I decided to take a quick look on the Amazon site. What the are the most popular board games on Amazon right now? The top three games are produced by GameWright, MindWare, and PlaSmart. Each firm appears to be independent (i.e. not owned by a major toy company). I found this fact quite interesting. It appears, then, that the board game business may not have substantial barriers to entry, nor economies of scale that provide incumbent players such as Hasbro a formidable advantage. In fact, these independent firms often use a form of crowdsourcing to generate new games. That is, in addition to creating games in-house, they solicit game ideas from inventors around the world, and then select the best ideas. They often build on and expand those ideas to create their games.
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal suggests that Hasbro has spent a considerable amount of time trying to modernize its classic board games, rather than emphasizing the development of many new titles. These independent firms, of course, focus on bringing totally new ideas to market. Some of Hasbro's modernization attempts have not gone so well, and in fact, have invited some humorous response. Check out Stephen Colbert's take on a new version of Monopoly that Hasbro introduced recently (start watching at the 5 minute mark):
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|ThreatDown - Fake States, Sharia Weather & Monopoly|