Has the ebook disruption been cancelled?

Has the ebook disruption been cancelled?The New York Times published an interesting article yesterday titled The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead. In the article, the author Alexandra Alter paints a picture of a publishing world where an ebook apocalypse had been coming for years, but now the fear has subsided and print is gaining a stronger position again.

However, not all the claims made in the article are ready to stand up to scrutiny. Let’s take a closer look at the market situation and the strategic choices made by major publishing houses.

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On IKEA Pencil and the Lean lesson within

On IKEA Pencil and the Lean lesson withinSo, IKEA did it again – an excellent parody of the latest Apple launch (The Apple Pencil stylus). This is not the first time IKEA has used Apple parody in its advertisement, either, as last year they had a similar idea with the IKEA catalog launch, the Bookbook – i.e. just an ordinary book – the many virtues of which were elaborated on a spectacular video commercial.

In addition to the fun, there is a deep Lean lesson involved. And hey, given the context of this blog, that’s what I’m really interested in, so let’s take a look.

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The secret sauce of Dota 2: crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

The secret sauce of Dota 2 - crowdsourcing and crowdfundingA peculiar misconception seems quite common when it comes to Valve’s Dota 2: the belief that Dota 2 is not well-monetized, perhaps because as it brings in people to the Steam platform, Valve simply does not care about monetizing it.

When we look at the actual figures though, this conception is heavily challenged. Let’s dive in!

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MOBA monetization and the power of the crowd

MOBA monetization and the power of the crowdMultiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games have rapidly risen to amongst the most popular online games – so much so, that they are predicated to become the largest category of online games this year.

In a MOBA, two teams of players (typically 5 vs 5) attempt to destroy the base of the opposing team. Each player controls a single character, who grows in power as the match progresses (progress is wiped between matches) and teamwork is the key to victory.

The market leader is Riot Games’ League of Legends, followed by the clear number 2, Valve’s Dota 2. Other successful games in the genre include Hi-Rez’s Smite and Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm.

In this post, I examine how MOBA games are monetized given that all of them are free-to-play titles. There might also be something interesting to learn on the crowdsourcing front here.

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World of Tanks Generals: a different take on card game monetization

World of Tanks Generals - a different take on card game monetizationWith digital collectible card games becoming a “dominant category” (according to SuperData research), it is no wonder that more companies want their share of the pie. One of the more recent newcomers is Wargaming’s World of Tanks Generals, which is currently in open beta.

What makes World of Tanks Generals interesting from a business perspective is that it uses a radically different monetization model than the usual random pack model used in most collectible card games. Coupled with this is a different progression loop model.

Sounds interesting, so let’s take a deeper look.

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Card games going digital: Can Magic the Gathering compete with Hearthstone?

Card games going digital: Can Magic the Gathering compete with HearthstoneCollectible card games became an instant hit upon the creation of Magic the Gathering by Richard Garfield and Wizards of the Coast in 1993. Magic has went through some changing fortunes over the past 20 years (including WotC being acquired by Hasbro in 1999) and faced some successful competition in the form of card games based on Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon, but Magic is now bigger than ever.

However, dark clouds loom on the horizon, as a digital disruption is taking the collectible card game genre by storm. In this post, I will examine the current situation and take a closer look at two key players: Hasbro’s Magic the Gathering and Blizzard’s Hearthstone.

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Free-to-play (F2P) MMO monetization: World of Tanks

Free-to-play F2P MMO monetization - World of TanksOnline games have largely moved to a free-to-play model where the monetization is achieved through microtransactions instead of traditional box sales or subscription fees. According to data from Superdataresearch, the worldwide MMO games market was split between $7.5 billion for free-to-play games and $2.8 billion for pay-to-play games in 2014 with free-to-play on the rise and pay-to-play on the decline.

Within this market, World of Tanks is a particularly interesting title. According to data from Superdataresearch, the average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) of World of Tanks is the best in the world at $4.51. World of Tanks also sports a superb conversion rate (share of users who pay) of over 25%, which is also sky-high in this industry. Together, these figures amount to over $500 million of annual revenue for Wargaming, the creator of World of Tanks.

Therefore, taking a look at what Wargaming has done with World of Tanks is of particular interest.

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Crowdsourcing in the toy industry: LEGO Ideas

Crowdsourcing in the toy industry - LEGO IdeasCrowdsourcing has long held quite a bit of promise: who would not want to have customers participate in funding, marketing, or developing products for themselves and thus relieving the company from some of these tasks.

In the toy industry, crowdsourcing has recently made an appearance, so it is interesting to take a look at what has happened there and to consider what could happen in the future. The main focus of this post is LEGO Ideas, as it is by far the most visible example of crowdsourcing in the toy industry.

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Marketing to girls: My Little Pony and LEGO Friends and Elves

Marketing to girls - My Little Pony and LEGO Friends and ElvesDespite the advances achieved in the past 100 years, we are still on the journey towards gender equality as a society and the road ahead remains long and winding. However, I think there have been a number of beacons of hope within the past five years when it comes to the “girls” toy market, and this movement is not going to stop.

In this post, I will examine a number of toys directed at girls and the way they have been marketed, and sketch out what the future could hold for toy manufacturers adventurous enough to fully venture into the still relatively unexplored realm of educational and empowering stories and toys.

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Four lessons from QuickyBaby on continuous improvement – and video game streaming

Four lessons from QuickyBaby on continuous improvement – and video game streamingInsights are acquired from surprising places. One such place for me when it comes to continuous improvement and work in general is live video game streaming on Twitch.

In this post, I will dig into four behaviors that are regularly exhibited by the popular World of Tanks (an online team-based tank battle game) streamer QuickyBaby, adopting which can possibly make you a popular streamer, but which can also prove to be useful in many other pursuits in life.

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