Evolution of a Go program

About the development of Moyo Go Studio, software to (help) play the Oriental game of Go. Go is a two-player zero-sum game of perfect information. It is considered much harder than Chess. Currently, in spite of enormous effort expended, no computer program plays it above the level of a beginner.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

November Sales

In 2005 I sold 30 copies in November, and this month it's 22.

This is not at all bad, because last time I sold most of those 30 due to a row that AGA - The American Go Association - started with a malicious "review" of my software, that spurned about fifteen people (mostly Americans) to purchase it out of sheer disgust with the article. All in a couple of days, so that I ran out of bubble envelopes and stamps. The AGA folks that run their website and newsletter have a financial stake in competing Go software, hence the shameless "review".

I go into detail because I noticed that quite a number of μISV regulars from Joel Spolsky's site occasionaly visit here because I'm the archetypal μISV: A one-man shop, starting from scratch, doing everything himself and able to make a living from it if he would live in a cheaper country.. And there are few things more interesting for the small independent software vendor than comparing sales figures.

My competitors will see these figures too, but I consider it part of the psychological warfare. The enemy plays a much dirtier game than handing over their trade secrets like I've done regularly. They make up lies and put them on their sites. PsyOps message: Don't forget that I don't play Go above beginner level and my software is, in terms of Go software sales in general, selling like hot cakes. 2007 is scheduled for major R&D, which includes regular Go lessons from a teacher and play on a Go server, so I will get stronger at Go and learn all principles needed for the next step: A full-fledged Go playing program. You ain't seen nuthin' yet!

Go software in the West is a niche, and for those who didn't know yet - my software is in the unique position of being boycotted by most major Western Go websites and retailers due to the disproportionate power the "old boy network" has, an established order of - mostly millionaires - who monopolized the world's Go games under the banner of "ethical game ownership". Of course this is totally bogus - all they do is fight hand and nail to protect their business interests, and anything goes.

The remarkable collusion in this little Western Go world is something to think about, to contemplate. Will it be the same in South-East Asia? That is my main (potential) market.

So far, I think not much can go wrong when I will introduce my software in SE Asia. For the most part, those who have been vilifying/attacking my software here due to the threat it poses to their bottom line are either unknown or despised there.

Of course there will be repercussions to the actions of the GoGoD/MasterGo/SmartGo kartel. If I ever manage to write the world's strongest Go program (and I really think I will be able to, and in a reasonable time as well), then one of my criteria to any dealers in SE Asia will be that they do not carry the aforementioned products. This would only be fair, seen how those three effectively interfered with me advertizing, getting retailed and sponsoring Go tournaments.

Revenge is sweet - patience is a virtue, who laughs last laughs best and that what not kills me, makes me stronger.

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