Green Room makes PlayStation Move
Sony’s new PlayStation Move motion controller has taken the gaming market by storm since launching in September 2010 – and [retail design agency] Green Room has been in the thick of the action thanks to the revolutionary point of purchase furniture it has developed and is now facilitating trial in stores and at events across the globe.
PlayStation Move is an innovative new wireless controller that replicates a player’s physical actions on screen with incredible accuracy, providing a completely immersive gaming experience.
Green Room has been instrumental in helping retailers and gamers experience the new controller and gaming experience in stores and concessions across EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) and at global events including E3 Expo (Los Angeles), CES (Las Vegas) and the Interactive Digital Entertainment Festival (Cannes).
The Birmingham-based agency was awarded the contract to design, engineer and rollout a series of sampling furniture and demonstration units following a competitive tender process during the spring of 2010.
The brief was a challenging one – the solution employed had to not only integrate with the full portfolio of existing PlayStation point of sale furniture, but also encourage trial by permitting the wide range of human movements permitted by the controller, all while accommodating various anti-theft and health and safety requirements.
Green Room’s design not only meets these stringent objectives but also delivers commercially for Sony and its partners through the implementation of innovative manufacturing and distribution efficiencies.
The sampling furniture itself can justifiably be described as ‘revolutionary’ thanks to the unique tethering system designed by the Green Room team which defies the convention established by other wireless gaming devices.
Richard Ash, Green Room’s chief executive explains: “Wireless gaming is an interactive and physical experience, yet the sampling furniture used to facilitate trial in-store and at public events was essentially still the same as those developed for fixed-wire controllers back in the day. The front-fixing tethering used previously essentially made the wireless controller wired again, placing many physical and emotive restrictions on the user and failing to give an authentic experience.
“Tethering is a inevitable necessity in most retail or event situations, but for a platform as immersive as PlayStation Move, these primitive restrictions were clearly unacceptable. So our team set to and reinvented the format, engineering a solution that places the tether to the rear of the gamer, permitting complete freedom of movement and natural play. It may sound an obvious and simple solution, but in the retail environment, there are a wide variety of practical and logistical obstacles to overcome for it to be a success – and we have steered through this maze of compromises to make it possible.”
The solution developed suits both fixed and mobile sampling units and Green Room therefore has also developed a portable unit that incorporates a screen, PlayStation 3 and Move controllers within a single branded package. Whereas previous demonstration units required van transportation and two technicians to set up, the new unit can be transported by car and set up and operated by a single sales rep – bringing obvious labour and transportation cost saving benefits.
Green Room’s ingenuity has also delivered cost savings through the implementation of just-in-time-style manufacturing and stock ordering systems, made possible by the modular nature of the furniture design. Rather than manufacturing runs being based on annual forecasts, territories now place orders for furniture components on a quarterly basis. The new process has substantially reduced inventory and warehousing overheads, realising cash flow benefits and a reduction in the number of units rendered obsolete by change over the course of the average year.
Richard continues: “Designing things to look great is one thing, but designing them to look great, be fit for purpose, commercially and logistically viable, and capable of delivering cost reductions through the creation of supply chain efficiencies is something else entirely. Our work with Sony PlayStation demonstrates our commitment to uniting the worlds of creative and commercial design.
“This was a demanding brief, requiring not only a highly competent technical solution as to how Sony satisfactorily present the product in a broad variety of retail environments, but also one that fits in effortlessly with the existing suite of PlayStation point of sale collaterals and delivers significant cost savings when compared with previous furniture roll-outs.
“Perhaps the most impressive element of the project has been our development of an elegant and incredibly versatile method of tethering the Move controller in a way that permits play as the designers’ intended.
“With the mobile unit, we have empowered Sony’s field people to take the PlayStation experience into a wider of variety of locations and venues than previously possible. This is a nut that has previously remained un-cracked so this innovation offers a genuine competitive advantage to their sales teams.”
Richard concludes: “PlayStation Move is brilliant entertainment and it was essential we did not restrict the immersive game play experience in any retail or event execution. Our creative and technical design team embraced the challenge presented to them and their ingenuity has effectively reconfigured the way in which wireless games controllers are presented in the retail environment. The project has evolved and become a text book case study for how to successfully rollout a new product into multiple, diverse retail environments across numerous geographical territories. We’re delighted with the outcome.”
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