Electronic Arts [EA] is a global leader in the gaming industry, with over 400 game titles and a vast packaged goods distribution channel. Rupture was a social networking service for gamers, a billboard for players' achievements, and an all-inclusive meta-experience for driving and challenging game play with friends.
In early 2008, EA acquired Rupture, a gaming aggregation site and platform from Napster founder Shawn Fanning. A huge fan of online gaming, Fanning found himself frustrated by the lack of connection between players. He established Rupture to help establish communication between World of Warcraft players, find out what they're playing, and provide a showcase where they could display their accomplishments. EA also had a separate client platform in alpha stage, an in-game demo product, and a mobile solution all in various states in the product lifecycle. EA brought Method in to help develop an overarching product strategy for Rupture, integrating the new acquisition with their existing properties. Method collaborated with EA's internal management and development teams to define functionality, create a unified user experience across platforms, and develop a comprehensive brand language for the site that would speak to hard-core gamers without alienating the growing causal gaming audience.
Method began by interviewing key stakeholders, from high-level corporate executives to the developers of each of the platforms. We also conducted in-home ethnographic research to understand the habits, preferences, and game-based social interactions of gamers. From this research we developed target user personas to depict core user wants and needs, along with a user experience framework: target functionality mapped to with business goals and user psychographics.
We developed interaction concepts based on this framework and, in parallel with visual design, fleshed out the experience of the site and client platform, understanding the platform-specific benefits and constraints. We drew upon gamers' desires to compete and collect to drive site functionality, and gave a nostalgic nod to the 8-bit games of decades past in the visual language of the site.
What emerged was a gaming experience layered with social networking and commerce elements that promises to change the way people play games. Rupture provides a new way to discover and track gaming behavior, as well as connect with and challenge friends and competitors.
Method offers a rational and intuitive approach to solving complex brand challenges in all traditional and digital media.
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