Sunday, October 6, 2013

Battle of the Brands



Take a look at the top dozen Kickstarter projects funded inthe past year.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  All of then are either reboots, sequels or rest upon the designer’s name to boost interest in the project.  Tehre’s even an online version of Numenera in there.  The top funded project in the gaming category so far, raising $8.5 million,  OUYA, a video game console,  doesn’t even mention the designer’s name in the first paragraph.  Instead it tells you this product is designed by the creator of Jambox.  Now I don’t play video games, so I have no idea what Jambox is but lots of other people do, so when they see that its designer planned to come out with a video game console, they are all over it, to the tune of $8.5 million in funding., over 7 times the original goal.

Closer to home, WOTC has a new Commander set of decks coming out in November.  We already have people wanting to pre-order them, even before they know what comes in them?  Why? They know the quality of past Commander decks and the quality of recent magic release.  Sure WOTC can come a cropper (Anyone remember Saviors of Kamigawa, C-23 or the X-men TCG?) but WOTC succeeds so often with its Magic products that distributors, stores and consumers, eagerly line up for the next release and will at least give Kaijudo a try.

Games Workshop has the same level of brand resonance with its product lines. When the new Space Marines codex came out at $58 a pop, I expected to sell maybe 4 in the first week or so. We went through a dozen in the first two weeks, with customers buying them without even looking through them. Again, why?  The strength of the Games Workshop/Warhammer 40,000 brand.  Based on past experience, they know what to expect.    The brand has power.