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MMORPG.com columnist Justin Webb breaks down the idea of Transmedia and tells us how it applies to MMOs.
In this article I'm going to talk about the emergence of transmedia in popular culture. After some basic definitions, I'll lead into Iron Man 2 as a continuing example of the trend, and then go on to mention the Matrix, Dead Space, The Agency, and then speculate about 38 Studio's "Mercury" and "Copernicus". "Converging Media" will be referenced throughout; McLuhan and Jenkins will again be invoked; and predictions regarding the future of MMOs will be made. Samuel L. Jackson will be referred to as "glue".
If you were one of the $130 million worth of punters that saw Iron Man 2 this weekend, you were also inadvertently part of a massive piece of transmedia. In this case, part of a long-term marketing plan by Marvel for the launch the Avengers (in 2012). Transmedia storytelling, a term coined by the always excellent Professor Henry Jenkins, takes place across multiple parallel media (movies, comics, games, websites, books, etc.), each with their own unique “entry points”, and each supplying their own distinct narratives that, when taken as a whole, provide a comprehensive understanding of the story’s universe. In the case of Iron Man and its sequel (and the last Hulk movie), these movies supply entry points into the world of the (Ultimate) Avengers, detailing how Nick Fury gradually puts together the team that will feature in the 2012 blockbuster. As that date approaches, in addition to the Thor and Captain America movies, I bet we’ll start seeing Facebook and iPad apps, Twitter feeds, new comics, video games, some kind of game from Gazillion, themed TCGs, and other cool stuff, that all have their own unique narratives but provide additional consumer entry points into the world of the Avengers.