During the first quarter of this year, I was given the gift of a PS3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops by my fabulous partner Robyn (@RKaplan13) and subsequently I haven’t watched TV much since the new year as a result of being sucked into this game.
Now, I beat the story mode (in one night!) so I wasn’t focused too much on that but what did suck me in was the Playstation network of gamers. Every night you could log in and immediately find yourself in a 10-12 player (6 on 6 or free for all) battle and if you invested in a headset you could talk with people from around the globe!
From my New Years Resolutions post, one of my goals for the year was to reach level 50 as an online player which ended up requiring almost 30 hours of game play. Upon reflecting on this, I was left asking myself was it the goal of reaching level 50 that motivated me? Was it competing online and constantly getting better with each round? Or was it being able to randomly (trash) talk with players from all over the globe?
Here is where Rosetta Stone comes into the equation. I was driven by the fact that I was competing, gaining skills/experience, and seeing my progress on the leader board after every match go from the bottom to the middle to the upper third. Reading my New Years Resolution post, you can see another one of my goals is to complete the Rosetta Stone Italian series – this has been a struggle. Why? There is no competition, there is no leader board, there is no community to participate with. This is where Rosetta Stone has already taken the first step with their Total-E product but the online subscription is $199 for 3 months. No young adult I know is willing to put down almost $65 a month to learn a language, that’s equivalent to their mobile phone bill, and believe me they want their phones more than they want to know a second language.
But let me finish my thought, if Rosetta Stone partnered with Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and turned their Total-E product into a game that piggy-backed onto the online networks the three gaming giants have established – imagine what would happen to the landscape of the globe (specifically the USA).
When I powered up the PS3 and put Call of Duty in, I could play for hours on end because it was engaging, competitive, FUN! When I power up my PC and click on my Rosetta Stone software, I can “play” for about an hour because it is no longer engaging, I’m not competing, and the “fun” factor runs low because it is the equivalent to sitting in a silent room repeating yourself.
My suggestion – play your part as the world’s leading language software and shift your company values from teaching new languages to those who have the money to invest in such a program and start educating the next generation to learn more than one language. The next generation will need it more than ever, but a $199 price tag is going to prohibit more than enable.
Jim Henson had success in Sesame Street because he saw an opportunity (with research backing it) that young children were coming home and being put in front of the television so why not put something educational there.
You can do the same with just as big an impact – partner with these console/content creators – construct an online environment that rewards users with Rosetta Stone Points and will make young adults WANT to sign in and run through a lesson or two so they don’t lose ground to their friends. Instead of a $199 subscription for online content, sell a series of CDs ($40 each) or downloadable online “maps” ($20 each) that allow gamers to choose the environment they want.
“Want to speak Italian at a baseball game? Pick up our MLB version and learn all phrases for the field!”
“Thinking of going food shopping in Barcelona? Pick up our Grocery Grabber map and explore the aisles of our market to learn popular food item vocabulary”
If you want to try strategy out on someone, I’d be more than willing – I fit in the male 18 -34 market and I am currently grinding through your Rosetta Stone Italian Level 1,2,3 series of software. It isn’t fun. It isn’t engaging. It is comparable to sitting in class for 2 hours, alone. That is not the way people want to learn a new language.
That’s my idea/rant for the day –
Comment: Would you be more interested in learning a language if there was an online community and scoring system so you can compete with others as you progress through?