A Billion Dollar Idea: Gaming Merchandise


This elevator pitch is repeated below during the article:

 

A website that allows developers to order custom merchandise for their games to be resold through in-app purchases with an iOS shopping API built into a print, merchandise, and fulfillment infrastructure.

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Game Merchandise? Sounds pretty boring. What’s my billion dollar idea? Let’s start with some assumptions/facts.

iPhone in-game purchases rock. If you don’t believe, here’s one of many articles that agree: Report: In-Game Purchases To Blow Mobile Games Revenues Past $11 Billion By 2015 (Techcrunch).

While it’s clear that people are likely to purchases in-game products, people are just as likely, if not more likely, to purchase real products. Why? Because they can hold it in their hand, take it to school, and show it off to their friends.

Now, imagine being able to buy real items, such as badges and certificates, that can only be purchased in-game when you complete certain missions or achieve certain goals. The possession of such a simple item is enough to prove to your friends that you are better than them.

This is where gaming meets commerce and merchandise. If you insist on taking it a step further, the items could have scannable codes printed on them that unlock special items, bridging the gap between online and offline games.

So what’s the billion dollar idea?

A website that allows developers to order custom merchandise for their games to be resold through in-app purchases with an iOS shopping API built into a print, merchandise, and fulfillment infrastructure.

Using our website, developers of both new and existing games can easily custom order merchandise and sell it directly through their app. Example use case scenarios include:

– Limited-Edition Angry Birds Holiday Shirts available only to the first 500 people who beat all the levels in the new Angry Birds Holiday Edition!
– Foursquare badges for your backpack! You can only purchase badges you’ve earned!
– Plant & Zombie Trading Cards that have scannable codes that unlock special items!
– NBA JAM Champion Hats available only to people who’ve won championship in a classic campaign!

Once the developer orders his merchandise and updates his app, he can log in on the website at any time to see how his merchandise stock is doing. Each order is sent directly to the fulfillment service so the only thing the developer has to do is restock his supply.

Whose making a billion dollars?

Me? You? Probably Apple.

[Update] After posting this on Facebook, a friend was kind enough to share this with me:

Can’t find it in the iTunes Dev portal, but this was on a Macrumors post:

 

Items or services purchased within your application must be accessed and used inside your application.

Similar to the restriction on selling real-world goods, this prevents developers from selling things like coupons or offers redeemable outside of the app.

Interesting. So the only way to do this would be to set up a separate e-commerce site, which would require us to collect people’s credit card information much like the Groupon or Amazon app does. PRO: Apple doesn’t take 30%. HUGE CON: Much less people will go through this process than an in-app purchase.

Can anyone confirm this?


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