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Monday, February 13, 2006

Are We Getting Played?

One of the longest running debates amongs gamers is whether or not any review printed by a company which makes it's money off of gaming ad revenues can really be trusted. It's generally a mix of phobia and paranoia fueled by someone proclaiming that he doesn't care how many reviews liked Deus Ex 2/Doom 3/whatever ... they still think it's crap.

Well, now we know that maybe that person on the forums complaining about the review could well be a corporate plant. In other words, that thirteen year old girl who really raves about a certain company's products might not be the fanboy (fangirl) you thought she was. She's actually Gabe.

Then, while I'm just doing the morning crawl, I find this quote from an industry forum on interactive gaming, I find this quote (emphasis mine):

We created a national game event where kids could sign up online, participate in the game remotely through an online connection or actually go to a location that happens to be a DeVry campus. It was set up to be this big national contest. And it was amazing, the impression that that had on these kids. To this date, there's follow-up activity, and we've stimulated lead generation using this kind of gaming idea. We've used different messaging to varied mediums to try to get through to these people. It's the highest-responding, lowest-cost-per-lead marketing that we've done for them.
-- Interactive Technology Alters Rules of DM, Branding

Now, I can't find much information about DeVry's GameDay, presumable the contest in question. There was supposedly an "unrevealed game" that was going to be part of the contest, but I don't see any news about a game being unveiled at such an event. By all rules of semantics, this is definately a national contest. Of sorts. There were even prizes. It just seems a lot like a huge advergame.

Maybe I've been watching too much Hustle on A&E, but this is beginning to feel like the foxes are circling the henhouse. Gamers are becoming the mark as they spend money in larger and larger amounts. Since an increasing number of gamers are older with hefty disposable incomes, this is probably only the start. And since many of us are in a similar demographic which likely ignores web ads and fast forwards through television commercials, expect the marketers to figure out more methods of "reaching" their target.

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