Rock Band Video Game Selling T-Shirts Of Fake Bands

from the lotttttts-of-t-shirts dept

When critics of our analysis of the economics of infinite and scarce goods want to mock our ideas or make fun of us, they often fall back on the false claim that the business model we advocate is "give away everything and make it up by selling t-shirts." Or, rather, if they're really in a mocking mood, they usually write "llllllloooooooooooooooooootttts of t-shirts." It's quite amusing, though, of course, it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what we mean by scarce goods.

That said, t-shirts can make up one part of the scarce goods that someone sells, though, it will almost always be a small part of it. And, there's no reason to mock the contribution that selling t-shirts can make as part of a larger business model. Reader Aaron de Oliveira points us to the interesting news that the super popular video game Rock Band is now letting players who have uploaded their own fake rock band logo order t-shirts, keychains and other merchandise from their fake band. As de Oliveira correctly notes, not only does this make some money, but it also makes the gaming experience better, connects fans more closely to the game and their own fake rock band in the game:
The company realizes it's not in the music business or in the t-shirt business. Its business model is the custom experience and it uses music (fun & free or cheap) and t-shirts to improve that experience in such a way that people are willing to pay for it.
Bingo. So go buy llllllooooooooottts of t-shirts to make it work.
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Filed Under: business models, economics, infinite goods, rock band, scarce goods, t-shirts, video games


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  1. identicon
    Yakko Warner, 13 Oct 2008 @ 3:08pm

    3D models of your avatars, too

    Probably the coolest feature is that you can get a 3D model of your in-game avatar. Wired has an article about it here, which includes a video of the technology they're licensing. They call it a "printer", which doesn't seem to do it justice: it builds a solid model from a computer model.

    The upshot is you can build your in-game avatar, customize its proportions, clothing, instruments, etc., apply artwork in nearly infinite combinations, and purchase a physical, 3D model of it.

    Their website lets you build one and view a little preview of your model, and I have to admit, seeing my little character in 3D, I was strongly tempted to click that "Purchase" button.

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