Collective Detective

Immersive, cross-media, entertainment adventures and other buzz words.

The original Collective Detective was launched in 2002 was the first service of its kind targeting what we thought was an emerging immersive media community. It was a member driven platform, custom developed for participants of online and location-based games, mysteries, "advertainment," and cross-platform narratives. CD helped facilitate the easy sharing of information and solving complex puzzles together as part of a "hive mind," "group think," or as we called it: "Distributed human information filtering."

This came out of being a part of various campaigns and seeing communities struggle with the lack of tools and resources. So I built something to help serve the need.

Notable games that players followed were for movies, TV shows, "The Driver" web series for BMW, TerraQuest, The Sims, and Game Neverending – which eventually lead to that tech contributing to the creation of Flickr and Slack.

While a great project and learning experience, our thousands of members would blow through the stories, games, and mysteries much faster than the authors intended. It had a healthy subscription model, but not enough new content to keep it active.

Collective Detective then tried to move to to a consultancy model to provide advocacy for players and advisement and creative assistance to studios on ways to ensure long-lasting, engaging narratives that would leverage the scale of the "Collective Effect" as it became known. However, it was too far ahead of its time to monetize and scale, and too complex for most marketing efforts. Even today, while viral, event, and influencer marketing builds on some of this, there's still very few cross-platform entertainment experiences at the same scale as ones from two decades ago.

The future looks a bit more interactive and immersive. Augmented Reality, Web3, Experiential Reality, and the rise of the hyperverse/metaverse will bring amazing opportunities for new kinds of storytelling. That's interesting.