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Leveraging the long tail

Leveraging the long tail is one of Web 2.0 pattern from Tim O’Reily. As you can see from this dinosaur image that it has a very long tail which we use to represented business opportunity and at the very end of its tail will represent niche product. In reality the tail will goes for far longer than this image can represented. The main stream products will be easy to sell but what about niche products? For a normal store it might not have any one in town that want to buy but if we can sell them to the whole world? We might have over 1,000 people that want our niche products.

War of the Human Tanks

Charge! War of the human tank is one example of niche product. This is a product that is very far at almost the end of the tail. It is a Japanese indy game that has been translated by Fruitbat Factory. There are not that many people who know about this game. Even when you ask people around you might not find anyone at all. However, this game is selling worldwide right now.

Fruitbat Factory

Fruitbat Factory is a supplier for niche product at the very end of this long tail. They translate Japanese indy game into English so that people who understand English worldwide can get to play these niche games. Steam and Amazon.com are one of the web store that have games from Fuitbat Factory for sale. These giant company didn’t neglect niche products and try to have variety as much as possible.

Best practices

Build on the driving forces of the Long Tail – Fruitbat Factory aim is to translate Japanese indy game which will produce more and more niche games to the industry. They also have many distributor such as Steam and Amazon.com to sell their games world wide.

Use algorithmic data management to match supply and demand – Even though Fruitbat Factory didn’t use use their data to help their customers to buy similar products that they may want, their games target only specific group of people so people who have bought one of their games will also interest in their other games.

Use an architecture of participation to match supply and demand – Fruitbat Factory have lots of reviews for their products. This is helpful when people who don’t know about the game and are reluctant to buy.

Leverage the low-cost advantages of being online – Fruitbat Factory didn’t sell their games at high price. They also cooperate with other indy game companies to have a game bundles which you can get a lots of indy games for low price.

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18 comments on “Leveraging the long tail

  1. evecrithary
    May 5, 2013

    You have used a great example! What happens when a niche product becomes a worldwide sensation? I think that the best practices of the Long Tail theory are still good to follow for many applications like Facebook (which is HUGELY popular) because it is still a Web 2.0 theory as well. What do you think?

    • PrapatW
      May 5, 2013

      As Jason had said in class, we don’t want to neglect mainstream products and we want to have lots of niche products. We also want to make our niche products to be well known so that we can sell them more which make the tail fatter. For Fruitbat Factory, they are only at the starting point and it take time for some of their niche products to become mainstream and they will continue to release more and more niche products.

      Prapat W.

  2. sukhshans
    May 5, 2013

    Hi Prapat,

    It is interesting how Friutbat Factory leverages the long tail. It has indeed tapped into the niche market of gaming by providing an access to the niche market. By redistributing the content, Fruitbat Factory is able to tap even into the main market. When Fruitbat Factories translate a work, did they collaborate with the original title and developers or is it something done purely like a fan based?

    -Sukshan

    • PrapatW
      May 5, 2013

      Hi Sukshan

      Fruitbat Factory offer translation with a price. They are working with the original developers to release their games. Some of them will also have extra contents and visual upgrade. When you are talking about fan translation which are mostly in the grey area since you have to own original copy of the game to be able to legally download the translation project. Most of the translators will ask you to buy legal copy of the game and support the original developers however, not everyone do that which discourage and might slow the process of developers to release new games.

      Prapat W.

      • sukhshans
        May 6, 2013

        It would be great if they could work with the original developers and help them translate more games while doing more business. I believe the translation team but be limited and it would take a lot of work. Does Fruitbat Factory have any business model that allows them to be hired for translating games?

        -Sukshan

      • PrapatW
        May 6, 2013

        Fruitbat Factory pick the game that they want to translate since they are not really translator for hire. It also give them more freedom to choose the game that they like which will also improve more chances that the game will sell. They don’t have to stuck with company that doesn’t release game regularly or the recent games didn’t do so well.

        Prapat W.

  3. ngjerfen
    May 5, 2013

    Hi Prapat,

    When reviews are used as a feedback survey to gather positive and negative points about the games, how true are these feedbacks. Usually when i provide feedbacks, i would tend to give nice comments instead of a harsh comment even though i think that a particular product didn’t meet my expectations. I am wondering if Fruitbat factory uses other alternatives other than the reviews they gather to match their supple and demand. Cheers!

