‘The Hobbit’ Movie Provides an Untapped Opportunity to Build LotRO Momentum

Posted by on December 18, 2012 - 1 Comment »

Spoiler warning: Spoilers may lie ahead for those of you who have not yet seen or read The Hobbit. Read with caution.

Being the fantasy-loving audience that you are, I’d venture to bet that a fair number of you, like me, took a trip to the theater sometime in the past few days for the opening weekend of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And oh my. Wasn’t it grand?! That nostalgic setting, the familiar characters we all loved from the Lord of the Rings trilogy along with the new faces of dwarven determination, the story of overcoming even your own expectations to become a hero, that beautiful musical score, the horrific hordes of enemies to overcome.

Just, wow. I could go on and on about how much I loved this movie. And it’s so easy to see why J.R.R. Tolkien is known as the father of modern fantasy literature. In The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Silmarillion, Tolkien weaved together an intricately spectacular and intriguing world that still mystifies audiences today.

But that’s not precisely what I wanted to discuss today. Because the reawakening of my love for this universe has got me absolutely craving more. And I have to wonder: why isn’t Turbine Entertainment doing more to promote the fact that Lord of the Rings Online can provide “more” for myself and others like me who also were brought back into the fold of the LotR universe after seeing The Hobbit?

As iTZKooPA pointed out yesterday, Turbine just pushed live Update 9 to LotRO, which contains the first part of the delayed Riders of Rohan instance pack, Road to Erebor. And what does this latest instant pack deliver? A few key items that will ring a bell to those who saw The Hobbit over the weekend: giant spiders, hordes of goblins in their expansive mountain town, stone giants and even giant eagles.

All are stories inspired by The Hobbit, as Senior Producer Aaron Campbell confirmed, according to Massively.

“The team here is very excited about the upcoming Hobbit movie… The movies are good for anyone working with Tolkien’s story, but we don’t have specific cross-promotion planned.” –Aaron Campbell (source)

My question is: Why not? Certainly Turbine has to be careful to not step on any toes. As far as I can tell, they have no ties to the production of the movie and can’t benefit directly from it. But the fact is that both the movie and the game draw from the same source material, which is arguably some of the best fantasy writing, ever.

The two forms of media are bound to overlap, as will anything else drawing from the same world. Turbine started to take hold of this opportunity by creating the content and pushing it out just a few days after the movie hit theaters: now just get the word out to people.

Turbine could promote this new content without ever referencing the movie. Create an ad showing the coolness of these new instances and how they allow players to delve further into the storyline. Show it in theaters. Or on movie websites. Or heck, plaster it up here on Lore Hound. We and other gaming websites already have covered the update, but there are many other places to reach potential players.

Send out press releases to sites and magazines that covered the movie. Some are bound to pick up on the story and make their own links between the movie and the MMO without Turbine having to even point it out. Get the word out while the epicness of the movie is fresh on peoples’ minds.

There are bound to be plenty of others, like me, who adored the movie and are eager to experience the same content in a different way. Right?

At least, that’s what I’d like to think. Maybe I’m not versed enough in advertising promotions to see the whole picture. Or maybe Turbine hasn’t had a lot of success if they’ve previously tried to target the LotR moviegoers. I don’t know. But I can’t help but wonder if they’re passing up a gold mine of an opportunity.