This week’s podcast is about Steam and Garena, which are good examples of specialty gaming businesses.
You can listen to this podcast here or at iTunes and Google Podcasts.
Here are my criteria for specialty ecommerce businesses.
- Is the company sufficiently differentiated in the user experience?
- Can the company compete and/or differentiate in logistics or infrastructure without ongoing spending?
- Does the company have a strong competitive advantage in a circumscribed market?
- Is there a clear path to significant operational cash flow?
- Has the company avoided markets and situations that are attractive or strategic for the major ecommerce companies?
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- Why Netflix and Amazon Prime Don’t Have Long-Term Power. (2 of 2) (US-Asia Tech Strategy – Daily Article)
From the Concept Library, concepts for this article are:
- Marketplace Platforms
- Innovation and Audience Builder Platforms
- Specialty Gaming Businesses
- Gaming and Game Engines
From the Company Library, companies for this article are:
- Steam / Valve
Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash
Welcome, welcome everybody. My name is Jeff Towson and this is the Tech Strategy Podcast where we dissect the strategies of the best digital companies of the US, China, and Asia. And the topic for today, Steam, Garena, and specialty gaming business models. Now a couple months ago I did several podcasts, several articles on specialty e-commerce. Like how do you tell these smaller companies, not the giants, not the Amazons, not the Alibabas, but e-commerce companies that are sort of specialty niche on the side, Etsy, things like this, how do you tell which of those are actually going to be viable long term or they’re going to be in trouble? Well, this is the same sort of question, but in this case for gaming, you know, okay, not Tencent, not Epic Games. What about… specialty plays that are viable and profitable and attractive. And two of those, I think, are Steem and Garena. And I’ll kind of explain why that is. So that’s sort of the topic for today. For subscribers, I’ll be sending you some articles, emails. I’m going to focus on Jumia and Mercado Libre, which are both fairly standard e-commerce platforms but they’re in interesting parts of the world, Africa, Latin America. So that’s on the way. Those of you who aren’t subscribers, feel free to go over to jeffthousen.com. You can sign up there, free 30-day trial. I think that’s it for all the housekeeping stuff. The fifth… Motes and Marathon’s book is basically done. It’s going to be posted any day now. And let’s see, standard disclaimer, nothing in this podcast or in my writing or website is investment advice. The numbers and information from me and any guests may be incorrect. The views and opinions expressed may no longer be relevant or accurate. Overall, investing is risky. This is not investment advice. Do your own research. And with that, let’s get into the content. Now as always, there’s always some sort of learning goals, key concepts for the talk. And I mean, the first one I guess would be specialty gaming business models. I guess that’s more of a category than like a concept. But the two concepts that are going to play out are pretty standard. It’s marketplace platforms and it’s innovation platforms. Now I’ve talked about those quite a lot, but they’ve always sort of been marketplaces for services, marketplaces for. products, platform business models, one of the five types. OK, this is a marketplace for games, which is really what Steam is. Haven’t really talked about that very much. That’s kind of an interesting variation on all of this. The other idea for today is innovation platform, which is one of my five platform types. Usually I’m talking about innovation platforms like Microsoft Windows. or an app store or iOS. It’s where people are building on the platform, developers, software people, and a subtype of that I call that audience builders. So usually if you look at the list of my five platform types, it’s innovation platforms or audience builders. And that just means it’s an innovation platform that’s very specific to content. So that’s TikTok, that’s YouTube. Again, people are innovating and creating on this. But it’s mostly about just building an audience as opposed to launching new types of software. Okay, that has not traditionally been a big deal in gaming. There’s some basic tools you can use to create things, but most of these gaming platforms are about distribution. And maybe they put some things on top of it like monetization, sharing, multiplayer, things like that. But gaming engines, the Unreal Engine, I mean that is a very, very powerful tool that is letting a lot of people start to create games and TV shows. It’s the democratization of very advanced content creation tools. So that’s going to really sort of change the nature of who can innovate, who can create video games. Well, it turns out with this, pretty much anybody. So the innovation platform thing, when you apply it to gaming and you sort of start thinking gaming engines, it’s getting really interesting. And then it sort of tees up the idea of at what point is a game more