Engaging your target audience

Looking at the on stage demo of Assassins Creed I was mesmerized. The game looks remarkable, has a realistic feel to it, and Ubisoft seems to have made an excellent attempt at tapping into a dream many gamers have (particularly male gamers): being a ninja. I admit it, I love the thrill of the chase and Assassins Creed seems to give the player the tools to complete the mission using their own play style.

One of the problems I had with The Sims was that I felt like I was playing an incomplete game from the beginning. To me, The Sims 2 (yes, including the expansions for Sims) should have been the first game. EA is milking the hell out of that game and as the player, I want a great game released to me the first time, then improve on it. Don’t release an okay game and keep improving on it (and expecting me to pay for it).

The key here is the target audience. EA can get away with releasing an okay game and improving with expansions because their target audience is happy. On the flip side Assassins Creed would be disappointing if any of the features in the stage demo were missing. The target audiences are complete opposites. The Sims has a lower expectation, Ubisoft’s has a high one.

Gamers tend to think about being “big” without knowing what their target audience wants. It is interesting watching gamers continually ask what viewers want with no sense of direction. Watching their frustration when the viewers suggest something the gamer does not want to do.

Delivering the full package makes the gamer successful in growing a community. Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library does an excellent job of engaging people into the podcast. He’s a Jets fan and sports are nicely integrated into the show, but not overshadowing those who are not sports fans. I’m sure he draws people who are amused with his reaction to the games. His personality and opinions makes the show interesting, not the topic.

If you are going to grow a community, get to know and understand your target audience and understand the key of using complimentary topics. When Gary did an episode on cheese, he had to ability to engage people who love cheese who might be interested in eating cheese with wine. In this entry I talked about Assassins Creed, The Sims, and wine – very diverse topics with one common theme: understanding your target audience. Do you know how many gamers are looking forward to playing Assassins Creed or playing The Sims or drinking wine?

A lot.