Publishers Should Learn From Gaming: Offer Your Audience Opportunities for Competence, Relatedness & Agency
A guy from Alabama messaged my daughter DuCiel last night to tell her he was sending her $500. This generous soul is not anyone DuCiel has ever met or spoken with before. It's someone who saw her Kickstarter project and wants to participate. He wants to support the project, and he wants to have a say in it too. He messaged her to ask if she could add some player-designed elements to the videogame she is designing. DuCiel likes the idea, and she dropped in to talk to me about it.
Gaming lives on the leading edge of convergent media, an edge that innovative publishers aspire to capture with and for their audiences. At that edge, three of the most powerful motivators of human behavior converge: competence, relatedness and agency. Competence means the mastering of new skills. Relatedness puts the audience in a social context. And agency is choice.
The proposed addition to DuCiel's videogame would deliver the player greater agency, but all three drivers are necessary to build engagement. One reason gaming-and gamification-are increasingly important in media is because game mechanics deliver all three motivators. For publishers savvy enough to use these mechanics in building their audience relationships, these drivers improve their site traffic and content engagement by increasing participation and loyalty.
But media is not moving only one way-it is converging in reciprocal directions. DuCiel's game, Project Swordsmith, is unique because it's doing something that we're going to see a lot more of: delivering the game itself in an episodic form. The content delivery model could be compared to the episodes in a television season, or to a magazine subscription model, or to the format of what they call in Europe a "partwork." Each installment can be bought individually, in single-copy form, or the entire game can be bought as a single subscription and delivered sequentially over time.
A further level of interest to me is that the whole thing is presented on Kickstarter, one of the most successful online initiatives existing today, which crowd-sources venture funds for entrepreneurial startups. It's a powerful tool-DuCiel's project has been up less than two weeks and she's already more than halfway to her goal.
Drop by, and let her know what you think.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.