A while ago David Birch, he of the geek #1 fame, said to me
that all new forms of commerce are created by games, girls and gambling, and
the more I think about it, the more true I see this becomes.
This is particularly the case as gaming through mobile is
becoming a massive market, along with traditional electronic gaming, and many new
forms of commerce are emerging as a result of gaming.
Gaming is now bigger than movies as an entertainment medium.
For example, the recent release of Call of Duty was bigger than the opening weekends of Harry Potter’s last film and Twilight combined, with the franchise taking
billion to date.
Similarly, games like Angry
Birds are doing good business, raking in over $100 million last year alone.
But what these games teach us (me) is that you rapidly
become so absorbed in the game that you don’t care about spending cash to enjoy
the experience more.
You can play a free version of Angry Birds, upgrade to the
full version for 99 cents, and then buy other versions at 99 cents each.
During a game, you may get frustrated about not being able
to get through to the next level of the game and so you spend another 99 cents
to get some extra points to buy an upgrade to your character.
Soon, you find yourself spending $5,000 on virtual assets for
World of Warcraft gaming on eBay – until they banned it, as the market was
million a year in virtual nothings – and you can see why the world changes.
It is the story I tell regularly in my presentations about
the changing nature of Facebook, with Zynga generating a $300
million a year business in just 43 days after the launch of Cityville last
The game resulted in 100 million players and, in short
of the players were spending $5 a month on virtual nothings to improve
their gaming experience.
All in all, you rapidly find a world of gaming creates a
world of commerce.
Shortly after the game becomes established, pornography and gambling
will soon follow.
This was the story of Second
Life and QQ.
In both instances, these web destinations were offering
virtual currencies for gaming.
Rapidly, the gaming currency became a commercial currency
that could be transacted for other goods and services, and pornography and gambling
soon became established in these worlds using the currencies as valid value
The lesson is that any new world of gaming will soon see new
corridors of commerce established and, whenever there is new forms of commerce,
you will see a de facto currency when it gains traction through pornography and
In other words, money and rumpy pumpy are the twin engines
that power everything we do.