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 Post subject: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:21 pm 
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So I made this little topic stemming from the "Rubik's Brain re-release poll" because I didn't want to derail that thread.

Why doesn't the Rubik company produce any "new" twistypuzzles or reproduce some old ones? They have recently released such horribly boring products as the Revolution, Micro Revolution, and 360. Why not a domino reproduction? Or a simple 3x3 mod like a Trajber's or Barrel or something? They could even make Slim Towers with only a minimal effort on there own part.

I feel the Rubik's company jumps butt-backwards into the puzzle industry, when they have the ability to produce new, interesting mechanisms on a large scale. I mean, who honestly convinced themself into producing the mind-numbing revolution? Who decided "Yea, this is going to be a great seller. Much better then any REAL puzzle."


Really just a frustrated rant on my part, I just think the only thing the Rubik company got right was the initial 3x3. If the modern Rubik Co could somehow go back to the 70's, there own company would have never even existed, because they would have dismissed the 3x3 as too "puzzly" and would have produced something as mind-numbing as the Triamid or Revolution or 360.


The Rubik name was built on a twisty puzzle, not board games, or electronic garbage, or dexterity puzzles. Why doesn't the company return to its roots and produce a puzzle actually worth producing? They havent made something worth buying in almost 20 years now. It's time to get back on the ball.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:23 pm 
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I'd assume it has to do with the scale in which they'd have to produce the new product. While we'd all love to see a new domino, would the masses want to see it? I kind of doubt it.

However Rubik's Japan produced Hidetoshi's bump cube, so I think there is hope to see some cool stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:27 pm 
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tattooed wrote:
I'd assume it has to do with the scale in which they'd have to produce the new product. While we'd all love to see a new domino, would the masses want to see it? I kind of doubt it.

However Rubik's Japan produced Hidetoshi's bump cube, so I think there is hope to see some cool stuff.


Arguably, are the masses rushing to sweep Revolutions and 360's off the shelves? My Toys R US is packed with revolutions that nobody buys, including myself. A domino is no more or less appealing to the public as a garbage "360".

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:32 pm 
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This may be a braindead question, but were the orginal Dino Cubes sold under the Rubik's trademark?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:43 pm 
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I am not sure of the release of the Brain Racker, that may be considered twisty, as it is a moving hole type puzzle that is mildly amusing. I think that the Rubik's Co. should license Meffert's puzzles, such as the Golden Cube/Eggs, or release a pyraminx.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:43 pm 
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EMarx wrote:
tattooed wrote:
I'd assume it has to do with the scale in which they'd have to produce the new product. While we'd all love to see a new domino, would the masses want to see it? I kind of doubt it.

However Rubik's Japan produced Hidetoshi's bump cube, so I think there is hope to see some cool stuff.


Arguably, are the masses rushing to sweep Revolutions and 360's off the shelves? My Toys R US is packed with revolutions that nobody buys, including myself. A domino is no more or less appealing to the public as a garbage "360".


You're right those puzzles were (at least the revolution) seemed to have flopped but they have more of a mass appeal, primarily because they're "easy".


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:31 pm 
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tattooed wrote:
I'd assume it has to do with the scale in which they'd have to produce the new product. While we'd all love to see a new domino, would the masses want to see it? I kind of doubt it.

However Rubik's Japan produced Hidetoshi's bump cube, so I think there is hope to see some cool stuff.


I think the public would find a lot more interest in a Rubik's Domino than a Rubik's Revolution. When people hear the word "Rubik", they think of an interesting-looking 3x3x3 twisty cube, not some half-baked electronic Simon™ rip-off. The Rubik's Domino twists, so it fits the bill of what people expect, but it's smaller, so there's more of a chance people might be able to solve it. The Floppy Cube would be even more attractive on that front - I've solved that thing by accident, just by trying to make interesting patterns.

The Rubik's Revolution fades into the background not only because it's boring, but it's interchangeable with a thousand other electronic toys on the market. There's no difference between it and anything else that needs batteries to the average parent, so it gets a pass from the public.

