YSA Questions

Posted by admin on June 12, 2010 in Execution, Iterative, Measurement, User Testing, Writing |

Righto! Looks like we already have some questions rolling in. As a default I won’t publish names of the person who asked the question (so let me know if you don’t mind!).

  • So, first, one person wants to know “if anyone can provide ‘measurement’ with their experiences…personal opinions are great…but at the end of the day…clients all want measurable results or findings”. Aha! As a start I’ll refer you to my ol’ resources pages on alternate reality games and extended entertainment experiences: ARG Stats & ARGs Around the World. These need updating and of course they don’t give the whole picture, just what people are prepared to publish. In other words, you suck at publicly published measurements of transmedia projects! So, what is needed is a discussion about lessons learned in measurement.
  • From some discussions, it also seems a chat about the iterative nature of many transmedia projects would be a good topic.
  • In another discussion space there has also been a query about how medium specificity operates in transmedia.
  • Lastly, a question in the Solve my Suck section is about “where is the best place (or what is the best way) to find like minded lunatics who want to spend countless hours working on a project”? I’ve pointed out the Unfiction Unforums, but there may be some people on this site that contact the questioner directly, or there may be another place on web. This question has been asked at many industry events too. So, if it doesn’t exist (cannot recall any place right now), then someone needs to make it happen. đŸ™‚

OK, so these are topics to be explored. I’ll put together some posts, but there is plenty to be said about all of them, so if you have any thoughts or would like to write a post – do it! But a reminder: this is not a site for posts explaining things for newcomers. There are plenty of sites that take care of that now. Instead, here is where you talk about things that suck in your own and others projects. You’re addressing your peers. Oh, or you can talk about whatever you damn well please.


  • David Varela says:

    So – a couple of lessons learned in measurement.

    I'm running an ARG at the moment and I'd love to talk about it, but maybe that's not the smartest idea. Instead, I'll talk about an ARG I ran last year called Xi, and which I summed up at last year's Power to the Pixel event (Christy was chairing). The slides from my presentation are here: http://www.slideshare.net/DavidVarela/xi-a-digi… or you can watch me mumble through it on video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFGhuqQ34c4

    One of the advantages of this ARG was that it was largely based in Sony's virtual world, PlayStation Home. Owning a PS3 and visiting Home was a prerequisite of playing, so we could *really* track players and measure our success/failure. Well, I say 'we'… Sony actually has full control over those stats and is very careful about what they pass on, even to first-party developers. But still, we could get some very meaningful figures.

    Home is a growing community. When our game began in March 2009, there were 5 million users worldwide; by the end in June, there were 7 million. Last I heard, it was over 12 million.

    Sony never set us targets, but they wanted us to increase the amount of time people spent in Home and, more particularly, the number of repeat visits. (In those early days of Home, people tended to turn up once, look around, and not come back.) The Sony people were very happy with us at the end of the game, so I guess we did well.

    The numbers: our core space in Home got 4.5 million visits from around 620,000 players in 3 months. There were another 11 spaces that came and went during the course of the game. There were other numbers too: the Xi messageboards had 18 million views and tens of thousands of messages. There were hundreds of Xi-related videos on YouTube and a dozen or more wikis and fan sites. Anecdotally, some players said they'd gone from visiting Home maybe once a month to spending 40+ hours a week in there.

    So a few lessons in learned:

    1. Advertisers love these figures. But the thing is, the anecdotal ones carry more weight than you'd think – they become the headline that the ad man leads with when selling the concept. They maybe not have the rigour of online tracking, but they have emotional power. Like a good newspaper quote, they can really help demonstrate success.

    2. Measurement never ends. Xi ended a year ago today (!) but the Xi Alumni Hub – a kind of memorial to Xi based in Home – has had another million visits since the game ended. It may be unusual for an ARG to have a long tail, but it shouldn't be ignored. The legacy of your game could have a really measurable impact beyond the intangible word-of-mouth generated by happy memories. And coming out of that…

    3. Another thing we suck at is leaving something behind after our ephemeral, magical experiences have run their course. If you're trying to convince someone to fund an ARG, think of it like an Olympic bid: you need to think about the legacy you'll leave once the main event is over, and this can be a major selling point of your proposal. That mini-game in Week 1 or those in-game videos could be getting hits long after the PMs have walked away.

    I learned plenty of other lessons during Xi, but I'll save those for another day.

    • nicalderton says:

      Point three intrigues me, David. Where should TM lie between something as transient as a theatrical production, the best of which, some argue, leave nothing behind but memories, and something more long lived like a novel or a painting which goes on to outlive its creator either as a unique artifact in the latter case or as a text which can be reprinted in the former?

  • Wclingman says:

    Started a Facebook group
    State Research Bureau Dept of Transmeida

    Hope it helps!

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