Gregor Samsa2 awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find his life magically transformed forever…
Imagine a world of fantasy and adventure, with you as the central character. A world that reacts to your every move, where the players are your family and friends, the arena is your house, the objective is… unknown. Welcome to ‘The M.A.G.E.’ (The Multi-lateral Alternate Gaming Experience). MAGE is a unique service offering custom-designed to each individual consumer. It promises the consumer an indescribably rich and realistic experience. The MAGE is an alternate reality real-time strategy/role-play game that blurs the boundaries between the in-MAGE and out-of-MAGE experience. In the duration of The MAGE, the ‘player’ cannot ever be certain which aspects of his life are parts of The MAGE and which are not. On occasion, the player may not even know of the existence of The MAGE (such as where the service is introduced to the player by another party). The elements of The MAGE will include –
The MAGE breaks the traditional boundaries of the entertainment industry, as it becomes a part or real-life emotions and unlike a book or a movie, is omnipresent and not only when the player chooses to play. It takes the new age alternative reality gaming3 to an unprecedented level by custom-designing the components to each individual player.
2Gregor Samsa – The central character of Kafka’s Metamorphosis who wakes up one morning to find his body has transmogrified.
3Alternate Reality Gaming – Online games that have a specific goal of not only involving the
player with the story
and/or fictional characters but of connecting them to each other.
host of websites and channels in a virtual treasure hunt.
STAGE-BY-STAGE RUN THRU OF A TYPICAL GAME SEQUENCE
Raghav Kapur, an extremely well-to-do industrialist living in Malabar Hills, Mumbai is nearing his 40th birthday. At his college reunion, he reminisces with his old roommate, Trilokjit Sengupta and berates the lifestyle he is leading, bereft of adventure or excitement. Trilokjit recommends The MAGE to him and he contacts our office the next weekend. On our end, we conduct an extensive background research into the lifestyle, habits, passions, likes and dislikes, relationships of Raghav. At the same time, he is tested on his physical and mental capacities by our trained specialist, which includes extensive medical check-ups and psychometric profiling. He signs the warranty and legal empowerment documents. He is given a basic idea of The MAGE but informed that the details would be communicated to him at a later point of time. In point of fact, MAGE has begun.
From his information details, we have already learnt of Trilokjit’s recommendation and involved him in Raghav’s alternate reality. Through him, we access him through as many established sources as we can, and establish new channels. For instance, we have another friend gift him membership to an exclusive club which is a front operation entirely run by our employees a.k.a bots (whose role in the MAGE is to the utter oblivion of Raghav). We insert an extensive number of similar bots at various locations where the player is likely to interact, such as the security agency of his corporation, at the local supermarket, in his auto repair workshop. Through existing bots we introduce multiple levels of new bots, such as a fellow club member recommending a particular psychiatrist to him. By doing so, by the time the player is involved enough in the MAGE to recognise something amiss, he can never tell which relationships in his life are affected. At the same time, we gain electronic surveillance to his house, his phone lines, car, etc.
The alternate experience will start affecting the player directly by the introduction of a seemingly innocuous event like a girl at the club or outside his office asking him for a lift. The player will be put in situations, which will encourage him to get intrinsically involved in the activities of our bots, such as the girl he offered a ride to, or the supermarket giving him empty milk cartons, his car moving only in reverse after he gave it for servicing, etc. Based on his psychometric profiling and capacities, he will then be absorbed into an alternate reality semi-fantasy world with various levels of action, adventure, strategy, simulation and role play. For instance, he could be involved in an international espionage incident or stopped at a nakabandi and a weapon/narcotics/large amounts of cash are found in his car and is arrested. Unknown to him, the entire episode would be part of The MAGE. From then on, the possibilities are endless, and like the matrix… “unfortunately, no one can be told what The MAGE is. You have to experience it for yourself.”
The cost components for each individual experience will vary as the structure of The MAGE is dynamic and customised to each individual. It will depend loosely on the level of complexity the player desires and will take into consideration the following parameters as cost components –
The estimated service fees charged for an intense-complexity fortnight one-player MAGEing experience is between Rs. 3.5 lacs to Rs. 12 lacs. Basic and medium complexity level MAGEs are also offered for between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2.5 lacs.
Age: 18-45 years
Occupation: White-collar service/professional, business executive, entrepreneur
Social class: Upper Uppers
Lifestyle: The player is a corporate high-flyer or business tycoon, or a family member of the new age generation. Leads a high-stress low-excitement lifestyle and is looking for new avenues of entertainment and self-exploration. While being a traditional tie-and-jacket executive in the workplace, he is a buccaneer at heart and yearns for the excitement of new experiences. He is willing to experiment, with a sense of adventure and romance, looking out for ‘that little bit more’ from life.
Occasions: One time user
User status: First time user
Loyalty status: Unaware
Readiness Stage: Uninformed
Attitude toward product: Enthusiastic, positive
The promotion has to initially The MAGE as a unique life-changing experience without elaborating on the intricate aspects of the offering. We seek to generate brand equity and trust in the company, which will serve to initiate trial. Brand recall should be instant when the consumer sees the brand. The objective of the initial marketing effort is to generate a buzz within the target audience and give them the feeling that they are missing out on something in their lives.
Communication Medium and Style
Due to the nature of the service, no overt marketing activities will be undertaken in the mass media. However, the launch of the service will be heralded by an extensive teaser campaign and below the line promotional activities such as local events, road shows, festivals and concerts. The teaser campaign will take the form of a nationwide real world multiplayer treasure hunt, which will be advertised by innovative marketing efforts like flash groups, movie placements and yellow arrow campaigns (a novel marketing concept involving geographical blogging by leaving little yellow palm size stickers with a unique code, brief text message and phone number or web link.)
Public Relations will be the main medium for generating inquisitiveness and curiosity with respect to the service. Pre-launch PR will be undertaken a month prior to the launch. For instance, Jug Suriya could mention in his column how the MAGE changed his life, without any elaboration on the concept itself.
Our core clientele base will
be reached through a selective mailer campaign in short bursts,
the service parameters are not disclosed. Core mode of expansion of the
clientele base is intended to be word-of-mouth and recommendations by
clients. An extensive loyalty program is planned to reiterate the
that we accord our clients. This will extend to prizes and heavy
references. The loyalty program shall also look at tying-up with
offerings with similar client bases such as Business Class Frequent
Gold Card holders of international credit cards etc. They will be
redeem points they collect from our partner organisations in our
at the same time this will allow us access to a massive database of our
ALTERNATE REVENUE GENERATION MODELS
Apart from individuals, our clientele base has the potential to expand ad be adapted within the basic framework of The MAGE experience to corporate training programs, defence and police force simulation exercises, group MAGEs and multiplayer modes (where the various players may or may not know each other but have interspersed MAGEing experiences) and elaborate practical hoaxes.
- Siddhartha Butalia, Adit Sharma, Rohan Mittal