Game Launch: Do It Right or Don’t Do It At All

It was five years in the making, Borderlands 3 launched with advance technology that is unprecedented. In case you live under a rock, you already know that Gearbox will release Borderlands 3 on September 13, 2019. The new release will introduce new villains, new cities, an arsenal of multi-functioning weaponry, and new Vault Hunter capabilities which are just a few highlights from this innovative release. The team at Gearbox Software and 2K knew they needed a top-notch team to create an online and onsite launch event experience that was worthy of the vibrant graphics, fluid movement, and action of Borderlands 3. At Arena, we witnessed the five essential elements that were brought together to ensure success: Game Stations, Broadcast, Onsite Activation, Security, and Secret Sauce.

The Game Station affects a launch event from two perspectives: supporting the play of top gaming professionals and delivering the performance necessary to exceed the viewing expectations of both onsite and online viewers. For the Borderlines 3 launch, 2K worked very closely with partners AMD & others to define the specifications for machines and monitors that exceeded anything previously available in large volume in the events marketplace. The video card and processor in the new AMD game machines and the refresh rates in the LG monitors supported a frame per second rate that ensured that the custom imaging and upload of ANY game could perform identically across multiple stations.

Broadcasting is a critical element of a launch event. Top-tier gamers and industry leaders are in the room, but unparalleled success is going to be driven by the hundreds of thousands of viewers watching the broadcast of the event. The AMD game stations for the Borderlands 3 launch were even further enhanced onsite with additional components to ensure top broadcasting speeds without having any impact on the processing or video needs for gameplay in the room. The high-quality game viewing experience was the same online as it was onsite for the launch event.  In fact, at one point during the launch, Randy Pitchford ‘faked out’ the audience who thought they saw still images of the playing field when in actuality, he introduced the onsite and online audience to the game in LIVE play.

Onsite activation is essential to a launch experience. All attendees should feel immersed in the game of play. The effective use of LED walls, LED floors, projection imagery, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting are all a part of creating the immersion. Having a partner who can effectively design the technical solution, provide sophisticated equipment, and execute the event while coordinating and integrating with other partners is essential to delivering the full experience. 

Security concerns are also at NASA level with any launch or activation.  Whether it has taken 5 years or 5 days to develop a new release or game, the reality of protecting it from poachers is essential. “I have not experienced that level of high-security implementation since we did the Republican National Convention,” said Jeff Halligan, Sales Director, Arena.  Security considerations and protocols should be in place from admission through broadcast. If this is not a part of your launch partner’s proposal, you should start considering a new partner.

Secret Sauce is simple – expertise and collaboration to pull it all together. A successful launch can be measured by the quality of the partners.  Collaboration with experienced and expert providers of high-end gaming equipment, broadcasters, Audio Visual Professionals, and your internal team allows the expertise of all to work toward the common goals.

Arena, powered by Dyventive is a proud provider of AMD equipment, advanced visual and sound equipment, design and production expertise, and more than two-decades experience in delivering high end, high tech events.  For more information on our experience with the Borderlands 3 launch event and the recent E3 Live events, contact us at [email protected]