I mentioned last week that I wanted to interview a big wig at Prima Games in regards to their new spiral-binding design, and the great Paul Giacomotto agreed to my questioning. He returned my interview last night, and he had some really interesting things to say about Prima Games’ new style. Check it out below!
Prima Games Interview – New Guide Design
1. Where did the idea for spiral-binding for your guides come from?
We’ve had spiral binding in our brains for quite some time. The beauty about spiral binding is how well it lays open. A common complaint with any book is the binding not allowing the book to stay open whether on your lap, desk, etc.. This can be more important with strategy guides because gamers tend to use the product while playing the game. We’ve been excited to use spiral binding for years because we could imagine ourselves and other gamers alike having a strategy guide lay open for us while we play and read.
2. What was your primary reasoning for this change?
Change can be a scary thing. This is Prima Games 20th year creating strategy guides and it’s not always easy for us to change things up. However, with any successful company it’s necessary to evaluate your product and see if you can be doing anything better. I don’t think there was any one reason we made a change other than it made some products “better”. I’d say it was the right combination of factors. The question we ask ourselves everyday is, “What’s best for the product”? That question drives our creative process. We have to take into account the wants and needs of the community, game licensor, and retailers when answering that question.
3. Was the Peace Walker guide an experiment? If so, was it successful?
Everything we do follows a lot of planning and forethought. We were excited to use spiral binding on Metal Gear Solid®: Peace Walker because it made a lot of sense for the product. For this detailed PSP-only product it was very important to organize and present the information a little differently and a way we felt the gamer would need it. The first guide we did with spiral binding was Battlefield: Bad Company 2. We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback thus far.
4. What is your plan for this new style? Are you going to limit it to certain game genres, or is this something you’d like to see for all your future guides?
Spiral binding is something we’ll continue to do on specific titles only. For example, we’re doing a full size spiral bound guide for Madden NFL 11. It can be used similar to a playbook, which makes tons of sense for a football videogame that uses playbooks in the game. Again, it’s “What’s best for the product”?
5. How has the feedback from readers been?
Feedback has been very positive in general. Positives have included: book stays open, lower cost, easy to find in store next to the game, better layout organization, and optimized walkthroughs. To be fair we’ve also had some negative feedback. Negatives included: smaller book, don’t like spiral on books, paper might rip on spirals. We’ve been pleased with the overwhelming positive feedback from customers, licensors, and retailers. We really listen to all feedback and it does influence us when making decisions. If a majority of feedback were negative we wouldn’t be going forward with spiral bound guides.
6. What do you think the benefits are with this design?
The guide stays open, it seems easier to use, and it enables us to design/layout a little differently if needed. For example, with the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 guide, it made sense because we oriented the book in a landscape format rather than typical portrait. Think about taking the typical strategy guide and turning it 90 degrees clockwise. This allowed two pages to lay open at once showing a map of a region on the top page with the strategy on the bottom. It’s possible to view both pages at the same time in a well-organized format.
7. What do you personally like about the spiral-binding?
Personally…I love two things. The first is the obvious ability to lay the book open and not fight it by pressing the binding down so hard it messes up the pages or book. Secondly, I love that it doesn’t take up too much space. My “gaming area” has game discs, game cases, paper, and other random stuff around so having something a little smaller is just easier for me to use.
8. Can we expect more new-fangled designs from Prima Games in the future?
Ooohhh…”new-fangled”, I like that. While we can’t disclose all industry secrets, I can say we’re always looking to improve and there should be some additional cool stuff soon. Collector’s Edition strategy guides remain a strong product for us and we’re going to be including some unreal stuff there too. It’s worth mentioning here that we’ve improved our digital strategy guides as well. The different digital products we offer now are: digital download guide, website strategy guide, video strategy guide, and iPhone & iPad apps. You can expect a lot more content being delivered both in print and digital form for years to come.
In closing I’d like to thank Keri for reaching out to us. She’s been awesome to work with since connecting on Twitter. I try to send her guides every now and then because I know she really appreciates them =). Go to www.primagames.com to see what we’re up to and make sure to follow us on Facebook (Prima Games) and Twitter (@primagames.com) because we like to keep you informed and give away FREE STUFF! Gaming is good!
Thank you, Paul for agreeing to this interview and thanks also for making me blush. I look forward to seeing what else Prima Games comes up with next, both with guides and guide design!