The Rubik's Revolution doesn't show much public interest to justify its continued production either. A good indicator is YouTube. People make videos of things they like, and the Revolution isn't exactly turning heads over there. I just ran some searches on YouTube for the following terms:

Rubik's Revolution: 319 videos

And then for some of the other cubes:

Rubik's Cube: 47,400 videos
Rubik's Revenge: 47,300 videos
Professor's Cube: 58,400 videos

After that, to be as fair as possible, I used the dimensions, so I would catch the hardcore twisty puzzler videos only:
3x3x3: 8,930 videos
4x4x4: 4,410 videos
5x5x5: 3,220 videos

Even by my restrictive searches, the Revolution isn't making much of an impression on society at large. And yet when you go to Rubiks.com, there's the Revolution, all ready to be bought by an uninterested public.

The Mirror Blocks cube is another great example of a puzzle that needs a push in the US market. Everyone I've shown this puzzle to has been extremely interested, but once I tell them I bought it from Japan they immediately lose interest. If I could recommend a US store, at least one or two people would be willing to pick it up. I can't even tell people to buy it on Amazon.com, which is incomprehensible to me. They sell EVERYTHING - including the Revolution!

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:39 pm 
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anythingtwisty wrote:
I am not sure of the release of the Brain Racker, that may be considered twisty, as it is a moving hole type puzzle that is mildly amusing. I think that the Rubik's Co. should license Meffert's puzzles, such as the Golden Cube/Eggs, or release a pyraminx.


Rubik's and Meffert's are competing companies with very different goals. Rubik's has now moved on to appealing to the masses and only taking relatively small risks when releasing a new puzzle, such as the Rubik's Revolution.

Meffert's, on the other hand, is focused on what the community wants, which is, in comparison to Rubik's market, very, very small. On top of that, if they did combine forces on a new puzzle, Uwe would most likely be cut out of most of the deal, because he does not pose much of a threat to Rubik's. He would never allow such unjustice.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:43 am 
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Cubicle wrote:
This may be a braindead question, but were the orginal Dino Cubes sold under the Rubik's trademark?


Although the box said "Dinosaur Rubik's Cube", they were not an official Rubik's product.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:57 pm 
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Personally, I can agree with both statements. The Rubik's Co. has probably gone to an easier state for the reason being that it appeals to the masses, such as the revolution, it is EASIER. There is no more frustration to it. I have multiple freinds that try mine, and have said that they will never get one, because they will end up throwing it against a wall or something. However, what I do believe that they should try, is producing the domino, sall tower, ect. and offering it ONLINE ONLY. That way, they can see how it sells, what it sells for, and what spots in the world are interested in it. Then, ship it to some select stores, see how it sells, and if it all goes well, completely and totally mass produce it.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:13 pm 
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@Arch Wolf: There is no such thing as semi-mass production. You can of course get a couple of puzzles made by people like Drew at Drew-like prices but you can't go over to a factory and say you want to try making 1000 puzzles. Well you can, but it would cost almost as much as making 10.000.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:29 pm 
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I personally believe that they should make a series. If they produce one, it will pass in a few days. If they can create a series of twisty puzzles, they would take the industry by storm and people would begin a new Rubik's revolution (no pun intended) and twisty puzzles would hit it off big again.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:48 pm 
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I'd like to see the domino come back, but they'd probably have the standard color scheme. I don't see many people interested in a black and white puzzle with dots. The 2x2x3 tall tower would be nice, but I don't see it mass producing very well, unfortunately. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:00 pm 
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funmonkey54 wrote:
I personally believe that they should make a series. If they produce one, it will pass in a few days. If they can create a series of twisty puzzles, they would take the industry by storm and people would begin a new Rubik's revolution (no pun intended) and twisty puzzles would hit it off big again.


You know...
I wish that would happen but I feel like it couldn't. I mean, they would mostly be targeting youth, like myself, and I just think that kids my age and younger don't have the desire to solve puzzles. I say this from experience, people have asked me how to solve puzzles and I tell them a simple solution is online, but when they hear about the memorization of algorithms part they back off. They would much rather play video games than solve Twisty Puzzles.

