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Gaming

A lot has been written about the benefits of using game mechanics and game design as marketing techniques – or gamification as it is also known – in particular when marketing to the young hyper-connected audiences (Gen-Zs and Millennials).

There is plenty of research available that shows how immune these age groups are to traditional advertising techniques. To get their attention, instead we are advised to listen and invite their feedback, play the transparency and authenticity cards at all times and most importantly provide them with top entertainment. In Edelman’s 8095® 2.0 Global Study, we learn that 80% of Millennials simply want brands to entertain them, making games one of the obvious ways to their young consumers’ hearts.

Having said this, the latest research for the IGEA has dispelled many myths about the age and gender of the typical gamer, as we learn that the average Australian gamer is 32 year-old and 47% likely to be a female. Other revelations include the fact that 81% of mums and 83% of dads play video games nowadays, with 71% of Australian households counting 2 or more gamers.

But I am digressing here.

The reason why I set out to write this post in the first place was to show that gaming as a marketing device is as effective for raising awareness about a social cause and getting people to act as it is for entertaining.

I recently stumbled upon a couple of such ‘serious’ games – and to my surprise, as I started playing one of them, it had the desired effect on me i.e. it made me too acutely aware of the complexity of the issue at hand.

If you haven’t come across it yet, I strongly encourage you to play the below game, SPENT, and see for yourself what I mean. You can play it here. This is one of these instances where actions speak louder than words.

Another game in the same vein, currently in the making and that caught my attention, is the crowd-funded game Choice: Texas. It bravely addresses the highly sensitive and divisive topic of abortion access in Texas.

The funds have now been raised and the game will soon be made available online. I invite you to regularly check its dedicated Tumblr site and experience the game as soon as it becomes available.

The fundraising campaign video gives you the background to the project and its intent:

A lot of ink has been spilled in the press on Microsoft’s lost decade (and also on its unpopular leader’s antics). Nowadays, the once game changer is mainly known for loosing the race against innovation with its underwhelming product launches and poor attempts at copying others with inferior products. And so with this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised to read about the latest proof of concept from its research team: IllumiRoom – a technology that “augments the area surrounding the television screen with projected visualizations”. The pilot premiered at the CES last month and if it ever goes to market, it may well redefine not just the gaming experience but also home entertainment as a whole – I am no gamer but I could see myself watching Avatar in 3D IllumiRoom-style and loving it!

How successful the technology will be largely depends on which commercial uses Microsoft intend to make of it, its mass appeal and adoption potential by content creators amongst other hurdles. For now however, it is said to be the most advanced and user-friendly use of immersive imaging compared to earlier efforts reliant on similar techniques (e.g. see the over-the-top Peugeot Emotion & Motion show, or check out Sony’s DIY AR-room projection videos here).

Here is to hoping that something good comes out of Microsoft’s latest effort, that its concept sees the light of the day and gives the giant some of its past glory back…

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