Monday, September 19, 2011

Sony targets social gamers with Global Resistance

As the holiday season approaches, you’re going to see a lot of big budget video games get massive marketing pushes, from the latest Modern Warfare and Battlefield games to Gears of War 3. Competing in this very crowded space is Resistance 3, the latest chapter in Sony’s PS3-exclusive humans-vs-aliens shooter franchise.

Honestly, the Resistance games have always been B-list at best — not really needle movers. To help the latest chapter (which is getting decent reviews) break through the holiday games fog, Sony and game developer Insomniac have taken the unusual step of (wait for it) gamifying their own game.

The end product is called Global Resistance, and it’s a free-to-play web-based strategy game with Facebook connectivity. You start off by going to the website, connecting your Facebook account and choosing to play for the humans or the evil Chimera (alien bad guy things).

The game is closer to a board game like Risk than anything else, but takes important cues from Zynga-style Facebook games, breaking the game up into easily digestible missions, which involve building bases, deploying soldiers, and sending challenges to other players. The game is pretty polished for an advertorial project, but it does seem too complicated for casual action game fans.

Now, why go through all this trouble to build a separate promotional game for a video games? Playing the Global Resistance game will let gamers unlock bonuses in the actual Resistance 3 game (new player skins, concept art, etc.). It also gives the game makers a hook into players Facebook profiles, which is never a bad place to be when trying to drum up some holiday time promotion.

We’ve seen a handful of examples of this kind of thing — promotional games for actual video games — before (the Dragon Age Facebook game is a prime example). If Global Resistance proves successful, expect to see even more of it.

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