Wednesday, April 26, 2006


This is interesting. Palladium is on the verge of going under. They're the guys who made RIFTS, one of the games I turned to after D&D got on my nerves too much. From a game sense, RIFTS is unbalanced and poorly thought out. From a narrative standpoint, RIFTS has some of the most amazing world design I've ever seen. But that aside, I'd like to talk a bit about the company.

Kevin Siembieda appears to be the biggest Palladium guy - he not only seems to write about half the books I bought way back when, but also seems to run the company. The company itself doesn't seem to be well run. "Treachery" that can kill the company shouldn't really be very possible, and any company which can be convinced to think that the Nokia N-Gage is a valid game platform doesn't have any fingers on any pulses.

Also, their web page® design® is rather® poor®, as "you" might be "able"® to tell® if you clicked® on their "link"®. It's not all polished like slicker companies do.

The thing is, this problem they're having could be turned into an opportunity.

See, in order to raise money, they're turning to their fans.

In this day and age, that is the most powerful tactic possible.

Oh, sure, it's not viable if you need tens of millions of dollars (yet), but bringing a crisis of a mere million before fans numbering in the hundreds of thousands doesn't seem like a huge stretch. So it's a great idea. But it could be more than just a salve on poor business decisions. It could be... really, really big. For them.

I have seen things catch the eye of the internet crowd and have a golden era. I'm not talking about some stupid internet fad. I'm talking about movies. Series. Wines. Musicians. They crept into the internet - usually infiltrating via blogs - and then stayed there by providing a cheerfully personable continuous stream of content.

Handled correctly, Palladium has the potential to leave them all behind. These things came into the field with tens, maybe hundreds of fans. Palladium has hundreds of thousands of fans. Moreover, by convincing people to invest in their recovery, Palladium attaches that attention to themselves with ten foot long staples.

You can use that attention. Nurture it.

All you need is a blog.

You need something which allows you to post weekly (at a minimum) fun content. You need something which allows the fans to rally - a forum, a comments section, etc. Functionally, it's a blog, even if you name it something else.

Palladium is made of content. Imagine posting two, three times a week. Art that never made release. Ideas that never reached a book. Articles from mythical newspapers. A bit more data on particular characters. Stats for monsters not seen in the expansions. Links to fan sites. My god, the company is ripe for a blog! Especially since it's run without that sense of being a polished corporation. The blog would feel human. That's good.

I wonder if they'll run with it. They could. I think it would double their earnings in a year and a half. I think it would cement themselves in the heart of gamer culture.

Honestly, I can't think of a better opportunity. But they need to move fast. Real fast. Because that blog will earn the majority of those "save our ass" payments.

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