Archive for August, 2009

Games as a service

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The gaming industry is shifting their focus from product to services. All current consoles in the market includes some kind of services. The Playstation Network (PSN) from Sony and XboxLive from Microsoft are the best examples of this phenomenon.

Even the portable gaming devices are adding services. The Nintendo DSi and Sony PSP Go are focused on digital distribution with on-line stores with games, applications and video.

One example of Innovations in gaming is Little Big Planet (Exclusive for PS3). In this game you are a co-creator using a service that let users create, share and play new levels. The game offer a customized experience where you can buy stickers to decorate your levels and suits to personalize your character.

John Pleasants the COO of EA in a interview on venturebeat says “If you believe all games will eventually be services — as I do — then the idea of game teams that make a game, ship it, and then do something else goes away”. In fact we can see this in the Burn Out Paradise that is a platform to deliver more ways of gaming. In fact they are constantly upgrading the service adding more vehicles and stages.

The EA executive gives a hint of new business models for gaming “They (games) will now ship and day one begins when the customer gives feedback to the live service. The way you distribute will be different. The way you charge will be different. There will be more permutations in pricing. Merchandising will be much more important. Co-marketing will be much more important”.

A innovative approach on the way that games are delivered is OnLive. It is a platform that do the heavy processing on the server side bringing the Cloud Computing concept to the gaming industry . The OnLive micro console is just a terminal to connect the TV and game pads. It’s not a complex piece of hardware like the PS3 and Xbox360.

Figure 1 – The OnLive gaming service will be delivered using a micro console

As we can see the gaming industry is shifting their focus from product to services, no only in the way the software is delivered but also in how you play and purchase the game.

Egon Lüftenegger

Stakeholder focus is the new era of branding

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

“The social interaction is global. If you don’t like a service, post it on twitter”-  Egon Lüftenegger

The branding has evolved to a stakeholder view of the brand. It’s not focused only on the customer, but in all stakeholders. “The brand value co-creation process is a continuous, social, and highly dynamic and interactive process between the firm, the brand, and all stakeholders” is how the branding works in the Stakeholder-Focus Brand Era (Merz, 2009).

This is evolution of the brand, it’s a natural consequence of the evolution of the business. The business focus is not in the firm anymore, is in the network.The strategy is focused in the role of the firm in the business network. The brand is now in a network environment where all stakeholders co-create it.

Today, the brand is co-created on the Web. Social interactions reached global scale powered by services like Facebook or Twitter, where it’s easier to build the cult or the disappointment of the brand. These tools, specially Twitter, due to the openness of the way the interaction flow, facilitate the discussion. The social interaction is global. If you don’t like a service, post it on twitter. Firms are using that information to be aware of what the community among other stakeholders are saying about their brand.

Figure 1 – The cult of mac is a book about the strong mac community of Apple.

The most illustrative case in this branding era is Apple, the company that have the cult on mac ( Fig 1) , the cult on ipod and most recently the cult of iPhone. Their stakeholders includes software developers, universities, partners, product owners and communities of bloggers and fans that not necessary own the product but want to own one (just look that dell laptop with a Apple sticker of your office mate ). All these stakeholders dynamically co-create the apple brand, driven by social interactions (Fig.2).

Figure 2 – In the diagram we can see the firm and some stakeholders* (to simplify it) interacting, Google is a developer, TechCrunch is a blog, Apple fans is a community in Facebook and Twitter is a social platform where conversations and opinions take place. All of them are co-creating the brand in this continuous, social, and highly dynamic and interactive process

The speed and reach that modern social interactions provide to the stakeholders could be used to co-create the erosion of the brand. The recent issue on the Google voice application being rejected by the apple store is clearly stakeholder brand damage. That issue caused the reaction of community leaders, like the founder of TechCrunch blog, who leaved the cult of mac, quitting the iPhone in favor to an Android based phone to use actively Google Voice, co-creating branding value for Google Android instead of the iPhone.

Apple is a stakeholder co-created brand with much more followers than detractors in the community. The Google voice incident shows us how the community react to incidents that are seen as unfair. Specially when the stakeholder, the software developer in this case, is another powerful co-created brand like Google.

(Merz, 2009) Merz, Michael A., Yi He, and Stephen L. Vargo (2009), “The evolving brand logic: a service-dominant logic perspective”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science