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The Blog of Dr Paul Bedford

Learning from the gamers - Why big box clubs will still be around for years to come.


Learning from the gamers - Why big box clubs will still be around for years to come.

In gaming infinite variability are games that no matter how long you play them for you never repeat the same experience. The highly successful and very addictive Fortnite is just such an example. Many games have finite variability where players can become very accustomed to the landscape and challenges placed in their way. Some of this is by design, so that game producers are able to release further additions of popular titles or new versions every year.

The more niche you are the more finite your variability. The challenges that may be faced by boutiques and single activity studios over the long term is the concept of finite variability, a posh way of saying nothing new. Which can only combated by larger population density and frequent turnover of inhabitants. 

Now no business can ensure that its customers will use its products or services forever, however the more limited the options or choices the quicker someone reaches the point where the experience just becomes repetitive. When this happens, our existing choices will inevitably be replaced with new choices.

Boutique and single activity studios can suffer from finite variability no matter how good the programming. While you can change up the workout, visiting the same environment workout after workout can become tedious. Even online services such as Pelton may fall foul of the limitation in activity variation over time.

Reducing friction and offering infinite variability is where the traditional big box operators and the online providers such as Wexer and Les Mills may be able to combat the number of smaller operators. The large range of products and services are an attractive option especially if the service levels match that of their smaller competitors, are convenient in location and easy to access.

But it is important to recognise that products, which leverage infinite variability tend to be pushed out by disruptive innovations, whereas finite variability business fizzle out by themselves.