So my junk drawer post for December is coming up, and it's a ridiculously busy post with a lot of little items in it. But one of them, on reconsideration, struck me as something that deserves its own post, if only a little one.
For those of you who aren't World of Tanks players or aren't keeping up with WoT, they're running a very interesting little promotion. Running until 10 January, Wargaming.net (the developers of WoT) are giving away a free t-shirt to everyone in North America who:
- has a tier 10 tank in their garage at the end of the promotion period; and,
- plays five matches during the promotion period.
Which is why giving the players that have hit this plateau some "free stuff" is a genius move on several levels.
At one of the past CSM summits, CCP toyed with the idea of loyalty bonuses for long-term players, and what Wargaming.net has done is a logical extension of that idea. These t-shirts aren't free: they've been bought and paid for with a lot of micro-transaction money. The devs are even letting the players choose the design, though they're quick to point out "the World of Tanks logo will appear on the shirt, even if you don't see it in the design below."
And come the spring and summer convention season this year, those t-shirts are going to be everywhere. Bet you anything we'll see a not-insignificant number of them at Fanfest, for instance. So giving them away is not only a smart player loyalty move, it's a smart marketing move. They'll be on the backs of thousands of committed World of Tanks players and should someone ask what the story is about that t-shirt, what are these ultra-committed players going to say? That the game is terrible? Not likely. They're immediately going to launch into a sales pitch, probably without realizing that they're doing it.
Meanwhile, the duration of the promotion is short enough that what do you suppose all of those people who are this close to a tier 10 tank are doing? Hell, the t-shirts might get paid for with the micro-transaction money Wargaming.net makes during the promotion period alone. And what do you suppose all those lapsed players that got their tier 10s a year ago are doing? Scrambling for their WoT passwords, that's what, bringing hundreds or thousands of players back to see what's changed in the game since they logged in last.
Like I said: this is a genius move, on any number of levels. CCP, if you want your players to sell your game, something like this is how you go about it...