like a virtual world? You know, then you get into Roblox. Well, then again, it’s about these companies like Roblox and whatever, these early versions of Metaverse. These are not marketplaces of virtual worlds, which are kind of like games. I mean, no, these are really innovation platforms where people are building those things on top of this. So there’s a lot going on there, but all of this is a little bit different than sort of how I’ve been talking about it. So that is kind of the two main ideas for today, marketplace platforms, innovation platforms, which I’ve talked about. But they are very different when you get into gaming and where gaming is going, which is kind of leading into online worlds and things like that. OK. Now, a couple months ago, first we start with who are the giants? I mean, gaming is very concentrated. You have Epic Games, which is massive. And then you have lots of gaming studios. But it’s really Tencent. I mean, Tencent. Tencent is to gaming what all of Hollywood is to movies and television. It is absolutely massive as a company, one because of all their users in China, but also they own like Epic Games which is important. That would generally be considered another giant. Well that’s 40% owned by Tencent. And Garena which I’ll talk about also the partnership with Tencent is absolutely critical. So Tencent is kind of the, you know, if you put Amazon and Alibaba and put them together in e-commerce, that’s like Tencent in gaming. So that’s kind of the giant. And then there’s some mobile gaming giants and there’s others, but I mean it’s definitely Tencent’s a major player. Okay. If those are your giants, how do you live as a viable specialty gaming company business model against that? And I wrote about specialty e-commerce. The companies I pointed to, and I’ll put the link for that podcast, it was technically, let’s see if I have the number here, Podcast 108, which was how to predict the winners in specialty e-commerce. And the companies I sort of talked about were Etsy, which is this arts and crafts, people create models and… You can buy vintage coins and vintage clothing. It’s very interesting e-commerce marketplace. Oriental Trading, which is not well known, that’s a specialty e-commerce company that’s owned by Warren Buffett. Most people don’t know he has a specialty e-commerce company. They’re very profitable. And then I also talked about Secu, which is the cross-border luxury marketplace that just sort of went bust a couple weeks ago in China. And another company, Ding Dong. which is sort of was an attempt to build a on-demand groceries marketplace service in China. Pretty interesting. That one also is probably going bust as I’m writing this. That’s more about the economics as opposed to the business model, which you know they don’t always go hand in hand. Anyway, so I sort of looked at all those and I came up with five sort of simple rules for how do you test if a specialty e-commerce company. is going to be viable against the Giants. And I’ll put them in the show notes. But I mean, it’s pretty simple. Number one, is the company sufficiently differentiated in the user experience? You can’t beat Amazon at Amazon’s game. You have to have a dramatically different user experience that is just too far from what they are. So Etsy is actually like this. People go on Etsy to buy completely different things. If you want a handmade SpaceX rocket ship that you can put on your shelf and it can be five feet tall, you can go on Etsy and find it. And I actually bought one, a smaller one. If you want Japanese coins from 1885, you can go on Etsy. It is just a completely different type of shopping experience. That’s pretty cool. So you’ve got to differentiate on the consumer side, on the demand side, because ultimately this is all about demand first, everything else follows. Okay, number two. Can the company compete and or differentiate in logistics or infrastructure without ongoing spending? Now this has to do with the fact that The major e-commerce players are basically in an arms race of infrastructure spending. They build IT systems, they build logistics networks, they keep upgrading them, upgrading them, upgrading. We see this in Coupang, we see it in Alibaba, we see it in Amazon, Mercado Libre. This is, any small company cannot be trying to compete in this ongoing spending game against the giants because you’ll lose. You simply can’t match their dollars. So you either want to differentiate that or do something, but you don’t want to play that game with ongoing spending requirements. You got to get out of that game or you’re going to lose. Now that one is more specific to e-commerce, but we can make an analogy to gaming on content spending. OK, number three, does the company have a strong competitive advantage in a circumscribed market? OK. In the space that you’re in, let’s say Etsy, they’re in this sort of niche arts and crafts type of market, but do you dominate that space and have a competitive advantage so that you’re hard to take on? Even though you’re in a small space, do you have a moat in that area? Number four, is there a clear path to significant operational cash flow? What ding dong? and