Videogame Inspired Tourism

I saw this tweet the beginning of the month and was engaged by the idea of video game inspired tourism.

I tried to see if there was a recording made of her talk, but haven’t been able to find it. Given that people have trekked to see the locations appearing in Star Wars films and episodes of shows like Game of Thrones, it isn’t surprising that people want to see these places in real life. What is a bit more interesting is that a video game about a post-apocalyptic world would take the pains to accurately depict real life locations.

Does this reflect a tension between the pursuit of creating fictional worlds and scenarios and a desire for authenticity? What drives the desire for authenticity, the gaming company, the players, a combination of both? With the emergence of AI created art, which can presumably integrate elements of real locations as well as generate completely new environments, will the drive for authenticity continue or will gaming studios and players be satisfied with AI generated worlds?

Not to mention, will those artist jobs continue to exist?

The fact that people are traveling to these locations suggests people have an interest/curiosity in extending their virtual explorations into the physical realm. This bodes well on many levels if game designers continue to actively seek new interesting places in the real world to translate into the games.

What Profits A Man To Gain Riches, But Lose His Ardent Fans

I was not keeping close tabs on the topics President Biden was expected to cover in the State of the Union so it was a coincidence that yesterday’s post was about exorbitant add on fees on the same day he was addressing that issue.

It is probably less of a coincidence that another article from TicketNews came across my feed today reporting what I alluded to in the last lines of yesterday’s post. A Bruce Springsteen fanzine decided to call it quits after 43 years due to Springsteen’s decision to engage in dynamic pricing and slow release of inventory practices.

But for Springsteen, who built much of his reputation on the appearance of being a man of the people rather than interested in exploiting his fans for as high a value as he can capture, the reputational damage has been significant. The Backstreets closure is merely the latest, and highest profile, chapter of it.

“There’s no denying that the new ticket price range has in and of itself been a determining factor in our outlook as the 2023 tour approached — certainly in terms of the experience that hardcore fans have been accustomed to for, as Springsteen noted, 49 years,” reads one part of Phillips’ message to readers. “Six months after the onsales, we still faced this three-part predicament: These are concerts that we can hardly afford; that many of our readers cannot afford; and that a good portion of our readership has lost interest in as a result.”

Part of the issue is that some of Springsteen’s public statements seem to dismiss the concerns of his fans. The fact that ticket prices have dropped from $4000 in the initial roll out to $450-$1000+ with $61 seats available for some shows, does seem to indicate demand pricing theoretically works.

However, the article suggests that the damage is done and younger artists need to be cognizant of the current environment.

What will be interesting is whether or not younger artists – many of whom don’t have decades of good will from their fans to squander – will see what dynamic ticket pricing and openly fleecing your biggest fans can do to their future interest in your work and think twice about embracing the Ticketmaster/Live Nation model of “slow ticketing” going forward.

Keep An Eye On The Ticketing Uproar

With people feeling more comfortable going to public events again, the travails consumers suffer when trying to purchase tickets are coming front and center. Last week TicketNews reported that President Biden is urging Congress to pass legislation limiting excessive fees and mandating transparency about hold back practices.

The issue of high fees that are often hidden until you are well into the purchasing process is pretty well-known and complained about. Hold backs on the other hand, are less obvious and more in the realm of a suspected, but not confirmed practice.

While companies like Ticketmaster and Live Nation regularly blame ticket resale or “bots” for the enormous spike in ticket prices consumers are paying, many believe that price inflation by hiding the true available supply through holdbacks is the biggest factor in that price surge, with the industry hoping to sell consumers and lawmakers on resale being the issue rather than their own deceptive practices.


Support for President Biden’s plan was also put forward by the National Association of Ticket Brokers, a trade group supporting ticket resale rights and consumer-friendly policy. Its statement specifically called out the “scheme called slow ticketing” used by Ticketmaster and Live Nation to hold back huge portions of tickets for most events without disclosure when tickets go on sale. Once the public is convinced that tickets are sold out, additional tickets are slowly released to the market, leading to a perceived yet artificial scarcity that convinces consumers to pay surged prices – referring to the process as a deceptive marketing practice.

Transparency and fair pricing may be a bigger issue in the attendance decision than we may realize. Among recent online reviews of my venue, comments about fair pricing and low fees appear multiple times.

It bears paying attention to public sentiment and how lawmakers move to resolve these growing concerns.

Perception of practices by some of the larger operators are so poor that suspicions may be raised about the entire event industry, painting everyone with the same brush. Engaging in relatively straightforward demand based or dynamic pricing practices may easily get lumped in with attempts at artificial manipulation, shunting tickets directly to resale markets and excessive fees.

What Is The Value Of A Press Release When News Stories Are Written By AI?

Many readers know that I recently moved from Macon, GA to take up a job in Colorado. Even before I moved, I was astounded by the number of articles that were being written about Macon, encouraging people to visit.  I kept asking what Visit Macon, the convention and visitors bureau was doing to encourage all this coverage which included Frommers, Southern Living, Yahoo! Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Bloomberg, Men’s Journal, INSIDER, CBS This Morning, and The New York Times. For a time I thought it was the ghost of the effusive vice president of sales and services for Visit Macon who died in September smiling down on the city.

As you might suspect all this success was the result of the work of a PR firm, TK PR. The folks from Visit Macon recently posted a newsletter piece from TK PR trumpeting their success promoting Macon. One thing that grabbed my attention was that they had gotten eight stories for Macon in 2022 resulting in 678 million impressions and $6.2 million in value at the cost of $0, plus 29 other stories for additional clients without once using a press release.

In the newsletter, TK PR founder, Taryn Scher, challenges readers to do away with press releases in 2023.

And while I can’t tell you in just a few sentences what we did to land each story, the one absolute thing we didn’t do to land any of these stories? Send a press release.

Y’all I hate to tell some of you this: but press releases died with the fax machine. If you are one of those few people who still relies on either, I’m sorry but I’m here to tell you it’s time to come on over into 2023. It’s nice out here. A little tech-heavy but we’re all adjusting.

Seriously though, you have to stop thinking that a press release is going to land you any sort of real quality media coverage.

Noting that CNET and others are publishing stories written by AI, she implies that living beings may no longer even be looking at press releases any more.   In this context, she suggests that waiting on someone to approve a quote that will appear in a press release is likely going to be a waste of your time.

Among the things to do instead is pitch the story directly:

That’s not to say the information isn’t important- but you need to take that who, what, when, and where and make it relevant to WHY NOW- why is this part of a bigger trend or relevant for the current news cycle? Why should a journalist care? And more importantly why will their readers care?