3.20.2011

New Media Allows You To Be "IN GAME"

I am a media junkie.  Especially new media.  I have an iPhone, Facebook, Twitter (although I don't use it as much), and YouTube accounts.  I am on LinkedIn.  If you wanted to find me, you certainly could. From high school reunion announcements to business connections, I am wired 24/7.  My question is: Are you? I started probing this question close to home - well, at home - and asked my husband what he thinks of this crazy, wired world.  A long, strange trip ensued. 

My husband, Michael, is a...well, let's unique individual.  By trade he is a software engineer.  He is also a musician.  He also has an (let's different) hobby.  You see, my husband is a gamer.  You know, like Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, et al.  But he doesn't just hide in the basement and play. He plays live in an arena called Live Action Roleplaying (LARP).  He doesn't just play.  He actually owns a franchise of LARP called WAR (We Are Roleplayers).  Are you still with me? 

A quick lesson.  WAR players go to a destination, usually a camp, where act out their characters for the duration of a weekend. The best way I can describe it is that is it comparable to the movie "Role Models".  If you've seen the movie, you know what I mean.  If not, check out the movie.  At any rate, it's a massive collection of dorks and geeks and gamers who act out their character - for real.  Not in mom's basement. 




WAR has been around for about 16 years in Wheeling. So to reach a new group of would-be role players, Michael has chosen to use emerging media to engage current players (customers) as well as attempting to attract new ones.  So, here's the question: What special, eye-catching innovations are companies using to initiate and build relationships with consumers? Do you feel they are working? Let's talk LARP. 

WAR has taken to using Foursquare and Twitter to engage current player and potential new ones.  When they are "in game" they are usually at a camp site somewhere in the woods.  By creating "places" to check in using Foursquare, they engage people who are "in game". They create "specials" on Foursquare such as discounted pricing (yes, you must pay to play) and coupons and other such incentives.  They use Twitter to give live updates during the games.  While still in its infancy, they are already seeing success at engaging their customers and growing their customer base. 

Social media is perfect for this demographic. Contrary to popular belief, gamers are by nature very social.  They like to be around other gamers and do what other gamers are doing.  By reaching them via social media, WAR is able to speak to the customer where and when the customer demands.  They are just starting to use emerging media, but it looks like this is a great way for them to start to evolve from table top games to LARP.


What are your thoughts about how they can use social media to engage their players?

1 comment:

  1. Joelle,
    I am not an online gamer myself, however, I do play a lot of basketball and golf. While these are completely different forms of entertainment than LARP, there might be an opportunity to borrow tactics that effectively engage enthusiasts of these sports. I play a lot of pick-up basketball games (where individuals show up at the park or gym and randomly form teams for competitive play) and occasionally golf by myself, but it's always more enjoyable to play with larger groups—especially when something is at stake. For this reason both basketball and golf tournaments provide an opportunity to engage enthusiasts of each sport in a variety of venues. Sometimes the tournaments raise money for the planners and sometimes for charity. If WAR could figure out a way to promote a LARP tournament, they could engage players and possibly vendors and ancillary services that would pay to attend the event. I can see these tournaments becoming sort of like LARP conventions.

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