another company in China is called Miss Fresh, which is basically the same business model. This is on-demand groceries. They kind of had a differentiated user experience. They were trying to build out their moats. They avoided the logistics spending game by their business model. The problem was they didn’t have, their business wasn’t throwing off significant operating cashflow. If you’re gonna leave in a niche, it’s gotta be a profitable niche. Oriental Trading and Etsy actually have pretty good cash flow. And last question, number five, has the company avoided markets and situations that are attractive or strategic for the major e-commerce companies? Look all of that stuff I said doesn’t matter if you are in an area that Alibaba, Amazon, or any of these companies considers attractive or strategic because they’ll just flood the money. they’re probably unbeatable if they decide to write the big checks. So you’ve got to be in an area that they don’t really consider strategic and or they just think it’s not that attractive. Maybe it’s small, it’s not growing. You know, Amazon doesn’t really want to be in the Etsy business. It’s a niche, it’s small, it’s not growing. They just let it be. You’ve got to be out of their pathway. uh… miss fresh when they go after on-demand groceries in china i mean that’s what all these major e-commerce companies want you don’t want to be in that pathway and secu had sort of the same problem they were going after luxury and fashion in china well jd and alibaba have been very vocal that they want that space you don’t want to be in their path a great example of a business Amazon has no interest in. Okay, so you can kind of do those five tests, and I’ve found it actually to be pretty helpful and pretty useful. So the question for this is, is there a similar list for gaming? And that’s what I’m basically working on. Okay, so I had a student paper earlier this year that was really quite well done in terms of… You know, these companies, this is a tie paper, I’m gonna pull some factoids from this. I guess I’m not gonna say the student’s name since I didn’t get permission. So let me just sort of pull out some factoids here. Basically, they wanted to talk about Steam. Because Steam is an interesting company, it’s been around forever. You know, 1990s, PC gaming, you know, really the starting of the gaming industry. Yeah, I mean, there was a lot of stuff going on with Atari in the late 70s and 1980s. But in terms of PCs and stuff, you’re really sort of talking about, and that’s a lot of console wars. When you’re talking about video games on PCs, OK, we’re talking about 1990s. You start to see digital distribution, sending CDs, uploading things like that. you know, just a sort of an explosion and then that grows and grows, games get better, consoles get better, and then you have a major shift to mobile gaming in the mid 2000s, right? So now you’ve got at least three to four platforms, PC gaming, console gaming, mobile gaming, and you know, the money’s huge. Really, I mean, this is massive money. Gaming is huge. And so Steam, which really was digital distribution. I mean, they didn’t create games. They just sort of distributed it by Valve Corporation, which is kind of an interesting, strange company. They’ve sort of been off on their own for a long time. But I mean, that was kind of their idea to do digital distribution. And they sort of jumped into this idea of we will be, basically, they say digital distribution. We’re really talking about a marketplace. A marketplace for PC games, where you can just sort of play games as you see fit. And that did very well with consumers. And one of the reasons it does well is, okay, if you’re a major game, if you’re World of Warcraft or whatever, you can kind of go direct to consumers. Like a major brand doesn’t need the e-commerce marketplaces, they can go direct because they’re Nike or they’re Prada. Okay, that works for the major brands, but what Steam is always sort of focused on is these smaller games that have really no ability to reach consumers. And that’s standard marketplace strategy. You have the consumer side, you have the merchant side. You always do better if your merchant supply side is a lot of small companies that are very fragmented and not five big companies that control all of the market. So okay. So they went after sort of these, you know, smaller companies. You know, a very effective distribution channel for this, although I would use the term marketplace. Okay, so the distinction that jumps out when you start looking at Steam is PC versus mobile. They were on PCs trying to shift to mobile, and then you sort of look at the category of casual gamers multiplayer gaming, the most complex, the really massive games that have a huge amount of money, Call of Duty, stuff like that. That’s a big distinction in terms of the complexity of the game and who can create it, but also in terms of the user. Casual gamer is your average person on the subway staring at their phone playing some simple game. who’s been playing World of Warcraft for five years and is in the, with all his friends or his friends and doing all this. I mean, you can kind of break it that way. But