It’s all about the experience

April 2, 2015

Microsoft. Sony. Nintendo. Each one offers powerful brand experiences through their gaming divisions. What makes console entertainment so powerful that the XBox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U combined account for 40.5 million consoles sold to date? Their community.

Entertainment is: Unique & Personal
There’s more to games than just button mashing to see what happens next. The soundtracks and special effects of games is, frankly, incredible. Mario, Sonic, Link they all have iconic theme music throughout their games. The Halo franchise’s music is balanced for action and awe. I still count Blizzard as one of the best cut-scene creators out there for their special effects and rendering. All of that builds upon the stories and creates unique experiences for each player.

The customizability of characters, weaponry, vehicles, and more has never been better. Being able to create a character, weapon and vehicle to your preferences is a gratifying experiences and a staple in most character-centered games now. I still consider Fallout: New Vegas my favorite customizable game, for its characters and weapons. There’s also an influx of “sandbox” and “open-world” games where there is no set path or plot you’re required to follow. You’re free to make of the game what you will, which allows for incredible feats of engineering, story crafting, and engagement.

And with the help of fundraising websites Kickstarter, Indiegogo and even GoFundMe one-person developers, and small indie companies are now capable of reaching out directly to the community to help fund and support smaller scale games. Steam’s Greenlight section is another method where gamers can learn about up and coming projects, and see alpha builds and sometimes obtain early access. The ability to see behind the curtain is a rewarding experience for many gamers.

Entertainment is: Long-lasting & Memorable
We are still a society built on the traditions of story telling. A well-written story, or fully developed character creates long-lasting connections. Taking the time to build up an experience users can watch develop and grow through their actions is why brands like GTA, Mass Effect, Fable and Dragon Age resonate with so many players.

Voice chatting with your team during a mission is integral for some games and allows human connections, regardless of actual distance. From local co-op (playing on the same console) to multiplayer (generally online), the experience of playing with friends or strangers either cooperatively or against each other in games has resulted in long-lasting experiences and resulted in entirely new ways for games to be experienced.

And, with resources like Twitch and other live-streaming services, we’re now capable of sharing our experiences with others, in real-time. It’s an incredibly bold move for games and consoles to allow and incorporate such abilities into their products. But, it allows for their audience to endorse, market, and promote games as never before. I’d rather not admit to just how large my gaming library is because of Let’s Players, live-streams, and community suggestions, but it’s allowed me to experience a greater diversity of content than I would have on my own.

Experiences are incredibly powerful and create long-lasting connections to brands. Building those connections, creating communities and leveraging experiences are what makes impactful brands capable of creating the good and surviving the bad.

What brands are memorable for you? Which ones have created emotional connections, provided unique experiences?

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