Games go digital? What happened? Hasbro Games, a key profit driver for the company, was down well over 30% last year. Another major game company bemoans the pressure on retail prices, and laments the idea that games are going digital. It is the Mom who buys games for the family, and these days Mom is on Facebook playing Farmville, instead of combing the toy aisles for good old fashioned family game entertainment.
Hmmmm. I don’t like the sound of this one bit. So are games to go digital? Spending $1 for an addictive game app I can play anywhere seems like a great value compared to $24.95 for a real-world board or plastic action game. While you do pay $50/month to own the device for which you paid hundreds of dollars to obtain, the added value of the game is great and the additive cost is minimal.
But if something is gained, then what is lost? Facebook and smartphone app games are no substitute for face to face, hand to hand, head to head game play, whether on the field, the floor, or the table.
What do we need to do as game inventors, creators, makers, and marketers to make our games essential, desirable, can’t-get-enuffable, gotta-have-it products? We can never be cheap enough. We can’t sell a game for a dollar and make a profit, so price is not the answer here.
Is this a passing fad? When I started in the toy industry a couple years back, a Marvin Glass partner pronounced, "the board game is dead!" That was 1980. This proved to be a bit premature, I think. Video games have undeniably affected the game business since that time. But still, the plastic and cardboard game soldiers on. Games made of wood and stone have become dinosaurs, however. Will plastic, cardstock, and cardboard go that way, as well? To be replaced by what?
Are today's modern game products not compelling enough visually? Are they not interesting enough in subject matter, not compelling or addictive enough in play? Perhaps our Doggie Doo game, which is attracting so much attention lately, is an example of one kind of stand-out quality that a successful game will need to have. Bizarre games like this are outstanding in their field, so to speak – they stand out in the mind of the consumer from the myriad of other seductive choices on the shelf.
So what is it that today’s game industry lacks in appeal? We have the answer of course, but you will have to license it from us if you want it. Gotcha, didn’t I? But seriously, I think we just might have one of the answers. Call now, operators are standing by.