Wikia, the home for social fandom and the ultimate source for powerful and relevant pop culture, entertainment and gaming expertise, announced today the official launch of The Lab, a multifaceted program that drops the super-fan into the heart of early development efforts for major upcoming titles. Wikia debuted The Lab in conjunction with Sony Online Entertainment’s (SOE) announcement of the new game EverQuest Next while at SOE Live, the ultimate gathering for the SOE community to celebrate their favorite free-to-play SOE games. The annual event took place in Las Vegas last weekend, August 1-4, 2013.
To help build fan engagement and awareness for the title, Wikia introduced the EverQuest Next Official Community at SOE Live where members recieved exclusive content and access including, early release images, chats with EverQuest Next game developers, frequently updated blogs from the community managers and much more.
“Industry leaders are coming to Wikia because they now recognize the collaborative power of our super-fans,” Jennifer Betka, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Wikia said. “Our Wikia Stars are among the foremost experts in movies, TV, gaming and fan culture. They are uniquely positioned to help studios and publishers create next generation content and gameplay.”
“At SOE, we’re always looking for ways to empower our players and deliver new opportunities that allow them to engage with our games and each other in a meaningful way,” said Laura Naviaux, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, Sony Online Entertainment. “As the first game company to partner with Wikia to create a Wikia Official Community, we believe in supporting player communities and see community collaboration as a key pillar in how we’re moving forward as a company. Wikia joined us at this year’s SOE Live event with the debut of The Lab so our players were the first to learn how to best take advantage of the Wikia platform and player community.”
The Lab will serve as the starting place for long lead activations and custom co-development programs and will kick off with members from Wikia’s Stars program. Established in 2012, Wikia Stars are a select group of individuals from around the world who are being acknowledged for their exceptional leadership and influence within their individual communities. Demand for the program is strong; by the end of the year Wikia anticipates involvement from over 100 fan leaders with profound skills in various areas such as content creation, social media, community administration, design, code and overall ingenuity.
They will lend their expertise to brands on an array of projects, from the early development stages to the actual product launch. Stars in The Lab will create the foundation for other fans to engage in future phases. In order to do so, Stars will receive access to exclusive assets, information and talent provided by the partnering group. At the outset, the program will focus on Wikia’s avid gaming community, but will eventually extend to its rapidly growing entertainment and lifestyle communities.
During SOE Live, Wikia Stars Daniel Salciccioli (Call of Duty wikia) and Kenneth Cummings (Brutal Legend wikia) were on hand as resident video game super fans in The Lab to share tips and techniques for using Wikia and its publishing tools to establish the ultimate EverQuest Next fan resource. The Lab encouraged real time authoring and structuring of content, complementary community integration, as well as design and promotion of news and gameplay experiences that took place at SOE Live.
Wikia fans are increasingly embracing multimedia assets to chronicle the topics they know and love. Wikia offers audiences across all ages, genders, geographies and interests over 30 million pages of content, 14 million photos, and 5,000 hours of premium video content. Over the past year, Wikia’s collection of entertainment sites has seen a 50 percent growth with 33 million unique global visitors, while Wikia’s collection of video game communities continues to represent the biggest video game fan voice on the Web. Wikia lifestyle communities have grown to 10 million unique visitors within the last year.