Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pre-Order Bonuses

Within the past few years, a trend has cropped up in gaming. That being offering bonus SWAG (Souvenirs, Wearables, and Gifts) when you pre-order a video game or related media from either a game retailer or online. Many being something that you will eventually be able to purchase separately if you really must have it. There are a few however, that you can only get this way.

There are different types of pre-order bonuses with games. Sometimes the pre-order is a new quest or adventure for your hero. The most common is an in-game item or costume that is only available with said pre-order. In truth, after a period of time, some of these become available to purchase over the respective networks of the consoles. However, my favorite type is the SWAG. These are physical items that you get when pre-ordering your game - usually t-shirts with an image from the game or the company's logo; but they can range from stickers, posters and bandannas, to concept art books and soundtracks - giving you something to show off at conventions or gatherings of your fellow gamers.

But why are pre-order bonuses so prevalent? Some speculate that it is an incentive to entice more people to buy the game. But is this so? Do more people buy games when there is SWAG involved?

For the most part I would agree - especially with the American consumer. Free anything is always desired no matter what it is. However, does the SWAG go one step further and draw in an entirely different audience who may not have been interested in that game? Non-gaming culture seems to think of all gamers alike - that we all like all types of games. This is not so. There are many casual gamers who only play the big names once in a blue moon because they saw a cool trailer or add in a magazine; there are hardcore gamers who's lives revolve around video game release dates; and there are many levels in between. I myself would fall in the middle but lean toward the hardcore category. I love games, but there are only a few genres that I actually like. The same can be said for many gamers out there.

There are dozens if not hundreds of different types of games, and not every gamer may be interested in them all. Games range from easy children's games to sadistically difficult adult games. There are puzzle games, strategy games, shooter games, sports games, and a wide array of adventure type games - just to name a few. For me, I enjoy games that require you to think - puzzle, strategy, etc. I also enjoy the mindless shooter every now-and-then, as well as adventure games. On the other hand, I'm less likely to find myself playing a fighting game, or a racing game. They just don't appeal to me, likewise with sport games. And I'm sure the avid sport game player won't be seen playing the cerebral mind games. I'm not saying people who play sport games aren't intelligent, I'm simply saying that it may not be their cup of tea.

My point being that it is unlikely that simply adding a pre-order bonus to a game will draw in a new audience. For an example, the new Mortal Kombat game has an in-game pre-order bonus where you can have Scorpion's "Old School" costume from the original game. While that sounds cool, it does not entice me to buy the game. As I said, I don't normally play fighting games; and the pre-order bonus is not enough to get me to start. On the other hand, would a SWAG bonus prompt me to pre-order a game I was already going to buy? For me, that's a difficult question. I prefer to pre-order games to begin with because it guarantees me a copy come release day. This decision is not affected by the fact a game may have a SWAG or in-game bonus. However, when I find out a game has such, I will get it. But what really entices me is whether a game has a limited edition version. Normally those come with SWAG and goodies as well. Combine that with a pre-order bonus and I am in heaven.

So, the final verdict: Do pre-order bonuses increase sales of games? Yes, people are more likely to pre-order games if there is an incentive, and the prospect of getting something free that other people wont have is very appealing to consumers. Do pre-orders expand the game's audience? Possibly, for me not necessarily, but for others it may. Sometimes it's good to try out new games and see if you like them, but that's what Blockbuster and GameFly are for. Don't go wasting nearly $70 of your money for a game you don't know if you'll even like. Of course you can always trade them in at GameStop. Allons-y, and happy gaming, all.

Random Ninja Attack, March 2011, Eric Hesselberg

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

News and Updates

As previously stated, Beanie has disappeared and no one knows where to find him. The staff are currently in discussion of where he will wind up and how he will return. A few ideas have been brought to the table which have promise. As of now he is just gone. The finale is still in the works and hopefully will be release in the next couple months. Bad Anime Night is coming along slowly due to the editors obligation with his local theatre troupe. We have been informed by our video editor, therandomninja5, that his back log of videos to produce have taken up nearly 1000 gigs of memory space (That's 1 terabyte) Many have been in the works for more than 2 years, and he would like to get back to them at some point. There is no word yet if there will be a season 2 of Power On. The consensus is that Power On will not be a review show (RNA still will be) But it will be fantasy adventure like season one became after episode 3.

Something special is planned for the finale, and it will be well worth the wait.

Upcoming Non-Power On related releases may include vlogs about new video games (including Portal 2) vlogs/documentary of "Fast Food" which is a stageplay directed by Beanie's Dad Bonne Papa (Bean Daddy) and "A Work In Progress" an exploratory artistic profile of Power On creator Eric Hesselberg as he attempts to make a new work of art. Among the back logged videos include a WW2 docudrama, a vlog on Eric and Ash's Cortez trip last summer, a vlog on a theatre competition, and travel journal type vlogs from 6 years ago when Eric and family went to Brasil.

Make sure to also check out Kyles Muzak Corner and Carl Vs The Armadillo.

Beanie will return...we just don't know when

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Where's Beanie?

Visitors to RNA and Kyle's Muzak Corner may have noticed that at the end of the Christmas Holiday, Beanie disappeared and has not reappeared yet. They may be wondering where he is and what he has been up to. Well, I'm here to tell you that as of now, there is no information on his whereabouts. The Ninja, Francis and Kyle have been searching for him with no results. Even Carl and Wilhelm have been brought in to pool their collective intelligence to the case.

From the editor: On a more serious tone... Beanie's disappearance was to be a set up for a new plot thread, which as of yet has not come to fruition. The creative team at RNA has been locked in several matters concerning scheduling conflicts, budgetary disputes, and equipment issues. Beanie will eventually return, but for now, please enjoy the continuing episodes of Muzak Corner, the new RN Follies videos, and reruns of Power On.

From the other editor: News in a Nutshell will be taking a short hiatus while it is undergoing cosmetic adjustments. It's low ratings has greatly bummed the producers here at RNA. The Puppet Time Players videos will appear once a month instead of weekly like Nutshell was attempting. Currently the Power On Finale (which was supposed to appear in October) is still being edited and has no official release date. A new video segment titled Bad Anime Night is also in the works and is past its initial release date as well. These set backs are largely due to the aforementioned issues RNA is dealing with and the fact that the RNA team is short handed. Please bear with us as we work to get the videos out as soon as possible.

From the Ninja: Several ideas for story arcs and plots have come across my desk lately. All have potential, yet we cannot do all of them this season. Our writers are feverishly working to see if some can be combined, and where the adventures of Beanie and Francis will go from here. Of course they would all make more sense if the Power On Finale was complete and online for all to see. We thank you for your patience and your support.