Sunday, October 22, 2006

Trend or Coincidence

In the last few months there have been two major Hollywood movies about stage magic, The Prestige and The Illusionist .

It could be a coincidence or the sign of a trend. Given that I've noticed a common theme in some other mediums leads me to believe it is the latter, though.

It makes me wonder what tools professional trend watchers have in their arsenal. Within a medium I imagine it is easy -- working in the games industry I have a pretty good idea of where to look to track these trends as they apply to games. For movies, TV, books (etc) I have less of an idea. Harder still is to track trends across multiple mediums.

How nice it would be if all forms of entertainment were tagged so us amateur trend watchers could just refresh the tag-cloud and see what stands out the biggest and boldest. I imagine such a tool (were it publicly available and powered by users) would put some marketing folks out of work.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Craig said...

There's a lot of difficulty with the idea of an intermedia trend-monitor powered by users, but I'd use it.

If you could get a large enough audience, imagine a service kind of like Google crossed with Amazon, suggesting products of various mediums. "You liked 'Lord of the Rings' (movie), you might like the 'Medieval Manor' (theme park)." You could then sell not only advertisements, but also access to a "trend-watcher" data mining system...

Connecting everything, however, would be a royal pain...

12:40 AM  
Blogger Ben Mattes said...

Craig,

Thanks for dropping by and double-thanks for commenting. This blog is just getting started (as you can see) so I'm still at the phase where every comment I get makes me feel special. :)

The multi-platform recomendation system you bring up is a very interesting idea, and was something the Montreal IGDA roundtable (I blogged about it last week) brought up in our long tail discussion.

Someone tabled an idea that using other entertainment mediums as a launching pad for the long tail of gaming could be a good way to open up the doors of 'niche gaming' to the masses. Linking niche games to iTunes songs ("if you liked this song, maybe you'd like this game") would be great, and looking likely given that iPods support (some) games now.

For now the only way I see this as being possible is by trusting the 'experts' but perhaps someday a web 2.0 multi-medium recomendation system like you envision will become a reality.

10:14 AM  
Blogger kim said...

Hi Ben,

Two things:

1) I only know one person who'd qualify as 'professional trend-watcher', though she'd probably slap me if I called her that. She blogs a www.hustlerofculture.com. I'd say the biggest tools she uses is her personality and her rolodex. Just "being in teh scene" is usually the path to being informed. Connect lots of people, host and attend lots of parties, etc. Some people are born with it.

2) I'm going go for the "just-such-a-long-shot-it-might-be-true" question: You aren't Ben as in Kaz's-little-brother Ben, are you? If so, hey small world! Do you remember me? :-) [And if you're not, then just ignore #2 here]

3:45 PM  
Blogger Ben Mattes said...

Kim,

Wow -- now _that_ is a small world indeed. ;)

Yes, same Ben. I stumbled across (and bookmarked) your blog last week and remeber thinking to myself: "wow, he looks really familiar and he once lived in Montreal. I wonder if I know him...".

Kaz is now married and the brand new mother of a beautiful baby girl named Callia Willow West. As soon as I finish this comment I'm going to send her this small world story.

-Ben

4:41 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Wow.

Yeah, pass my 'hello' onto Kaz and tell her to drop me an email.

I've got 3yr old twins and a 3rd kid on the way in January.

Will you be attending the Montreal Summit? I'm giving a talk there. Come by and say hi.

11:54 AM  

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