Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Golden Ticket

This is the conversation I have with John Harwood every morning now:
"Meet me at Best Buy to play the Rock Band demo," he says.
"Meet me at Best Buy to play the Rock Band demo."
"Meet me at Best Buy to play the Rock Band demo."
"I'll call you tomorrow."

This morning, though, we started talking about where we might get the game early. Even today, there are reports over at Cheap Ass Gamer that some people have already bought the game at Wal-Mart, while others are saying that the stores made a mistake and sold a demo kit (based on what Harmonix has said, I'm going with the demo kit theory for now). For a game that everyone wants to play, though, it's a HUGE deal to get it early. So we were discussing this and John said "They should just use the golden ticket."


The golden ticket. We've all seen Willy Wonka, we all know about the golden ticket, and how perfect would it be to promote this game?

Here's what Harmonix could have done. They could have announced a "World Tour Exclusive" event for next week in half a dozen major cities across the country. All of these events would have taken place simultaneously.

What's the event? An envelope for every person who attends, taped under their chair. At the designated time, everyone would be told to look under their chairs. Most people would find a coupon for a free Rock Band t-shirt (that they could pick up in the lobby).

For eleven people at each location, though, it would be different. They would open up their envelopes and find a golden ticket shaped like a Fender Stratocaster. And they would be taking a copy of Rock Band home with them.

Just think of the publicity. Hundreds of Rock Band t-shirts in the wild, Internet message boards absolutely on fire, pictures of the event posted on every major gaming site--and a select number of gamers to experience the game before its release date.

Oh, and one more thing. At this event, Harmonix also could have unveiled the gear that people could purchase if they reached certain levels in the game. Five-star every song in the game on expert? You'd be able to purchase a custom-designed leather jacket, and there would probably only be a thousand people in the whole country who would be good enough players to earn the right to wear one.

There would be gear that could be purchased at all different skill levels, but it would all be related to your skill in the game. You would get to wear your achievement, so to speak, and I think a ton of people would really enjoy doing that.

There's going to be a Rock Band tour after the game gets released, and that will be fun, but I think Harmonix/MTV could have really stoked the fire before the game was even released.

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