Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, February 13, 2012

Collectible Card Apps?

Sure, there's been CCGs as software; you can play Magic: The Gathering online, after all. And virtual card games are all over the place, it seems, on a variety of platforms. Toy Fair is seeing a new take on the idea, though, from Nukotoys, with their Monsterology game pictured above. Apparently you flick one of their cards against your iPad or iPhone screen and it will appear inside... check out the video here.
This may or may not fly, of course. It's far too early to tell, and besides you have to see what sort of marketing they have lined up. And if the game is any good; its not easy to design a good card games. It's also not clear how much collectibility they are planning for, either.
Still, it's another interesting trend to keep an eye on for traditional gaming companies.

Boardgames, Meet Apps

When Life hands you iPads, make apps.
The convergence of boardgames and tablets is happening fast. Check out what Hasbro is showing at Toy Fair: Monopoly, Battleship and The Game of Life in special appified versions. The iPad sits in the middle of the board, and the spinner is on the iPad. As are funny videos that play as you move through the board, from Americ'as Funniest Home Videos. Will they fly? They may not right away, but at the rate tablets are being adopted it shouldn't be long before this becomes popular. (Estimates are that Apple alone may sell more than 45 million tablets this year, and that may be conservative once the iPad 3 hits and they (maybe) reduce the price of the iPad 2.)
Then there's this app, which is shown here:

You have pieces you move around the outside, which integrates with the software (the board knows where your pieces are). I talked to these guys at CES, and tried to convince them to go to the GAMA Trade Show and sign up some adventure game companies.
Really, the adventure game industry (RPGs, boradgames, and miniatures alike) needs to get over to smartphones and tablets ASAP, preferably last year. The ability to completely distribute digitally is an amazing transformation of the business. Not to mention cost savings, and the fact that the core adventure game demographic overwhelmingly has a smartphone, and tablets are growing even faster than smartphones now.
The future is arriving at a rapid pace; get with it or you're history.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Game Industry Sales Down 34% in Jamuary

Yeah, it's pretty much like that.
Remember how NPD was saying for months last year that sales declines were just a blip, that things would look better in the 4th quarter with all sorts of strong titles being released, and that sales for 2011 would be flat from 2010, maybe down just a smidge? And then the numbers for December hit: down 21% from December 2010, and overall sales for 2011 were down 8%. Time to panic? No, no, everything will be fine in January; this was just lots of sales getting pulled into November, January will be back up.

January sales dropped 34% from January 2011.

OK, time to panic.

That is, if your sales are still all based on shipping boxes to retail stores, you should be wondering how long that will last. Sure, EA and Activision seem to be doing pretty good, selling more boxes than ever... but only of the biggest titles. The midlist is quickly going away, and companies based primarily on less than AAA titles (hello, THQ) are having a very rough time.

Unless they've transitioned to digital distribution, social and especially mobile games. Free-to-play is whacking the business of $60 retail boxes pretty hard, too.

That transition to digital distribution that was going to take many years suddenly doesn't seem so distant. A few more months like January and things will change very fast indeed. I predict that 2012 will see another year of dropping physical retail sales, possibly into the double digits unless the Wii U does amazing business (but it's likely to only have a couple of months of sales in this year).

GameStop better hurry up with those new initiatives into digital.