If you’re a gamer, you potentially realize the funny-looking device up there as your greatest ally. If you’re not a gamer, let me bring you up to speed. That’s an XtendPlay, a device you can put on your game controller and then rest on your lap or belly to make extended game sessions more comfortable. Despite its looks, it reportedly works great, but Xwerx, the company that makes them, thinks they can do better. Enter the crowd.
From June 4th to July 30th, Xwerx is holding a $10,000 contest to help design the next version of the XtendPlay. Purchase the device, use it for a period of time sufficient to form an opinion, and send that opinion off to Xwerx, and if they use your idea, you get the money. Pretty cut-and-dry stuff; brands have used similar models for all manner of contest-based crowdsourcing initiatives.
But is it the best decision for Xwerx? I say there’s room for improvement. I think the contest model is a good idea, but I’m not a fan of how all the entries are hidden and seen only by the Xwerx execs. We’ve seen in the past how cool stuff designed by a crowd can be, so I think it would behoove Xwerx to put some of their favorite suggestions on their website and have people comment on them. What may seem like a great idea to the execs might be shot down by the crowd, and vice-versa. Transparency and dialog, guys. R&D is a process, and you may as well involve everyone.