The GamerTag Series -- Part 1: Trends in Gamer Identity
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 24th Apr 2012
The GamerTag Series looks at various aspects of gamer identity online by examining issues that are connected to and relate to GamerTags...
In Part 1: Trends in Gamer Identity we examine the increasingly popular field of Persona Designers, consultants who are hired to create and package an entire online identity that is part marketing and part cool, allowing its owner to control how they are perceived by the rest of the gaming world.
Persona Designers do more than help gamers pick "the right" pseudonym and motto, create their avatar and properly dress them, they also help them define who they are online, guide them in the process of building their identity, and help them to establish the right points of presence online, like Facebook, Twitter, and which gamer-specific social networking sites they should belong to.
Among the many valued services that Persona Designers provide once the foundation for a new identity has been laid is to refer them to specialists who help them learn the ropes and what not to do, like:
Image Counselors -- expert gamers who are paid to guide new gamers along the path to establishing their gamer reputation, teaching them why they need to avoid allowing twink titles to appear in their Achievements pages that can get them ridiculed and derail their rep before it even gets started, and help them to identify the cool games to be played and the lame ones to avoid. The IC functions as a living FAQ board to whom the newly minted gamer can email for answers to questions and help them in avoiding faux pas while they acquire the basic skills that are needed to survive in the world of online gaming.
Achievement Counselors -- veteran gamers who will -- for a price -- assist the new gamer in obtaining that all-important 20,000 Gamerscore thought to be be entry-level threshold, temporarily foster-playing their new gamer tag to get them the Achievements that they need to start being taken seriously.
The resources offered by these consultants are not just used by new gamers, they are increasingly being sought out by parents who want to better understand the world that their children live in by becoming part of it, and fitting in with the peer group that their children belong to either as a "cool parent" or masquerading as a member of that group.
An entire world of machination exists just below the surface of Xbox LIVE, giving the average gamer pause and concern to wonder how many of the gamers in the lobby are some gamers parent?
Being able to check a Gamertag to see who was real would be helpful...
Persona Designers: Paying for Cool
London-based Persona Designer Rachael Dean is a celebrity in her own right within the social circles that she moves in, circles that include a growing list of celebrity clients who hire her to help them obtain specific results in their quest for entertainment and presence. According to Dean the list is very small when compared to the list of solidly middle-class clients who have sought her services as one of the best Persona Designers in the City, but just who is on it and who is not is still a mystery -- Dean doesn't share that information because guarantees of privacy and discretion are naturally part of the services that she provides.
Whether the client is famous, almost-famous, or a complete unknown really doesn't matter to Dean -- it is not like she has ever actually met the people who pay her to help them shape the way that the online world views them face-to-face; that just doesn't happen in the modern world where communication is digital, and for the most part consists of email, text, instant chat, and video chats.
Everything from the initial interview and consultation to the mundane elements like getting paid happens online; about as disconnected from real life as you can get and still be dealing with real life issues, but that is just the way that Dean wants it. It is less messy and easier to manage clients you keep at arms length -- or perhaps a better way to say it is at Wi-Fi length.
"When the services you provide are urgently needed and at the same time the sort of business relationship that by its very nature must be concealed, that is a service you are going to be paying for, and you get what you pay for, it is really that simple," Dean declared, nodding at the wisdom of her own words.