Lenovo wanted to position itself as serious players within the computer gaming community so they introduced their 'Y series'. How could we best connect with such a hardcore and passionate community?
To gain the attention of the gamer community has never been an easy task. Being a hardcore gamer myself, I know that gamers are very cynical when it comes to blatant advertising tactics and are already pretty well versed in the technical specs.
The holiday season is obviously a very important time of the year for gaming companies and their fanbase. With major franchises like Call of Duty, Star Wars and NBA 2k, this is peak season for people looking for a new device to experience these games but also a very crowded market.
Rather than making another website or app, which would get lost in the holiday craze, we were tasked to use an interactive display system called PERCH. The previous year, Lenovo had used the same technology to present their 'Flex 3' multimode laptop and wanted a refresh. However, that project was working with both a short 4 week design and development cycle and a small budget.
We first looked into how Lenovo was viewed within the gaming industry. Over the last couple of years, Lenovo had made a push to improve it's gaming computers, especially within their laptops. Not only did Lenovo become a more active member within the gaming community but when we browsed the internet, we found that their laptops had pretty favorable reviews. Many had viewed the laptops as good starting gaming computers for people not familiar with the process of building their own.
When looking at the gaming community on a macro level, we found gamers had an interesting habit that was exploding in popularity. Something that I enjoy doing is watching people play video games. Whether if I'm on YouTube looking for tips and cool clips or if I'm at my friends house watching them play a single player game, I find entertainment in watching others play.
I am not alone in the trend of watching people play video games as it has become an influential aspect in the gaming world. We saw that gaming focused videos on YouTube where among the most highest subscribed and viewed content on the site. These YouTubers' were shown to have a high level of influence among their fans and changed the landscape of journalism in the gaming world.
Watching people play video games has become such a popular craze that it has become recogzined as an 'E-sport'. Major networks such as ESPN have covered E-sports on both their website and their television channels showcases a League of Legends match between Wisconsin and Iowa University.
We obviously wanted to leverage all of this information to create an experience that would attract the gamers new to the PC world. With the opportunity to work with a different type of platform in the PERCH, we really wanted to show off how bad-ass this laptop is while also being informative to parents who are most likely buying a laptop for their child.
Our first concept relied on the use of popular gaming influences to help promote the laptop. The idea behind this would be to leverage peoples love to watch others play a games. When users approached the PERCH display end-cap, They will see three popular games played by some well known YouTubers.
Users would then be able to hover over sections to preview or tap on a section for deeper information. Once in a section, users would see the game play on the laptop monitor and ideally we would be able to mirror their keystrokes to show you how they played.
While the client loved the idea, this required a higher budget to acquire YouTubers and figuring out some of the heavier technical requirements. We came up with another concept with the same spirit. Our idea would showcase the duality of the laptop for practical and gaming purposes letting us relate to the parents, who want to make sure their buy a good computer, while still meeting gamers expectations. We call this 'The Gamer's Experience'.
We started off by storyboarding all of the different states that this experience would hold. The way we imagined telling the story was that with this laptop, you can travel to another world called 'Y-Mode'.
The only physical objects on the display will be the laptop. The PERCH display will project an overhead view of a students desk. The desk will have other Y series accessories such as the headphones and mouse and included small easter eggs.
On the physical laptop, we created a pulsating motion on the 'Y' key. When users were curious enough to push the button, it then would being the table transformation into 'Y-Mode'. In 'Y-Mode' non-essential items would be swapped out for more gamer centric items and the accessories would carry more gamer focused product descriptions.
After we presented our idea to the clients, we spent the following two weeks to make this idea come to a reality. We worked with our in-house production team to record the table animations and transitions while also working with our off-shore development team to make sure the table interactions worked to our expectations. 'The Gamer's Experience' was installed in select B & H electronic stores including their 4th Ave location in New York.