by NorseGamer, HSM Editor-in-Chief
Every so often, a pop-culture dance craze sweeps across the civilized world. We know that we must inevitably look back upon it with chagrin, distaste and denial of involvement — yet we enjoy it nonetheless when it happens.
Case in point: the Macarena. Where the hell did that come from? And why did everyone so enthusiastically embrace it? It was stupid to begin with, its choreography was shamefully pathetic, and even the 1996 “Magnificent Seven” Olympic gymnastics team couldn’t make it look good. You can’t help but look at people trying desperately to perform the oh-so-intricate choreography and think to yourself, “Stop it.”
One after another, dance crazes capture our attention. And the latest craze is, of course, the “Gangnam Style” horse-prancing from Korean artist Psy.
Oh, dear. This is a pop-culture Perfect Storm: a catchy beat, hilarious video, ridiculous dance — and good timing. Art is as much timing as it is execution, and Psy was blessed with absolutely perfect timing. As a result, after nearly 660,000,000 views (at the time of this writing), it’s safe to say that a whole lot of people think South Korea’s Gangnam District is filled with hipster ponies.
Inevitably, we will look back on Gangnam Style the same way we look back on Hammer Time, dubstep and disco: first with horror, and then later with sheepish laughter. But while the craze is here, you might as well try to make money off of it.
And that’s where Atom Republic, one of Home’s newest developers, scores a hit.
How perfect is this timing? Home 1.7 is rolled out, allowing developers to create and sell downloadable dance moves (something which has been in demand for years), just as a new dance craze sweeps the planet. It’s said that “luck” is when preparation meets opportunity, and Tanguy Dewavrin was smart enough to strike at exactly the right moment to capitalize on a heavily-demanded new feature for Home with a series of dance moves that everyone recognizes.
Hm. Where have you seen those dance moves before?
If you say anything other than Gangnam Style, I will mark you down as a born-again liar. Because that’s obviously what this is designed to capitalize upon. And that’s smart business. Home is a very crowded marketplace these days, and it’s much tougher for any developer — let alone a one-man show — to break in and make it work.
Example: Bigyama. I like these guys. They came out with some fun clothing — their Forthstar lineup, which held quite a bit of promise — and some really great furniture which I find I’m using a lot of. But they were cursed with some of the worst timing I’ve ever seen, their product launches consistently overshadowed by much larger releases which gobbled up the spotlight. It’s no surprise that they publicly announced they were shifting gears to go into Vita game development, as this is a brand-new platform which Sony is trying to support and generate interest for.
Let’s face it: it ain’t easy to break into Home any more.
But on the flipside, if you do, it’s one of the few places left in the gaming world where a one-man show can reach — and monetize a percentage of — such a huge audience. And so it continues.
Gangnam Style “Cowboy Dance Moves” are certain to get a positive response, simply because right now people haven’t grown sick of Psy. And even when they do, the idea of goofing around in Home with these moves should help drive sales. Although at some point we should all probably write a collective apology letter to South Korea’s Gangnam District for perpetuating the belief that Koreans walk like horses.
The real question is what dance moves are going to be developed next, either by Atom Republic or someone else. It’s a brand-new market segment in Home, and nature abhors a vacuum. Personally, I’m waiting for someone to come out with an Irish hardshoe dance emote, just so we can line up sixty people in a public space and let rip with a Riverdance line. But that’s a topic for another time.
For now, it’s time to bust out some new dance moves — cowboy style.