The SWTOR Early Access juggernaut rolls along, and as it does so, the blog posts about the entire thing roll right along with it.
And, in fact, that’s the subject of a post from Chris at Game By Night, who feels that the noise over the Early Access stagger might be the desired result of the entire scheme –
“Hype. What’s happening this week? The launch of TOR. What’s a good way to keep it a #1 Google search? Keep a lot of people in anticipation. Everyone NOT in the game, rapidly writing blog posts (like this one), tweets, and forum rants ensures the game stay on the forefront of MMO player’s minds. It keeps us chomping at the bit until we can join our friends in the fun. You can be sure that EA wants this to be as big a deal as possible. This type of marketing is nothing short of viral… except insidious is probably a better word.”
Chris’s central thesis is that the entire deal’s being orchestrated primarily as a marketing tool, rather than, as claimed, as a way to keep the launch stable. That’s very likely, and he’s got an interesting take on it – that, essentially, EA have somewhat devalued the expense of buying Early Access in order to keep the hype machine rolling.
It’s an interesting point, because it’s the cost of Early Access that has really made people mad. Spotify used a similar staggered launch, and it worked like a charm, but they hadn’t made people pay for access first…
Meanwhile, Melmoth of Killed in a Smiling Accident has been taking his traditional sideways look at things, and presents us with some better ways EA could have staggered their release codes –
Chocolate Bars In a completely unprecedented move, invite codes could be printed on tickets and distributed in chocolate bars. As a bonus, a limited number of special tickets (perhaps silver, or another precious metal?) could grant five lucky players the chance to tour the Bioware studios where karma would ensure an encounter in accordance with their failings (an inveterate ganker in PvP would end up being teabagged by a much more powerful developer; an erotic roleplayer who insisted on behaving inappropriately in public areas would end up… being teabagged…)
The Postal Service Just pop all the invites in the post, and thanks to the vagaries of the postal service they’re bound to arrive at random times (or be delivered to random addresses that might look a bit like the right address, if you squint. A lot.) Deluxe or Collector’s edition codes could be posted in envelopes, the rest in larger package that have to be collected from the post office, a bonus if release is timed to coincide with pension day in the UK.”
I particularly liked Melmoth’s “Safari Park Treasure Hunt Adventure” idea, it must be said…
Off-topic: don’t forget to nominate your favourites for the Piggie Awards !