when you look at casual gaming, which is by and large the largest segment of gamers, okay, fast paced, high intensity, you can play with your friends, you can kind of play these things by yourselves. Pretty simple, you know, these are like Tetris likes games. A little bit mindless, people tend to play more frequently. They might log in multiple times during the day. Once you move to casual games and you can do it on your phone, people start logging in all day long as opposed to a very intensive game. You’re only going to do that at home. So… They also tend to move around a lot. They jump on new trending games. So that’s not a bad distinction. There’s other ways to cut this sort of industry apart. Casual versus immersive is a pretty good way to think about it. Frequency of usage, behavior of the users. I think it was, I heard a distinction when people were talking about the metaverse. Oh, I think it was Ben Thompson over at Strotecary. He talked about. games and experiences, which could be metaverse, AR, VR, do they take all of your attention or only part of your attention? If you’re in an immersive game, you know, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, you can’t do anything else. You can chat a little bit, but you’re in that game and that’s a lot like virtual reality. When you put that headset on, you are done with everything else. Okay, casual gaming is more like part of your attention. You can play it a little bit on your phone while you’re doing other things. You can pause. You can put on augmented reality on your glasses and still walk and talk to people and you can kind of do it well. So is it totally immersive where you have to stop everything or is it sort of partial attention? That’s actually a good distinction especially when you start thinking about metaverse. Anyways, you can think casual versus immersive. You can also think PC versus mobile. And all of this raises questions. Steam has traditionally been casual games, mostly on PCs, things like that. Is that changing with 5G? Is it changing with the increasing integration of social activities and community within gaming? Anyways, I think Steam is kind of a good example of that. Now, go through a little bit more of Steam. Founded Valve Corporation, founded Steam. Well, Steam is the product. Valve Corporation was founded in 1996, headquartered in Washington. I mean they mostly, they call themselves a game developer, publisher, digital distribution. I think this is a lot of sort of out of date language. They’re really a marketplace. They don’t develop that many games themselves. Started on the personal computer, moved to a web-based store as PCs went internet-based, and then moved to a mobile digital storefront. So they’ve moved with PC to internet to mobiles. And like most games, as the games have evolved in their functionality, they’ve started to add that in. The biggest one is the internet. integrating network and social media behavior within games so you can talk with your friends. Then there’s other things you have to do along the way, digital rights management, moving to streaming, things like that. So they’ve sort of evolved with the quality of the games. I wouldn’t call them a leader in terms of driving the development of games. I would call Tencent and Epic that way. They’re creating new tools. that let game creators do things they could have never done before. Steam, not to put down Steam, more of a follower in what the games are doing. Anyways, what people like about it generally, the number of games available. I mean it is a marketplace strategy. How does a marketplace create value for the users? It creates lots and lots of options and aggregates them in one That’s sort of the defining characteristic of a marketplace platform as opposed to an innovation platform where it’s really not about aggregating lots and lots of options. That’s part of it. It’s more about creating tools and letting developers innovate, hence the term innovation platform. So value creation on an innovation platform is more and more innovation happens there. You know, we have 10,000 different types of shoes, not just 100 types of shoes. We’re aggregating options that increases value, as opposed to we give you tools to help you make better shoes. That’s an innovation platform. So Steam, largest distributor of PC games, 30,000 plus, 75% global PC market share. That’s pretty amazing. I mean this is a very successful marketplace model. Works on Linux, it works on Mac OS, iOS, Android, and they take a 30% cut of the game sales. So kind of like an app store. From the consumer side, what are they getting out of this? It’s pretty basic. It’s a marketplace. Lots and lots of options. What do I want to… play today, oh and I can interact with the community, that’s fine. And they give you lots of options like you can purchase and review the game, you can try it for free, you can do freemium, all of that stuff. When you buy a game it stays in your library so therefore there’s a bit of a switching cost that gets baked in. It’s a pretty basic marketplace model. You switch to the vendor side, the supplier side. Okay, they get access to lots and lots of users. They have to play on