After going to GDC I became more passionate about the idea of my research topic. I wanted to do even more on it. After going to a very interesting talk by PolyBridge developers, I wanted to research how one could program in social media integration into a game. I wanted to try and incorporate this into Split and record the outcome. Being able to program this in would not only benefit my research, but would also teach me a valuable skill. At GDC, so many people I spoke to recommended that technical art and the ability to communicate with programmers were excellent skills. Furthermore, a few people, had heard of Split and were fairly impressed that I had been doing all the marketing and community management on my own.

I wanted to research games social media marketing, I wanted this research to inform my desire to expand my career options of getting involved in production, marketing and public relations, not just game art. More importantly, however, I wanted this research to inform the development of our major production this year and potentially contribute to  the marketing success of our third year game production. However, I feel as though the feedback I received countered this. I understand that I missed the mark with my introduction, where I introduced my research instead of introducing the topic. The written feedback reflected that I should not focus my research on making something practical and that I should focus directly on the theoretical, using the theory to inform the practical component not visa versa. It may be more beneficial to students if the Learning Outcomes of the component were included in the brief. These help give better direction to our work if we can gain a deeper understanding of what the expected outcome of a paper is.

 

After speaking to Tece, she suggested that I apply the lense of social media as performance spaces to all of my marketing research.

I feel as though I didn’t clearly express that this was my exact intention in my research proposal. The plan is to bring all the topics I wish to discuss: how we used to market games, the rise of social media, YouTube and Twitch gaming (and the idea of the silent player, which I have recently begun investigating) and examine all of these through the lense of Performance Spaces, while also using my previous research into transformative play to inform this discussion. Hopefully, this will satisfy the “breadth and depth of discussions, critical engagement at an academic level, and synthesis of the information with a well-grounded contextual awareness” as detailed in my feedback.  

 

As for the “research question and purpose feeling undeveloped”,

After some consideration of my question:
How has the advent of Social Media changed the way that we market games?

And the purpose:
The purpose of this research is to understand how these cultural changes have affected traditional marketing strategies. By understanding this I hope to inform myself and future developers of changes we could see in games marketing and the value of being open to the fluid nature of the games industry. More importantly, however, how being informed of these things, we as game developers can give way for even more emergent play. I would like my research to be used to inform a major production, in our third year and in my career after university.

 

It may be better to ask:
How can game developers can use social media marketing to contribute to emergent play?

 

Speaking with Jordan, I found this the most productive in generating new ideas and better guiding the goal of my research. He suggested that I still needed to find the bridge between linking game sales and looking at social media as performance spaces or as platforms for emergent and transformative play. He wanted me to try find the connections that link these things to inform our marketing – Why transformative play? Why performance spaces? I needed to start looking at ways to bridge the gap between the theory and philosophy of performance spaces and transformative play and social media integration and marketing. Being able to articulate the idea and the connection I have made and bring that understanding to other people was what I should start focusing on. He suggested that I am giving myself too much work and should be considering the question more, avoiding advice and be objective of my own game.

 

For now, I should not be looking for answers, but rather just do my investigations. Looking for what could be the answer not what IS the answer. This will help develop a wider perspective to integrate into something practical. Research should inform case studies more than using the case studies to inform the research. However, it is more important to investigate how social media integration has benefited the concept of transformative play and emergent play. Seeing how theory work can inform the practical element will give people the opportunity to think about these things not solely as social media integration. The artifact should become a consequence of the research.

 

After this chat, I reconsidered the direction of my research I would like to state that I plan on dedicating at least 70% of my time to the academic research and writing part of this component. The other 30% will be the practical artifact which does not necessarily NEED to be about marketing indie games, but rather something practical that those looking at games marketing on social media can take from this research. How can user created content inform your marketing? What would the benefits be of seeing social media as a performance space? How can this help you communicate with your audience? How could you use this study to market games on social media? Can you use transformative play to inform social media integration?

 

While I would still like to use my own experience marketing Split as a case study, I would also like to program in social media integration, along with contacting popular YouTubers, streamers and websites to observe the result on sales of our game. I also understand that this may not be achievable within the scope of this paper. However it would still be good to examine this objectively and look at potentially doing a full analysis later, outside of the scope of this paper.
So I would like to examine the success/failure of this to compare and contrast these results with the results of other independent games like Poly Bridge and Towerfall that adopt similar marketing strategies. This case study will form less than 10% of the theoretical component, rather being used to inform the research and to reflect on how these theoretical ideas can be used to inform the practical artifact.
I hope that my reflection on this feedback is productive and helpful to moving forward with this component. I would like to hear even more feedback from my lecturers regarding this reflection to ensure that I am meeting the brief, the component aims and the learning outcomes better than I did in my proposal. I would like my research to be used to inform a major production, in our third year and in my career after university. If I am still missing the mark on this in my proposal reflection, it would be imperative that I know as soon as possible. It would be beneficial to know exactly what is expected from the lecturers and hear their recommendations of where I should focus the efforts of my research.

 

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