When Connecting With Fans, Be Careful What You Promise

from the high-class-problem dept

The submissions for Connecting-with-Fans (CwF) stories are ramping up these days, and here's a cautionary tale from thublihnk who writes "... one of the guys behind Borderlands (an upcoming online multiplayer FPS/RPG) promised to play with/give loot to anyone who preordered his game, and due to a game journalist alerting people to this deal, is now swamped with requests. Good try, better luck next time?"

So this doesn't actually sound too bad for Mike Neumann, the Creative Director of Gearbox, who promoted his game by tweeting a promise to play with anyone who pre-ordered it, even if the number of folks who viewed his offer is in the thousands (so far, though, it sounds like the number is more like hundreds). Neumann says he'll hold up his end of the bargain, but he's also asked fans if they'd accept playing with the CEO of Gearbox instead of just him, which seems perfectly reasonable. It's not like Neumann promised he'd show up in everyone's living room. He also didn't specify how long he'd play with these fans, so there are a few loopholes that will allow him to live a normal life -- assuming his normal life didn't already include hours and hours of gaming. And presumably, superfans are not out to destroy him, though, it might be a bit embarrassing if Neumann turns out to be a total N00b at playing his own game. But, yes, the lesson here for creative CwF promotions is to make sure to think through the consequences. Fortunately for Gearbox, the virtual loot in Borderlands has zero marginal costs.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    MarksAngel (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 7:41am

    lol...be careful what you tweet for

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

  2. icon
    Misanthropist (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Neumann's real problem

    Neumann's real problem is he found something fans really want.

    Not much of a problem really.

    Sure, he might have underestimated how popular his idea would be.. But what he got was an overwhelmingly happy reaction from his fans.

    And he's not in the least bit upset.

    Noone said CwF was supposed to be a resource free endeavor.

    But perhaps next time, Neumann will say "the first 100 people to send me a pic of you pre-ordering" instead of "anyone who sends me a pic of you pre-ordering".

    But I doubt he will walk away from this experiment displeased with its results.

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

  3. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    Re: Neumann's real problem

    "But I doubt he will walk away from this experiment displeased with its results."

    Exactly my thoughts, as well.

    What a wonderful problem to have.

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

  4. identicon
    Call me Al, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    I play an online game called Pardus, developed by a few Austrian students four years ago. In the early days they used to drop by the chat room to speak to the players and it was amazing the reaction they would get. It certainly increased the goodwill that we had towards them.

    In the last year or so they've been much quieter and there has been an increase inthe complaints levied against them. I wonder if, had they continued to speak to players directly, then there may have been more understanding all round.

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

  5. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    And that's the beauty of connecting directly with your customers. They see you as a human being, so even if you screw up a little bit and accidentally stick your foot in your mouth, you can just admit it and do the best you can and most of your audience will gladly chuckle at the situation with you then forget all about it -- and end up feeling closer to you for having seen you stumble.

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

  6. identicon
    Charax, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    heh, I got banned from Kotaku from pointing out that he should be careful what he promises. Oh well...

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

  7. icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 11:34am

    Online FPS/RPG

    Ummm...this is an online, multiplayer game. He doesn't have to physically be anywhere other than a home/office computer with an internet connection and in a game with the fans to fulfill his promise.

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

  8. identicon
    Jerms, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    Cost of virtual loot

    Fortunately for Gearbox, the virtual loot in Borderlands has zero marginal costs.
    Actually, there is a cost. Not to create the loot, as that's just the inconvenience of a few thousand electrons, but there's a whole virtual economy at stake which is quite finely balanced. Throwing handfuls of virtual cash around can cause serious headaches for the programming team.
    Not that I'm an expert, but I've read a few interesting articles, including one on Blizzard's Diablo II online economic system somewhere (I think it was in Time magazine).

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

  9. icon
    Michael Ho (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Cost of virtual loot

    Interesting point about virtual economy inflation, but I think as long as the number of pre-orders is relatively small compared to the number of regular players in the game, there shouldn't be a huge problem. And.. the other loophole is that the virtual loot is not defined -- so it could be essentially worthless virtual loot. Pre-order folks might just get a virtual "pet rock" in the game -- who knows?

    I guess we'll have to see what Gearbox decides to hand out when the game arrives....

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

  10. identicon
    adetogun samuel adegunju, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 5:14am

    am interested in connecting class room fans

    i am a student of st. joseph seniour secondary school. in Lagos state, Nigeria.
    we are introduced to connecting class room, and i really love to be among the fans of connecting class room.
    because i want to know more about what is going on in the college in abroad.
    pls, am really interested to be among the fans

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

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