The Mech Touch - Chapter 3070

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Chapter 3070: Misunderstood Product

The expeditionary fleet went back on track as far as Ves was concerned.

Nothing exciting happened in the weeks after leaving the Trieden System and departing the Grand Loxic Republic.

A part of him thought it was a pity to leave the state like this. There was a lot of wealth, connections, knowledge and so on to be found in this large and well-connected state.

Ves particularly generated interest in establishing connections with the large trading companies, research institutions, nonprofits and other large human organizations.

"Who am I kidding? I probably won't even be able to get my foot in the door."

These massive organizations didn't have eyes for small, private individuals like Ves. Their headquarters were either established in the galactic heartland or the galactic center where they could cooperate with individuals who could offer a lot more than a single Journeyman.

Besides, shackling himself to these large organizations was not that much different to attaching himself to states… He would basically put himself and his clan at the mercy of the whims of a large, powerful organization that did not have his best interests at heart.

After handling the aftermath of the Battle of Trieden II, Ves quickly handled the remainder of his administrative duties. He either dealt with every important item on his agenda or assigned other people to take care of the various issues.

For example, one issue that hung on the back of his mind was the recent release of the Sanctuary Treatment Editions.

Ever since he came up with the Four Aspects of Lufa, Ves always imagined what it would be like to mass produce and market their glows.

The commercial release of two variants that weren't primarily designed for battle represented a major shift in the Living Mech Corporation's product strategy.

As with any change, people had a lot of difficulty adjusting to something that did not fit an established pattern.

While the customers of the LMC were accustomed to receiving innovative products, the Sanctuary Treatment Editions were something else!

"The market isn't reacting well to the new variants." Gavin reported during a routine briefing session. "In fact, even our people don't quite know what to make of it. The new models can't be marketed like normal combat mechs. Even if the Tranquility variant is great at neutralizing glows employed by enemy mechs, the ridiculously high asking price of 50 million hex credits for what is pretty much a third-class mech is prohibitively expensive. The reaction of the market falls exactly in line with the scenario that I previously told you about. Third-class customers can't justify the expenditure while second-class customers think we have engaged in a scam."

Ves frowned a bit. He already expected that the new models would experience a bit of turbulence, but this went on a bit too long.

"Haven't we satisfied a lot of customers already, Benny? As long as people obtain a copy and experience the new glows, I bet their tune will change quickly. Did we loan a few copies to reviewers and medical institutions?"

"We did. The reaction has been positive, but not as much as we hoped."

"What's the matter?"

Gavin sighed. "The price-per-performance disparity is too big for most people to accept. It would be one thing if our Sanctuary was priced at 4 million hex credits, but that is not the case here. A more important issue is that the market can't accept the notion that a mech can be used to heal and treat people. This is a foreign concept to every human and it takes a lot of effort to convince them that the two models are actually useful."

Ves thought that word of mouth would have been able to overcome this instinctual resistance, but the truth turned out to be very different. As Gavin brought out graph after graph, the data clearly showed that the various downsides of his new Sanctuary variants heavily weighed it down to the point where it never gained momentum!

"Have we developed any following for the new models?"

"We do, but only a small one so far." Gavin answered. "A small but highly enthusiastic group of second-class customers have steadily purchased more and more copies from us. Unfortunately for us, the mechs do not really appeal to those outside this group. One of the problems that we have bumped into is that its price is mainly aimed at second-class customers, but they are not very familiar with our mech company."

"Oh."

Though Ves designed a bunch of second-class mechs, he had yet to release any of them to the second-class mech market. While he had good reasons for doing so, one of the negative consequences was that the brand awareness of the LMC in second-class states such as the Garlen Empire and the Grand Loxic Republic was too low!

After all, Ves never put a single exciting product on the second-class mech market before. Even if he gained a bit of fame for his second-class mech designs due to the widespread use of his Hexer mechs in the Komodo War, not everyone paid close attention to this regional conflict.

It didn't help that the Sanctuary Treatment Editions did not have much in common with the useful, war-oriented Hexer mech designs!

For these reasons and more, the introduction of the Sanctuary Treatment Editions had been botched!

Ves glowered and pressed his fingers against his temple. Lucky lazily swishes his metallic tail as he lounged on the desk.

"Meow."

"Yeah yeah, gloat all you want. I don't see you doing any better. How about you try to release a new mech model to picky second-class customers?"

"Meow meow."

Gavin ignored the interaction between the two and provided an estimate of the future sales potential of the two models.

"We know the new Sanctuary variants are useful, and more and more customers will realize this as well. We think that sales will slowly ramp up over time as people will begin to realize that they are worth their prices. However… it might take months or even years for the mechs to become successful. For now, selling a couple of thousand Sanctuary Treatment Editions doesn't even cover the cost of contracting third-party companies to fabricate and distribute them. At the scale we are operating these days, selling a couple of thousands copies a month is terrible."

