When companies release infographics showing a series of statistics about how incredible a product is, alarm bells ring in my head. Who paid for this research? Who commissioned it? Did this skew the results?
The above infographic claims that 95% of Rocksmith users have improved their skills using Rocksmith. I actually believe that. Anything that allows you to practice playing the guitar will undoubtedly help you improve in some capacity. The thing on the graphic that has me cynical is the "a nationwide study confirmed that Rocksmith is the fastest way to learn guitar" part.
Really? How was that deduced? How did the study come to that conclusion? There is no real info shown.
The results came from a study done by 'Research Strategy Group Inc' a Canadian company that specialises in market research. According to its LinkedIn page, Research Strategy Group Inc uses "key strategic marketing input to drive predictive results" to help companies "find focus and direction" as they "move forward".
The homepage of Research Strategy Group Inc states the following...
We're unique in our ability to package and translate our findings into useable, effective and practical marketing tools. Our team of dedicated experts can help you understand the implications of your research findings, enabling you drive corporate strategy and guide tactical decision making.
I think it's fairly clear that Ubisoft has most likely paid this company to undertake this research, and part of that package involves translating these numbers into something that can then be used to sell Rocksmith as a product.
This is a fairly common occurrence in marketing. The info is then put into an infographic, like the one above, which is then sent out to press outlets like Kotaku. Ubisoft is hardly alone here, but it is a bit sly. I'm not saying the information isn't legitimate — I have no doubt that Research Strategy Group Inc did some legitimate research — but how were the questions framed? Who was being asked what and by whom? It's very easy for research like this to be skewed and when the line between marketing and research is blurred, just how much of this information can we take at face value?