Market Report Part 4

Part 4

So far in this update I have looked at the market, at printed vs. e-published products, and at what Avalon has to do to continue to be successful as an e-publisher. Now I want to look at the ceiling of that e-market.

What is the ceiling? Where and when will Avalon hits it maximum output – the point at which we cannot sell any more products to increase our annual gross? Yes, we can publish more stuff and broaden our catalog, but at some point the market will reach a level where we are not going to grow any larger. What is that point? 11k? Well we have done that. 30k? We are well on our way to doing that this year, so I believe the ceiling has to be higher. But just where is that ceiling, 40k, 50k, more? I have no clue.

The second question then is what can Avalon do to move beyond that ceiling? Print? I have already shown that print is a direction with diminished returns. Digital games, computers games, etc? Those are shark-infested waters I would rather not dip my toe into.

One possible direction is fiction and non-fiction publishing. Start looking into publishing fiction and non-fiction work. Of course that’s a whole new field – one with which I have little experience. I don’t know how difficult it is to break into, but it’s worth looking at.

Print-on-demand products are also a good direction, but again, that’s only going to broaden our gross by a limited amount, not really move us into new stuff.

Luis Porter has some interesting ideas about getting PDF’s into local hobby stores. Not sure yet whether or not it will work, but certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Paper models and figure flats are a promising new market which we have already started to move into. The outstanding models already produced in this market have surprised both William and me. And the level of professionalism to which the designers hold themselves and their work is quite impressive. So we plan to make some strong moves into this field starting now and into next year. We have several artists already doing work in the area and are looking for more.

It seems though that just like the PDF game market, the paper model market requires a lot of product to make a go of it. Sure, we can sell several copies of one or two paper models, but duplicate that same number of sales with 100 models and we have a whole different ball game. To get there we need the artists to design the models and just put them out. It took several years to build Avalon’s basic games catalog, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes years to build the paper model catalog as well. Thus the paper model field is a long-term goal and activity.

How about online comics and art? We looked into online comics, but the money is just not there. To be honest it takes a ton of money and or time to put out a comic, and it just don’t produce much return. We have also batted around the idea of a Clip Art site which specializes in sci-fi, fantasy and horror art. The need is there, but the time and cost to put such a site together has eluded us so far. It’s an idea, and one we want to explore further.

Avalon does have plans for expansion outside the gaming field. Online investment accounts have been explored, and ideas for a design house or service have been discussed. In the end, the more flexible Avalon is, the better. We need to expand outside the gaming hobby industry so we can weather the coming storm. Every ten years or so the gaming market takes a nosedive and crashes, killing off a lot of companies. We are over due for the next crash, and Avalon must continue to look into new ventures so that it is ready to stay afloat.

Avalon also needs to remain flexible so we can spot the next trend and jump on it. That means keeping our eyes open for new technologies, new social networks and new ways of doing things.

Technology is what drives the e-publishing field; technology is what created it after all. The internet, cheap home publishing software and good desk top printers is what drives the e-publishing field. This technology is continuing to offer new ways for us to bring you great games.

One of the draw backs to offering and buying e-published board games is the customer has the print up and construct the game components. While some folks like to do this, most don’t and thus the Print-to-Play board game field is a bit small. This will change in the near future with Desk Top 3-D Printing. They have these printers, a tall box actually, that you can send a 3D image to and the damn thing will produce a plastic resin like version of the image, in great detail and even in full color. Now there are different versions of the system, which I will not get into, just leave it to say that the things are amazing.

Now they have small desktop versions out now, but they can cost at the low end upwards to 10K. This though will change and there is going to come in the future an affordable version that anyone can buy. Think of it. You buy your game in a PDF format like you do now, push print and the printer drops out small game components, map boards, figures, dice, whatever you need to play the game. Think of the revolution this will bring to tabletop gaming. You can just print up as many miniatures as you want. Anyone can create a great tabletop system and figures to go with it.

Think of the game boards that could be created. No more flat fold up playing surfaces. How about ones that have little mountains and woodlands, or buildings and alleyways. Odd shaped dice and customer counters. The possibilities are quite endless and real fun to think about.

When you ask, when can I do this? Well not yet. The cost are crazy right now, but I would guess in 10 to 20 years you will see it become a reality. The technology is already there; it just has to get cheaper and more customer friendly. Think about it. 20 years ago the thought of buying a full RPG or print-to-play board game online was just a dream. Now you can do it all the time and from a ton of publishers. Give it some time and the next revolution in gaming will sneak up on you, and it’s going to be 3D printing.


In the end I think Avalon will have to stay flexible, continuing to roll with the tide and keeping a weather eye for where things are going and what will be happening. We’ll be watching for that ceiling, and once we start to approach it we can look for new directions from a sure footing. By then we should have a better feel for what we want to do and where we want to go.


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