I recently saw an article from USA Today on a new “Create Your Pizza App” Xbox 360 app that lets users order food from Pizza Hut right from this game console. This free app includes the full Pizza Hut menu.
The app caught my interest while the justification for the app was laughable to me. A different way of doing the same thing.
Each app element was socially constructed based on our experience…how we relate to the elements individually or collectively.
There are many social factors working here. Overall, pizza delivery is something many people use it and I don’t it is going away any time soon.
“The very last thing a kid wants to do is look for a phone to order a pizza,” says John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace, a cloud technology provider in a recent USA Today article on this app.
The last thing a kid wants to do is look for a phone? …Really? Most “kids” I know have a mobile device close by and on their body even while playing their Xbox 360.
Pizza Hut has been online since 1994 and currently have more than 6,300 locations, so any “gamer” can call or go to the included web browser on the Xbox 360 any time to do the same thing.
The actual app experience requires some initial setup. Once users install the free app then they must login Xbox Live for credit card access and sync their Xbox account with their Pizza Hut account. Besides using the standard controller, users can also order via Xbox Kinect hand motions and even voice commands.
The official video explaining the service states “…for people who don’t have a computer, or don’t have one sitting in same room as their console–it allows users another way to place an order.” It also explains users don’t have to leave the couch or sign out of Xbox Live.
One of my favorite Friends’ episodes features Joey and Chandler trying to stay in their recliners as long as possible without getting out. This episode was hilarious and entertaining, but that is quickly becoming the norm. Does this app deserve kudos for offering hands free options to save greasy-handed customers from touching their gamepad?
It’s certainly entertaining to get pizza this way and I’m sure Microsoft wants people spending more time on their Xbox 360. They also offer Facebook sharing options when using the app, which can tempt others to try the experience, while offering a 15% discount on orders until May 6.
The “360” marketing are endless. Producer make ordering pizza more of a mini-game experience and have potential to expand the gaming aspects that could even include in-game rewards (e.g. more in-depth mini-game to create favorite/preset pizzas, a game character gets full health for an hour after completing an order). You probably won’t see the nutritional information marketed…especially since users will be exerting less energy to get their food.
Entertaining and interesting? Yes. Useful? No. This “app” can be fun, but is essentially unnecessary. The strongest support for the app is increased accuracy where users would not have a “middle man” who might miscommunicate what they want.
Along with immediacy and hypermediacy, remediation is one of the three traits of our genealogy of new media experiences. With new media comes new rules, which can create new possibilities in an absorbing way whether that be detrimental or exciting. It changes the perspective of where how and what we see. For example, did you ever think you would watch movies in your car other than at a drive-in?
It’s becoming too accepted and “natural” that we shout out our devices (social behavior changes) and link them with our credit card information (online security) so we can get what we want. The immediacy drives these changes to sustain customer interest and the bottom line – the “all mighty dollar”.
Question these changes in your life and ask yourself – how does this latest remediation affect us and our overall well-being? I think ideas, audience and practical use should cross our minds before hopping on the “bandwagon”. True success in media is a matter of anticipating what technology/media will be most useful.