Part One: Transmedia Product – Poster promoting Sony’s PlayStation Virtual Reality (VR) meeting Kiloo & SYBO Games Mobile Game Application, Subway Surfers.
Reference Links for Assets for Poster:
- (HipWallpaper. 2021. HipWallpaper. [online] Available at: <https://hipwallpaper.com/psn-blue-backgrounds/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
- 2021. すべての夢が「現実」になる。 PlayStation VR 300×600px | Japan design, Bunting design, Poster design. [online] Available at: <https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/134685845091679466/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
- Tuchow, R., 2021. Walmart rides Subway Surfers wave. [online] Kidscreen.com. Available at: <https://kidscreen.com/2020/02/24/walmart-rides-subway-surfers-wave/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
- Android Community. 2021. Subway Surfers takes you to Seoul, bring a new character with you. [online] Available at: <https://androidcommunity.com/subway-surfers-takes-you-to-seoul-bring-a-new-character-with-you-20150123/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
- Minotti, M., 2021. Subway Surfers sails past 1 billion downloads. [online] VentureBeat. Available at: <https://venturebeat.com/2015/09/24/subway-surfers-sails-past-1-billion-downloads/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
- Nb Media, Inc. 2021. Subway Surfers Consumer Lifestyle Brand to Debut at Walmart in 2020 – aNb Media, Inc.. [online] Available at: <https://www.anbmedia.com/news/2020/02/subway-surfers-consumer-lifestyle-brand-to-debut-at-walmart-in-2020/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
- 2021. Price and release time of Sony’s PS4 VR headset “PlayStation VR” officially decided. [online] Available at: <https://gigazine.net/gsc_news/en/20160316-playstation-vr-price/> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
- BIG W. 2021. Sony PSVR. [online] Available at: <https://www.bigw.com.au/psvr> [Accessed 28 March 2021].
Part Two: The Reflection (1,092 words)
To begin to understand the term ‘Transmedia’ at, at least a basic level, there exists no better explanation than the one from Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education at the University of Southern California – Henry Jenkins. Jenkins, who is certifiably a master on the subject, summarises Transmedia, perfectly, in the following words:
“Transmedia stories “are stories told across multiple media. At the present time, the most significant stories tend to flow across multiple media platforms (Jenkins, Purushotma, Clinton, Weigel & Robison, 2006, p. 46, in Scolari, C.A., 2009)”. “In the ideal form of TS, each medium does what it does best — so that a story might be introduced in a film, expanded through television, novels, and comics, and its world might be explored and experienced through game play. Each franchise entry needs to be self-contained enough to enable autonomous consumption. That is, you don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy the game and vice-versa (Jenkins, 2003 in Scolari, C.A., 2009)”. “Extensions may serve a variety of different functions…The extension may provide insight into the characters and their motivations…may flesh out aspects of the fictional world (as in the web version of the Daily Planet published each week by DC comics during the run of its 52 series to “report” on the events occurring across its superhero universe), or may bridge between events depicted in a series of sequels (Jenkins, H., 2007)”.
With this in mind, we can then start to begin to think about the different ways that Transmedia formulate – and more importantly, why. “Today’s media landscape, perhaps more than any past one, is marked by a fierce rivalry among media (Ryan, M.L. and Thon, J.N. eds., 2014)”. This means, that while these popular culture franchises, are on the face of things, collaborating – “[o]ur culture conceives of each medium or constellation of media as it responds to, redeploys, competes with, and reforms other media… remediation has a double logic as media tend toward both immediacy (eradicating the signs of mediation) and hypermediacy (foregrounding the signs of mediation) in their attempts to appropriate each other’s techniques and forms, to improve upon them, and to outdo one another… However… remediation is acted out “in the name of transparency”, while hypermediacy is relegated to “an awareness of mediation whose repression almost guarantee[s] its repeated return” (Ryan, M.L. and Thon, J.N. eds., 2014)”. To put this simply – these popular culture franchises are ‘collaborating’, with the underlying intention to improve, or ‘out-do’, the story world that the other medium presents – while simultaneously guaranteeing success, if we see that the previous model of the story world was a success. We’ve seen many examples of this to this date, including the cross over between “the video game that animates traditional LEGO toys, LEGO Dimensions (Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment / Traveller’s Tale / The LEGO Group, 2015) mixes different fictional worlds and franchise brands (Hills, M., 2016)”.