this platform. Well, Blizzard, Activision, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, they have some ability to go direct. These 30,000 small games, those publishers can’t go direct. They’ve got to be in the big platform, which is kind of why this platform works. It wouldn’t work as well. if they were only dealing with sort of the big companies. So small developers, indie developers, you know, 30 plus thousand and you know, that’s just very successful niche, let’s call it specialty specialist gaming business model, global 95 million players use this thing, and they’ve been around for you know, 20, 30 years now. So by every definition, that’s a successful specialist. gaming business model. Now the takeaways I have for that, and I’m still trying to take this apart a little bit, my takeaways are, okay, I think I understand what I’m looking at. This is a standard marketplace platform, but for games. The supply side is about lots of small, casual games, good. They’ve effectively moved from PC to online to mobile, so they’ve sort of transitioned as the technology has improved. And yeah, that’s pretty much it. Now the question I think is, what will this look like at the next technology evolution, which is, let’s say, AR VR? Is this still going to work? And I’ve seen companies like Huawei have casual gaming you can do with VR headsets standing on the subway just using your phone. So it looks like they can just sort of continue moving along that. They can also layer on top of this lots and lots of services. So community, chat, you know, but these are fairly standard. And I don’t see a lot in terms of an innovation aspect here. I don’t see them providing tremendous tools to game developers that really are game changing. And they seem to be pretty nuts and bolts, marketplace, platform. and that’s done very, very well for them. Now with that, let me switch over to Garena, which is, I think, another good example of this. I’ve talked about this before. I’ve written kind of a lot about this company. But this is the early version of C Group. Forrest Lee, who everybody knows now and is very impressed with him, he graduates from Stanford 2005 with his MBA. He founds his company by himself and starts working on single player games. He was a gaming guy from the beginning, but clearly single player moved to multiplayer. The early days, I don’t have a lot of data on that. It doesn’t look like it did very well. Gigi Games, I think was the name. Eventually he shifts over to C Limited, founds that company in 2009. Now we’re starting to talk about Garena, which you can argue is just a copy of Tencent. Take the Tencent gaming model, bring it to Southeast Asia, lots and lots of localization and did very, very well. I mean it wasn’t a rocket ship but it was profitable, making money. I’ll talk about the business model in a sec. Strong competitive position, very well, limited in some sense. And then he jumped over and did e-commerce, which you could argue is a copy of, which is Shopee, which is a copy of Alibaba. And then he jumped over and he’s been doing C-Money, which argues a copy of Ant. So he’s been copying literally the most attractive business models out of China and bringing them to Southeast Asia, which is a really good strategy, by the way. Okay. So the way I’ve described C, not C, Garenham. This is an innovation platform that is specific for highly localized and highly immersive gaming. The audience builder platform, you generally have developers on one side, you have consumers on the other. That could be Microsoft Windows. If we’re looking at… Let’s say gaming, okay we’re talking about game developers on one side, consumers on the other, they all play. Now the problem here obviously is he focused, Garina focused on highly localized, highly immersive games. And they wanted, you know, they don’t want casual games. They want the most complicated, multiplayer, deeply immersive games. gets you far more power on the consumer side. You’re getting a lot more engagement, you’re getting a lot of data, you’re getting chatting back and forth. That’s all very, very good on the consumer side. It’s much more powerful. There’s a world of difference between someone playing Tetris on their smartphone on the subway and people who spend years playing games deeply immersed in them. Tremendous power on the consumer side. The weakness of course is if you’re going to build a platform business model, you need lots of users on both sides, you need lots of interactions. Well, there’s only a handful of games that are really successful with this degree of complexity. So by doing sort of an innovation platform here, the consumer side is stronger, but overall the platform is far weaker than Steam. with lots and lots of casual game producers, 30,000. We’re not talking about 30,000 different types of games here. But he sort of compensated for this. It’s a really interesting, clever business model, but it definitely is a specialty play, I think. The idea that we’re gonna go for the most intensive games. immersive and we’re going to localize to Southeast Asia because you’re talking about eight, nine, ten different countries all with different language, all with, you