Now, to get this out of the way: I am a Rovio fan, and I have been for much, much, much longer than most. I have published their very first game – Darkest Fear – and I have published a few of their pre-Angry Birds titles after that. So do not accuse me of Rovio-phobia; there is none…
So, I hope you will understand that I was pretty excited when they announced their first post-Angry Birds title, Amazing Alex. Alas, am I excited? No, not really. Now, don’t get me wrong: it is a beautifully balanced, nicely polished game. Nothing wrong with that. But is it really something über-special? As in Angry-birds-we-will-show-them-special? Erm, I think not.
You say though that they are on #1 in 30+ countries and on #2 in 30+ more (or so the Mighty Eagle tells me over Facebook and Twitter). You say that this amounts to an astonishing success, an impeccable launch. And, yes, I agree. But, aside of the impressive launch power and impeccable marketing and all, is it great? I think not. And, yes, I am disappointed. Rovio has been one of my favourite studios, long before Angry Birds. It is why I have been behind them with previous games, why I tried to push them when their talent had not been amplified by their awesome and unprecedented success of Angry Birds. But… Someone who wants to replicate Walt Disney needs to do better. Folks, you have to follow Mickey with Donald. Is Alex Donald? I think not…
I do hope – sincerely – that they will pull it of. Not because my day job at RIM requires me to stay in their good books, but because I believe that the birth of a new creative powerhouse outside of old-school Hollywood is a seriously good sign for the world, and last but not least because Michael, Peter, Andrew et al are really good people! But I do not think Alex is nearly as amazing as Donald Duck is (or Bugs Bunny for that matter) and I am hoping they will bring it with future iterations!
Come on, my Mighty Eagle and other birds: we really could do with a new Disney; it’s been way too long…
This is not strictly speaking a mobile topic but, as we all deal more and more in digital goods, I reckon it has its place (and, then, I cannot deny my legalease origins, I suppose), so here we go:
In case you haven’t heard, the European Court of Justice recently ruled against Oracle with respect to the question if a licensee was allowed to sell this license to someone else. The case at hand was against Usedsoft, a company that has made exactly that its business. Now, often software licenses prohibit the onward sale to third parties (the vendors would rather like to sell a new license to a new customer). And, of course, if there was a market opening up for second-hand licenses (mobile games anyone?), this could impact the commercial opportunities of the originators of the software quite significantly. And lots of people came out quickly complaining.
However, what would you say if you could not sell your car once you would want to buy a new one? Or that Ikea table that looked so radically modern only 3 years ago? Unthinkable, huh? That would be a world without car-boot sales, flea markets or eBay or GameStop (who make tons of money with pre-owned games). And, no, no one would understand why that should be prohibited: you bought that car/table/whatever after all, so it’s clearly yours, right?
And, yes, it is. And this principle (well, following the rough outlines here at least) was also applied by the European Court of Justice. And I, for one, would agree with that. What the court also said (and this is where the nitty gritty might come in) is that the seller of a used piece of software would – of course – be prevented from continuing to use it after the sale. I mean: you cannot use your car anymore after you sold it either… However, this is of course not just as trivial for digital goods that can much more easily duplicated than physical ones.
When it comes to the commercial implications, I would posit that this is “merely” a question of business models: if you are “selling” (and Oracle’s lawyers will of course say it wasn’t a sale but a mere license) something, that would be it. However, if you provide an ongoing service (“SaaS”), your continued benefit is in the service, not the piece of software that carries or facilitates that service. So hard to do? No.
So, can we all get back to earth and crack on with it then? Thank you!
Oh, and happy July, 4th to my US friends!