And I also think that the first Rubik's Cube Craze came about because of the uniqueness of the puzzle. Everybody had one, and some people could solve it, but it became a "hobby" for a select few. Today if new puzzles came out, like the domino and such, people wouldn't really care. Most people wouldn't be able to solve them, and they sure as heck wouldn't want to buy more of something they couldn't solve. The thing that made the original cube famous was its uniqueness, not the fact it was a Twisty Puzzle.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:06 pm 
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samishxcpuzzler wrote:
You know...
I wish that would happen but I feel like it couldn't. I mean, they would mostly be targeting youth, like myself, and I just think that kids my age and younger don't have the desire to solve puzzles. I say this from experience, people have asked me how to solve puzzles and I tell them a simple solution is online, but when they hear about the memorization of algorithms part they back off. They would much rather play video games than solve Twisty Puzzles.

And I also think that the first Rubik's Cube Craze came about because of the uniqueness of the puzzle. Everybody had one, and some people could solve it, but it became a "hobby" for a select few. Today if new puzzles came out, like the domino and such, people wouldn't really care. Most people wouldn't be able to solve them, and they sure as heck wouldn't want to buy more of something they couldn't solve. The thing that made the original cube famous was its uniqueness, not the fact it was a Twisty Puzzle.


I see where you are coming from, but I don't completely agree with it. See, I think that if a good job was done of showing more than a single aspect of cubes, they would do well. You see, you are forgetting the collectibility aspect that goes hand in hand with the solving. If they showed how collectible they were and pushed that as well as the solving, it would gather an even larger following.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:07 pm 
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My impression having spoken to Seven Towns about what they're interested in is that they want stuff which they can put ads on TV for and sell on that basis, with the sorts of criteria people on this forum care about - that is, how much you care about it after having played with it for a few hours, being a secondary or tertiary concern.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:26 pm 
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Part of the fun of collecting is the hunt for the puzzles. Another big part of the fun right now is researching the origins.
I would hope that IDEAL or some other company would start reproducing old puzzles, but that would in part take away my fun.

OK. enough of that. From a business stand, not that I'm a business person, but to me, it doesn't make much sense in todays world. Kid's today want a quick answer to everything. They don't really want to "work at" a toy. For the younger set >5 it must be something they can talk to and imagine being alive (why do you think people still buy teddy bears?) after that, it turns more into a toy with a bang. Looking at my own daughter and her friends, and to a large extent, my students (all around 18-21) they may start out showing an interest in the cube, but after a few minutes, and I mean that literally, they go back to the old stand by of NDS or PSP or whatever electronic gadget it is they own. (A recent study here in HK shows that the majority of children own 3 of these electronic toys! :shock: ) From my stand, they don't involve imagination or thinking. Parents buy them because they keep the kids entertained for long periods of time, and peer pressure plays a big role in the purchase.

Honestly, how many of you pestered your parents for a cube because your friends had one? In the past 10 years, I'd guess less than a dozen.

The point I'm attempting to get at is that why would a toy company produce a product that intrests only a very few people-lets say 100,000 world wide rather than one that has people buying 3 for one person. It just doesn't make good business sense. It is for this reason alone that I buy at least one of every new puzzle I see hit the market. After skipping the IQ King series when I saw it in the mid 90's, I won't make that mistake again.

When a company makes a puzzle, I see it as a blessing that may not come around again for a long while. So it's back to the hunt.....Does anyone know where to find a jugo flower?????

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:39 pm 
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katsmom wrote:
Honestly, how many of you pestered your parents for a cube because your friends had one?


*Raises Hand*

Anyway, here is my take on this. It obviously costs money to make a new puzzle. Ideal wants to make whatever will appeal to the broadest demographic, hence the revolution.

Let's think on the bright side though.
Say 10,000 people bought the revolution
Maybe 2000 of the adults remember the 80's and either find an old rubik's cube or buy a new one.
If just 100 of those people, their family, or their friends becomes obsessed like us, then perhaps they will buy puzzles from Mefferts or C4Y.
The influx in people and money towards these producers means more puzzles for us!