The three best-selling models right now were the Desolate Soldier, the Doom Guard and the Ferocious Piranha IC. It had been a long time since he designed them and their capabilities no longer reflected his current design ability.

The Crystal Lord Mark II was also gaining momentum, particularly after Ves upgraded its old design spirit to create the Illustrious One. Even then, the rifleman mech's relatively marginal performance advantages compared to other market offerings allowed it to become a sleeper hit as best, selling only a few hundred-thousand copies a month.

While Ves was proud of this sales volume, the sad truth was that the LMC's business model relinquished a lot of profit to its third-party business partners.

If the LMC followed a more traditional business model and based itself in a state, then it could have invested in its own distribution and sales networks. While not every company was able to succeed in those endeavors, the effect of cutting out the middlemen was often good!

What was peculiar about the Sanctuary Treatment Editions was that its margins were ridiculously high even if there were a bunch of middlemen taking their own cuts of the profits.

However, this was mostly irrelevant if the sales volume remained way below expectations!

As Ves and Gavin continued to discuss this issue, it became clear that the reception of the Sanctuary Treatment Editions was unlikely to improve in the short term unless they made a couple of painful decisions.

"The single biggest factor behind the poor initial reception of the variants are their prices." Gavin directly addressed. "The obvious way to remedy this is to lower the price of a mech. If we can cut it in half, we project that sales will likely quadruple right away. Further cuts will result in dramatically more sales."

Ves adopted a stubborn expression. "I don't want to back down like this. We'll just be proving to every critic that we have indeed been ripping off our customers."

"You can address this problem easily by applying temporary discounts to the new models."

"That helps, but if the discounts are too frequent, they will not only disrespect the customers who have been paying full price, but they will also develop a pattern that customers will expect from our next products. Just forget about it. I only released the Sanctuary Treatment Editions to earn some extra money and do my part in contributing to society. It is not a big deal if I don't immediately get the payday I sought."

The LMC still earned plenty of profit, so it was not as if Ves felt devastated. Every mech designer released a flop now and then. While Ves still believed that the Sanctuary Treatment Editions were good products, it was sad that everyone else didn't possess the same understanding.

Ves eventually shrugged. "Let's wait a year or two before we contemplate any changes in price. Perhaps people will begin to recognize my brilliance during this period."

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"What if the market still doesn't pay so much money for overpriced third-class mechs?"

"Then just shove it into the corner and forget about it. I can always design other mechs."

The success or failure of a single mech model no longer concerned him that much. This was especially after he transitioned to designing a batch of different mechs by rounds. As long as one of them achieved critical success, it didn't matter if the rest failed to live up their promise.

Of course, he could not use this same mentality towards the current round of mech designs.

Thinking about the expert mech designs that awaited his care and attention made him eager to be done with all of his other business. After discussing a few more issues, Ves quickly shooed Gavin away.

Before he left for the design lab, he wanted to deal with one more issue.

He picked his cat from his desk and brought his pet close.

"Hello? Is there any activity taking place down there? When was the last time you produced a gem, Lucky?"

"Meow meow meow!"

The gem cat did not appreciate being picked up this way! His tail quickly moved to cover his backside.

"Hey, your diet hasn't decreased at all. Why haven't you gone to the toilet yet? Your efficiency has worsened! Maybe I should drop you off at the Skull Architect in order to give your systems a tune-up."

"MEOW!"

"Ouch! That hurt!"

Mrow!

As Lucky freed himself from Ves' grasp, Blinky materialized into view. The companion spirit took offense at what had happened.

"Meow meow."

Mrow mrow!

"Meow!"

Predictably, the two cats entered into another scuffle in mid-air. It didn't take long for the older and more experienced cat to gain the upper hand. Blinky could only crawl back into Ves' mind after suffering another wound to his pride.

Ves looked exasperated at Lucky. "I hope you'll produce something soon. Our expert mechs could really use all of the help they can get. My current collection of gems is not enough."

His cat didn't make any promises. "Meow."

The reason why he was so eager to obtain more gems was because too many of them were weird and abnormal. Ves did not want to gain another 'special' gem like the Supreme Comprehension one that had unleashed sheer chaos in the Life Research Association.

Part of that was his fault for making his last gem alive. Ves wasn't sure if he wanted to repeat this trick. Perhaps a gem might gain a lot more potential after undergoing this unique transformation, but if the mech it was applied to did not gain any additional benefits, then it wasn't worth the trouble for him to intervene.

"Should I do it again or should I leave it?" Ves idly wondered.

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