    • PrapatW
      May 5, 2013

      Hi Jerfen

      Even with internet identity people always maintain their reputation and that mean they will not exaggerate too much. If the game is not good they might be nice and give 5/10 instead of 2/10 but they won’t give the game so high as 8. For example IndieGames who is one of the reviewers have to represent indiegames.com/ so you can somewhat trust the review. They also have lots of review from many sources too. Also since Fruitbat Factory translate Japanese indy games, they will pick the game that they think will be fun or have market potential so it will worth their time translating the game. I wouldn’t make much sense if Fruibat Factory pick bad game to translate and have their connection to give high reviews. I hope this answer your question Jerfen.

      Prapat W.

  4. bidahalkhaldi
    May 9, 2013

    Hey Prapat!

    It is very apt that you reviewed Fruitbat Factory for this week’s pattern. It doesn’t get any more obscure and niche than Japanese gaming sub-cultures. Given the rising popularity of Japanese Manga, Fruitbat’s efforts would most certainly make Japanese games more accessible to the rest of the world.

    Best wishes,

    Bidah Alkhaldi

    Check out my blog @http://abidalalkhaldi.wordpress.com/

    • PrapatW
      May 13, 2013

      Hi Bidah

      It is important to point out the nice products and their market to see how this pattern work. I think Fruitbat Factory has done a good job in niche market however, they won’t be able to get that much income since their product are unknown to most of people. By distribute their products to popular market such as Steam and Amazon greatly help their sales.

      Prapat W.

  5. bronwynsc
    May 9, 2013

    Great post, Prapat. I think games, especially translated indy games, are definitely a good example of ‘leveraging the long tail’. I think the big value they offer is their ability to have games that appeal to a small niche who can find them online. So, I wonder how easy it is for gamers to find Fruitbat Factory online. Do they cross-market or use other channels to get noticed by people? It is OK if you know they exist, but how to you get to know they exist?? (Obviously I’m not a gamer!).

    • PrapatW
      May 13, 2013

      Hi Bronwyn

      It is hard to find game from Fruitbat Factory. I choose them as an example because their products are niche which mean mostly unknown to most people. They try to distribute their game in many online markets and also promote their games via many websites which help them get to their target customers such as Steam and Amazon. People that interest in the game will buy the game without much hesitation since the game is worth around 1 meal. I’m getting to know this game by chances when browsing the internet sometimes ago.

      Prapat W.

  6. Yiting Zhang
    May 13, 2013

    Hi,
    Nice post. As you said most of the people may not hear about it and I am one of them. But this sounds interesting and it focuses on long tail. No big groups but small markets. However, small markets can create great value. And how does it provide a lower price? I mean, with people translating, shouldn’t the cost increase?

    • PrapatW
      May 13, 2013

      Hi Yiting

      Fruitbat Factory is not the original developers of any of their games. They have a deal with the owner of original titles(Mostly bought the copy right) to translate the game they like and sell it. Since the original title is not expensive, their translation is not that hard compared to develop the whole game which also easier to manage their project time. They will be able to sell their game quite cheap and sometime cheaper than the original title if they get the copy right for a cheap price.

      Prapat W.

  7. dickychiu
    May 19, 2013

    Hi Prapat,

    This is a great post. Your explanation is great and I have look at the Fruitbat Factory website, but how can they promo their games because they sell their games on Steam and Amazon.com. And those site always promo the hit games only, so their games may not enough promo to the consumers. Sorry for my worst English.

    • PrapatW
      May 25, 2013

      Hi Dickychiu

      I can understand you just fine. Since Fruitbat Factory is specialise in producing niche product namely translated Japanse indy game, their game has a very low chances that will be popular as mainstream one. Their way of trying to sell their game as many place as possible is just to make their long tail get fatter.

      Prapat W.

  8. Leo
    May 22, 2013

    Hi Prapat,

    I definitely agree that indie games are great examples of leveraging the long tail in web 2.0 models! They really play out the niche factor well. Do you think they can improve on customer participation best practice better though? Right now Fruitbat only seems to be allowing user reviews as a channel of feedback. Do you think they can improve more if they can rely on customer feedback to produce a larger variety of games?

    Leo

    • PrapatW
      May 25, 2013

      Hi Leo

      I think your suggestion is good. However, Fruitbat Factory seems to be a very small company where they can’t really manage to release lot of games. We will have to wait and see how will they proceed with their business. Perhaps they could get more people and increase their production or their game could be a hit and they get more funding to do a lot more things.

      Prapat W.

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2013 by in Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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