Thursday, June 3, 2010

Slush(y) Fund: Piggybacking Bits on Atoms

Someone put this on my radar on Facebook today:

Short version is: Buy ice-cream, comes with a code, redeem code in-game for virtual items.

Gimmicky, right? Wrong. Brilliant. OK, why?

I wrote some time ago (wow, 3 years ago!) about how kids "connected toy" products like Webkinz and other entrants were bundling services with a toy.

The most brilliant thing about this is not that "you get a game with the toy!" or vice versa. The way to view it is that the physical product allows the virtual item sale/subscription/etc piggyback on a channel that the customer understands. And if that gets you over the hurdle of a massive number of customers not having credit cards or being afraid to type them into a browser, then it's well worth the cost of the plushy (or in this case slushy).

I'll bet that we're going to see piggy-back revenue models like this (you can call it a promotion, or a bundle) are going to grow significantly.

One way to accelerate it would be to think about ways to remove the friction of having to enter a lengthy code while in front of the PC. Maybe it's texting the code from your mobile to automatically credit your account, or a unique bar code you hold in front of your webcam?

Anyhow, it will be interesting to see how well this does for Zynga. I'm betting it's going to be copied a lot

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Better, not simpler

I love this presentation from Daniel at LostGarden on the design of RibbonHero, his MS Office learning game plug-in. I love the point about culling features and complexity being an answer, but the wrong answer. The right, but difficult, answer is to help people to master the complexity.