Friday, September 19, 2008

Hasbro: Master of the Game Universe?

We briefly talked about Hasbro taking over the world in class last night. It is the #2 game/toy company (apparently second only to Mattel's Barbie line). Here is what I was talking about.

Compare this:
http://www.hasbro.com/default.cfm?page=ci_history_hasbro

with these:
http://boardgames.about.com/od/companies/a/hasbro_timeline.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasbro

...and discuss if you dare.

7 comments:

Candiluu said...

Totally off topic...

I wonder what bringing standards to social media advertising would do to ARGs, given that they got their start in advertising and already use social media to an extent.

This article sparked the curiosity.

Candiluu said...

More on topic...
The Hasbro post is more a PR construct, kind of a "look at our history and love us" document. Which is expected. Not many companies discuss setbacks or failures publicly. Instead, they talk about acquisitions and accomplishments, anniversaries and acclaim. It's written well and appears to avoid false claims while avoiding anything that could shed a negative light on the company. The video games section is a good example of this.

"Hasbro entered the video gaming market in 1995 with the creation of Hasbro Interactive. In a short time, Hasbro Interactive launched a number of successful software franchises based on its own brands, including TONKA and MONOPOLY, as well as established new software brands, such as ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON. Hasbro sold its interactive division to Infogrames Entertainment SA in 2000, and the Company's brands continue to thrive in the video gaming market through a licensing agreement with the Infogrames."

About.com stops with short and sweet, taking a "just the facts" approach.

Wikipedia looks a little deeper into what could be considered shortcomings, giving it a more balanced appearance to the coverage. Their section on the video games issue included a link to the history of that section.

"Hasbro Interactive became the #3 computer game publisher within three years of its founding. But in 1999, Hasbro Interactive lost $74 million on revenues of $237 million a growth of just 20% over the previous year.[1] Late in 1999 with several game projects underway and dozens of new employees, many of who moved just to work for the company, Hasbro Interactive shut down several studios in a cost-cutting move. The studios affected included the former MicroProse offices located in Alameda, California and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 4 years Hasbro Interactive's revenue increased 577%."

The main difference between the three articles (?) is the ability to correct or change them. Hasbro is not going to run out and ask for people to investigate them and post findings - that would be suicide for any business. About.com doesn't offer any easy way to update the information, but allows all information to go through an editor, maybe a fact checker if we are lucky, and some sort of approval process before we see it. Wikipedia is the opposite - users post the information and edit each other. So Hasbro, About.com or Bob around the corner can come in, read the info. and change it as needed. This is the big "why we hate Wiki" claim for many who disagree with its use. But, as D. Parry will tell ya in any of his classes, much of the information is in the discussion and history tabs. Only Wiki allows you go to in and view the changes people have made to the article. If someone changed a fact to make Hasbro, for our example, look better we can wonder who and why - then look at the history, find the who, and explore the why.
Wiki sets itself apart as well by linking anything related to the article. Hasbro link to other Hasbro items or PR approved articles, About.com links to related articles in a list below the article, but Wiki links to references in the reference. These links go to other Wiki pages, but from there the user can branch out to external sites as needed.

The biggest difference I see between the three articles is intent. Hasbro wants you to love the company, About.com wants to tell you about the company, and Wiki contributors appear to want to get as many facts out as possible. Each post seems to work toward accomplishing the intended task.

Segosher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Segosher said...

That was a nice analysis on the three approaches to providing info. I can't think of anything else to add to it except that even with Wikipedia's history link, it's still difficult to make assumptions about the motives behind changes. Unless you could trace the author to a party with vested interest. Hmmm, that could be an interesting location for a rabbit hole...

Zen Almasri said...

I liked reading about the Hasbro history and how all the board game companies as well as the video games got involved. Interesting stuff. Also, very detailed comment Candiluu. Alot of information to think about. I like the Rabbit Hole idea too Segosher. I read the books but I dont think I retained any of it. I was way too gone when I was reading them. I think I postponed them too long. Ugh, procrastination sucks. I think I should re-read them later on. Right now I just feel like everything went in one ear and out the other.

robertreynolds86 said...

It certainly does seem like Hasbo is trying to stake a claim in just about everything game and toy related. It looks like they've bought out about every major toy and game company, including the companies that made best selling board games, action figures, card games, etc...I also found it intereting to see that, in the 90s, they entered the video game market. If ARGs continue to grow in popularity, maybe we'll see an ARG from Hasbro?

Yeah, thats how I felt about Beyond Reality, Zen - I can't seem to recall much of it. But I found TINAG to be pretty interesting.

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