November 15, 2012

Do your fans right, and they'll do you right

The success of a game can seemingly depend on pitching things right, not alienating fans and feeding your gaming community.

You might have heard how a dude who made Fallout Posters had the lawyers sicked on him when he seemingly breached an IPR right. That kind of response can turn the fan love off in a second but this post is really about two examples of game producers doing in right.

This week Bioware responded to the story of Mass Effect 2 being accidentally included with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II:

"Rumor has it that about a thousand customers who purchased Call of Duty: Black Ops II for PC today were also treated to a surprise copy of Mass Effect 2. If you were one of the affected, chances are you thought it was a mistake, but we prefer to think that it was an omen, and when the universe talks, you should listen.

If the universe thinks that you should be playing Mass Effect right now, who are we to argue? In fact, we want to help! The first fifty fans affected by this phenomenon to send us a picture holding their special disc 2 will receive a code for a FREE PC copy of Mass Effect Trilogy.”

Bioware is of course well aware how the fans react when things get screwed up so that’s a pretty cool way of front footing an issue. The cynic in me wonders if the inclusion of Mass Effect was accidental so a bit of promotion could be made for the Mass Effect trilogy... 

The second example is a Halo related one from Microsoft / 343 Studios is a pretty good Halo fan site, so named for the vessel that harboured the Master Chief at the end of Halo 3. When it came time to promote Halo 4 and the internet film named Forward Unto Dawn, one could have imagined 343 Industries were tempted to claim some kind of IPR right* over that website url. They didn't and instead they went in massively with the promotion of Forward Unto Dawn which meant that the fan site received a massive amount of publicity - and that's keeping with the Halo spirit developed by Bungie so clearly 343 have taken that mantle on board very well.

I think these two examples are really cool actions by the producers and other game makers will do well to heed the examples. This writer figures fans will respond and respect such moves - everyone recognizes the business is about making money but carrying yourself in an honest and decent manner will work wonders - especially if you're looking for repeat customers.

*I haven’t checked but I doubt any one from Microsoft or Bungie trademarked the phrase 'Forward Unto Dawn’ when producing Halo 3.