Skip to main content

The value of a Brand: Diablo 3 versus Dungeon Siege 3

It is not by chance that I have an Android phone while my wife uses an Apple product. After eighteen years of marriage it has become patently clear that we hold mutually opposing views on the value of branding. My lovely wife is a brand junkie. She has an inherent distrust of generic products and if possible she will always go for the most expensive market leading brand. I on the other hand am not so much a brand agnostic as a brand atheist. I actively seek out cheaper products and avoid buying the market leader ever. I will trawl the internet and walk the roads for lesser known alternatives and nothing pleases me quite so much as finding a little known product that costs less and performs better that the brand leader.  

I am sure this opposition was a cause of strife in the early years of our union but 18 years of happy marriage has a way of moulding a couple's habits together. Compromises become so embedded you forget they are even there. At this stage we apply our preferences to our own private purchases and simply take for granted that the labels in our larder change dramatically depending on who does the grocery shopping.

If I were in militant mood I might boast at my thriftiness in comparison to my wife's indulgence but to be honest over the years I have come to see a certain logic in her position. It is not so much a matter of brand snobbery as a matter of guaranteed performance. For every story of a bargain I picked up that met our needs she could counter with examples of shoddy substitutes that performed as meagerly as they cost.

When you buy a phone from Apple, a car from Mercedes, a tin of beans from Heinz or a detergent from Proctor and Gamble you may or may not be getting the best product and you probably aren't getting the cheapest product. You are however almost certainly getting a product which does what you expect it to do. If I were in the mood for a rant I would point out that the reason big brands usually meet expectations is because we, sheep like consumers that we are, fall for their hype and allow them to mould our expectations to miraculaously coincide with the capabilities of their own offering. Regardless, whether it is due to brainwashing or not, buy a well known brand and you are buying insurance against dissapointment.

What has this got to do with gaming? Well Tobold today wrote a piece musing on the value of the brand to Diablo 3. In a somewhat dismissive summary of the game he suggest that the Diablo brand adds as much as 20 points to the review score. I think he may be missing the point. You cannot judge Diablo without taking into account the implicit promise of the brand. The generally positive impressions I have read from others is that the game play is exactly what they expect in a Diablo game with a high degree of polish on top. This is the promise of the brand fulfilled and the game is going to make a tonne of money for Blizzard. Indeed the only question marks on the horizon relate to the innovations of requiring an always on internet and the advent of a real money auction house but it seems likely at this stage that customers may complain about these for a while but still keep playing.

Contrast this with Dungeon Siege 3. Dungeon Siege never commanded quite as much respect as Diablo but it is nevertheless a very successful brand and one would expect a sequel to benefit from that. The game itself is very good and highly enjoyable but it is not what Dungeon Siege fans expected. They expected a hack and slash dungeon crawl, what they got is closer to third person action adventure. Rather than profiting from the brand the game seems to have suffered because of it with luke warm reviews and complaints from many customers. The implicit promise of branding was not honoured and the brand itself has been tarnished.


Popular posts from this blog

My First Gaming Mouse: Logitech G300

I bought a gaming mouse yesterday a Logitech G300, here my initial thoughts. What is a gaming mouse?  There are a wide variety of devices available classified as gaming mice but a few features  seem common: 1. Wired rather than wireless: Although some high end models are wireless wired connections are just better and faster than wireless so most gaming mice stick with wired. As a bonus wired mice don't need batteries so the mouse is lighter.  2. High response rate: 1 to 2ms response rate so the mouse immediately responds to input.  2. High DPI. Gaming mice invariable boast high DPI numbers from 2,000 DPI upwards. This makes the device very responsive to the smallest movements.   3. Adjustable DPI . High DPI improves responsiveness but reduces precision so gaming mice generally allow you to adjust the DPI down for precise work such as pulling off headshots in sniper mode. Generally the mouse allows dpi to be changed on the fly by pressing a button.  4. Extr

Portal 2 two screen coop on one PC.

I mentioned before that I intended to try Portal 2 in "unofficial split screen co-op mode. Well split screen on a small computer monitor is a recipe for a headache especially when the game defies gravity as much as portal. However a minor bit of extra fiddling allowed us to drive two seperate screens from one PC. The Steam forums describes a complicated method of doing this that I couldn't get working so this simpler method which worked for me might be of use to someone. 1. First I followed the instructions in this post to get split screen multi-player working: A minor issue not mentioned is that you need to enable the console from the keyboard/mouse options menu I am using keyboard and one wired Xbox360 controller as suggested. Getting the controller to switch to channel 2 was tricky at first but as Chameleon8 mentions plugging it out and in again during loading works. The trick for me was to do the plug / p

Android Tip 3: Sharing a Folder between multiple users of an Android device

Android has allowed multiple user logins for quite a while now. This is can be very useful for tablets which are shared by family members. Normally Android erects strict Chinese walls between users preventing them from using each others apps and viewing each others files. This is a useful security feature and ensures your kids don't mess up your work spreadsheets when screwing around on the tablet and should also prevent them from buying €1,000 worth of Clash of Candy coins on your account. Sometimes however you really do want to share stuff with other users and this can prove surprisingly difficult. For example on a recent holiday I realised that I wanted to share a folder full of travel documents with my wife. Here are some ways to achieve this. 1. If you have guaranteed internet access  then you can create a shared folder on either Dropbox or Google drive. Either of these has the great advantage of being able to access the files on any device and the great disadvantage of bein