Bloomberg created a video game to document and report on the demise of the American mall which is also a journey through mall management. Via Adweek:
“We thought, let’s just really push it hard and come up with zany and funny ideas,” said Bloomberg’s deputy editor of special projects Thomas Houston about the scenarios. Houston said after extensive internal testing, the team found “the tone was a little bit off, so a lot of the situations were pared back.”
Pared back, but often based on actual situations. That crawl-through artery used in the game was actually in a real mall. “Things were very much influenced by news stories we’ve seen before,” Houston said.
A team of Bloomberg reporters, editors, developers and the copy desk spent about three months building the game as part of a larger series on retail, including this data visualization called “The Death of Clothing.”
Houston said they thought about using real brands but decided instead to use names “evocative” of well-known retailers like Victoria’s Conspiracy, Pineapple Republic and Del Burrito.
Average gamers are playing about 4 minutes per session, though it’s topped one hour for some. And, for now, this is the only game in town for Bloomberg.com, but it is its most ambitious storytelling to date. (The site built The Trading Game, about picking stocks, two years ago.) The highest scorers are those who keep the mall open the longest, as of this writing more than 2,000 days.
The game can be played here.
KMart’s managing director Ian Bailey had more to say about the retail experience, via Inside Retail Weekly:
“We are failing to deliver on what customers really want,” Bailey told an audience at a Property Council of Australia business breakfast in Sydney. “They want more information from us, they want a super shopping experience, they want better products, and they want lower prices – pretty much they want the lot.”