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Default THQ develops ESP

August 22nd, 2007, 16:25
As you may have read in some of my posts, I've had a few gripes with THQ over the abandonment of Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (no post release patch support, pretty much leaving a promising new studio to fend for itself rather than promote it in a new expansion, gag-orders on the devs to stonewall any discussion about further plans, etc, etc) so I 've developed a bit of a bias against them. This has only increased now that I've found out what they're spending their money on instead of that post-release support.

I thought this little article on their latest marketing ploy was kind of chilling.

You may want to read the whole article to get the full dose of commercialism but here are some snips:

"Consumer advertising largely doesn't shape your subconscious behavior," said Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. "Part of the problem is that we haven't figured out how to study the quick, unconscious emotional responses to the advertisements, and this kind of technology may give us a clue….

With data from… sensors, EmSense can detect whether or when the wearer blinks, blushes, or sweats. "Combing all these measurements together, you get a model of how someone's responding to an ad or a game," said Hans Lee, chief technology officer of EmSense. "We can get a second-by-second emotional and cognitive response of the audience."…..

…..Developing a game, for example, can run into the tens of millions of dollars. What's worse is that relatively few games turn a profit, and even fewer achieve mass popularity. The advertising industry also suffers from consumers' resistance to commercial pitches. Most ad campaigns fall flat because they fail to push the right emotional buttons.
Here's my interpretation of this new plan for game development: Have a R & D set-up that spends thousands of dollars on trying to read people's minds, then only release games that can be assured of a major success by manipulating the presentation of the game elements to maximize an attraction in people's subconscious minds.

I can understand that profits are always a consideration, but this type of market research gets a little too close to thought control for me. What's the next stage—not just analyze a response, but artificially induce one?

Am I just being paranoid? to me a lot of good game ideas and smaller projects could wither on the vine through this approach.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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August 22nd, 2007, 20:06
interesting.
"THQ - it's in the game" to me has always been very subconcsious love our product, need are product style advertising. i can't recall if they dropped the audio and now its just metallic bam bam bam. hammering away on the ol' brain
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August 22nd, 2007, 21:05
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
interesting.
"THQ - it's in the game" to me has always been very subconcsious love our product, need are product style advertising. i can't recall if they dropped the audio and now its just metallic bam bam bam. hammering away on the ol' brain
I thought that was EA's slogan?

— Mike
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August 22nd, 2007, 21:28
guess you're right. but the fact that i got them confused says quite a bit!
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August 22nd, 2007, 21:38
This technique, if you read the article, is also used extensively with ads—they quote a few Super Bowl commercial experiments, which of course cost megabucks. To me it's just over the top to have these people crawlinginto my head to make their living, but maybe it's doomed to failure. The human brain is pretty kinky.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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August 23rd, 2007, 01:02
I've never bought a THQ product, and now it's likely I never will!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 23rd, 2007, 04:35
Purrsonally, I think youre taking this a little too seriously, mags. Marketing research is certainly nothing new, and even the simple act of watching peoples facial expressions is a way of "reading" their feelings. Is that ESP? This is just taking it a little further, like administering an advanced polygraph test. Also, the tests are being used on willing subjects, not sneakily being used on the unsuspecting. Like I said, marketing research, "focus groups", surveys, etc, this is already being done. This is just taking it down a more direct path.

ESP, "mind reading" if you will, isnt the monitoring and interpretation of someones physical reactions anyway, it's literally seeing someones thoughts, which is totally impossible (and will always be) in my opinion.
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August 23rd, 2007, 04:45
It creeps me out, dude. The fact that it's already being done is the scary part. They just want to do it better and better until they can read my mind, I tell ya! Yeah and when they put those chips in there, I suppose the subjects will be willing, too…like in Total Recall, man…I'll be in the grocery store and the guy next to me will be repeating to himself "yes, yes, Miller Lite tonight…" in unison with that little voice he's hearing in his head, piling cubes in his cart, smiling, nodding……AHHHHH must…run..away…before** GASP** they get me too…

No seriously, I'm sure you're right. I'll be fine. Really.

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August 23rd, 2007, 05:54
A few years ago I read that a machine was in development that can read the words that you think about saying but don't actually let out. Might have been by NASA, although I've been known to be crazy from time to time…
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August 23rd, 2007, 17:09
Well, I suppose it's only a matter of time. I can only imagine how embarrassing technology like that would be, Korplem. Family gatherings would never be the same. I can see it being a cell-phone feature or something —find out what that hot chick really thinks about you before asking for her number, etc.

In all seriousness, I do agree that as Sammy points out, this is a logical extension of the way marketing has been headed for awhile. I don't see how it can be good for game development, though, as it increases the funneling of dollars away from the actual game and into this witch doctor mind control stuff.

It reminds me of the Clinton administration and how every policy statement was based on the result of a poll. By using mass opinion to dictate your standards, you open the door to mediocrity and generic 'safe bets'. Twenty percent of testers dislike a feature—it's gone.

Still, I suppose it could go the other way, too:


THQ struck a deal with EmSense last year; and with the technology, the company gets insight on play of up to 50 minutes of the game, with comparisons to games in its genre.

"The tests helped us position the game; it was originally a cooperative-play, squad-style military game, and now it's more of an open-world, multiplayer game," Aniello said.
I guess this way it would also be possible for people to express dislike of an irritating feature(too few save points, an intrusive day-night cycle, or something) before it got into the game. Like all technology, it depends on how it's used.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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August 23rd, 2007, 18:08
I can see it now, EmSense gear will be covertly incorporated into our headsets to gain information and send out signals we don't realize we are getting.

Imagine, Corwin running out to buy a red silk thong and not knowing why, because he logged into a game a female family member was playing.

If they try to get in my head they may find stuff that will scare the you-know-what out of them.

Bart and Corwin should just admit that when it gets down to it, I will have the final say.
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August 23rd, 2007, 21:17
I just remember an article in the last issue if the German computrer magazine called " c't ", which is about reading brain patterns while thinking - through scanning the brain with … what's the name ? These things that are used in medical care … and electrodes, of course. There seems to be quite a lot of scientific work behind that.

People seemingly want to develop ways to tell what a person is actually thinking by scanning the brain.

Sorry, but a) I haven't read the full article yet, b) it is too long for me to tranbslated, and c) I don't know any English-language version of it.

I can only advise any interested German readers to buy the number 17/2007 of that magazine, if they can get it.
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August 24th, 2007, 00:33
So now you're having dreams about me in a red silk thong Cm!!!!! That's a WORRY!!!!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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