Ok, not Build-A-Bear as such, but the idea of personalisation and adding value because of the personalised nature. An opinion piece at Gamasutra on the issue of game piracy uses Webkinz and Build-A-Bear – and the continued decline of DRM in the music business – as a starting point to talk about what could be done to discourage pirating. Stuffed bears an answer to piracy? What? Well, it’s all about the customisation and personalisation in the author’s view. Fine for stuffed bears, but what about games?
So what would it mean to build a game *for a specific customer*? I’m not sure. But I’m not talking about binding it to the user’s machine with DRM. No, people will find a way to strip it out anyway. No, the personalisation has to add value in some way. DRM doesn’t add value for the customer, it adds inconvenience at best and outrage and resentment at worst (one need only to look as far as the numerous postings about the PC release of the otherwise-wonderful BioShock for an example).
It’s an interesting thought. Clearly, it’s just an idea and while I think the Build-A-Bear-esque customisation idea is an interesting one, I’m at a loss as to how designers could implement such a thing in your average game of whatever stripe.