Category Archives: internet marketing
There was a famous Broadway musical back in the 1950s (and NO I am not old enough to remember it from back then!) called Pajama Game. The show stopping number was called Steam Heat — and the number and show helped to make Shirley Maclaine a star!
These days the word “steam” evokes a whole different image. Ask my son who is the expert on all things gaming (as are most teen boys). Steam is a platform developed by Valve Corporation. It lets users download games (and in October 2012 Valve expanded the service to include non-gaming software). In our tech world, Steam gives access — digital distribution, digital rights management, multi-player and communications.
If you haven’t heard of Steam before — it will probably become part of your life in the near future.
Remember the X-Box from Microsoft? The X-Box (the current one is called the X-Box 360) is a video gaming brand created by Microsoft. It includes a series of video game consoles, the latest of which will be the X-Box One. Kids all over the world love the X-Box because they can not only play games on it, but they can play games with others from around the world using something called X-Box Live. Xbox Live costs about $60 a year and for that fee you subscribe to a service that lets you stream multimedia content from PCs, purchase and stream music, view TV programs and films through the Xbox Music and Xbox Video services, along with access to third-party content services through third-party media streaming applications. Microsoft does offer a free X-Box Live, but functionality is very limited — it lets you get to the store so you can actually pay for stuff (hmmm, and the ability to shop is free, how ironic is THAT?) and you can play demo games to see if you want to buy them. As I said the free version is very limited.
X-Box took over the gaming world in a big way — thanks in large part to the multi-player gaming abilities of X-Box Live (not to mention some killer shooting games). . . But thanks to Steam this reign may be about to end.
Steam now has more than 65 million active accounts. 65 million! This is a 30 percent rise in players in just the last year. On any given day Steam may have more than 6 million concurrent users. Microsoft’s X-box Live has 48 million accounts — around half of whom reportedly paid extra for a gold subscription.
Steam has 17 million more accounts than Microsoft’s X-Box Live!
I can almost hear 17 million voices crying out “In your face Microsoft!”
Poor Microsoft, once the king of technology the iPad and Google Android tablets are sucking life out of its key computing model, and now Steam is taking a bite out of its lauded gaming throne!
Steam is not new. Steam has been around for 10 years. There was a time I hated Steam because of the complexity it took to download games — if they even worked at all after you went through the trouble to download Steam and then download a game. . .
Ten years is a long time in tech years. Most tech companies who survive that long have come to prominence and then decline — if they ever became a leader in the first place.
The success of Steam in keeping up with technology and even leading it contrasted with so many high tech companies who lay in the graveyard of technology past brings to mind Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore and Regis McKenna. The concept of the chasm of dead products that either never make it to main stream or hit it and then rapidly die out was brilliant. Moore and McKenna said there is a chasm between the early adopters of a new technology product, mainstream users — and then finally the late adopters. In the “old days” a product could be designed and last a lifetime (more than a lifetime — think of something like a shovel or a hammer — how long have those tools been around). Now think about how Math technology went from a slide ruler to a calculator to Lotus 1-2-3 to Microsoft Excel to an app on your cell phone or tablet. . . That product life cycle just gets faster and faster — and companies rise and fall so rapidly it makes your head spin!
Valve is innovating so it shouldn’t fall into the chasm any time soon. Valve (owner of Steam) announced a new operating system. SteamOS is a Linux-based (bypassing Microsoft) operating system — a navigation solution for gaming PCs in the living room. It can be installed on any PC (and it’s free). SteamOS will be the operating system powering the physical Steam Machines that Valve will soon be shipping to eager gamers. The Steam Machine is supposed to be its ability to stream games from your regular gaming PC to any TV.
Valve also announced a new game controller. The Steam Controller has two clickable high-resolution circular track pads with haptic feedback, which supposed to be precise enough to match gaming keyboards and gaming mice.
Time will tell if Steam will continue to steam roll over its competition — but our high tech world keeps on a changing!
My last blog discussed how smartphones will soon suprass PCs as the main way we surf the ‘net. In turn this access gives vendors a whole new way to personalize service to us as consumers. Using GPS, CRM and unified communications we’ll be able to shop smarter and vendors will be able to pinpoint personalized offers to us based not just on our past buying history or our demographics (where we live, our age, etc.) but actually by knowing where we are and what we are doing.
Big brother is watching!
So how does Disney tie into this? Disney is working on new technology for its theme parks (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort and Disney Hong Kong) . Disney has not announced this, but a former executive is on record as stating that Disney is working on wireless-communication technology to tailor theme park offerings to the likes of individual visitors. This same source claims that Disney is spending $1 billion to $1.5 billion on this project, so it is considered a “game changer” by them.
What types of things does Disney plan to do with wireless technology? CRM of course! They will offer Disney visitors all kinds of enhanced services that will shorten waits on line, customize the “experience” of a Disney vacation all the while they are compiling information on you and your family. . .what rides you went on, what restaurants you visited, where you stayed. . . this information is then used to offer you knew vacation offers tailored to your likes.
The person in charge of this herculean effort is Nick Franklin, head of global business and real-estate development for Disney’s theme park division. Franklin has had an exciting career with Disney Franklin as well as serveing as a member of the Executive Committee for the Parks & Resorts segment overall. “This is not the typical opportunity that gets described in business school,” he said. “My job is to help envision the next generation of Disney experiences around the world, which is pretty cool.”
I’d say so!
I’ll bet back in his days at the investment banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Franklin could never have dreamed he’d be working in the “House of the Mouse” working on new generation entertainment venues!
But I digress. The rumors (and that is all we have at this time, rumors) say that Disney’s NextGen (code name) CRM technology push will include keyless hotel-room doors to rides and shows in which the experience varies based on an individual guest’s preferences.
The main source of information on this oh so secret development project is Michael Crawford, publisher of Progress City USA. Crawford writes that Imagineers (Disney’s name for engineers) hope to use RFID technology in concert with their new Fantasyland attractions. RFID stands for Radio frequency identification. RFID tags can be incorporated as a chip in a Disney park pass (for example). RFID can track your ID on your Disney “passport”, it can be your room key to your hotel room and even be used to enter mass transit like the monorail or be used as an in park credit card. All the while Disney knows where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and where you are now.
Disney could even use the personalized card to allow attractions to access personalized information about each guest, thus personalizing your “experience.” This was somewhat tested out last year with Disney’s Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resorts. This features an interactive experience where guests are given a “Kimmunicator” (Kim Possible is a Disney cartoon about a girl who is a spy) found at kiosks in Epcot. These interactive devices use technology which gives clues from the Kim Possible characters to find “villains” they cna track as they wander around the theme park.
Each adventure is unique, personalized. CRM, right? Right!
RFID should be used to make each vacation to a Disney theme park totally random and new — thus removing the “we’ve already been to Disney and it’s boring, can’t we go somewhere ELSE this year?” argument moot. At least that is the hope of Disney.
It just struck me as interesting that this news hit the Orlando Sentinel today, the very week I blogged about Smartphones and CRM. As I mentioned in that blog — the world is moving at a very fast clip these days!