Archive

Subscribe to Reloading...

You must be logged in to subscribe. Please Login or Signup for free.

Reloading...

Reloading... SDCC - Suspiciously Determined Consumerist Culture

Posted Mon, Jul 25, 2011 by Sardu

Welcome to the 42nd Edition of Reloading...

My trip to San Diego for Comic-Con 2011 this past weekend is a bit hard to summarize in just a few hundred words, but for the sake of keeping today’s edition of Reloading…from turning into an epic yarn that would make Geoffrey Chaucer jealous, I’ll give it my best shot. Bear in mind that spending a few days at the ‘con is a bit like hiking uphill through a rave taking place in the middle of Mardi Gras inside an arena tour mosh pit (translation: I’m pretty wiped out from the experience) so if I lapse into seemingly nonsensical rambling, I apologize in advance.
 
Heading back to my hotel after the DCUO panel discussion that was cosplaying as a catered, open bar party on Saturday night, it occurred to me that the gaming industry may be going about things all wrong when it comes to annual events. The primary goal of a gaming expo and a more generalist pop culture show like SDCC are relatively similar, however, the approaches and outcomes are vastly different.
 
You see, gaming events - even those catered specifically to fans like next month's PAX Prime - are stuffed full of booths where game developers and publishers attempt to woo you into purchasing their upcoming titles. In a roundabout way, you can pretty safely interchange “fan”with “potential customer”when it comes to the target audience for that type of event.
 
As a brief aside, it never ceases to crack me up when a developer states that it prefers to attend fan events like PAX instead of a more press oriented affair like E3. I suppose that being a member of the press automatically means that you can’t also be a fan. Never mind the fact that I wouldn’t have gotten into the nutty world of games media in the first place if I weren’t already a massive fan of massively multiplayer gaming, but I digress…
 
Getting back to the point I’m trying to make here, what's interesting is that even for launched products, the experience of gaming industry fan events is still wholly focused on giving you a chance to experience the game, mingle with some of the devs, and maybe walk away with a bit of swag.
 


In sharp contrast, Comic-Con is also a very fan-focused event, but it's also a massive flea market for nerd culture. Everywhere you turn there's someone trying to sell you something, and in an age when you can order just about everything online, what makes dealing with hordes of people at the event boils down to three very basic things:
  1. The hope of getting to meet a favorite artist and get their signature, usually on something you'll be buying, or are encouraged to buy at the show
  2. The hope of being able to purchase one of the exclusive items made specifically for the 'con
  3. The hope of getting to meet a celeb on the show floor who will either attempt to deny being who you think they are, or are there in support of a product being sold at the show
That's not to say SDCC is all about sales, sales, sales. But... it kind of is. Well, not counting the Every Day is Halloween crowd, a.k.a. cosplayers who turn up in droves for comic-con each year and dwell in the lobby to pose for pictures for the duration of the event.
 
The NCSoft Booth at SDCC 11But imagine what a different industry it would be if an E3, PAX, gamescom, or similar gaming-centric event followed a different model that's closer to the SDCC flea market approach. Instead of standing in line for an hour to maybe get the chance to play a game for 10 minutes, you could go to the booth of a favorite devco, purchase a preorder box, and have it signed. Hell, they could even sell advance DLC packs or codes and I have absolutely no doubt they'd go like hotcakes.
 
Then again, SDCC made me realize that I'm kind of thankful we don't have equivalent events wholly focused on gaming. The show has grown so huge that it's slowly overtaking a bigger and bigger chunk of the downtown area surrounding the convention center, and navigating through any of it is an exercise in frustration from sunrise until long after sunset.
 
The gaming presence at SDCC has also grown, but it’s still relatively slim pickings once you look at what a small percentage of the overall event has to do with games. Some of the MMO highlights this year included the playable demo for Guild Wars 2 (in two separate locations, even), a playable demo for some of the Green Lantern content for DC Universe Online, and of course the infamous pre-order announcement for SWTOR.
 
