Solving a customer’s problem with a dynamic conversation in Tech Support: Error Unknown
When I entered a contest on Brightlocker to win a PlayStation 4, I expected to be a cakewalk. Looking at the platform attendance, I figured that I would only need a handful of supporters to bring me to victory and that I could take the bulk of the work on my shoulders. Instead, it became a daily battle to reach and remain amongst the winning top 3, including a hefty amount of promotion, turning the competition into an allegory of video game development, marketing and distribution.
Brightlocker is a financing platform akin to Patreon and Kickstarter specifically targeted to game developers. They invite gamers to invest in ongoing projects, getting them involved in the decision making and development process, which earns them exclusive perks along the way. Because the platform is closed, the Brightlocker administrators themselves hand pick which projects actually get on-boarded.
Part of that process involves regular contests where developers can submit their ideas and the audience vote on what tickles their fancy. Brightlocker then makes an internal review of the top 3 results for consideration to appear on the platform. And as a special event for Christmas, they also offered a PS4 as an additional prize for the top three contenders.
I applied to the platform with my game Tech Support: Error Unknown, which at that time was in development for about two months. The game puts the gamer in the role of a tech support specialist, navigating through various applications, conversions with customers to find their problems and dealing with an intrigue of espionage, blackmail, and hacking. When the contest began, I already had screenshots and a working prototype, all I needed now were the votes.
Brightlocker badges provide XP, gold, and hearts for voting
Unlike most other platforms, users are invited to vote several times on the available projects, by using hearts. These hearts are one of the currencies on the platform and can be earned by completing various actions, such as completing your profile, logging in daily, following projects, and even voting. It’s easy to gather several thousand votes in fact by spending about thirty minutes completing the available achievements on the platform.
Looking at previous competitions, I estimated that I would need about ten thousand votes in order to win, a trivial amount. Thanks to an entourage of dedicated fans, friends, and family, including many from the CFN community, it only took 4 hours out of the two-week contest to get over 10k, landing me in first place among the 80 projects presented. I wouldn’t stay at the top for long, however, as others became equally drawn to the PS4 prizes.
Suffice to say that by the end of the contest, nine projects had over ten thousand votes, with the winner getting over 126 thousand votes. I finished with 118 thousand, an impressive number for sure, but votes do not tell the whole story either.
While most votes will come from new users joining the platform and going through their initial run of achievements and daily tasks, Brightlocker also offers the possibility of buying gold which may then be traded for extra votes, to the tune of 12 500 votes for 100 USD. That’s perhaps the most interesting aspect of the contest, how popularity can be trumped by a single user having the means to buy a path to victory, even though the value of doing so does become questionable considering the value of the prize, with a PS4 going for about 250 USD.
Tech support finished with more than 118 thousand followers
Tech Support finished 58 followers, more than double that of the first place winner, and even more than many projects already approved and active on the platform, all without requiring me to spend any money. The community is a powerful force which pushed my game to the top and I’m hopeful that Brightlocker will use those metrics to get it approved.
So, a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me, but especially the people who continued to put in the time every single day to ensure that I would remain at the top. It’s certainly a great way to start the year, not just by getting a free console (my first for this generation), but for seeing all the support I have for this game as well.
Tech Support: Error Unknown is now up on Brightlocker as an active game and will be hitting a private alpha shortly, so don’t forget to follow.
Using the Terminal to hack your way into learning the truth