Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Core business

In my real life work, I spend a lot of time talking to my customers about their "core business" and their "brand recognition".  Both are concepts that are easy to understand.  What are the one or two things that you or your company are the best in the world at?  That's your core business.  On the other hand, what do you want you or your company to be known for?  When someone thinks of you or your company, what do you want them to think about?  That's your brand recognition.

Think about Wal-mart.  Wal-mart has the best distribution system in the world.  But I'll bet when you thought of them, you thought "buy cheap stuff."  Distribution might be their core business, but inexpensive products are their brand.  Think about Porsche.  What came to mind?  Porsche has the best financial arm of any auto manufacturer in the world, but I'll bet you didn't think about that.  ;-)  But Porsche is in the happy position that "fast cars" are both one of their core businesses and their brand.

A successful business has to think about both of these concepts, and indeed, I've written about brand dilution as it relates to CCP and DUST 514 before.

Watch this trailer.  It's about two-and-a-half minutes long.  Perhaps you've already seen it.  ;-)

OK, now watch this trailer.  It's about the same length.

Now, using ONLY the information contained in these trailers, answer the following questions:
1) Which game is a FPS?
2) Which game is a FPS MMO?
3) Which game allows you to build guilds with your friends?
4) Which game allows you to attack other guilds?
5) Which game allows you to conquer territory?

Put in this context, I think you'll agree that CCP really needs to work on their branding.  ;-)

Now to be fair,
1) Hilmar's full presentation at E3 did a somewhat better job of answering these questions; and,
2) Hilmar recognizes that he could have delivered a stronger presentation.  He says in his devblog on the subject, "I could have gone on to no end on stage. It was not the venue for that so it's good to have a chance here to go a bit deeper."

There's only one problem: that was the venue for it.  The video was the perfect venue for it, and other videos displayed on the same stage did a much better job of presenting their game concepts in the videos.  I had to use quite a bit of Google-fu to find video of Hilmar's introduction to "Pale Red Dot".  Most people are just going to see the video without that introduction, and that video says absolutely nothing about DUST 514's core business.  Unless its core business is going to be about how much a tank costs, in which case I stand corrected.  ;-)

There's a time for CCP's standard stylized videos.  The big tent at E3 wasn't it.  If you're already somewhat familiar with the product, CCP does some great work with its videos.  But here, CCP is introducing a new brand and they really should have kept that in mind.  You've got to get people excited about the game before you can start telling in-game stories like this video does.  That didn't happen, and that was a mistake.

I'm not saying that CCP had to go with the straight marketing pitch in the GA trailer.  That's not CCP's style, and that's fine.  But they still could have done a much better job of branding their game right in the video.  Get people excited about the game!

I'm not asking for anything CCP hasn't done before.

There was a stylized voice-over in the video starting at 1:01.  Watch the video again, but this time, mute the sound starting at 1:01.  From there on, imagine a different voice-over script, from 1:01 to 1:53:

"Get 20 of your closest friends together.  Buy them infantry assault armor, landers, weapons, tanks, assault vehicles, even air strikes and orbital strikes.  Find customers for your services in the EVE Online MMO, with hundreds of thousands of players worldwide.  And once you have your customer, conquer a planet right in the faces of your enemy and 20 of his closest friends!  And once you've conquered that planet, it stays conquered.  Move on, attack and conquer the planets of your enemies.  Take their empire from them, one world at a time, in a persistent universe on a single shard!"

At 1:53, un-mute.  The voice-over as it exists in the current video from there on is fine.

Which script do you think gives the stronger presentation, showing off DUST 514's core business?


  1. Counting in the fact that it is going to be released only on the PS3, I`m already missing Dust514.

    Preordered DeusEx Human Revolution instead.

  2. PS3 only is just an atrocity...but besides that. I think this comment from G4's website sums up a non-Eve player's impressions pretty well (due to CCP failure on explaining their game):

    "It looks like a Halo clone. Many of the vehicles look like Halo vehicles. Even the soldiers armour looks ripped off from Halo's Hell Jumpers.

  3. The funny fact is that I DO own a PS3. The biggest asset that they could've done to Dust514 is make it PS Move compatible. Killzone 3 is an awesome shooter from that point of view.

    But with all the Playstation Network trouble and the millions of credit card numbers stolen and Sony not announcing it in time, I gave up on the online part of the PS3. And technically I don't know, but isn't the PSN supposed to work together with the CCP servers? And if not, Sony has the bad habit of forcing onto people their latest firmware to play the latest games and I don't want to give up (again) my Linux enabled PS3 ;-)

    And lol@Halo clone.

  4. I have to agree with you Jester, CCP missed the opportunity to tell people about this game. I only understood the video because I've been paying attention for the last couple of years. The video was interesting to me because it showed the execution of an idea I'm familiar with.

    For those poor suckers at E3 who had never even heard of EVE Online or CCP? I'm thinking it was head scratching time.


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