Product providers have a hard time bringing the right stuff to the table based on what consumers say what they want and how they behave. The two don’t always, if rarely, meet up. Y’know, that example I always use about customers saying they like a runny tomato sauce because that’s the standard and they’ve always eaten that, but when they’re given the chance to eat chunky tomato sauce, they find that’s the bee’s knees best thing. As a side consequence, or perhaps as an addition, you have the example of wool socks. Y’know, the present nobody wishes until they wish they had some nice damn wool socks to warm their feet.
A diverse product catalogue in a given niche is a must to have. There are some that can survive with just one kind of product, but then they’re extremely specialised to that one kind of product either as a sub-contractor or something similar. An example would be something like a farm equipment manufacturer, which doesn’t only provide tractors, but also other equipment to maintain the farm from shovels to clothing to small tools. The more you can offer, the less you’ll have a situation customers will slide towards the competition that have something you can’t offer. Within video games you can take Nintendo as an example as a provider that has a library of games from their own end, ranging from action to sport, from music to cardboard building. Looking at Sony, they don’t have the same offering. They have to employ third parties, just like Microsoft. These third party titles are, however, on every platform in some form and thus it loses its competitive edge. Exclusivity on the other hand gives an edge over the competition; you’re the only one that can provide this particular catalogue. The competition may be able to offer simulacrum, but not the real deal. Hence, there must be something they do to directly compete, but that’s become a less a thing nowadays the more platforms share the same library.
Still, all of them need to have wool socks in there. Wool socks are kind of product that are mostly given as a gift during Christmas or the like, and more often than not they go unappreciated at first. Especially children will find wool socks a present to despise, they’re not as fun as that toy train Jack got. However, with time and need wool socks, or other so-called soft presents, will gain a spot where you simply want to have one every year because they’re something you use. It’s a product that has a long shelf-life, may go unused for a long time, may be even scoffed by the customers at first, but dammit they just sell and they’re stuff customers find need for.
Games, and entertainment media overall, don’t really have anything like this as they’re a non-essential market. We can slightly modify it to depict genres or games that the customer doesn’t exactly want actively, but when such title is produced, it flies off the shelves. Not that there are many like that, the customer behaviour is a good indicator what’s in-demand all the time and what the customers would like to purchase. 2D Super Mario titles have always sold more than the series’ 3D games, but certain key staff members don’t want to produce 2D Mario due to the sheer work they require. Developing and producing games is labour intensive, and while we can understand a developer opting to produce games that they can treat like a school project, often then end result doesn’t serve the customer. The wool sock situation is reversed, sort of. Instead of customer not really wanting wool socks, the customers really do want to feel that nice and comfy warmth around their legs, but the provider doesn’t want to knit any. Instead they want to provide these thin-ass socks that don’t reach to your ankles and your toes keep freezing over even during summer season. It doesn’t help that the gaming media touts for the industry, not for the customers.
It must be said that appreciation for wool socks increases with age. The younger you are, the less you are concerned about things like this. Dad’s the one having to fix that rocking chair and he’s the one wishing he had a good screwdriver. With time and with more concerns in life, the products that do give such comfort, that are needed sometime later and products that feel you don’t need at first, things like wool socks just find the right spot. This kind of product might end up as a shelf-warmer, but these are also evergreen products. There will always be a demand for them and they’ll always sell. Slowly maybe, but that’s long term. Corporations that find themselves wanting quick and high revenues don’t produce wool socks, as it’s a slow product to sell. It sell all the time, but like a small stream that travels towards a larger lake.
Much like movies, gaming makes it biggest bucks at the front. Everything from marketing to special editions and pre-orders are front loaded. That first month sales is important, like how movies make the bucks in the theatres. However, some games have the potential to become wool socks, games that are always in demand. Sometimes its a game that makes big sales originally and continues to make sales every time its made available again, like Super Mario Bros. 3, and sometimes the game is found to be a cult classic but still finds itself into mainstream culture and sees a steady flow of sales. In individual cases, maybe games that you consider to be outside of your genre preferences become wool socks. You may be into fast paced action games incredibly hard, but found yourself putting hundred hours into a slow paced hunting simulator. Conversely, you might love slow-ass RPGs with text-heavy play, but find solace in a no-frills fighting game by an accident. Wool socks surprise how much you’ll end up loving and needing them despite your initial dislike. After that, you just appreciate their existence and wish to have just the right kind pair.