Saturday, September 26, 2009

Plant A Seed Watch it Grow - Innovation in a Recession

I listened to this great show on PBS about Innovation and how to succeed in a recession.

Great discussion that includes Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of 'The No Asshole Rule'. I haven't read it but will be adding it to my amazon list.

This discussion reminded me of articles I have read about the importance of preserving innovation cultures in a recession, such as this one from Business Week.

Companies that get conservative, cut back on risk taking, will emerge from a recession in a weakened position. Recessions are the time when old paradigms break down and make way for new business models.

This is what I believe we are seeing in the games industry, where $60 games are starting to visibly lose ground to more affordable digital content.

Shadow Complex is a new IP for XBLA that sold over 200K units in its first week, I have heard talk its tracking to sell around 1M units, which sounds reasonable. Trials HD, another recent XBLA offering, sold 300k in the first month. These are great numbers for games that cost significantly less than boxed product to develop, with much smaller teams.

Then you have all the free to play social games such as Farmville and Pet Society, that are by all accounts raking in a lot of money via micro-transactions.

Contrast with EA's admission recently that they have been disappointed with sales of Madden 10, despite it being critically acclaimed and one of there consistent top sellers.

As well is being linked to the economy driving people to find lower cost outlets for their entertainment, I believe this is also strongly related to the move to 'affordability and convenience' that is offered by digital content (I wrote about this in a previous post).

My favorite quote from the PBS show. On how to protect a creative idea and nourish it so that it can truly flourish.

"You don't plant a seed in the ground and then dig it up every week to see how its doing".

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