Like a John Romero movie, there were zombies everywhereHighlights of the non-MMO variety included a new playable scenario for Payday, this time focused on air-lifting the entire vault of some drug dealers out of their stronghold, and the very promising Dead Island. Although now that I think about it, I didn’t realize just how saturated pop culture has become with the whole zombie craze before this weekend, and as much as I dig the whole zombie apocalypse thing, I left the ‘con wondering if Undead Labs’ upcoming titles will be hitting the scene a few years too late.
 
All in all, SDCC was a very good, but exhausting time. But as the saying goes, there’s no rest for the weary, so I’ll be cranking out some exclusive content from the ‘con that will be coming to a Ten Ton Hammer near you throughout the week!

Until the next event,
Reuben "Sardu" Waters
Latest MMOG Features

Interact with our new SWTOR site and win a Collector's Edition!

Local retailer sold out? Can’t find a copy on Amazon? Fear not, we’ve got one fully loaded Star Wars:The Old Republic Collector’s Edition, (complete with pre-order code) for you! Take a look at SW:The Old Republic Post-A-Thon for all the details!

The Premium Push - A Cross-Realm Money Grab?

Ten Ton Hammer takes a look at the effect of the Cross-Realm Dungeon Feature becoming a premium service as players continue to fear the "nickel & dime" effect.

SWTOR at SDCC '11 - Day Two Recap

For a quick run-down of the "ground shattering" news let out in today's Star Wars: The Old Republic Q&A check outSDCC: 2011- SW: The Old Republic Q&A Rundown.
Latest MMOG News

SDCC The Old Republic Trailer - Join the Fight!

Hot on the heels of their preorder announcement and details regarding what each edition contains, BioWare has given us a new teaser of the classes in their latest trailer for The Old Republic, titled Join The Fight.

How a TERA Class is Born - The Lancer

A teaser of a different type! For those of us looking for lore in our MMOs, these are dark times. Fortunately, the writers behind TERA have our backs!

Rise of Isengard Expansion to Begin Beta Testing This Week

Turbine just announced that initial invite-only beta testing for the Rise of Isengard, the next expansion for the Lord of the Rings Online, will begin on July 27. Learn how to get your invite by following the link!

Get Hammered!

Get social for a chance to win Ten Ton Hammer gear

Our premium members sometimes ask us for Ten Ton Hammer branded gear, and recently they even requested autographs from our staff. We've decided to meet both demands with one little contest...and make a few friends in the process.

We're giving away an autographed Ten Ton Hammer branded shirt (size large) to one lucky winner who is both a premium member and a fan of the Ten Ton Hammer network on Facebook. Just submit an entry here, and then LIKE us and start commenting on Facebook.

We'll choose a random winner, so the more you comment the better your odds!

PlayerScore 4.9.00 Released!

PlayerScore 4.9.00 is now available for download! This new version features the restoration of the database mode and several other feature:

To view the database, simply install PlayerScore 4.9.00 and choose “View Database” from the WoW minimap icon. Once you’re in the database you can click the headers to sort by that type, or change the page. You can also choose to view data for your current group, your guild, or everyone you’ve met!

If you use the PlayerScore updater, you can pre-download most of the scores for your server. This has the added benifit of adding tooltips to your chat window. Mouse over players to see information about them.

Download PlayerScore 4.9.00 here!
Real World News

From the I-can't-believe-this-is-syndicated-news dept. --
Fatter and Fewer German Nudists As Numbers Dwindle

From the you-are-what-you-eat dept. --
Human Waste in Volcano-Smoked City Reveals Roman Life

From the Tremors-remake-in-production dept. --
'Devil Worm' Discovered Deep in Earth's Crust

Bruce Campbell Fact of the Day

When Clint Eastwood called the .44 Magnum "the most powerful handgun in the world", he forgot about Bruce Campbell's boomstick.


Connect with Reloading...
Find us on Facebook


TenTonHammer.com
 
 © 2011 Ten Ton Hammer  

Grammar and facts. How am I supposed to compete with this?

Who decided to let the smart guy write the column while I was away?

News from around the 'Net