2010 Apr 07 terra

Guy Blade Guy Blade---01:48:00

So yeah
Several game companies have recently started having loyalty programs. Nintendo offers rewards in the form of "coins" which you get for registering a first party title, providing feedback on it, and certian other things. They also provide a "membership level" which is based on how many coins you've accumulated during their fiscal year. Though I've not yet spent any coins, my initial registration of all of my first party games ended up netting me a plush Mario hat last year due to reaching the "Platinum" level.

SquareEnix seems to have begun to do something similar. They offer rewards in the form of "points" for registering games. I only have three games that they created that I purchased since they instituted this system: Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Final Fantasy XIII. I registered all of these games a while ago and today got my notice that their "year" ended a few days ago and so I could get my rewards. I'm apparently going to get some postcards.

All of this, however, is not the point. What is the point is the new "social networking" site that SquareEnix has bolted onto their otherwise functional website. They allow you do things like posting to a journal, list what games you're currently playing and other such things. Additionally, you can use their Flash-based system to create an avatar. When I first joined up, I decided to fiddle around with it a bit and made a female avatar. Apparently, this has unforseen implications. Once you create an avatar, the only things you can change about it are the clothes and equipment. Eye color, skin tone, hair tone, expression, gender--all of these become fixed. Furthermore, the gender select becomes your gender as listed in your public profile and is unchangable. Therefore, as far as SquareEnix is concerned, I am a female named "GuyBlade". So yeah.

I'm not really sure why every game company feels the need to roll their own social network. Throw Bioware in there and I now have a remarkably large number of "social network" accounts related purely to gaming. Also, I hope they begin to do it better. Unless they offer an API for carrying out tasks like journal posting, it seems highly unlikely that more than a handful of people will ever use them.

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