Free, and those who don’t. I think it would be great to try to criticise his theories to strengthen them.

It is great to see that Chris take this concept into reality by giving his book away for Free in either Audio book and eBook. This isn’t new, to give away as many books as possible to get interest up and build his own brand. He doesn’t make his money on book sales, but rather on people booking him to come and speak and going into details about his theories. The same way music artist start to give away their music, broaden the fan base who then will pay for other things such as concert and merchandise.

By reading this book, after many fictional books recently, it got my business mind and thoughts start working again. It really inspired me, which is a good thing!

Increase of Free, but not for games?

Today I just started reading the new Chris Anderson book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Expectations after the Long Tail is sky-high, but I have read more before reading this new book and have some good understanding of the concept. I’m looking forward to be somewhat convinced of this new changing model or if we should call the future digital market. A review of the book will come sooner.

Despise the shaky economic in the world today, the game industry have held up high sales numbers and total revenue stream. Even though some big studios and and famous name have had to close. We see more games than before today. I see it everyday in my work, and the increase of Free-2-Play games (many MMO). How more and more game are based on In-Game Advertising and In-game items (transactions). But for this model to be successful the number one basic thing must be in place, a huge audience (or potential customers). And the possibility to sell directly to your potential consumer is huge today for smaller developers.

You think that prices on games should decrease according to the three parameters Chris talk about in his book, Processorpower, bandwidth and storage. But the cost of the biggest titles have just increased anyway. One big news on the web in recent times is the price point of Modern Warfare 2, one of this years biggest game. They when in the opposite way and increased it above the highest price point when it will be released. They will do the same on DJ Hero and the new Tony Hawk game. And they will probably still sell millions of units. I know I will get my copy anyway.

The Activision CEO have said that he would like to increase the general price point even more than it is today. When every trend is pointing in the other direction, its a bold statement to want to increase prices. And  the economy still haven’t recovered, so potential consumer will have to re-think their game spending money, and people will buy fewer games. I think it would be smarter, specially as a smaller company to lower price even more to sell more units.

Also a interesting even increasing trend is DLC to increase the life time as well as value of a game. But for DLC to be successful, the game have to be good to begin with. As with everything, the most important thing is the quality of the initial product! Any time, anywhere.

Apple countdown to One billion Apps

A few month ago Apple launched an SDK for developers to create Apps (applications) for the iPhone and iPod Touch. And it became an instant hit! Just go to Youtube and search for “iphone apps“, you get thousands of results on different newly developed Apps. 

Basically it enables anyone to develop what ever application or game to the iphone and ipod touch, and through Apples platform make it available for sales. Today there is many thousand different Apps available, and new are constantly added. Its become one of the new big things! The simple step of enabeling anyone to develop to the iPhone is a very important key to the success. Its become somewhat of a standard to open up to developers to develop the platform through APIs and SDKs. And for Apple it paid off! The fans of the iPhone wanted tools to create new things for their favorite new toy, and Apple responded.  Now they have a countdown to the one billions downloaded app. Amazing how popular iPhone Apps have become, in such a short time. 

Countdown Billion Apps

Countdown Billion Apps

Flutter, twetts becomes even shorter, or do they?

Twitter addiction

Twitter addiction

The years 2008 and 2009 are the years everyone talk about Twitter. Before it was blogs and social media like Facebook, but now its all about micro-blogging. Everywhere I look on the internet there is news about Twitter, on how to utilise it best for business, connecting or marketing. Everyone seems to tweet, but is anyone really reading them, or do we just want to send out messages and not read others? I have found that it can be a great way to filter what news I want to read and  get it all sent to me. Also how I can connect all my different web service like Facebook, my blog and Twitter. I even setup one of GamersGate were that automatically create a tweet everytime we add a new game. 

Twitter have definetly become the number one micro-blogging platform. To view a great presentation about Twitter go to TED.com. A form of extension of blogging were you simply write a 140 characters on what you do that moment. Now comes Flutter the next evolution of Twitter. Is it for real or is it not? Its up to you to decide 😉

 

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Twitter – Simple, open and easy finds unexpected growth

Its been a while since i took the time and watch some inspirational TED presentations. And last time I viewed the latest presentations one found my interest. Simply one word, Twitter spoke to me.

Twitter, a relative young service that created the expression Micro-blogging. Looking at the popularity of text messaging on cellphones and combined it with the blog technology, spawned a service and phenomenon now wildly adapted by many many people. I would like to see any numbers on how many Twitter accounts exist. Many view it as the next evolution or extension of regular blogs. And there are a big variety of different microblog services now. But Twitter is by far the biggest.

The speech by internet entrepreneur Evan Williams, one of the Twitter creators some points really struck me. He mention how Twitter have evolved and the users have found new ways to use the service than the creators ever though of. And I think one of the key for the success is how simple and open the service is. Twitter is  very open for users to develop new services outside of the original platform. With an easy to use API, the users and fans get great tools to build new applications. Open API for new services becomes more and more important. Developers today are used to have access to great APIs for them to use their imagination.

This isn’t anything new. Facebook have received much attention from developers, companies and users for all the Application available. And I believe this will be even more important in the future, not to develop a complete service, but rather build the groundwork and then let the users develop it further. Maybe, not even have a clear image of that the service should be used for. Let the users decide what is should be used for or how. Its been showed time and time again, that users can come up with new ideas for a product, service or brand that the owner or creator never had in mind. But often (still) do the owner or creator hesitate to take advantage of those ideas and are very quick to send out their “assassins”, their lawyers.

Twitters openness are totally in line with the principle of the web, easy, accessible and open! Lets just hope more new services follow the same concept. But, in all cases the first thing is to have a killer app that people love and want to help develop further.

We are all mini-information aggregators

The flow of information is bigger as ever before. Through the wires of internet endless amount of information is traveling from each corner of the world. Our channels to access, consume and gather have increased. And even many minichannels within the big one, once again the web, have rised lately for us to connect and share information in new ways. World of mouth and the cretdibility of people around us opinions and recommendations have found new ways to spread through the new services. Almost everyone I know have either MSN, Skype, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube account or their own Blog. Some, like myself, have accounts on all those services. And day in and day out, I talk with people on the IM channels, and check the different communities what my friends, family and people around me do, recommend and done.

And what I have discovered is that all those channels and my connections, I get more and more links to news and happenings which I then can investigate more. I think people in general like to share and recommend things with others. Just looking at myself, I find big joy in introducing new music bands for people and spread news and information to people who would like it. When it comes to informations and news, the biggest problem is time to find and read all the interesting info out there. But with all of those easy accessible networks of connections and new technology its even easier to just pass a link along in a IM message or simply copy it in “What am I doing right now?”-status on Facebook. Even if people don’t know exactly what other people read or recommend, they love to investigate what others are interested in. Also, to create niched interest Groups have never been easier, and through them spread information. We are all out and through different ways we find information or news, and we then want to spread them to people we believed would be interested. I’ve never before been recommended so many news, or spread through other what I have found.

One of the biggest thing to spreading of news are the credibility of people we know and trust. There are tons of aggregations sites and search engines. And even thou blogs and news sites have comments and rate features on every news of post, it can still be idiots rating or commenting. Information recommended of passed on from people we know are still rated higher. So spread the word!