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Engagement Marketing: Spore Creature Creator

Written by: Bill Sherman on Friday, 27 June 2008, 3:21 PM

Can you take a pre-launch fragment of your product and turn it into a commercial success and simultaneously produce major marketing buzz?

Last week, Electronic Arts accomplished a marketing coup when it launched the Spore Creature Creator. As a game, Spore has been in-development for about four years. It launches in September. The project is the brain-child of Will Wright, who created both Sim City and the Sims, and the game has the potential to change how we think about interactive online games.

The premise of the game is simple but its execution is complex. You start by directing a group of single cell organisms in a new world. As your direct these cells, they evolve and become more complex (multi-celled animal life). Eventually there animals gain intelligence, form tribes, build cities, and move out into space.

Remember, that’s the description of Spore. The Spore Creature Creator is the in-game engine used to generate the world’s creatures. Your creature can have only a certain number of limbs, but after that, you can fully customize your creature. More importantly, it’s easy to build a creature and make them look cool. You can then take your creature for a walk and teach it how to dance.

Someone within this project realized that making creatures could be a fun game on its own. So, Electronic Arts launched the Spore Creature Creator. In the first day after launch, over 250,000 creatures were created and shared in an online community of creatures at Sporepedia. Currently, Spore Creature Creator is on its way to have over a million creatures created within its first week of launch.

The software comes in two versions:

  • A free download: includes about 25% of the creature options that can be found in the game.
  • A $10 download: includes all of the creature options found in the game

The response from the gaming community has been enthusiastic, but mainstream media has fallen in love too. Sure, PCWorld, Slashdot, and Wired picked this story up. But look who also picked it up: Forbes, BBC, and the MIT Technology Review.

Remember, this isn’t the launch of the actual game. This is just a  teaser–a fragment of the product. This is, if you will, an interactive movie trailer . . . that gives people a glimpse of “coming soon.”

Kudos to Will Wright and his team for an amazing execution, and kudos for a very savvy PR pre-launch. This ie exactly how to engage your customers and let them interact with your creation.

Related Links:

“Engage Me” Marketing: The Weezer Hootenany

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