Having been an avid desktop computer gamer in high school, I was limited to four options of what “skin,” better known as outfits, to assign to my Counter Strike characters. Fast forward eight years and today, game developers like RapidFire offer static in-game advertising for details as small as whether an avatar wears an Axe or Old Spice logo on their shirt. It’s pretty cool stuff, but what’s really incredible is the advertising potential.
On the topic of the future of gaming, PlayStation’s ex-exec Jack Tretton thinks [T]here’s no longer people that don’t game. Everybody games just like they watch TV and do a lot of things that you would consider mainstream entertainment.” On the flip side, gaming companies are progressively moving towards mobile devices to keep players engaged. Nintendo recently released its first app that allows 3DS users to access the internet through a smartphone.
Traditionally, the demographics of gamers and say, Hunger Games fans, are different. But that hasn’t stopped Lionsgate from developing a branded mobile game that will use custom upgrades with smaller maintenance costs to build its revenue model. The question is: Will fans of such a widely loved franchise, most of whom won’t consider themselves gamers per se, consider themselves gamers once it relates to their interests? Much like well-integrated technology, the games may be so effective in captivating the user it’s not even considered gaming, but rather “the Hunger Games app” or “digital cards.”
Mobile gaming, when branded, is more about experiential marketing. Even if the experience itself is a game, it’s about meaningful interaction with branded media. For Hunger Games fans, this will provide plenty of material to keep them engaged until the franchise’s next release. For experiential marketers, the gamification of ad strategies should give them more ammo than ever when it comes to making their work effortless and fun for the hybrid gamer/consumer. Executive Vice President of Rovio Entertainment (maker of Angry Birds) Jami Laes, extended this thought while adding that developers will, “[B]e able to combine elements from different genres and different types of games in a very casual way and create meaningful experiences that are going to be widely adopted by huge audiences”.
The convergence of the IAB’s Games and Mobile Committees for “The Future of Mobile Game Advertising,” is another bright sign for gaming’s crossover into the advertising (revenue) arena, especially considering that “[A]n overall increased acceptance of advertising among users when advertising is executed in a way that brings value to the experience, is contextually relevant, is delivered in a format that is visually appealing or synergistic to their mobile experience.”
Easier said than coded, but that’s what it takes to optimize gaming and marketing/advertising integration. Look out for our next post – a mobile game where users set data free from their silos, use various travel technologies to move between stages, and receive loyalty points to upgrade their character. Just playing!