Skip to content

Get Your Game On

October 13, 2009

I have been trying to get my game on for years. Controllers have confounded me. When the PS3 was announced I sent my dusty PS2 to my little cousins. I won “Cousin of the Year” at the family reunion but still had no skills. I signed up for World of Warcraft last year and couldn’t get my mage past level one. Lone Wolf tried to give me a lesson between focus groups. I apparently was missing a rendezvous in the village or something like that. Never got this far:


You might wonder why a strategist needs to learn how to get her game on anyway. And why I’m telling you with this post that you need to get your game on if you don’t already. Well, it’s about the consumer. It’s about culture. And it’s about the work. If you accept the bleedingly obvious fact that content is king, you must turn your attention to what kind of content engages consumers. News flash people: games are the most immersive, engaging experiences out there. We aren’t game developers, but content is content and expectations are expectations – games are leading the way.

We talk about understanding consumer expectations and helping brands exceed those expectations. These days, consumer expectations are being shaped by gaming experiences. Just a few things that are now “expected” thanks to gameplay:

  • Sick graphics. Animation with glistening skin, facial expressions, shifts in point-of-view …
  • Bio-feedback. If you hit me, I feel it.
  • Chat. And not just chat box features. Full telephony with Skype or similar in the game is not revolutionary. So you can coordinate with your posse and/or trash talk.
  • Networking. Console games interface with the internet and become massive multi-player social experiences
  • Non-linear storytelling. Like an old choose your own adventure novel, games have multiple different outcomes.
  • Never-ending storytelling. And these narratives or competitions can go on for days.
  • Another world. Some of the most involving games don’t just change the setting, they change they social norms and species and laws of physics.
  • Discovery. Every game has its built-in surprises. Whether it’s rewarding skill or curiosity or inside knowledge of underground secrets, the element of discovery and surprise is now expected.
  • Co-creation.  Consumers can impact the game itself. Still learning about this, but it’s more than just making an avatar.
  • Cheating. Consumers expect to be able to take short cuts. They will search these out for games and developers bake them in.
  • Constant updates and accuracy. I’m already annoyed that I can’t download the update to NHL 10 … The game changes to reflect reality. I expect accuracy in a game? Yes.
  • Everyone can play. And with the Wii, now consumers expect social experiences appropriate for the whole family.

That’s just what I’ve come up with. Thoughts on the list of new expectations thanks to gaming?

Since I’m learning the game, I’ve been paying attention to the guys at EA and the work that goes into developing NHL 10. Here’s a short clip that fascinates geeks like me. I wonder what the brief for a game update looks like?

One Comment leave one →
  1. alexmkerlick permalink*
    October 13, 2009 3:58 pm

    This is exactly what happened with Twitter in The Lair. We joined because we were curious and were starting to get questions about it. Fast forward nine months – every planner is a fairly prolific tweeter. We speak the language. We’re even learning how to brief for the medium. So, what does this mean for gaming? If we really embrace it, how far can we go? In nine months is Kim going to be sniping Nazis from a bell tower in Call of Duty? Will MP be instigating fights in NHL 10?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: