This morning I had the most spectacular of meetings with two partners of a VC firm.
They are one of the world's biggest funds and have financed some BIG Internet Companies.
I hail their scope and size.
In my case, when we started talking about Games2win and what my partner and I see it becoming:
- I talked extensively about how we see the future of Content as APPS.
- I believe that APPS now have their own identity, their own mortality, their own community (if they get popular) and also their own business model.
Examples - the business of an app like Angry Birds is very unique from the business of say, a Talking Tom (Angry Birds does Toys, Movies, etc. beyond just paid downloads)
Credit - Angry Birds
THE VC had a very very interesting and different view point.
The more experienced person said, "Alok, why aren't you building the ANGRY BIRDS of India? There are 65k new smartphones being added in India everyday and people are increasingly playing APPS".
"Why not FOCUS on India, build a few kick ass games that do really well and make them MEGA BRANDS?"
That question stumped me!
I mean, Sholay or Ramayan or Hum Log were one-off cases of luck, timing and of course creativity that came magically together. Could this be replicated BY MONEY?
Credit - Sholay
- I argued with the VC that there are 1 million APPS in the world now (Android + iOs put together), but the games we can remember are Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, Fruit Ninja, Talking Tom, and...????
4-10 games have become HITS in a population of 1 million games??
- My second argument was based on what I have been reading and experiencing - that unlike BIG CONSOLE games that took 2-3 years to make and probably 20-50 million dollars to fund, the small, snacky, mobile game formats take a few days to create and cost virtually nothing to make (if you are indeed building these games in small garages like a hobby developer).
Hence lots of good to great games are flooding the system.
If the VELOCITY OF CREATIVITY IS SO HIGH - there is little scope of REPEAT Angry Birds appearing!
- Look at the consumers' mindsets today.
My daughters keep downloading, playing and FORGETTING apps as if it's a fashion to do so!
They are so USED to great quality all the time (the top games on iTunes change often), they don't have ANY BRAND LOYALTY left.
So, with disloyal consumers, how will a great Creative Brand get built?
And even if it does, it will be 1 more ANGRY BIRDS of the next 1 million apps to come into the system. That's not a business, that's LUCK!
- I also asked him why would an one off wonder be valued? I mean, check out the most valuable LISTED Games companies in the world - Shanda, Nexon, Zynga, etc. etc. - these are all PLATFORM plays that have lots of GREAT GAMES on their platforms that are monetized across zillions of users.
These companies are very valuable for their audience, their network, their cross border promotional triggers etc. - not for an ONE HIT GAME.
But the VC had 2 clear points of views:
- Platforms are competitive and may not be sustainable for long periods of time.
- Companies like Disney create GREAT BRANDS and that will be long term value.
They want to find the next DISNEY OF INDIAN GAMES. NOT THE NEXT ZYNGA OF INDIA.
Well, my meeting ended obviously without any chance of raising money from them, but it did make me question many things and hence this post and a question to end:
Will 100 million Dollars in funding without strings attached, be able to create another SHOLAY, another ANGRY BIRDS?
My gut tells me NO - but would love to hear your thoughts!!!
Special thanks to Asha for editing!!
Ok, my first post here, I couldnt resist writing on this..
I see this as a flow chart diagram for cause effect relationship or an equation of 'money', 'creativity' and 'success'
In order to achieve the success, I assume, one needs Money and Creativity (innovation/ breakthrough idea call it whatever)
We establish -
Success = X + Money + creativity.. ('X' as in X factor: maybe luck, maybe something else, basically a variable beyond human control)
The debate here is - whether "creativity" is a function of "money"?
My answer is - NO.
Analyse this - Creativity / breakthrough innovation / idea is what we make out of a simple thought. One has to invest hope to make it a breakthrough idea that can use money to result in success...with a positive X.
So I establish - Money is a vehicle for creativity to give favorable results.
As far as examples mentioned in the original post - Sholay was a perfect example this equation giving positive results.
I have seen many films which were made out of brilliant ideas, but failed at box office...all of us have examples of such ventures. Maybe the idea was not done justice to....by a negative X or by lack of vehicle (Money).
For investors - one can not give a successful idea, but surely you can make it BIG if you have the vision. Don't treat ideas / projects like raw material of a factory, treat them as new born babies of a family.
PS: I have zero background or understanding of VCs, Funding, Entrepreneurship or even Gaming, but felt like expressing my pov.
I agree with Alok completely.
Money is sometimes a necessary but never a sufficient condition for "creativity".
I feel lots of MONEY Can be Made by CREATIVITY......
Should FOCUS on CREATIVITY.....
wah wah wah
I think a lot of people missed the point Alok is trying to make, when i read the comments.
No one can predict a hit. Hit driven businesses like films and music, and even VC's make all their money from a single hit, while they fail (in revenue terms) in ten others.
Even Rovio, the makers of angry birds, made about 40 odd games before they struck gold with Angry Birds.
I wonder how easy life will be if you can create hits with with tons of money. It's an amusing thought. But it dosen't happen as often we will like to think it does.
Just look at Bollywood. Anyone remembers what happened with Ra One?
:-))))))))))))))))))) tq my friend
Suvajyoti- I saw RA.oNE yest on *gold ...for 15 min just to learn 'why it is horrible' its important in the business of CREATIVE to learn that
Sharukh did every possible thing spent 150 crore BUT getting a good SCREEN WRITER.... from HOLLYWOOD...Who knows the Business.
Sharukh had lots of calculations behid RAONE
1.to proove his point that he also can be a great SHero ...not only Rajnikant ( his calculation was just b'coz he's superstar he can encash it)
2. he has 200+ people to feed and keep engaged-his production house-REDCHILLI
3. Lots of interfearance in DIRECTION(obviously bcoz he TOO is creative, he is a Producer /superstar and so on.
Now he wants to MAHABHARAT 'LIKE' 'AVATAR' & LORDS OF THE RINGS!
and I wont be hesitant to say here that
this 'LIKE' is a Dangerous thing....it will be yet another RAONE
I think you are still missing the point.
jYOTI a good read
innovate the PIXAR WAY
by Bill Capodagli and Lynn jackson
(thats just cut paste to avoid retype)
BUT, IT can be 'PURCHASED' lets take eg of SHOLAY, if I want to REPEAT success of Sholay...I dont need to find another great SCRIPT.
But I need to find ANOTHER -Salim-Javed. it may take 1 year or 5 or 10 and I will need to find 5(five) likes of them
and keep searching for them till my CO. continues to Survive & my VC has patients.
I guess the basic fact remains that neither creativity makes money, nor money gets your creativity.
The missing piece of this puzzle is PASSION - without which nothing succeeds, just nothing. Not to say that passion alone can fire a rocket to the moon though!
If Alok is passionate about building the platform and making it successful, creativity flows, money would flock and ultimately will be successful.
However, same equation (passion+creativity+money) is not valid with building an "Angry bird of India". Here are the reasons:
- First and foremost, there can never be anything called "Angry bird of India" - various reasons, but then this VC speak (some-top-company of India) is something that I have never understood anyway. India is no different from rest of the world when it comes to games (or for that many other things).
- Second, however passionate I am about my THE game (I am sure one is passionate about every product the one makes!), its the consumer who must get love it and get passionate about it
- Games is not just about art but also about a lot of science (Thanks Vishal Gondal for explaining this!) - and it gets perfected over a period of time - but at the end of it all, it's a lot like a movie, very difficult to predict WHETHER,WHY and WHEN it'd be hit.
So if one has to get a hugely hit game out of India (for the world!) - then the equation has to be PASSION+CREATIVITY+MONEY + a huge dose of LUCK!