Fan participation in the creative process is nothing new to Capcom, as fans have been helping design Robot Masters and NetNavis for years. But with the rise of the Mega Man Legends 3 Project and Devroom, which allows fans and users to interact with the developers and participate in the creative process for the game more widely and directly, Capcom has broken new ground. But is it indeed effective, or is it a risky roll of the marketing dice? That is the question put forth at Gamasutra today by business editor Colin Campbell. In his article, he compares the techniques of "engagement" and "transparency" used by other companies through social media to that which has been employed by the Capcom Unity, and how this has given rise to the Mega Man Legends 3 Devroom:
Most games blogs are patronizing in tone, handing out information like a school-ma'am doling out candy to good little children. But Capcom's DevRoom treats its readers like adults and appears to be genuinely interested in feedback. It lacks the feverish clique-factor of so many forums.
I love this stuff. I work for a company that sells content to brands (we didn't work on Capcom-Unity). For me, companies are so obsessed with secrecy, so wedded to tired marketing techniques, that they fail to realize their most precious narrative assets -- their creative people, their fascinating processes and the possibilities of valuable relationships with the public. Alas, most social media campaigns cleave to the marketing techniques of the past.
Campbell adds that upon learning of the Devroom, he thought it was "a smart piece of marketing," but was less certain about the fans' part in all of this. To that end, he visited with Capcom's offices and spoke with Community Manager Joveth Gonzalez to learn more about how it is all coming together.
To see how things went down, check out the full article at Gamasutra!