know, if you’re going to monetize via Tencent, you’re going to have advertisers in the games. Well, those are all local advertisers. You’ve got different regulations country by country. You’re going to have to do all of that stuff. Well, most big game developers don’t want to be building a Filipino version. and an Indonesian version and a Thai version and a Vietnamese version. The idea of localizing country by country is a really interesting play. That’s really what they focused on. The key to that strategy is the partnership with Tencent. I like multiplayer gaming. The reason I like multiplayer gaming is because you get an extra network effect. In theory, if you have a lot of developers on one side of the platform and users on another, consumers, players, you’re going to get a network effect, although in this case it’s pretty weak because there aren’t that many game developers. But the more the players play with each other in terms of gaming, you get a one-sided direct network effect between players, just like WeChat and Payment and other things. So you get a direct network effect and you get a fairly weak indirect network effect. So that’s all really cool. You get social communications. They focused on a lot of, if you ever look at specifically what the games they want, they’re very specific about the games they want. They want like Battle Royale. They want competition games. World of Warcraft. So either deeply immersive games you play forever or a lot of these Battle Royale games. intensive consumer engagement, you get the most passionate fans, you get people who are very very loyal. This is the games that people get addicted to literally in China. Gaming is classified as a medical addiction. So that’s kind of what they focused on. I liked all that, the player to player interactions, multiplayer, social, all of this. The more of those interactions, the more passion gives you more and more opportunities for advertisers and brands to start to put their stuff in the games. So this is really a three-sided platform. Developers, players, advertisers, merchants, so you get in-game signage, branded skins, lots of little digital goods you can buy. The specific games, I’ll read you a little bit. I don’t really want to repeat this because I’ve talked about Garina quite a few times on this podcast. But you know. Here’s their language from their 10k, their annual reports. They like immersive games, which is multiplayer immersive gaming. In-depth games they cite Battle Royale, multiplayer online battle arena, massive multiplayer online action games, MMORPG, massive multiplayer online role playing games, MMORPG, and eSports. And they are not. At least last time I checked, they’re not doing casual gaming at all. That’s pretty interesting. Means people play more frequently, they play longer, they play more, they’re more passionate, gets you greater engagement, it gets you greater data, and that’s kind of what platforms run along. There’s more interactions between players, and that all gets you greater ability to monetize by advertising, gifting, digital goods, and so on. Second point, they localize country by country, which I’ve sort of mentioned about. They work with local advertisers. It makes the experience much better for players country by country. They localize the language, the content, various regulatory issues. All of that makes, you know, in a lot of earlier days of Garina, this meant working with a lot of gaming cafes. You know, 2010, 2011. smartphones all over Indonesia. No, I mean, so you’re working with those cafes at that point. And that’s pretty good. And third one is, you know, Tencent partnership, which is, they’re a major shareholder. You know, that is a huge part of them being able to get these sort of games. Okay. So it’s a really strange business model. I consider Garena to sort of be a limited platform. I almost think about it as a service at a certain point and maybe not a platform, but you know, highly immersive, multiplayer, highly localized games provided by a relatively small number of companies. And then Garena has vertically integrated and developed some of their own games, again, sort of copying Tencent. So Free Fire was them. And it’s a copy of basically Tencent. Is it a marketplace platform? No, I don’t think so. Is it an innovation platform? I would say not by itself, but given its partnership with Tencent, I think that is an innovation platform. I almost think about it as an extension of Tencent’s innovation platform for gaming. That’s kind of how I view it, which is a very strange business model. Okay. So let’s say we’ve got these two specialists. specialty business models. Both have been viable for a long time, both are profitable, both have not been attacked by a serious competitor in a long time. So that’s pretty good. But the issue with gaming, and really entertainment, but definitely gaming, is the technology changes so fast and consumer behavior changes so fast, it’s kind of one of the least predictable areas. So if you look at sort of the big technology changes that are happening, are more and more casual games emerging? Is it more going to be more immersive and interactive, which would