So we can hate on Ideal all we want, but in the end through some backwards way, what they do really helps the community. Maybe one day their bad products will create enough puzzlers to make them consider releasing the domino or even a something like a helicopter cube!


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:06 pm 
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funmonkey54 wrote:


I see where you are coming from, but I don't completely agree with it. See, I think that if a good job was done of showing more than a single aspect of cubes, they would do well. You see, you are forgetting the collectibility aspect that goes hand in hand with the solving. If they showed how collectible they were and pushed that as well as the solving, it would gather an even larger following.


Yeah, that's definitely a point.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:20 pm 
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Production cost is the main reason for creating or re-releasing a puzzle.

Will it sell? Will the company *at least* survive by selling enough pieces?
Companies do marketing, but even with that, not all succeed.
The risk is high, and everyone is being careful and trying to invest in
safe solutions (which *still* have risk!).

We have all seen example of companies who came and go, or puzzles
who were released as very promising and then became super rare because
people were not buying them and the company got bankrupt.

Many of us would buy all those puzzles. But the love of the people in this forum
for puzzles is not enough, and can never be compared to the needed mass market.

So unless there exists a billionaire who wants to show off(!), re-releasing any
puzzle out of the blue because of someone's suggestion/opinion, then it is something
that can never happen.

;)


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Much of this appears to be sound logic, but both you, kastellorizo, and you, katsmom have one big gaping hole in your arguments.
Who is to say the new "360" is any more attractive to the masses then a domino? What Rubik executive says "This will sell. That will not."? What makes the Rubik's Brain more marketable then a slim tower? I see where your coming from, supply and demand, but that argument holds no water here.

The average person doesn't even know Rubiks makes 4x4's, let alone knowing Rubiks dabbles in board games. In my opinion, The Brain game is no more marketable to the masses then a real puzzle. It is just a damn boardgame. Who wants another to add to the stack of 30 that they have sitting in the basement? Nobody more then would want a Domino, I'd bet my life.


Anybody have any sales figures on the Revolution?


If we told Rubik Co. to reproduce the brain game on our own will, they would have said "Nah, that's not marketable." And would have started re-making dominos. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:52 pm 
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Seven Towns caters to the masses. Therefore, all the new Rubik's products are designed with the lowest common denominator in mind.

I did want to see the board game though, on account of me loving board games. :P

Personally I think there is a higher chance of the Domino being reproduced by Mega House in Japan than by Seven Towns worldwide, simply because they brought out the Mirror Blocks and that was a pretty successful move for them (whether this was due more to export sales or to Japan being more interested in puzzles, I don't know).

Either that, or Gentosha will somehow do it, but I doubt that.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:14 am 
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EMarx wrote:
Much of this appears to be sound logic, but both you, kastellorizo, and you, katsmom have one big gaping hole in your arguments.
Who is to say the new "360" is any more attractive to the masses then a domino? What Rubik executive says "This will sell. That will not."? What makes the Rubik's Brain more marketable then a slim tower? I see where your coming from, supply and demand, but that argument holds no water here.

The average person doesn't even know Rubiks makes 4x4's, let alone knowing Rubiks dabbles in board games. In my opinion, The Brain game is no more marketable to the masses then a real puzzle. It is just a damn boardgame. Who wants another to add to the stack of 30 that they have sitting in the basement? Nobody more then would want a Domino, I'd bet my life.


Anybody have any sales figures on the Revolution?


If we told Rubik Co. to reproduce the brain game on our own will, they would have said "Nah, that's not marketable." And would have started re-making dominos. :roll:


I am not sure where is the gap in my arguments. I have exactly the same questions as you
regarding the revolution or the 360, and I agree that I do not know why they were released.
And this is why I made the poll for the Brain, so that Jay would know if it it worth releasing again.
No one said it is going to be eventually released, and no one said it will be marketable.

And you are mixing up the companies. Seven Towns who owns the rights for the 3x3x3, has no
rights for the Brain, but Ideal has.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:07 am 
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kastellorizo wrote:
And you are mixing up the companies. Seven Towns who owns the rights for the 3x3x3, has no
rights for the Brain, but Ideal has.


And the Revolution is made by TechnoSource, who just pays Seven Towns to license the Rubik's name probably. So if you're Seven Towns, you're probably not taking any risk on that.

You can do all the example calculations you want, but those are just examples. If you think you could profitably market a Domino, then ask Seven Towns if they would license it to you for you to make.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:49 am 
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You wouldn't need anyone's permission to make a domino. The patents have long since run out. Trying to mass produce and market a puzzle is a good way to lose your shirt though, see the masterball, astrolabacus, and puck.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:06 am 
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@Bram:
Although a producer may not need permission to make a 3x3x2, it would probably sell signifigantly better if it had the Rubik's name, so yea you would need ideal to agree.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:57 pm 
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There's no way you could get license to use the name 'Rubik' on a puzzle you produced yourself, no matter what it was. It just ain't gonna happen. You might even have trademark issues with calling it a 'domino'. That's why Verdes cubes are called Verdes cubes.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:25 pm 
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Bram wrote:
There's no way you could get license to use the name 'Rubik' on a puzzle you produced yourself, no matter what it was. It just ain't gonna happen. You might even have trademark issues with calling it a 'domino'. That's why Verdes cubes are called Verdes cubes.


Umm.......Rubik's Revolution?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 3:22 pm 
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rubiks is not directly marketing to solvers/ modders/ and collectors, although that's a part of their business..... they are a worldwide company and most of the people buying their products cant solve a Rubik's cube or aren't extremely interested. from what ive seen the company is trying to appeal to larger crowds by making simpler toys that everyone can enjoy for long periods of time. I see them as a company like Hasbro or Parker brothers... some thing like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:15 pm 
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Rubik Co. [I'm going to use this as a stand-in name for all companies involved in Rubik trademarked products] makes me sad.

I understand that they are only trying to make money, but the way they have gone about it is distressing. Basically, I'm concerned that they have forgotten their roots. The Rubik trademark started out with a new puzzle that was frustrating in its simplicity - I think the reason it kept people up at night in the 80s was not just because it was hard, but because it didn't *look* hard. So, instead of immediately giving up, I think people were encouraged to keep trying because it looked like something you could figure out with just a little more playing. A lot of the earlier Rubik items showed that they still cared about things that were much more complicated than they first appeared - the Domino, the 4x4, the Clock, the Magic, Rubik's Fifteen, and so on. I think the fact that there is still demand for some of their discontinued items showed that they were successes. I can't imagine a lot of people in the puzzle community desperately wanting a Rubik's Revolution

You can definitely make money by making products that appeal to "the masses", but the thing is that those products are often not interesting at all. There is no "eureka!" moment in studying the Rubik's Revolution - it legitimately is just a toy, something that might entertain someone for a few hours but doesn't teach you anything or have any replay value. It's true that many thousand units might be sold, but I wouldn't be surprised if most of them just ended up in a closet somewhere. The real problem is that, by marketing things like that, Rubik Co. is no different from any other toy manufacturer! They are in danger of losing the distinction that people think of when they hear "Rubik", of a company that produces frustrating apparently-simple puzzles. I would not be too surprised if in a decade or two they are just another toy brand.

It seems that they're also alienating the puzzling community. I've seen a lot of people in this topic saying things like "our communities are the hardcore puzzlers, so we can't expect the company to continue to pander to us, because that will decrease sales." However, if you really think about it, our community was essentially started by the Rubik's Cube. Without that puzzle, there wouldn't be a speedsolving movement at all, and twistypuzzles might not even exist. If you think about it that way, it's really weird that the company in charge of producing the Rubik's Cube doesn't care about us. We're really as close to fans as they have - considering that many of us follow Rubik Co. and will buy one of everything they make even if it's boring - so it's quite bizarre that they haven't chosen to put some effort into helping us out. If a company forever loses its fans, they won't have a good reputation among their customers, and I think maintaining that reputation is the key to increasing sales of any given product.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:40 pm 
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There are a few other important reasons why "Rubik Co" don't make new twisty puzzles:

1. Many twisty puzzles have already been designed by other people (including members of this forum), but without any patent protection. However, in the absence of any patents no company will ever invest millions in TV advertising when any competitor can then legally make and sell cheaper generic copies on the back of their own marketing campaign. Why spend millions creating demand for a product that your competitors will sell cheaper?

