Content

Go Read This | How in-app purchase is not really destroying the games industry | Sealed Abstract

On the face of it this is just a piece about the gaming industry, though a fascinating one. In fact this article raises issues for all content industries from games, to books, to newspapers, magazines and music.

It covers the gamut, the explosion of content, the role of market makers (in this case Apple – though to a lesser mentioned extent, Google), the use of price as a lever and the challenges of making money in markets that have become so large, diverse and saturated.

I’m reminded of two realities most forcefully when reading it, firstly that while digital unleashes greater freedom to create and make content of all kinds available, thus empowering the creator relative to the middlemen and women of the previous era, it also (in its current guise by power of platform) shackles them to the power of another middle-person (for books, mostly Amazon) AND makes a sustainable career even less likely because of the huge increase of content such freedom unleashes. Secondly, I am reminded of just how little information is publicly available to those looking at the book trade. Consider the information in this article about the nature of games sales in the iOS store and ponder how different our conversations might be about ebooks if these facts were more openly shared (some notable exceptions on that front would be Smashwords who share quite a lot of data).

Getting people to play your game in a market of 150,000 alternatives requires a different kind of marketing. For example, if the user can choose to pay $0.99 for your app, or pay zero for another app that’s probably just as fun, they’ll pick the free one. The result follows: 90% of apps are free in 2013 when weighted by monthly average users. And when you look only at those apps that use an experiment/test/data-driven approach for their pricing, you see a strong upward trend in more free apps. So the pricing experiments that these developers are running (you know, actual flipping research, not just speculating baselessly in an HN comment) are telling them it’s better to go free.

via How in-app purchase is not really destroying the games industry | Sealed Abstract.

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Go Read This | Format wars

A great piece by Brian O’Leary on the opportunity to grow:

Forget about tablets, apps, physical or digital formats: every issue, nearly 8 million people receive a copy of Game Informer. That\’s 2.6 million more subscribers than Reader\’s Digest. That\’s more than twice the number of copies sold by People magazine.

A generation ago, there was no Game Informer. Today, its circulation makes it the largest magazine circulated in the United States, delivered to an audience that most publishers think won\’t read.

Implicit in the \”high cost, small market\” assessment are two corrosive beliefs: people will only pay what they have paid in the past (if not less); and the market is static, or shrinking. Those untested assumptions lead us to look at a new platform – in this case tablets – as fundamentally an extension of what we\’ve done in the past.

via Format wars.

Go Read This | Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX: power, with a helping hand | The Verge

You have to hand it to Amazon, its is just going at this market hard and not letting up and by the looks of things, it is learning as it goes:

Whether you’re in the market for an 8.9-inch or 7-inch tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX is a hard device to beat. Not just for the screen resolution or the high-end processor, either: at $229 for the smaller model or $379 for the larger, the HDX is among the cheapest tablets on the market that we’d even consider recommending at those screen sizes. Even the LTE models, at $329 and $479 respectively and available for Verizon and AT&T, are as cheap as you’ll find for their kind. (And they’re not even the cheapest of Amazon’s new tablets.)

If Amazon can deliver on all its promises with its core apps, from email to the updated Silk browser, and can make the HDX into both the best vessel for Amazon content and something more besides, these two tablets are going to be hard to beat. And Mayday’s going to have a lot of customers this fall.

via Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX: power, with a helping hand | The Verge.

Go Read This | Face it: your digital product is a service | NEXT Berlin

Great post this! Like this piece:

This is why digital products are more akin to services. If you have a bad day in a restaurant, the staff talk, and they adjust what they offer for the next day. Mistakes can be more readily rectified, customer demands worked into the product at greater speed. If you apply an agile approach to the code underlying your digital product, you have the same opportunity – you just need a company structure that will support that sort of rapid decision-making and implementation.

via Face it: your digital product is a service | NEXT Berlin.

Go Read This | iPod eclipse — Benedict Evans

Lurking in a seemingly not related post about how the iconic Apple product is slowly becoming less important to Apple, is a great few lines about the nature of the music business and, more generally, the content business at a meta level:

One could argue that trying to charge a little extra and make more profit is more trouble than it’s worth for Google or Apple (or even profit-hungry Amazon) – better to offer it at cost or thereabouts to enhance the value of the broader platform, which is where the real money comes from (advertising and devices respectively).

The same thing is happening in books and video – content is a condition of entry to the platform game that you provide at cost. This obviously makes life pretty tough for startups – it’s hard to try to build your own ebook store or download-to-own music store right now when any device your customers might use probably already has an at-cost service built-in. The one place this might be different is in video, since in that business it is actually possible to have unique content – but of course this is very expensive.

via iPod eclipse — Benedict Evans.

These issues are of concern to everyone in the content business, from authors to publishers. That doesn’t mean we’ll be impacted equally!

 

 

 

Go Read This | Medium and Being Your Own Platform – Marco.org

Wise words from Marco, worth holding in mind all the time, especially in the sections below and when he admonishes us to have “a domain name you control and are able to easily take your content and traffic with you to another tool or host at any time*”:

Treat places like Medium the way you’d treat writing for someone else’s magazine, for free. It serves the same purpose: your writing gets to appear in a semi-upscale setting and you might temporarily get more readers than you would elsewhere, but you’re giving up ownership and a lot of control to get that.

Whether it’s worthwhile to you should depend on whether you want to establish yourself as a writer, whether you want to get paid for it in some form, and whether you can get an audience elsewhere on your own. Plenty of people can answer “no” to all three, especially if they do something else extremely time-consuming for a living and want an occasional place to write, but don’t have the time or inclination to try building regular audiences or become known for their writing. People who sometimes want to write, but never want to become even part-time writers.

via Medium and Being Your Own Platform – Marco.org.

 

* I use WordPress.com to run my site here, but I own the domain name and several others on which I can run the content which I export and back-up regularly.