You may have seen the trailers on the SyFy™ and other channels or may be YouTube. If you were curious and started looking, you probably found a ton of stuff generated by a massive advertising campaign. This is not just the release of a game and a TV show. There are incentives in the game to watch the show. In the show we will likely see incentives to play the game. I am sure they will be promoting it. The current commercials promote the game and show together.
This is a synthesis of marketing ideas I’ve not seen before. I think I understand that top players will be able to influence the show’s storyline. The show will add glory to the top game players.
Warning: Violent Content
One of the major costs of any TV show is the union writers. If the idea of pulling in role players can be implemented and used to replace writers it could provide a huge savings. Much like what happens with reality shows. So, just as computer games are using players/users to provide content at phenomenally low prices, this may be a similar attempt for TV content.
Another consideration is the amount of CGI (computer generated imagery) that movies and TV have now. CGI is used for backgrounds and to create buildings that are not there or change those that do not fit the time period of the story. While most of the clips at 25 greatest CGI movie moments are somewhat what we expect we may not realize that the pyramid, the ramp the elephants run down, the elephants, people, and more in the 10,000 B.C. movie (clip #22 – 2008) are all CGI. None of it is real. See Animation Secrets.
If one goes to the trouble to model a world, they have made most of the content for a game. Making content for a game essentially makes the sets needed for a movie. We see that in Second Life™ with what machinamists do. So, this is the logical extension and direction for games and movies. This is not the first time a movie has spun off a game or vice-a-versa; Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.
I think Defiance is a much more coordinated effort and plan. TV is losing viewers. (Reference: 2012 NYT, 2013 Coffee Snobs) For one those networks are getting competition from the Internet. I’ve canceled my HBO, Cinemax, etc. and use basic cable with encore on demand and Netflix. Second Life is competition for TV too. The networks are looking at how to attract viewers just as Linden Lab tries to figure out how to attract players.
We know TV advertising works. All the studios promote their movies on TV. They are also using YouTube, Twitter (or is that Twttr now?), Facebook, and whatever other media they can that reaches people. Imagine if Linden Lab would spring for TV and social media ads. Of course the Lab’s big problem is explaining what SL is in a 30 second sound bite.
Defiance is using a broad range media in a new coordinated way, or at least with more polish than I’ve seen done in the past. Plus, they are working to appeal to a wide audience of gamers and non-gamers… a little something for everyone. They have added in the fame factor that seems to attract so many of the young. What if they record players in action within the game and show them on TV in short promos? How many will try to claim glory in game to make it to TV?
If you have watched G4, you have seen them showing computer game competitions. Players get to see the best there is on TV. (2013 STEM Challenge) Seeing the best draws an audience. Will they play off that in Defiance? We’ll have to wait and see.
But, think of the various promotions they can run. It will be interesting to see how well it works.
I am hoping something similar can be done with Second Life. I think The Drax Files: World Makers can create some of the energy the producers of Defiance are spending millions to create. The challenge is getting Drax’s videos to more people. So, if you post anywhere outside the SL realm, include a link.