Get Out of Jail Free

Have you ever played Monopoly?

One of my favorites….online and off.

Chances are that at one time or another you have, as the game is available in 111 countries and published in 43 languages and some 275 million game boxes have been sold over the years.

Since 1935, over a billion people have played the game and, in the past few years, some 10 million (including me) people have downloaded and paid for the game’s app available on multiple platforms, in many countries and lots of languages.

AH….but Angry Birds…another favorite…

In only four or so years – over 2 billion downloads! WILD!!!!!

Yet Rovio, the company that created and produces Angry Birds is in turmoil – reportedly struggling financiallychanging CEOs and in general looking for ways to expand their franchise despite a fairly robust licensing and merchandising business.

And of course there is Zynga – once the darling of Wall Street – with a share price that has fallen 70% since its IPO — reporting a $62.5 million loss last quarter and has yet to make a real profit.

What is going on?

What happened to gamification? Do you even remember that term…DIGIBABBLE ALERT…

Brian Blau, a gaming analyst at the technology research company Gartner said “There’s always a bit of luck involved in making games.”

HMMMMM – so no BIG DATA insight to create the next best as was implied by Zynga and others – no algorithm magic as Amazon has learned – luck……hmmmm.

Mr. Jackson of Ovum, a consultancy firm specializing in global coverage of IT said, “People quickly get sick of games, and it’s almost impossible to predict if a new game will be successful.”

Amazing….what insight…

Frankly I find the current analyst response a sad joke – these are the same type of guys who touted the new world of gaming – the sure-fire money machine —  as the gaming companies learned all about us and led us down the path of addiction that they created for each of us…uniquely.

I wrote about this three years ago when the Angry Birds addiction (including me) was already off the charts and “It’s all about Gaming” was the popular rhetoric…. if you didn’t get with the gaming you’d be left out of the game.

I wrote then, “We have lost the human touch…obsessed with our own narrow little paths to monetization – driven by analysts and investors to believe that every new idea heralds the new messianic age of communications.”

Bottom line – content is content and great and enduring content triumphs while second-rate creations get consumed and forgotten.

The difference between the quest for the Holy Grail and someone saying ‘bring me a cup’ is the flavor text and the number of stops involved.  Bryan Fields

Long after Zynga is forgotten and Angry Birds are pacified…..Monopoly will still be selling – in boxes and whatever new platforms exist….even as the analysts of those future times babble on…..

What do you think?

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