Maldoo Plans

Yehouda Harpaz

1. The product potential

Maldoo is clearly popular with substantial fraction of the population, in all ages. Its problem is that it quite expensive, 40-50£. However, it is not prohibitingly expensive, and moreover, its price is going to go down. This is due to the fact that it relies on pretty common technologies that are quickly improving at the moment. Thus in five years it is quite conceivable that its price will fall to half of its current price, at which price it is quite reasonable to expect that more than 25% of households in the developed countries will buy this kind of board, generating 60 millions sales. Assuming 25£ per unit, this represents a market of 1.5Bn£. The real question is therefore not if this kind of boards will become successful, but how much of this market Maldoo Ltd can take.

2. Attractive points

The main attractive points of Maldoo (and any similar boards) are:

1) The games are interesting, for all ranges of age, intellectual tendency and mood.

2) The effort for actually playing is minimal. All that the players need to do is to touch the point they want to play in. This makes the boards much more fun to play than similar games (e.g. Reversi, Go) on classical board, where the players need to perform more operations, and do them carefully.

3) It does not require the players to know the rules of the games, because the board keeps the rules. That means that players can learn games just by playing them, and they donít need to pay attention to the legality of moves.

4) The changes of the illumination of the points are attractive.


3. Competition

At the moment, there are no such boards in the market, so there is no direct competition.

All the competition is from games that are of a different type. The most serious competition is from games-consoles and GameBoy.

Games-consoles sell for 70-300£, but the real cost is much higher because of the cost of games and the need for a good screen. They have already sold more than 100m units, and are predicted to more than double this number in the next 5 years. However, games-consoles and Maldoo are very different kind of games. The main advantage of games-consoles is that they give the user a lot of visual stimuli. The advantages of Maldoo compared to games-consoles are:

1) When playing games-consoles, the players must keep their hand on the console, which is quite restrictive. In Maldoo, the players touch the board when they play, but this requires only one hand for a very short time. Most of the time both hands are free.

2) Games-consoles require the players to sit in front of a console. That means that they are immobile, and even more importantly, inherently a-social. Even if it is possible to connect games-consoles so players can play together, they can never have the face-to-face contact that is required for social interaction.

3) The large flow of visual input is attractive to large fraction of the population, but not all the time. For most of people, at least some of the time the slow flow of Maldoo will be preferable. For smaller number of people, but still significant, the slow flow of Maldoo will be always preferable.

4) In games-consoles the action is viewed on the screen, but is performed on the console. That requires the players to perform in their head transformations between the screen and the console, which require high level of concentration.

GameBoy sells for 50-80£, but again the price of the games makes the real price much higher. It sold more than 100m units too. Like games-consoles, it requires the player to keep their hands on the console all the time, requires high concentration and is inherently a-social. Its small screen makes it much less interesting, but it has the advantage of being mobile. These features make it especially attractive to children, which constitute the bulk of its players.

Maldoo is not going to displace either games-consoles or GameBoy, but it can sell in parallel, because it is so different. As a result of the differences, at least some people will actually prefer Maldoo to games-consoles, and more importantly, most of people will prefer it some of the time. In particular, Maldoo will be preferable in situations where social interaction is desirable and when the players want to feel more relaxed.

The other products that may be regarded as competition are all cheaper and much less interesting, and will not constitute a serious competition. These include:

1) Traditional board games

These sell at 5-30£. The experience with the prototypes of Maldoo suggests that 70-90% of the population will always prefer Maldoo to any board game, both because the easiness of playing and the possibility of playing without knowing the rules. Because Maldoo contains many games, it is effectively cheaper per game.

2) Electronic HandHelds

These sell at 5-20£. These have the disadvantages of games-consoles, and are much less interesting even compare to GameBoy.

3) Electronic chess.

These sell at around 30£. These are interesting only for enthusiastic check players, of which there arenít many. Even for these people the more intellectual games of Maldoo (Visiput and Speedgo) may be more interesting than chess.


4. Maldoo Ltd position

The advantages of Maldoo Ltd in addressing this market are:

1) I have several patents on it, few already granted and the rest applied. These patents may be good enough to keep all competition away, and at the least they will give Maldoo Ltd an edge over competitors, who will have to use different technology and different kinds of games.

2) I believe that currently Maldoo Ltd the only one developing this kind of boards, though I cannot verify this. If it will be possible to reach the market and establish presence, the name Maldoo will become a brand name itself. In case that happens, I have already registered Maldoo as trademark.

5. Current State

The current prototype is built using the same technology as the intended product, and I believe that is good enough to sell "as is". It can still be improved with a several minor changes.

Currently, I don't have any commercial relations with other companies.

6. Possible plans

I believe that to reach reasonable retail prices (much below 50£), a mass production will be required (> 100000 units), and that this will require investment of around 0.3m£ in preparation for production, stocks and promotion before sales overtake costs. I believe with that price it would be possible to sell 3-20 millions units.

While the end target of Maldoo should be households, there is a potential market in commercial establishments, which would be specially useful at the initial sales. These include any place where people spend some time sitting. These offer publicity, potentially large margin of profit, and can generate substantial sales with less promotion costs.

Since such establishments can pay more than private people, it would justify making Maldoo even if it comes out too expensive for household market.

The boards will need something to prevent theft. The best solution is probably to embed the board in a table. Alternative solution is to have an "eye" in the box that can be used to lock the board with a chain.

Types of target: