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Amit Bar: Meet the guy who wants to change the Board Game industry - tBR Person of the Week

(all photos courtesy of Ieva Vi)

The global board game market is anticipated to reach values of more than $12 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of over 9% during 2017-2023. (*1)

Amit Bar, a Research Assistant specializing in the Board Game industry, believes that the opportunities to win the Games category are huge and the secret lies in better localization of the products. His research, The role of culture and personality traits in board game habits and attitudes: Cross-cultural comparison between Denmark, Germany, and USA, has been published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

How did you come to research this topic?

“My academic background is in Marketing and my work experience is the Sales, Marketing and Commercial departments. At the time, I was an employee of Mattel. Even though Games are usually priced at least double more than the average toys, this category generates lots of money. For many toy companies the Games category is the “Cash cow” of the business, an important pillar in the portfolio. And this caught my attention.

In 2019 I attended Spielwarenmesse, The Nuremberg International Toy Fair where I was exposed to different kinds of games from all over the world. It made me question if there was a way to differ the games between the markets, how it should be done and is it already happening nowadays.

Currently, the localization of most games (and toys in general) is in a pretty superficial level – mainly adjusting the labels of the products to the local markets. It made me wonder if that was enough in order to match the preferences of the consumers.”

And what were the results ?

“We (Co-author Prof. Tobias Otterbring) found that certain personality traits that are related to board game usage patterns and attitudes, could be used in predicting board game habits, with liking levels and playing frequencies and that they are expressed differently between the countries for several reasons. These differences could be related to the structure of the societies, the common beliefs and other reasons. I believe the findings are very interesting and the research can be intriguing to read to people even outside of the toy industry.”

Did you play a lot of board games as a child?

“Not really. Where I grew up, in Israel, board games were considered kind of a “dorky” thing to play. I did play a lot of “Rummikub” with my sister and played “Monopoly” with friends a few times, but other than that I don’t recall playing any board games.

When I moved to Scandinavia it somewhat changed. In the Nordics, board game are often being used as “mitigators” for communication between friends and acquaintances. It is a tool to experience something together and talk.”

What’s next for you?

“We are working on further research of board games, this time from a different aspect. Even though the board game world is worth lots of money it is surprising to see that there is very little research about this topic. Hopefully this subject will be explored more and we will see more papers being published. Currently, my career is ranging between the academy-the more theoretical part, to the commercial side of the business. Soon I will need to decide where I want to focus my future but as for now I enjoy both worlds.”

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Link to the full research:


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