Turning gamers into loyal soldiers

Halo gears of war split image


Halo - Microsoft Game Studios

Earning Loyalty Among a Fickle Gaming Crowd

Getting gamers excited for a franchise game launch is easy. But keeping them engaged during the typical two-year window before the next launch in the face of big, competing titles that are arriving right on its heels? That’s a lot tougher. Yet, that’s exactly the challenge Microsoft laid before us.

Here’s how we powered up gamer devotion for the two most successful gaming franchises Microsoft’s history and kept fans playing longer.


Preventing Fan Defection

Microsoft came to us to ask: How can we prevent our fans from defecting to other gaming titles and keep them playing HALO and Gears of War longer?


Sustainable Game-Centric Community

Gamers who compete successfully against other gamers tend to play a title longer, spend more on downloadable content and are less likely to abandon the game. This told us that an engaged, game-centric community would be highly sustainable for future releases.

Help Noobs Play Better
In established franchises, new players encounter a steep learning curve, taught brutally at the hands of their opponents.

Keep Gamers Playing Together
Gamers will play titles that they play together as a group for longer periods than those they play alone.

Make Things Interesting
Meta-game competition drives repeat use, with a vengeance.


Cultivating Community & Sustaining Engagement

We developed Halo: Waypoint and Gears of War: War Journal, connected interactive destinations that fostered and sustained multiplayer communities across a spectrum of touch points by rewarding loyalty, longevity and skill.

We also created companion experiences, applications and destinations to help gamers play better and reach the highest levels of satisfaction.


Waypoint Cultivating Life Beyond Launch

Launched to coincide with the release of Halo: Reach, Waypoint was developed to sustain player engagement for several years, across multiple Halo releases.


Connecting Beyond the Console

Players spend console time playing the game itself, but Microsoft needed a broader strategy to help keep fans engaged beyond the Xbox.

The Halo Waypoint website destination made the vast universe of Halocontent accessible off-console, from videos, Machinima and motion comics, to interviews, podcasts forums and – most importantly – in-game stats.

Making of Halo: Waypoint
The Halo: Waypoint website destination made the vast universe of Halocontent accessible off-console, from videos, Machinima and motion comics, to interviews, podcasts forums and – most importantly – in-game stats.


Community Destination

With the launch of Xbox Kinect, Halo: Waypoint was updated to include features that harnessed the platform’s groundbreaking technology.

The destination also features Halo Bulletin, blog posts, polls and forum posts. Additional links provide easy access to the player’s user profile as well as archived Bulletins and blog posts. A unique Calendar feature provides information on upcoming events.


The Always-On Grunt’s Eye View

We developed a multi-screen strategy, implementing seamless, always-on touch points between gameplay and Halo: Waypoint to give users a whole new immersive social experience across mobile, console, tablet and the web.

While the console experience offered more of an admiral’s level overview of broad topics, the mobile app was akin to a foot soldier’s sidearm – always at the ready, quick to utilize and highly functional.


DLC, Challenges, and Destinations

ATLAS Product Family: Customized Strategic DLC
We conceptualized ATLAS, the official, multiplayer companion to Halo, which serves up chapter-level strategy guides for purchase, based on an individual’s unique gameplay.

Halo: Waypoint Challenges:
Built-in challenge functionality enabled gamers to test compete directly against friends and rivals in specific in-game situations.

Gears of War Journal Destination: Sharpening Skills & Counting Kills
Like Halo: Waypoint, War Journal was an interactive section that pulled stats directly from the game, allowing gamers to easily access them and interact with friends.

War Journal allowed players to track single and multiplayer achievements, along with 41 “collectible” items, to add depth to the game’s story

War Journal also provided players with insights from their stats data, such as which weapon they used most effectively and what areas of their gameplay needed improvement.

In both experiences, we amplified the most enjoyable aspects of each game: personal achievement in Halo multiplayer play, and the one-on-one challenge in Gears of War’s new arcade mode.


Platform Planning

To implement this platform we prioritized journey touch points, established channel roles and focused resources where Halo and Gears of War could achieve their greatest impact.

Engaging the Fan Base
Halo: Waypoint and Gears of War: War Journal are built around the most positive elements of the Halo and GoWcommunities.

Multi-Screen Digital Products
Connect like-minded gamers and provide opportunities for taunts and challenges between friends.

Our digital products helped players improve their skills through statistics-based analysis to retain higher levels of multi-player engagement and make the Halo and Gears of War title launches the most successful in their respective franchise histories to date.

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