Eight new stories 17.4


  • Trip Hawkins of Digital Chocolate is having great success on iPhone. Four out of five games they have published have been number one in the App Store chart, competing against 8,000 other games. This is no accident and it is not because the games are brilliant, it is because Trip understands marketing. There is a very low barrier of entry to iPhone gaming, so lots of people are developing for it. Unfortunately developing the best game in the world will get you zero sales without some sort of marketing. Which means that the big differentiator of iPhone games is how good their marketing is. And for the vast majority of them it is abysmal, which is giving Trip a clear run.
  • Trip also says that the iPhone is “freaking out Sony and Nintendo”. It would be strange if it isn’t. I bet it is freaking out Nokia and Microsoft too. And it all comes down to Steve Jobs and his marketing genius. The iPod is not the best MP3 player and it is a long way from being the best value for money. But Steve Jobs made it a small object of desire. Once a phone was incorporated and it was given some decent processing power it was common sense to download applications as was pointed out on this blog. Now the iPod is so entrenched that the would be competitors will only catch up by making a step change in their offering to convincingly put it ahead. And none of them currently seem to have the gumption to do this. But of the four my money would be on Nintendo as the most likely to achieve this.
  • Wii sales slowing down, especially in Japan. Inevitably, Nintendo have run through nearly all their own IP on this platform and the third party stuff is mostly dismal. Across the three home consoles we have a potentially really boring year ahead as most of the exciting stuff has been done and the platform holders look towards the next generation. Let’s hope that the HD consoles introduce gesture interfaces to liven things up.
  • Excellent game addiction article. OK so it is not as bad a drug addiction or gambling addiction, but there are still some people who are vulnerable and we need to learn to recognise this. If we don’t understand this issue then eventually the Jack Thompson’s and Keith Vaz’s of the world will use it as a stick to beat us with.
  • Pirate Bay founders found guilty. Already there is lots of whingeing and moaning on the interweb about this decision. But let’s face it Pirate Bay was 99.99% used for stealing. So the thieves can complain all they want. Film and music are in a terrible position where that have zero protection against thieves and it is destroying their industries. Gaming is lucky in that interactivity and connectivity both give lots of technical opportunities for protection, consoles serve as anti piracy dongles and we have an array of business models that bypass piracy. So, as an industry, we can still make a living and still pay the developers to do all the hard work making content.
  • Nokia profits plunge more than 90%. Quite simply they have dropped the ball. iPhone has proved just how badly. Nokia saw off Motorola and Ericsson, but they were tech companies with weak marketing. Now they are going to be up against Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo and maybe even Sony (if they get their act together). Nokia need a major overhaul of their whole business philosophy and, because they have been historically so successful, they are going to find it very, very difficult. They are still a massive company churning out mountains of product, but increasingly they look like a supertanker heading for the rocks.
  • EA ship illegal weapons to the press. In this case brass knuckles in support of Godfather II. And now they want them back. One would like to think that this is marketing genius and that they knew they could create a big, cheap, edgy marketing splash with the whole episode. But there is the equal possibility that it was a complete faux pas and that EA’s marketing department dropped themselves into this unwittingly. You can decide for yourself which you think it is.
  • Microsoft (accidentally) admit to Halo going mobile in this recruitment ad. Could this be the harbinger of Zune finally getting the phone capabilities that it has been crying out for? Zune is a really great product that has been left behind by the market. Microsoft are not stupid and know what needs to be done. Add some processing power, make it into a phone, connect it to Live and stick some AAA exclusive content on it. Job done.