Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Google TV Off To A Bad Start

Not an actual Google TV.
I've seen Google TV as a harbinger of the coming AppDroid Apocalypse, as Apple TV and Google TV invade the family room with the app market business model and decimate the existing videogame industry. (Yes, I know "decimate" comes from the Roman practice of killing one legionary in ten to punish the troops... and in this case, a 10% reduction in force sounds about right for the early impact on the game industry. So the term is used with precision in this case.) Well, we may have to wait a bit longer for the carnage to begin. Early reports on the Google TV have been pretty poor; it's expensive, complicated, and most of the important video sites on the Net you'd want to see have blocked it.

Now comes this word: We're seeing discounting of Google TV units, a sure sign of weakness in sales. A 25% reduction in price is not a good sign... it may be an attempt to prime the pump and get things moving with an early holiday sale, but no matter how you look at it, when you drop the price it means you don't have enough demand to keep the price high.

What's the problem with Google TV? Clunky and overpriced springs to mind, and launched before it was fully baked. Google should have had deals in place with various key video sites, not getting blindsided by sites blocking the device and making it nearly useless. Google seems to have problems getting a slick interface together... just check out the Android Market if you want to see what I mean. Sure, I understand their philosophy; just throw something out the door fast to see if anybody likes it, we can always refine it later. Keep it open so developers can jump in and do cool stuff with it that Google doesn't have to pay for up front, then maybe acquire somebody if they do something really smart. Sounds great, but so many times Google has put something out and it just doesn't click because no one gets it or it's so clunky no one wants to take the time to figure it out (hello, Google Wave?).

Maybe this is why Apple hasn't rushed to put an App Market together for the Apple TV... they want to refine the user experience first, not second. And maybe get some content deals in place so it launches well. Sounds clever, doesn't it?

Google TV isn't dead, not by a long shot. But they will have to seriously improve it with the 2.0 version if they expect it to make a serious impact. Perhaps they will figure things out before they start making their app market available... I hope so.

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