be more of a Garina story? When the metaverse arrives on the B2C side as opposed to the B2B side, is that better for casual gaming or is that just the next iteration of highly interactive immersive games? The metaverse sounds a heck of a lot more like Garena than it does Steam. And then there’s this idea of these new advanced content tools like the Unreal Engine, the gaming engine, that looks like a major deal in terms of innovation platforms. To me that looks like the democratization of gaming and entertainment. I mean I like the Mandalorian, this TV show. In theory, if you have an Unreal Engine from Epic Games and you’ve got three friends in a warehouse, you can make a TV show of that quality now. You’re seeing people create, just regular folks with two or three partners creating unbelievably good games. So if you have sort of an explosion in the number of very, very high quality games, does that make Garena? start to look much more like a robust marketplace when there’s not 50 or 100 games but thousands and thousands of them. So maybe, you know, Garena plus Tencent plus Epic, we can consider that an innovation platform. Gaming engines are making that more powerful as an innovation platform, but they’re also making it more of a marketplace. Because suddenly… anybody can make these types of games. And I think that is what’s going to happen. I think these tools are going to be used by… If you ever look at the set, if you go on YouTube and look up the Mandalorian, how they make it, it’s just one room. I mean, it’s shocking that it’s one room, the actors come in and they do their scene in a one room and then it just creates all the worlds and all of that from that. It’s… I mean, it’s… surprisingly small. So you can just imagine like creative folks doing this and using these tools to create TV shows of that quality. And we can see the same for gaming. I think that’s most of the content I wanted to go through. I’m actually kind of jet lagged here. So if you can’t tell, I’m struggling a little bit here. I don’t have an awesome answer for what specialty gaming business models I think are going to be viable. I think these are two clear examples of ones that have succeeded, but I don’t have as clear of a framework. I think for e-commerce I’m pretty comfortable with where I am on that, but I’m still trying to struggle and take this apart. There’s so many moving things happening in gaming that we just don’t see in e-commerce. I think it’s just a harder area to predict, generally speaking. But I think that’s probably the right way to think about it, the two concepts for today, three concepts. You know, a marketplace for casual gaming, with Steam being a historic example, I think that’s a pretty solid way to think about that business model. I think it’s been proven to be viable. That’s fairly helpful. And then, you know, as the technology has transitioned, the marketplace has fairly well adapted to that from PC to online to gaming and to mobile and probably to AR, VR. I think Garena plus Tencent plus probably Epic Games is an innovation platform in total where the whole point of that is to help developers innovate and create more effectively on this platform and then the rest is kind of distribution. I think that part is gonna change with the gaming engine, and I’m curious if that is gonna expand from an innovation platform to also a marketplace. I think it probably will. That’s kinda what I’m keeping my eye on. But those are the two concepts for today, and you could put this all under the category of specialty gaming business models. Okay, and that’s that. As for me, I’m pretty jet-lagged. I’m in Sao Paulo, and it’s been a bit of a trek flying around the world, so. I’m not sort of firing on all cylinders tonight. I’ll feel better in a couple days. Well yeah, I’m here working with some companies, giving some keynotes and things like that. It’s gonna be great, probably a month in Sao Paulo. Bounce down to Porto Alegre. Maybe I’ll get to Florianopolis, which is beautiful in the south. And then of course try and get to Rio, which is my standard. Yeah, but I’ve been, it’s been two months on the road. from Tbilisi, Georgia to Istanbul, bouncing around Turkey, down through Kenya, and now into Brazil and then, I don’t know, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get home for at least another two months. So back on the road, which is normally fine, it’s just today I’m kind of a little wiped out, which is also why this podcast is a couple days late and I owe an article to the subscribers, that’ll go out tomorrow. So yeah. I’m doing a little catch up right now. But that’s it for me. If you’re in this part of the world and you want to hang out or something or send a note, I’m meeting with quite a lot of people just hanging out, having coffee, having drinks, meeting with companies as well, which is always great fun. Yeah, but send me a quick note. I’ll be around at least for a month. Okay, and that’s it for me. I hope everyone’s doing well and I will talk to you next week. Bye bye.
I write, speak and consult about how to win (and not lose) in digital strategy and transformation.
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