2. Inventors who have applied for patents for their twisty puzzles may not wish to license their designs to Rubik Co, but rather make and sell them directly as independent entreprenurs, so Rubik Co can not copy them (like the V-Cube).

3. Most twisty puzzles are just too complicated to manufacture cost effectively, with too many different components to make and assemble, so either they stick to simple puzzles which are cheap to make and can sell at low price to the mass market, or they must charge a high price for more complex puzzles that only a few people can then afford to buy.

4. Even if Rubik Co could secure the patents for a cost-effective design, they may be concerned about diluting their brand and/or eating into the sales of their original Rubik Cube puzzle. This is very typical of successful brands: companies fear that they will lose much more from their existing brand than they will gain by extending it. They have too much to lose if it doesn't work out, so why take the risk?

In summary, a puzzle must be very simple and cheap to make, and it must also be protected by patents, otherwise no company will touch it. But even then, Rubik Co will probably think twice about how it could actually harm it's most successful brand.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:27 pm 
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To echo Bram, Katsmom and Pantazis... a few years ago while visiting the UK. I spent a couple of hours talking to the design manager at SevenTowns. I asked him why the company doesn't seem to produce any new puzzles related to Rubik's cube and seemed to make things like puzzle heads etc.

The answer was that there simply isn't a market for it. While the purist collectors love them, the market is very small. While you might sell 2000 - 3000 dominoes to a community such as ours and perhaps a little beyond, you would do much better to produce and sell 60,000 - 70,000 revolutions all over the world in various shops for the casual purchase of mums and dads.

These numbers are plucked out of the air but you get the idea.

Yes our community of puzzle collectors is large and the number of people across the world who also collect twistypuzzles is large... but not large enough for a company to really bother with. Money can be made with various games and knickknacks to the wider toy buying market.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:15 pm 
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sausage wrote:
Money can be made with various games and knickknacks to the wider toy buying market.


And *that* my friends is the whole point of this discussion.

The puzzle market is small, VERY small. Companies always report damages.
But in the toy market, things are totally different and products are sold in big masses.

Remember, the Rubik's cube was sold as a toy, and as Uwe told me a few months back:
"after so many people being frustrated by the good looking and moving Rubik's cube,
you cannot fool then again that a puzzle is a toy...!"

Why do you think our MindStrat Puzzles line includes the FLiP FLiP, DoTS, etc?

;)


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:52 pm 
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So then, basically there are maybe 3 or 4 companies in the world who are actually willing to risk for the small puzzle community? And Rubik's is not one of them...
*not sure if that was a question or a comment* :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:59 pm 
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elijah516 wrote:
So then, basically there are maybe 3 or 4 companies in the world who are actually willing to risk for the small puzzle community? And Rubik's is not one of them...
*not sure if that was a question or a comment* :wink:


It seems on some level mefferts has some what more or less answered that call sort of.

Okay here is my proof.

Tony Fisher = Skewb Eggs, Golden Skewbs

Adam(a.k.a PuzzleMaster42) = original Reuleaux Mastermorphix, 3x3x3 eggs

Aleh* = Pyraminx Crystal

Katsuhiko Okamoto = 1x1x3, Void cube

Hidetoshi = Mirror Blocks/ a.k.a. Bump cube

* = Mefferts had the idea back in the early 80's(I think). Then Aleh and Katsuhiko Okamoto made theres at the same time. As far as I know I read it in a Newsletter that Aleh was helping him design it.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:42 am 
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So all this raises more fundamental questions:

Will - or can - another twisty puzzle ever appeal to the mass population? Is it possible to create demand for a new puzzle and cross the chasm to reach the mass market, or have puzzles forever been replaced by mobile and video games? And do people really want simple puzzles that anyone can solve, or have the toy companies misunderstood what people are really after?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:38 am 
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Kelvin Stott wrote:
So all this raises more fundamental questions:

Will - or can - another twisty puzzle ever appeal to the mass population? Is it possible to create demand for a new puzzle and cross the chasm to reach the mass market, or have puzzles forever been replaced by mobile and video games? And do people really want simple puzzles that anyone can solve, or have the toy companies misunderstood what people are really after?



