If You Don ’t Like It, Take A Hike

I might be writing a blog for a subscription college football website this fall.  No big whoop, but in order to get access to their blogging platform, they had to give me a subscription. I received this email today addressed to presumably all of their subscribers.  About half way through, you’ll notice the customer service equivalent of a novelty-sized foam middle-finger.  I kind of wish they had signed it with something more along the lines of "We'll see you in hell."

Dear VTInsider.com Subscriber,

Effective July 11, 2008 the price of your Annual VTInsider.com subscription will increase from $89.95 to $99.95.

If you would like to cancel your subscription you may do so by calling the Scout.com Sales Center (toll-free) at 1-888-979-0979

Thanks for your support,

VTInsider.com Staff

Offset The Evil

The tricky part about an agency taking on a video game client is navigating the perilously narrow passage between having a good idea and just showing game footage.  The result of this is most of the time essentially a movie trailer/poster/banner.  The “In a world…” model. 

There are exceptions, however; most notably the Cannes favorite Halo 3 campaign, as well as ilovebees and Beta-7

Clemenger BBDO created a campaign to promote the game Condemned 2: Bloodshot in Australia in a similarly interesting way.  The game itself is rated Mature as it's a bloody, violent game where the player takes control over a homeless alcoholic who is investigating something or other, which requires the beating and killing of other characters along the way.  Sounds like my daily commute! (zing! *novelty bow-tie spinning*)

Anyways the Website is clearly in line with the tone of the game, setting up the story and characters and mood:

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But the creative work took a strikingly different route, bringing gamers into the world of the game in a very different way:




(via Beyond Madison Avenue)

The Dicey Business Of Video Game Journalism

Slashdot is reporting that Atari has begun suing video game publications that have started publishing reviews for their upcoming release, Alone in the Dark.  They are claiming that anyone who has reviewed the game has pirated copies of it since it has not yet been made available to the media for review. Not only has Atari filed suit, but they have pulled all advertising from the sites as well. 

The situation gets a little more interesting though when looking at the reviews themselves.  They aren’t good, and gamers have noticed that there might be a correlation. 

This isn’t the first time that bad reviews have sparked controversy in gaming journalism.  Just last year, it was rumored that Jeff Gerstmann, an editor at Gamespot, was fired after penning a bad review of Kane and Lynch.  An anonymous insider suggested that the firing was motivated by pressure from the game’s publisher, and Gamespot advertiser, Eidos.

I think this is troubling as it proves the line between editorial independence and advertorial bias is under assault, if its not dotted already.  Who knows how prevalent this is in other specialty mediums.  But I think it also shows that in the high-stakes world of gaming, companies have become so tied up in creating blockbusters that they will stop at nothing to make sure they succeed.  They have too.  Very often, all their eggs are placed into the same basket.  But the problem is that instead of making sure the basket is allowed time to be lovingly crafted, they are very quickly machined, with little regard for craftsmanship or quality control (from the business folk, not the actual production team … so I’ve been led to believe). 

The videogame industry is at the forefront of the future of marketing.  If the positive reviews aren’t there, you’re not going to change (many) people’s minds with a slick campaign. Marketing can only help reinforce the decision to purchase.  The power is firmly in the court of the reviewer. 

The problem with this ‘future of marketing’ as it relates to videogame sites is that they are heavily dependent on advertising revenue from game publishers, seemingly making them more susceptible to being strong-armed into favorable reviews by game publishers with everything riding on their next game. 

Priorities have a funny way of changing when one’s livelihood is threatened. 

Coolest Job I Never Thought About – Movie Infographic Designer

Mark Coleran has a great job.  He’s the guy that makes infographics for movies.  So he creates visualizations for data that aren’t real. When most people make charts that don’t mean anything, it’s a bad thing.  This guy has made a career out of it.  His only have to look like they mean things. I guess I never realized this would be someone’s specialty, and I kind of feel bad for always making fun of this stuff now that I'm jealous of the guy who makes it.

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See his entire reel here

(via FlowingData, via Ben Fry)