It's experiment time!

We'd like to try the following -- with help from the moderators and community leaders.

  • When a new "big" game is released, provide (x) copies of it gratis to gaming.se community members in good standing, with (y) rep minimum.

  • The game should be ordered by a community leader, and shipped directly to the community member so it arrives on release day if at all possible.

  • In return, we ask that you ask and answer (z) posts about the game here on gaming.se -- with an emphasis on asking those questions within the first few days or week of the game being released.

Now, logistically this can be a pain depending on where people live, which community members are interested, and what consoles and games are covered. Community leaders here will have to coordinate everything; Grace Note has a community promotion grant that can fund this initiative to start.

I suggest doing only big, popular multi-platform games (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii etc) to keep it sane and simple.

What do you think of this plan?

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suggestion: Amazon is AWESOME for this, and Amazon covers all of USA, while amazon.co.uk covers most of Europe -- doesn't it? The logistics here will be challenging, but Amazon has helped me immensely in getting things to Marc (UK) and Ben (Germany) on our team. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 7 '11 at 21:29
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As far as logistics go, for games available on Steam, delivery and its related hassles can be avoided. –  Macha Apr 7 '11 at 21:31
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I think digital distribution (Steam, etc.) is even easier for many games. Then nothing needs to be shipped at all. –  Mad Scientist Apr 7 '11 at 21:32
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@macha steam has plenty of DRM style "only available in these regions" limitations, does it not? worth looking into.. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 7 '11 at 22:00
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@Jeff: They give censored versions to Germany and Australia, but AFAIK, so do traditional retailers. The other issues (countries outside Europe, America or Australia) would affect Amazon also, I think. –  Macha Apr 7 '11 at 22:06
    
As for game suggestions, Portal 2 comes out in less than two weeks: April 19th. –  user2974 Apr 7 '11 at 22:20
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@Jeff don't forget about Amazon.de and Amazon.it –  tzenes Apr 8 '11 at 1:07
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And Amazon.ca. –  Kevin Y Apr 8 '11 at 1:14
    
@tzenes Speaking of which, do you have some time available late tonight to discuss some stuff with regards to this? I have some extra specific inquiries with you that I'd like to address, if that's alright. –  Grace Note Apr 8 '11 at 13:16
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@tzenes Silly west-coaster~ (and Happy Birthday! ♪) This Sunday's actually a pretty bad choice, but since your afternoon is my tonight (GMT-4 right now), sometime like 18:00 PST sounds fine if you're good with it. –  Grace Note Apr 8 '11 at 16:27
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@macha please avoid annoying steam –  mbx Apr 8 '11 at 21:27
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@mbx I'll counter your dislike of Steam with an emphatic "Steam is great" –  Nick T Apr 10 '11 at 4:12
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@Nick agreed Steam is great. And I have my Portal2 activation code ready for the download! Can't wait. –  Rory Alsop Apr 12 '11 at 16:59
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So where can people say that they're interested? Sign me up :D –  Sadly Not Apr 13 '11 at 21:03
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I too would like to know how to sign up to help out. –  Raven Dreamer Apr 13 '11 at 22:13

3 Answers 3

I'm very much good for this plan. As indicated by Jeff, I've got the purse for this operation. But I'm not at the apex of the game selection - that, and more data, is up to the community as a whole. I would like to arrange a short meeting with as many people as we can get on Chat.

Combining my apparently wholly incompatible time zone to the majority of the community with the fact I've got special duties this upcoming weekend, I will not be able to attend anything over the next couple of days. But I don't need to be around for this discussion to happen - so please do not hold back on discussion if you can get enough people around.

The most important matters to discuss in this first meeting should be:

  • The first game selection. Some of the games that are probably coming up very soon may have already been pre-ordered by many, so this either just expands our ability to host a larger number of users to get the game, or just means we should look at other games instead. Also keep in mind the time for order and delivery - we need to be able to get these distributed properly.

  • The users who will get the games. We need users who not only will be interested in the game, but also interested in the Q&A to go with it. It may help to "Ask First, Solve Later", though this may mean swallowing pride for some. When you have determined a proper selection of users, we will need to collect mailing addresses but this will be done in private. Unless you want a potato delivered to your doorstep, please do not post your mailing address in the public chat.

I look forward to seeing how this all rolls out.

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In terms of who to choose, we should get a list of which systems different people have, and should probably bucket people by genre. That will not only help spread things out, but will make sure that people get games that they are interested in and where they will be able to accurately pick out what would make good questions. –  bwarner Apr 11 '11 at 21:47
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Perhaps there should be a nomination thread, much like there was for moderatorship, where people put themselves forward as prospective promoters. –  Raven Dreamer Apr 14 '11 at 2:54
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@bwarner I've decided to go with similar to your proposal, but skip the genre middleman and go straight to the games themselves. This makes it easier to build the list of options in the first place, since it gives a better idea what games are upcoming. –  Grace Note Apr 14 '11 at 13:49
    
Consider also asking people to maintain their console list in their profiles on here (I imagine the more hardcore do already) and then when it comes time to compile lists that can be done more easily (considering this will be SEI endorsed, I imagine a script could be written to facilitate this "grepping of knowledge") –  jcolebrand Apr 14 '11 at 16:29

I like it. My first reaction was "hey, Jeff is paying for games us gamers are going to buy anyway"... but then I saw your emphasis of payment in the form of early questions, and I like it. I've noticed it with existing games - once a game gets released it gets a lot of high-view questions - and this is precisely what this is encouraging.

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Google Trends is very useful to see how time-dependent the traffic for games is. You really need to get those questions asked in the first few weeks to get most of the traffic. –  Mad Scientist Apr 9 '11 at 10:40

Early questions may be one incentive to do this, but I think another incentive would be getting them to write game diaries for the Gaming blog (see: Editor's room).

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+1 - It'd be great to get more content for the blog. –  KatieK Apr 8 '11 at 17:23
    
What's the benefit to Stack Exchange, Inc. to provide gratis copies of games if it's not to build their own site up with quality answers? –  user3389 Apr 8 '11 at 19:48
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@Mark The writers of the blog also happen to be Q&A participants - it's basically "do both". As well, the blog itself is also a promotional tool for the site. This lets us provide both articles on the game to entice people to be interested in it, then have answers for them once they start playing. –  Grace Note Apr 8 '11 at 20:02

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