Quick take: Games companies try discounts, delays, and self-disruption
Amazon might delay games streaming service launch to 2021
The New York Times has reported that Amazon’s games streaming proposition (now deemed Project Tempo) may be delayed to 2021 due to coronavirus. This is potentially a significant blow to Amazon’s foray into gaming. It means that Google Stadia will have had more than a year’s head start on entering the games streaming subscription market. It also means that both Xbox and PlayStation will get their next-gen consoles into the market before Amazon’s Project Tempo. The timing could well have been the key chink in Xbox and Play Station’s armours: the current consoles are old, and the recession will force consumers into more careful spending, so the timing was perfect to challenge the upcoming $500 consoles during the 2020 winter holiday season – an advantage now lost.
Pokémon Go acts fast
Pokémon Go has been largely dependent on the outdoor movement of users, until now. In light of the lockdowns, Niantic is acting quickly and agilely enough to prioritise giving the game a stay-at-home-friendly update. Also in the announcement are plans to improve social features, and most importantly reimagining live events like Pokémon Go Fest by bringing them into consumers’ living rooms instead. For Pokémon Go, this is not only an agile means of sustaining revenue, but a prime example of a company disrupting itself at the right time to compete in the long-term. Plans for an indoor setup, coupled with a lively and social digital world for fans, mean Pokémon Go will likely emerge as another lucrative cross-entertainment and brand activation destination, serving the growing consumer need to define image in the digital realm. Watch out, Fortnite and co.
‘Tis the time of discounted onboarding and bundling
Google is giving three months of Stadia Pro to YouTube Premium members, while Humble Bundle has announced a charitable ‘Conquer COVID-19’ bundle, and Minecraft education is now free for three months, to name but a few. As pureplay companies offer discounts to capture wallet share and audiences that may be increasingly difficult to come by in the coming months, companies with cross-entertainment ecosystems are perfectly positioned to step in more aggressively. Apple, Amazon, Google, Sony, Disney, AT&T, Vivendi and others are could propel an all-out bundle war in the coming difficult times, forcing pure-play companies to form more cross-entertainment partnerships as a response.