Having worked for clients that want the latest and greatest, I saw first hand the lengths people are going to in order to get your sale. In fact, for months after I left Shane Co., I kept seeing ads for their jewellery. However, I’m not engaged. Big companies like Google and Facebook make an obscene amount of money tracking our online activity. You can do some things with plugins like the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials and Facebook Container. However, it’s also the responsibility of businesses not to reward this kind of data collection. Elysium Studios stands firm in our commitment to do right by our customers.

Look Ma! No Trackers!

We are proud of the fact that we don’t use nor implement Google Analytics or any other tracking system on our website. No Google Tag Manager, no Google Analytics, no other creepy tracking codes. In fact, if only we could get someone from ToS;DR to look into our privacy practices, I think we could get an A+ grade.

Elysium Studios is committed to the seven cooperative principles, and the seventh involves a concern for the community.

The 7th Principle combines two elements of the Co-operative Values in the [International Cooperative] Alliance’s Statement on the Co-operative Identity: those of “self-help and self-responsibility” and “the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others”. These two elements of the co-operative identity and values are brought to life by this 7th operational principle.

This combination of these two elements arises because co-operatives emerge from and are rooted in the communities in which they conduct their business operations. Their success is based on their ability to support those communities to develop in a sustainable way.

The Guidance Notes on the Co-operative Principles

Enabling Facebook and Google to continue to collect data on you would not be sustainable nor responsible. So, if we’re not going to track you and follow you around the web like a creepy stalker, how do we plan to sell you visual novels and online dating services? Well, we believe in a two-step process. We will be known by our engagement in the community and our high quality visual novels.

Engagement in the Community

Sample flyer from ROFLCON III, image courtesy of Jason Eppink under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Unsurprisingly, Elysium Studios is all about the communities we are a part of. Not just the visual novel community but also the communities we intersect. Nearly every day, I speak with someone who just doesn’t know what a visual novel is. I explain that it’s like those old “choose your own adventure” books, but we add music and art and more interactive choices. In the last week, I’ve explained visual novels to defence attorneys (one of which has a son who plays Doki Doki Literature Club), bus drivers, and a cashier at the Fort Collins Food Co-op.

Because of who we are and what we stand for, we can talk to a lot of people. We’re not just a video game company. We’re a co-op, a B-Corp, a 100% female (and worker) owned business powered by open source technology. Bringing together video games and online dating, we’re doing something that is at least a conversation starter. And we’re not doing it in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles but all along the Front Range.

Our Commitment to Quality

Engagement can only get you so far. After that, people start buying your products and subscribing to your services. But are they ready for prime time? It’s only slightly tongue-in-cheek that we claim we make artisanal visual novels.

We also plan to be around until the end of the Internet. Wouldn’t it make sense that we should make our products to last as well? You can do something poorly and only make a little bit of money. You could. Or you could commit yourself to doing something epic and yet, still maintainable.

Cover image by Patrik Nygren, released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

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