Rubik’s, the Company

April 27th, 2014

Rubik’s is a company who holds the rights to the singularly most popular toy icon in history. Given the cube’s new found popularity over the last 10 years, the problem has been presented to them of how to build on top that success. Responses to this problem include the Rubik’s Revolution, the Rubik’s Slide, the Rubik’s TouchCube, the Rubik’s 360; and now, most recently the Rubik’s Light.

I have had the same reaction to each: ridiculous, silly, laughable. (I’d say the one exception is the Mirror Blocks.)

I can imagine or hope that they are trying to solve this problem somehow. 2008 was the year the cube’s popularity exploded, I have this Google Trends lookup and a spike in my YouTube video views to support this. By happenstance at the US Nationals 2008 I briefly talked with a pair of very out of place people who were from Rubik’s. Their purpose there was to investigate their product’s popularity and figure out how to bring it more mainstream. The conversation was brief, and as far as I can tell since then they’ve failed.

When the whole time, all everyone wanted, was a decent 2×2-5×5. Believe it or not Rubik’s used to hold that market. Then Eastsheen came along. They did some innovation and made a 2×2 that didn’t pop, a 4×4 that was smooth(er), and a 5×5 whose pieces wouldn’t break. V-Cube also made a huge impact, cube sizes greater than 5×5 were something that Ernö himself once said were impossible. Cubesmith came up and made stickers people loved! A few years later every cube that’s in competitions are not Rubik’s cubes and the products that Rubik’s make, including their classic 3×3, have been turned into a running jokes by the community.

Rubik’s can bring themselves back up, they can be a new force to be rekoned with. In addition to the above I have this to tell them directly: Stop focusing on gimmicky or digital spinoff products. Focus on the niche market you could have. Make a cube that is as fast as any generation of Dayan cube. Do what you did with the Mirror Blocks, remix your classic puzzle, (just look at what’s coming out of Meffert’s these days). Do one or both of these well and people will start listening, buying, more.

4 Responses to “Rubik’s, the Company”

  1. Jesse says:

    One could argue that Rubik’s has tried to appeal to a new market with the Rubik’s Speed. The cube sold out pretty quickly, so perhaps they succeeded in this goal– although they would be very wrong to think that they created the best cube on the market.
    Of course, it’s difficult to ascertain whether the Speed was meant to appeal mainly to speedcubers or casual cubers, but it’s clear that they hit both markets.
    I completely agree that the lamp thing is very, very, dumb, but I’m hesitant to say that they’re completely blind to the market.

  2. Lucas says:

    As far as Rubik’s may be concerned, they *are* winning. They’re in the news frequently enough, and are surely selling plenty. They make way more money off a new fancy cube that works for the masses than a true new speedcube. It would be nice if they focused more on speedcubing, but from their perspective it might not look like it will move the needle enough.
    I do wish they had someone who truly wants to engage with the cubing, community, though.

  3. typo says:

    Typos are accidents. What you have are not typos.

    Rediculous isn’t a word.

    Using both “more recently” and “over the last 10 years” in the same sentence is redundant. The second half of that sentence is somehow worse.

    “…on top that success.” ??

    “…to each, ridiculous, silly, laughable” has 4 adjectives and no nouns. Each, ridiculous, silly laughable what? Is each the noun? This isn’t indicated.

    No, it did not literally explode. Explode works on its own. I will not continue; I don’t have time.

    Rubiks.com has had both a “New Rubik’s 3×3 Cube” and a “Rubik’s Speed Cube” available for quite some time before publishing. The very least of research should have led you there.

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