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Lenovo’s Re-Invention Now Includes Crowdsourcing A New Video Game
Working with game developer Dark Rift, the PC/phone maker adds community-influenced gamemaking to the techniques for recreating its brand.
Computer maker Lenovo wants to be known for more than just ThinkPads. So the company is launching today an effort to develop a new video game with the crowdsourced help of the gaming community.
“No, we aren’t developing a game on our own,” the anonymous post says. Instead, the game will be developed by indie game developer Dark Rift. Gamers, developers and hobbyists will be encouraged by such “gaming influencers” as Rooster Teeth, Funhaus, Nerdist, Michelle Morrow, Geek and Sundry, Machinima and Inside Gaming to submit ideas and give feedback.
Apparently, every aspect of the new game is up for grabs. Input will be sought for such decisions as the game’s mission, character development, mechanics, sound, design, mapping, gameplay and lighting.
Submitted ideas will be up- or down-voted, and badges will be awarded for various levels of suggestions, accepted suggestions and other input/feedback. The idea is that the community back-and-forth — which will help drive the game’s social marketing — is part of the game.
Initial game development is expected to run through February, with a level one game out in June.
The announcements do not specifically declare the target platforms, although it will undoubtedly include Lenovo’s high-end gaming PCs and headphones.
This effort to build a wave of gamer enthusiasm is part of Lenovo’s recently announced attempt to turn itself into a cool brand that is more like Apple than it is like, say, Dell.
At the company’s annual kickoff in April, for instance, CEO Yuanqing Yang spoke of a corporate vision where customers own multiple Lenovo-branded devices of various types, all connected by a single log-in and backed by a community enthusiastic enough to act as brand advocates.
Earlier this month, chief marketing officer David Roman told Mashable:
“In the past, marketers broadcast to their audiences. Today, marketers engage with them, largely online. In both models, you have to know your audience — the people you really want to reach. The difference is control. In the traditional model, you craft the message and very carefully control how it reaches your target audience. Today, we give up that control and co-create our message with our best customers and let them help us tell the story. While engagement takes many shapes, we’re focused on three: crowdsourcing, influencer partnerships and user-generated content.”
That push for engagement is reflected in this new project. “Game State,” the website says, “was created for you to state your game.” Videos on the site capture various gamers’ blue-sky imaginings of what a great game could be.
Preliminary art, such as a human hero concept drawing called The Originator, are presented on the site for feedback, and community participants — who have to be at least 13 years old — are invited to submit their artwork.
This is not the first attempt at crowdsourcing a video game. It’s not uncommon for game makers to ask for input — or to respond to feedback — from their community. And some games and environments rely on user-created content.
But when one of the top PC makers on the planet decides it wants to create products with its community, the game may have changed.