Alternate Reality, Real Money

from the buzz-buzz dept

Alternate reality games are nothing new, and have been used in indirectly marketing things like movies, video games and TV shows over the past few years. The games usually have very little to do with what they’re promoting, but hook users on interesting storylines, which usually involve them having to tease out the real details from various leaked clues. However, is there money in alternate reality gaming? Apparently some people think so. One alternate reality game maker has just raised some venture capital money to keep building these types of games. What’s not clear, though, is how they see the business model evolving. Is it going to remain as a promotion for other products? That is, can they sell such games to a company as a sponsor? Or will they eventually try to charge for the games themselves? So far, however, attempts to sell alternate reality gaming directly to the public, even when backed by the marketing muscle of EA have failed pretty dramatically.

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Comments on “Alternate Reality, Real Money”

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Rikko says:

Obligatory Marshal McLuhen quote here

I think gaming companies in general need to take a step away from building a game around a cool story and go back to building a story around a cool game.

Remember Quake? It was fresh, innovative, and the story fit on one page of the CD case insert. X-Com? They never really explained the history except that aliens were showing up. Master of Orion? We’re just all evolved and gonna fight until it’s done.

They were greats – point proven in that each of them basically defined a genre of copycats for decades (well, decade, anyways – yes, I know Wolfenstein was the precursor and Doom defined it, but I don’t recall Doom’s back story being any more than a paragraph in the README).

So why now do we need these new concepts in story instead of game design? We have PC games (and presumably console games as well) for all kinds of ridiculous crap: Survivor, That Trump Rubbish, DEER HUNTER, every Disney game… the list won’t end.
And in nearly every case, there’s no innovation. We build some skins from things that are popular, build some silly mini games are it, and then sell it for $50.

But then, as long as people are happy being spoon fed the same crap over and over, this is where we’ll be. Look how long it’s taking for Hollywood to notice the rot.

dorpus says:

What if Alternate Reality Harms Real Reality?

According to research by the Social Welfare Ministry, 1 out of 8 3-year-olds in Japan are skipping breakfast to play video games. Three-year-olds lack the attention span to eat food, and are instead glued to monitors where they play 打、打、僕、打、蹴、投、殴、打、突、?
It appears the human brain has an apoptotic bypass circuit hard-wired into it.

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