Turning An Accidental Launch Into An Opportunity For Success

from the roll-with-the-punches dept

Many times, when a company has an early release of their work leaked in the wild, it responds in much the same way that Fox responded when an unfinished version of the movie Wolverine was leaked. It complained about the leak. It got the FBI involved. It fired one of its own reporters who reviewed the leaked copy. Eventually all this lead to the arrest and sentencing of the man who leaked the film. Throughout the whole ordeal, we tried to explain how Fox could have turned this leak to its advantage by using the leak as a promotional opportunity.

When you compare that string of events to this latest report of an early release of Double Fine's newest mobile game, Middle Manager of Justice, you can see that Double Fine has a better grasp of reality than Fox and many other companies.
"So I was on the train heading to work this week, and I get a call from our tech director saying, 'Hey, um, so it looks the game is live in every territory.' And I just went, 'What!?'" Looking back on it, Chi laughs, but for a time he was worried about how this early launch could affect his game's reputation. 

"It wasn't what I wanted the world to see quite yet," he said. "At Double Fine, we pride ourselves on putting a solid product out there, so having something out there that was buggy and not quite ready yet was really frustrating."
At this point, Chi had a number of options. He could have followed Fox's example and complained about the early release and told all those people who downloaded the game to stop playing it because it was unfinished. He could have threatened those players if they released any video or screen shots of the game. Or he could have done what we tried to tell Fox it could do, use it as a promotional opportunity. And that is exactly what Chi did.
"I guess it kind of just turned into a beta test," Chi said. "I mean, if people find bugs that we haven't found internally, I'd love to know about them so I can fix them," Chi said.

Even just a few days later, Chi says he's received a ton of valuable feedback that's helped Double Fine eliminate bugs, and make the game's free-to-play elements less restrictive for non-paying players.

"If anything, I welcome these suggestions from people, because we're still learning and we plan to work on this well after it goes live to make the game deeper, and luckily this means we'll get an early start on that process," he said.
While the game was not meant to be in the hands of players, Chi did what he did as a way to preserve the integrity of the company as well as strengthen its relationship with its fans. He used the early release as a way to help fans become more invested in the company by becoming early testers. He didn't have to do this. He could have had Apple remove the game from those players' accounts. Yet, he didn't because having a healthy relationship with consumers is more important than a mix up in the release schedule. Hopefully, more companies will take notice of how Double Fine handled this affair and will respond in kind.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Sep 15th, 2012 @ 12:27am

    Why stop at this game? Seems like a great idea for future beta testing for Double Fine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Sep 15th, 2012 @ 12:54am

    No trolls jumping in to attack? Weird...

    Anyway, this is the point that makes me smile:

    "make the game's free-to-play elements less restrictive for non-paying players."

    EA and others would probably love the early feedback to make the game's more interesting elements only available to paying customers, and try to force as many people as possible to part with cash (only more likely just annoying them and stopping them from paying!). That they have used the time to make even the non-paying user's time more enjoyable only increases Double Fine's already sterling reputation in my book!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 15th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    Accidental leak = the new ad campaign

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Fox would never do it. The legacy players aren't interested in reaching more people. As the market is configured today it gives a lot of money to an incredibly small set of players. If copyright actually abode by its original intent we'd have a lot of money being earned by a very large set of players and the top dogs would be earning less. As long as we have a few big players abusing their financial power there won't be change. Obama is there to prove it, we just have to look at his team and compare it to Bush.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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