I spotted an interesting article about the history of some of the biggest or most famous game-companies in the world like Capcom, Ubisoft or id Software. The article focuses on concise facts, that set the course for amazing developments, that lead to some of the best and most important games and therefore changed the world. Maybe call it fate. A compact history of the game-market. Worth reading!

Blog, Research and Theory - Date published: August 21, 2009 | 0 Comments

Can you find yourself in the picture?

At Indie-digest I found an interesting figure, that tries to map “The Long Tail” theory into a producer – customer relationship. It’s primarily aimed at musicians, but works for other areas of creative stuff as well. Just look at it. It’s really interesting to find yourself in the figure in relation to some of your favorite artists.

More about pricing…

Not the same, but close connected to it is a research-study from the Max-Planck-Institute about optional pricing. Their result is short: people online not only buy at the lowest price they can get. They are willing to pay much more – if the setting is right and they got the feeling, that they made a deal that is “fair” to them as well as the artists and other people involved.


The researchers inspected Magnatune between 2003 and 2005. This online-music-shop got a special pricing system, where the customer chooses the final price. Magnatune only sets the range of the price between 5 and 18 dollar and they suggest to pay 8 dollar. By surprise the average price was about 8,20 dollar. That’s 64 percent over the minimum price and even 20 cent more than the suggested price.

Key successes for the optional higher prices were the following:

  • Transparent revenue share: 50 percent for Magnatune – 50 percent for the artist at every buy.
  • Buyers convenience: Consumers could stream all content and were not limited to short audio-snippets. This heightened the feeling of having a “fair deal” for the customer.
  • Good paying customers were having the feeling of supporting a “good thing”.
  • Anonymous buyers almost always just payed the minimum price.
  • Experimentation of the preselected price-range should have a huge effect on the customers price-choice.

So, can buying stuff be rewarding for the customer? At really seems so. The unlike the theory of the “sell more for less” having a higher price can be a good fit under certain circumstances.

PS: I also wrote more about it at Gulli.com.

Research and Theory - Date published: August 13, 2009 | 0 Comments

AppStore, AppStore, AppStore… It seems to be one of the hottest topics at the moment. There is no day, where I do not read something about the AppStore. Is the iPhone / iPod the new CD-Player of the present: an almost must have to consume media?

Anyway, at coding horror I read something about the sensible area of “software pricing“. The layout of the AppStore has some special flaws, that set cheaper applications in advantage over “high priced” applications for, i.e. 9.99 dollar. They sell in masses and therefore dominate the “most downloaded” lists – an subtle effect. A bad thing? Not for Jeff Atwood, at Codinghorror. He writes: “the idea that software should be priced low enough to pass the average user’s “why not” threshold is a powerful one”. He argues, that lowering the price can have an tremendous effect, not only in the number of sales, but also in the total amount of money coming in. He gives an example and figures about Left 4 Dead. So better don’t leave now, without reading this article about software pricing.

Research and Theory - Date published: August 7, 2009 | 4 Comments

At Gamesradar I found an interesting article about the “History of Cheating in Games”. It may be written a little bit silly, but provides the basic facts of the – how they call it – “cheating industry”. For example:

Early in the history of videogames, cheating was really cheating. It was achieved by loading games into memory and modifying useful values before launching them. These memory hacks were called POKEs, named for the BASIC function used to overwrite memory. (…) The concept of intentionally created cheats also appeared early in the evolution of games, at about the point when cheats became necessary for testing. Without some sort of debug mode or life-extending cheat to make games easier, testing the absurdly difficult games of yore would have been absurdly difficult.

Yes, games were really much harder in the 8-bit era. But cheats survived them. With the rise of the game-pad the A, B, A, B, left, right, left, right – cheats appeared and slowly wandered into gaming culture. The latest offspring of cheats are “pay-per-cheat” in browser games for example, where people can decide to play the game and invest time to get achievements – or to take the short route and pay for a cheat. Well, with the intention of the game-designer of course, in order to monetize the game.

Not exactly a cheat, but its relative: the glitch. Seen on the NES.

Just keep on reading more about the phenomenon at Gamesradar.

Research and Theory - Date published: August 5, 2009 | 0 Comments

Picture (cc) BY mkandlez

Let facts speak about Twitter, the “newest of all media”. According to research from Sysomos (another summary here), only 5 percent of all twitterers (better say twitter accounts) have over 100 followers. Most of the accounts (circa 70-80 percent) are not very active, while only 5 percent are doing 75 percent of all tweets. Well, I guess not counted the spam-accounts. If you look carefully you can see Pareto’s Law all over the place.

Research and Theory - Date published: July 30, 2009 | 0 Comments

Yesterday I came upon the website of a hacker-legend: John T. Draper aka Capt’n Crunch, who did Phone Phreaking in the 60ies and 70ies. One of the real ancestors of what we nowadays call “hacking”. He linked a documentary about the early days and the development of hacking.

Let’s name the “Homebrew Computer Club” as one of the (of not the) first hacker-space ever made, that led to a highly influential movement within the computer-market. Steve Wozniak was part of that hacker-space and he is really embracing the hackers way of thinking. At him we see, that this don’t must develop into illegal kinds of activities, but let to a highly influential company, we still now today under the name Apple.

Hacker-Spaces are still relevant, if not much important now, than in the past. The documentary gives a good insight into meaning, methodology and cultural impact of the hackers-movement.

Blog, Research and Theory - Date published: July 1, 2009 | 3 Comments

You will possibly enjoy this experiment on BBC news as much as I did. A 13-year old boy replaced his iPod with a Walkman, the “iPod of the past” – a bulky piece of portable technology his father used to carry around. Some of the refreshing statements:

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.”

Some of the results of this experiment:

“Throughout my week using the Walkman, I came to realise that I have very little knowledge of technology from the past. I made a number of naive mistakes, but I also learned a lot about the grandfather of the MP3 Player. (…) Did my dad, Alan, really ever think this was a credible piece of technology?

Go on and read the whole article. There are more conclusions ahead. And cool pictures as well.

Blog, Research and Theory - Date published: June 29, 2009 | 0 Comments

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