Just came across an arstechnica article about Novint, which apparently produces fancy hardware peripherals for gaming consoles. I still have no idea what they do, other than it involves the word, "haptics," so it's something about touch. What I found intriguing was the way that they approached a particular problem in the peripheral industry, which was articulated as:

New peripherals always have an uphill battle in the market; those on both the PC and the gaming consoles that have managed to take off always have strong games attached. Dance mats are inseparable from Dance Dance Revolution, the guitars and drums for Rock Band had one of the most hyped rhythm games and a proven track record to bank on, while expensive flight sticks bring the promise of a more realistic experience with a variety of different flight simulations. So what do you do when your main product is a $190+ haptic device? The first step is getting people to try it, and the second step is making enough great games available for it to get people to bite. The best peripheral is worthless without a solid software library.
So, the problem is that their hardware product is nothing without good software to back it up. Here's what Novint is doing about it. Italics added.
"Typically what we do is we license from a publisher or developer the rights to a game, and we license it in a field of use, meaning we can only use it in a specific area," Anderson explained. "The area we work out with them is the 3D Touch field of use. So when we see we have the tough right, we saying we're licensing the 3D Touch field of use. What that means is we're licensing the ability to use touch in an existing game."

This is why Novint may become one of the most powerful players in the field of gaming haptics. The company has created a brand-new way for developers and publishers to monetize their franchises, and it costs the companies nothing to give it a try. Novint is offering publishers like EA a brand new way to promote their products, a new audience in Falcon users that may be hungry for triple-A content, and porting the games to the Falcon as a platform will cost them nothing.

Imagine someone offering you a nice check for something you didn't know you could sell, and you start to see how intriguing this idea had to have seemed for EA. "We're buying the sleeves off their vests," Tom tells me, and I laugh, but it's an apt image. Novint will sell the games through its web site for $29.95, but if you already own the title, you can pay $9.95 for the haptics update.

"We go to a company that owns a game, and we say we want to acquire the 3D touch rights to the game. Sometimes the first reaction we get is 'You want to buy what now?' We're buying something from people they didn't even know they had," Anderson said. "We say we'll pay an upfront fee for the touch rights, so Novint is the one taking all the risk, and we tell them that we'll do the integration with the touch; there is no cost for [them].

That's definitely going in my book of clever strategic plays. I hope it pays off for them.

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