Saturday, 27 February 2010

Actual product may not include what we're selling you

Time for one of my favourite subjects - How Mass Effect promotional material annoys me.

I loved the original Mass Effect game. It was all about space adventuring, with a character you designed yourself and whose personality you shaped with the decisions you made.

Mass Effect 2 takes the character you made in the first game and continues to play out the consequences of the decisions you made in the first game, while adding extra levels of story and personality to your character.

So, given the very personal and unique nature of each character, surely the last thing you would want to do is focus all of your marketing and packaging material on a generic version of this character that won't actually appear in anyone's game.

It just seems like a complete waste, considering all that the product has to offer. No thought has gone into what makes games and customisable experiences like this different from film advertising (which this seems to aspire to).

Customisation is becoming such a big part of all products these days, but especially computer games. I understand that from a marketing point of view we're used to working with and selling linear stories, but as more and more games innovate away from this, I can't help but feel that the advertising is holding them back, by clinging on to traditional story telling methods.

Mass Effect is about travelling the universe and changing it with the decisions you make. That's not an easy story to tell, but it's a lot more interesting than being told the story of a man you won't even see in the game.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Go away

Now the big move to London is over, it's time to kick start some blogging again. I'll start with an exciting story of my time in London.

The other day, I thought I'd purchase some tickets for the Hot Chip gig at Brixton Academy. So off I go to the website and click the "order tickets" button.

What it linked to was this:

Which is awsome.
It laughs in the face of CRM, usabilty, and many other words to do with making me, the all powerful consumer, happy.
In fact, it was such a hilariously bad way of giving bad news, that I found it hard to get angry at them.
So, I hope to continue experiments in treating consumers so badly that they decide it's too funny to get mad about. That's the dream...