Trading Card Freebie

 

After spending a lot of time on free-to-play, I’m shifting to a game industry that is getting no love. Together with the wizkids over at To Be Continued, LLC I’m been working on a white paper that we plan to launch into the world in a few weeks.

Trading Card Games (TCG), roughly the same size as casual gaming, are a natural extension of currently emerging free MMOs. For one, trading card games attract the same demographic. The immensely popular Yu-Gi-Oh!, which dominates with about 50% of the entire market, is hot sh*t with 12 year olds.

Also, big ticket publishers are paying attention. The people behindDungeons & Dragons (Wizards of the Coast) created a TCG for Nexon’sMapleStory, World of Warcraft rakes in about $9 million or so with its TCG version, and Sony’s Free Realms will be launched with one as well. 

Anyway, it seems to me that in a consumer market which is increasingly characterized by virtual items, a tangible product really stands out. More and more, toy makers are combining an offline with an online experience. Companies like Webkinz and RideMakerz are aggressively experimenting with this idea and already seem to garner some success. (Webkinz also has a TCG, by the way.)

Lastly, TCGs like Chaotic allow you to buy a deck, punch in the unique card codes online, and play online. Effectively, this means that those two oddballs on your school’s playground who actually play these nerdy TCGs now have access to a much larger crowd of opponents. Network effects, baby!

Anyway, here’s a snippet from the Introduction:

This white paper describes the history, present and future of trading card games, and is made up of the following sections. In the first part we explain the main concepts of TCGs, offers a definition and a glossary. Following, we present a concise history on the TCG industry and its larger trends. In the third section, we look at the current industry by describing its core demographics, second market, key brands and companies, and a quantitative look at the overall industry’s revenues and forecast. In section four we lay out the various aspects of the TCG business model, and finally, in section five, present the industry’s opportunities and most urgent issues. 

More to come later.


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About Waffler

Joost is fascinated by games and human behavior. His research explores video games as an entryway to contemporary media culture. After completing a Master's degree in Media studies in Amsterdam, he continued his research in New York. There he was project manager on a landmark investigation of three decades of ownership trends in the American media landscape, the results of which were part of a congressional testimony, a series of articles and a book. In 2010 he received his doctorate from Columbia University for his dissertation titled "Social Gaming and Communicative Exchange." Joost currently teaches at the NYU Game Center.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Joost is also founder and CEO of an online games research firm called SuperData. In early 2010 the company secured multi-year seed funding, and today employs five people. Clients include publishers such as Electronic Arts, SEGA, Wargaming.net and Pokémon as well as all the major Wall street firms.

Joost lives in the East Village with his wife Janelle and son Maximus.

Selected Presentations
  • Video Game Data & Trends, Ottawa International Game Conference, Canada, 2013.
  • Business Principles and Market Trends for Multi-Platform Games, Festival of Games, Amsterdam 2013.
  • 2013 Game Changers: How Will Devices Impact Your Future Growth? (keynote), Game Developer Conference, 2013.
  • Free-to-Play State of the Industry, Game Connection Paris, 2012.
  • Online Games Research: Getting Publishers to Play Nice, New Media, New Demand Measurement Methodologies, 2012 Columbia University.
  • The Great Unboxing: Major Trends in the Transition to Digital and Free-to-Play Gaming, DCM East, 2012.
  • The Rise of Free-to-Play, moderator and co-organizer, Re:Play - The Theory, Practice, and Business of Video Games, 2012, NYU.
  • Trading Card Games: Delivering the Digital Promise, PAX East, 2012.
  • From Asteroids to Zynga: Three Decades of Game Design and Revenue Models, GDC Online, 2011.
  • Video Game Industry, 2010 Fordham University, 2010.
  • Social Media and TV, LATVfest, 2010 Los Angeles.
  • Top 5 Trends in Gaming, NY Games Conference, New York, 2009.
  • Kids, Tweens & Teens, State of Play IV, New York Law School, New York, 2009.
  • Game Theory, Play Money, Columbia Business School, New York, 2008. (event organizer)
  • Media Economics: The Question of Ownership, Hunter College, New York, 2008.
  • On Game Mod Communities, 106th Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, 2007.
  • Game Mods & Post-Industrial Play, CITI Visiting Scholar’s Brown Bag Lunch Seminar Series, Columbia Business School, New York, October 2007.
  • The Video Game Vocabulary and the Production of Meaning, MiT5: Creativity, Ownership and Collaboration in the Digital Age, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, April 2007. (abstract)
  • Cities, Games and Media: Playing with and in the Urban Setting, Time|Space Dynamics in Urban Settings, Technishen Universität, Berlin, May 2007.
  • The Aesthetic Vocabulary of Video Games, Seventh Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, November 2006.
  • Haussmann’s Media Environment (revised), Sixth Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association, Fordham University, New York, May 2005.
  • Media Technology & Society: Video Game Theory, Dissertation outline, Columbia University, New York, April 2005.
  • Good Day New York, Fox Television, aired August 20th, debate with Attorney Sanford Rubenstein on videogame violence, August 2004.
Contact: joost at waffler dot org

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