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[Column] General: Transcending MMOs with Transmedia

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 17,633MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Transmedia is one of the biggest buzzwords in the entertainment industry. How can it fit in with the MMO-space? In her latest column, Genese Davis explores the possibilities. See what she has to say and then lend your thoughts to the comments.

And today transmedia and crossmedia platforms enable us to go beyond the boundaries of traditional MMO limitations and explore new subsets of these game worlds as well. Just last month, Syfy and Trion Worlds launched their transmedia project, Defiance. With this next iteration and first-of-its-kind transmedia effort, this collaboration hopes to entice non-MMO players to give the game side of Defiance a try, and get the MMO players to watch the show. 

Read more of Genese Davis's Transcending MMOs with Transmedia.


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  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member Common
    The lich king got me too. I remember seeing the commercial air on espn. I think my jaw dropped and I went right to walmart and bought a copy. I can remember playing and thinking this may be the best game I've ever played. Then I found out near the end of 2008 that this game was over 4 years old. I thought how come I never knew of it, have I been living under a rock?

    And in the 2013 if I hadnt played wow mmorpgs would still be invisible to me. Since I dont watch anything but sports not even defiance would have found me.
  • Juice2000Juice2000 weymouthPosts: 94Member Uncommon

    I think transmedia can work but as with all things its situational. With Defiance for me it didnt i love the tv show but have no interest in FPS  games especially if i have to pay to try it first. However as you mentioned with WotLK similar transmedia in a genre i like would probaly convince me to try a game or watch a film i may of dismissed before.


  • SlothnChunkSlothnChunk Kansas City, MOPosts: 593Member Uncommon
    I think it's working well for Defiance based on the player activity in the MMO and ratings for the show.
  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,163Member Uncommon

    Blizzard has done a great job with their cinematics and raised the bar for other companies.  Even though I don't play WoW anymore, I'll always give props to Blizz for putting out a classy product.


    I've seen some really excellent film trailers for other games that don't translate into good in-game cutscenes; the characters are hideous, the movement isn't fluid, the graphics terribad, etc. I think if the quality is there across all the media, it can work really well. But if it isn't, everything can suffer.

  • DraeghorDraeghor Sacramento, CAPosts: 50Member

    I think TSW also did a great job at spannign multiple outlets to get people interested in the game.  They used Websites, ARG's, twitter feeds, facebook and other forms of media to get people really excited about the game.  It is just that once you get in the game, all of this multi-media stops.


    Why is it that game companies do not look to try to expand the experiences within and outside the game.  Neverwinter is doing this a bit with their Gateway whcih allows you to work on your professions outside the game, or get email.  The world of warcraft app even lets you tune into your online guild chat from the app, which is good.  But there is no real gameplay here. 


    Could they integrate so that you get pertinate backstory or details through media outside the game if you opt-in.  Give you a chance to work on game specific things outside the game, such as TSW investigation questlines.  Even getting introductions of prominent NPC's which you can then possibly build a reputation with through your out of game conversations.


    Transmedia is only in its infancy, but I think it is an minamally tapped resource for the future of online games.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    When I play an MMO, the game itself is the only source of canon.  Nothing outside the game exists to me.  I'm stubborn that way.

    The funny thing about the lich king cinematic was that I was watching it as someone not versed in Warcraft lore, and it played out as a great mystery.  Who was this prince?  Where did he come from?  What happened to him?  What did he want?  It was a fantastic teaser for a game that wasn't the one I was about to play.

    Playing a character through Northrend was extremely frustrating because his story came only in random dribs and drabs - I wanted to understand who this person was.  I didn't want to be led by the nose, but I never really had any choice of what story to follow - the lore was constantly throwing random plotlines at me about arcane magic and cults and giants that didn't seem to come from anywhere or go anywhere.  When Arthas lore happened, it happened sort of out of the blue without any context and didn't seem to assemble into a meaningful story.  So in the end, I just made up my own story.

  • larrypsylarrypsy Laguna Woods, CAPosts: 34Member Uncommon
    Sooo many games - sooo many books - sooo little time - $64,000 question how to decide which game, book, and time.
  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,887Member Uncommon

    The part that I am doubtful about is how many new players who have not played a MMO before will play because of the TV series? Remembering that Defiance is a MMOFPS and would not really be their first MMO. And if they do play Defiance how long will they stay?

    Everything I have seen in my life shows that those who want to do something will find a way. If people want to play computer games, learn how to play golf, get fit, see more films…it does not matter what it is, they will do it. So if these people watching the TV series are not already MMO players or even not already gamers, will they stay?

    The TV series may entice them to give the game a go, but I doubt many will stay. If they had no interest in that direction before they are not suddenly going to gain an interest. The one exception to this is the power of the herd, if viewers think their friends are playing they may play and stick with it just because of that.

    So the paring of TV and MMO makes them both stronger, but I do not think the game will see an influx of long term players from the TV viewers.

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  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,021Member Uncommon
    It did not work for me with defiance.  The ui was so bad, and defiance the tv show was a rip off of all the other syfy shows over the past decade.  I don't know how the tv show can drive folks into wanting to play the game and same the other way around,  both are mediocre at best. 
  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by juice2000

    I think transmedia can work but as with all things its situational.

    Social Media.

    An awful lot of people make an awful lot of money from the hipster.

    What you don't hear about is the failures.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 3,100Member Uncommon
    There have been movie/TV tie-ins to video games forever. In this case, it is a current TV show going concurrently with a "single player" MMO shooter. A slightly different flavor of the same basic thing. (So What?) And frankly, if anything, the game suffered by being shackled to production deadlines tied to the TV release date. The PC version is plagued by many bugs, a clunky UI and lousy chat system, all of which were in no way helped by the hard deadlines.
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