You can make any puzzle appeal to any mass population you want. The question is, how much is someone prepared
to spend in marketing? Sadly, even some really ridiculous puzzles can pass as "good" with a strong campaign, while some
brilliant masterpieces can never take off without a great start.

For example, I believe the Cubedron (for this case) and its derivatives have the needed potential to make a new mark.
But it requires a lot of faith, effort, time, money, and a combination of good events for this to happen (including the
influence of the... Puzzle Ninja!). So far, whatever I had promised in the past, I have managed to materialise and we are
getting stronger. But trust me, it is not a walk in the park! There are too many things to control in the background.

Now, if our effort can increase the global puzzle trend for more puzzles, that would be a wonderful side effect.

;)


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:58 am 
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And some more questions:

What is the intrinsic appeal of a twisty puzzle, at the emotional level? Is it the challenge of trying to solve one just for the sake of it, the aesthetic design, build quality, the personal satisfaction or potential recognition from peers for solving one? What are the real drivers for buying one? What was it that made the Rubik's Cube so successful in the 1980's and can this story ever be repeated in the new world of high quality, fast-paced mobile/online video gaming communities and short attention spans? Why do YOU love twisty puzzles so much?

I am optimistic and believe it can be done, but we must understand and address these questions if any of us is to succeed and build mass market appeal for one of our own puzzles...

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:10 am 
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BEGIN RANT
So what if only say 1 of 20 new interesting "twisty puzzles" will crack the market. It would generate more profit than a series of braindead dull products like the Rubiks Revolution etc. The truth is that Rubiks survive solely on the ever popular 3x3x3 and that that somehow the Rubik name is still attached to "Rubik-like" puzzles.

I am SOOOOO happy this site is not called Rubikpuzzles.com or something :mrgreen:
END RANT

Per

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:30 am 
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Thinking more about this topic, I thought it would be interesting to run a separate poll:

Can another twisty puzzle ever be as successful as the original Rubik's Cube?

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Bryan wrote:
Bram wrote:
There's no way you could get license to use the name 'Rubik' on a puzzle you produced yourself, no matter what it was. It just ain't gonna happen. You might even have trademark issues with calling it a 'domino'. That's why Verdes cubes are called Verdes cubes.


Umm.......Rubik's Revolution?


Rubik's Revolution is made by Seven Towns, not a brand licensing deal.

I really can't explain this any more directly: Seven Towns's interest in a puzzle begins and ends with the moment when a person grabs it off a toy store shelf because they saw an ad for it on TV. They're actually quite appreciative of interesting puzzles themselves, but having puzzles based on the merits of the subtleties of their movements simply is not their line of business.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Think of Hollywood - How many dark, nihlistic movies are out there? And classy arthouse pictures? Not very many, because most of the public can't understand these films as an advanced art. Studios choose the most marketable pictures, which then gives us 30 [Censored. Please be nice!] "Stupid-Comedy" (ala Will Ferrel etc) films, because they know that young teens (who tend to have bad film tastes) are more likely to go then people who have to work for a living. Companys are always trying to get the disposable income, and younger kids have it.

Flashy lights and sounds market better because there easier to pay attention to. All kids practically have mild ADD these days, and they do not have the perseverence (sp?) to even try a puzzle for 5 minutes.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:39 pm 
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Bram wrote:
Rubik's Revolution is made by Seven Towns, not a brand licensing deal.


No it's not.

http://www.rubiksrevolution.com/ wrote:
Manufactured for and distributed by Techno Source

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Cubicle wrote:
Flashy lights and sounds market better because there easier to pay attention to. All kids practically have mild ADD these days, and they do not have the perseverence (sp?) to even try a puzzle for 5 minutes.


Not all kids, by any means. There are still many young people out there with the patience to work on the same thing for several hours or more.

