I write this as I’m installing World of Warcraft on my computer.
Blizzard Entertainment succeeded in creating one of the most immersive, fun, virtual game worlds I’ve ever played.
That’s why I bought the game four years ago.
I played for a couple of months, enjoying almost every moment of it. Then a combination of less time, and an unstable internet connection dragged me away.
So why am I re-installing it now, four years later?
I noticed a few days ago, that an icon for World of Warcraft appeared on my desktop. One of those free 10-day offers. A marketing partnership, in which a desktop shortcut piggy-backed onto my computer with some other piece of software. I did some quick detective work, and found that the piece of software that invited the shortcut to my desktop party was none other than an ATI driver update.
I couldn’t bring myself to delete the icon. And now, thinking about the characters I abandoned those years ago, I want to try the game again. I miss the vast landscapes, and high adventure that they’re home to.
All because of a clever partnership between Advanced Micro Devices/ATI and Blizzard Entertainment.
Partnerships like this exist throughout almost every facet of product promotion and marketing. But, I think the game industry benefits from these two-fold. The trial can hook new players – ones who either haven’t heard of the game, or have resisted playing it due to the price. It also draws fans back to games they haven’t played in a while.
A well-made, unique game never loses its fans, just it’s players (if that makes sense). What I mean is, if a game is good enough, and elicits a unique user experience, the memory of that experience sticks with players long after they put the game on the shelf. Every so often, the desire to relive that memory pops back into their mind. This is different from Spring Break 2002 in that you can re-live it by simply re-installing.
These partnerships are seeds that bring back the memories. At least, that’s what happened to me today.
I think I’ll re-start my WoW experience with a Tauren Shaman.
*Note* All of my old characters were still there and ready for me to resume playing immediately!