Subway Surfers is an ‘endless runner’ mobile game that was co-developed by Kiloo and SYBO Games – both private companies, running off the Unity game engine, and based in Denmark. The game follows the story of a young man, who must ‘surf’ the train lines, avoiding being caught by the security and/or coming to a far more unfortunate fate of jumping in front of the train. Subway Surfers is currently only available to download on Android, iOS, Kindle, and Windows Phone platforms. “First released back in 2012, the game has seen consistently high downloads across its run, even in recent months – for July 2020, it was the most downloaded app on the US App Store. The new figure means it has seen another 500 million downloads since it crossed the 2.5 billion mark in May 2019 (pocketgamer.biz. 2021)”. Rated #4 in the Action category, and 4.6/5 stars, out of the 60.9K ratings on the Apple Store, and voted editor’s choice, and also copping a major 4.5/5 stars out of 35,283,073 ratings on Google Play store – Subway Surfers is now a household name, and cements itself as a major pop culture artefact.
Sony Interactive Entertainment developed The PlayStation VR in October, 2016 – changing the landscape of the at-home gaming world completely. The PlayStation VR is a virtual reality headset, that is fully functional with the PlayStation 4, as well as forward compatible with the PlayStation 5 home video game console. Making major success, like most products from Sony Interactive Entertainment develop, which according to Forbes who has also released a statement announcing “that five million PlayStation VR units have been sold since its launch in 2016 (Parlock, J., 2021.)” as at Jan 7, 2020.
My transmedia project in part one, presents a collaboration of these two pop culture artefacts, taking the story world from the mobile application that Kiloo and SYBO Games offer, to the multimedia platform that Sony Interactive Entertainment offers of both an at-home gaming console experience and a virtual reality (VR) experience. It’s an official text, with the final transmedia product being created as part of the company, therefore becoming a part of the official cannon. Much like the ideas presented by Ryans and Thon, this collaboration between these popular culture franchises, has the underlying intention to improve, or ‘out-do’, the story world that Subway Surfers is presenting in the original game. The final transmedia project presented, is guaranteed to be successful, as we have the evidence to conclude that both popular culture artefacts, individually, were a major success.
Through the collaborating of these two majorly successful popular culture artefacts, we are able to take the story world to this virtual reality setting that Sony Interactive Entertainment offers; that will allow the players to choose real life subway lines to ‘surf’ on, rather than the cartoon world we are presented with in the game & place the user in the game, as the main character, rather than the characters they allow you to play with – fundamentally changing the experience, and expanding on the pre-existent story world that Kiloo and SYBO Games offer. Furthermore, the proposed transmedia project hits the mark that Jenkins proposes makes a successful piece of transmedia, that being – “Each franchise entry needs to be self-contained enough to enable autonomous consumption. That is, you don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy the game and vice-versa (Jenkins, 2003 in Scolari, C.A., 2009)”. You won’t have had to play the original game, to enjoy the new variation of it, and vice-versa. Taking all of this into account, firmly categorises this proposed project as an official transmedia text, and artefact.
- Scolari, C.A., 2009. Transmedia storytelling: Implicit consumers, narrative worlds, and branding in contemporary media production.
- Jenkins, H., 2007. Transmedia storytelling 101. Confessions of an ACA-Fan, 22(03).
- Ryan, M.L. and Thon, J.N. eds., 2014. Storyworlds across media: Toward a media-conscious narratology. U of Nebraska Press.
- Hills, M., 2016. LEGO Dimensions meets Doctor Who: Transbranding and New Dimensions of Transmedia Storytelling?. Revista ICONO14 Revista científica de Comunicación y Tecnologías emergentes, 14(1), pp.8-29.
- Parlock, J., 2021. PlayStation VR Sells Five Million Units Since 2016. [online] Forbes. Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/joeparlock/2020/01/07/playstation-vr-sells-five-million-units-since-2016/?sh=399ae00b2b01> [Accessed 29 March 2021].
- biz. 2021. Subway Surfers has surpassed three billion downloads. [online] Available at: <https://www.pocketgamer.biz/news/74170/subway-surfers-three-billion-downloads/#:~:text=First%20released%20back%20in%202012,on%20the%20US%20App%20Store.&text=The%20new%20figure%20means%20it,billion%20mark%20in%20May%202019.> [Accessed 29 March 2021].