Sunday, January 20, 2008

Software Pricing Models

Kart Rider
As of late I seem to have developed a slight obsession with Kart Rider - a cute and insanely fun little racing game (similar to Mario Kart) with a really interesting business model. Unlike many commercial games it's a free download, with no monthly subscription fee required to play - this greatly reduces the barriers to entry for potential customers and ultimately gets more people playing the game. Instead the company makes money by selling digital merchandise and upgrades which enables players to personalize their in-game avatars and trick out their karts. So, how much can you make selling digital goods (and related services)? Apparently, quite a bit!

Now, there's a mobile aspect to Kart Rider that I find absolutely fascinating. How do you sell digital goods to young people (who don't have credit cards) without having them constantly harass their parents? How about using micropayments via mobile phone.
One of hidden supports for the Nexon’s (the company behind Kart Rider) great success is easy and convenient payment systems/methods which are backed by financial intermediaries. Especially, payment by cell-phone is the key factor. For example, a child who wants to buy Luzzi (in-game currency) would normally tease her/his parents to pay her/his money. What if the price is as high as usual MMORPG? What if another bothersome procedures need to be done? Just enter your cell phone number, and say identification code to your lovely daughter or son. What is better, there is much less resistance or hesitation to pay than paying by cash or credit card.
One other interesting tidbit to note is that this model (free software + paid upgrades/services) is starting to to garner interest outside of the gaming industry. Reminds me quite a bit of the business model adopted by razor manufacturers - give away the razor once, sell the blades for years to come.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Kocca Mobile Content Forum

Kocca Mobile Content Forum 2007 - London, UK
Tomorrow I'm off to London to attend the Kocca Mobile Content Industry Forum which going by the agenda should serve as a real eye-opener as to what the OEMs, carriers and publishers are thinking in regards to social networks, music, gaming and content in general on mobile devices - not only here in Europe, but also in comparison with the Asian (and specifically Korean) markets.

If you're not familiar with Kocca, they are basically a government agency set-up to assist Korean cultural and content companies with exporting their products to foreign markets. I first ran across them a few years back when I was unexpectedly introduced to Mashimaro and Pucca while living in Thailand.

I'm a little disappointed however to not see Tommi Ahonen on the list of speakers given his experience in the Korean mobile market. Ah well, I guess it gives me yet another reason to add his book to my wishlist.

Flash on the Beach

Flash on the Beach 2007 - Brighton, UK
I woke up to an absolutely delightful message in my in-box this morning. Apparently, the team at Future Platforms have managed to get their hands on a ticket for me to attend the sold out Flash on the Beach conference coming up in just over one weeks time.

I have to admit that I'm really excited to be taking part this year as the schedule looks fantastic, with the likes of Brendan Dawes, Mario Klingemann and Andries Odendaal (among many notable others) set to present some really inspiring and provocative sessions. Of course, I'll be at all of the mobile specific sessions and look forward to putting names to faces with many of the Flash Lite developers I've met virtually over the past few years.