I do agree that the general trend seems to be towards "ADD", but don't generalize too much.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:52 pm 
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Ah - When I said that I meant the "General Market" target of businesses (sp?). There will always be oddities, and this site is a prime example. The "better half of the market" would have been better wording.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:52 pm 
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I think this forum is a "niche" market. We have what around 1000 members, probably less than 1/2 of whom are active? I wouldn't call that "the better half of the market" even on a good day. (Not insulting anyone here-just looking at the numbers)

I don't know which thread it is in, but I'm thinking here so I'll type here. Meffert's keeps putting out puzzles. Yes. But it's not the only thing he does. One time he told me he would like to make a very limited run of around 100 of a a puzzle like the Petaminx for his normal low price--a return to those who kept him in the business over the years. He also said it would be a HUGE loss of money to do so. (Now DON'T misread that statement and assume this will be done-it was a discussion along the lines of wishful thinking)

Staying with him as an example, his mailing list is much greater than the number on this forum. Thank goodness! If we were it, he would have stopped making new designs ages ago. Add to that puzzles that he sells to mass market shops around the world, and he CAN stay in business.

Again, looking at Meffert's, he sold a puzzle with all the bang and flash before: the Orbix. How well that sold, I won't even guess at. Was it a product ahead of the times? Or one that died a death like the rest of them?

How many of you have a GYA? How many have even heard of it for that matter? A lot of new puzzles have been made, but they just didn't take off. On this forum, most are only interested in "twisty" puzzles, but for the manufacturers, they have to appeal to the masses, and even the "toys/puzzles" with all the bang and flash, don't necessarily appeal. The key is finding something that is more than a one hit wonder. Sadly because mechanical puzzles (and I am using that term to encompass many different types) are not going to appeal to many in today's fast paced world. For us that means puzzles will be few and far between.

We have been spoilt this past year or so with all the new puzzles that have been released. Maybe the timeing is right, or maybe a "new wave" is beginning, I'm not sure. But it still seems to me that this too will end. Because of this large amount of new puzzles, we are demanding more and more and we want them quicker. I am guilty of this as well. I can't tell you how many emails and phone calls I've sent out demanding to know when I can get ahold of the next copy of the puzzle (I sent one late last week as a matter of fact-and an MSN just this morning) But realistically, this wave will come to an end.

I think a great round of applause is needed for companies like Meffert's and Gentosha for continuing to mass produce the puzzles we so love. But an even greater round of applause should go out to Dr. Pantazis. If his puzzles don't go off well, he could (probably literally) loose his shirt. It takes a lot of spine to do what he has done. For this I am grateful, and in awe of the man. It's not something I would have the courage to do. In my spare time, I write children's books. My daughters school has a few shelves full of them, and good friends have copies. (Books are very expensive to produce if the quality is good) I was offered publication by a company to sell to the local (South east asian region) because of the message in them....at the cost of first run being partially self-financed. Like Pantazis, I do it because I enjoy it. Unlike Pantazis, I'm not willing to risk my retirement on the hopes of reaching a greater market.

And that is the key to selling any puzzle...how much return will be made on the investment. Pantazis, Meffert's and Gentosha to name a few are willing to take that risk. Not all companies are.

So if you see a puzzle you like, buy it! You may not get another chance this side of eBay. And, it may just keep those companies producing more. If you say you'll get it when it goes onto the discount rack, it's already too late for that company. The product has fizzled out by then and we won't see new ones coming anytime soon.

My two cents worth.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:37 pm 
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OK, I know I really don't have much say in this, but what they need is a reatively expensive product. They can make a 6x6 or something, list it for alot of money, and then they will be able to experiment more with other puzzles, buy some copyrights, and see if the public likes it. That way, business can progress without such needless expensive nontwisty toys, like the revolution.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Doesn't Rubik Co. Produce New Twistypuzzles?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:34 pm 
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Well now, how many people will buy the rubik's passion cube? how many girls will want a purple rubik's cube in a plush case, with dragonfly stickers?

How does that even compare to ANY of the puzzles mentioned in this thread?

:shock:

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