March 11, 2010

Why gaming?

Gaming is the most engaging medium. Games provide a constant cycle of action and choice, instant feedback, satisfying rewards, and just the right level of challenge. Successful games engage because the player is always learning and responding to something. That something could be how to get to the next level, or equally it could be information about your brand, processes or training.

Gaming is extremely diverse. While advertisers have traditionally limited themselves to web browser games made in Flash, the audience is playing on XBox, iPhone, PC downloads, phones, social networks, txt messaging and more. Games are being played in the office, with Facebook friends, at parties with food, on the bus – opening new opportunities to engage. The range of genre of games is incredibly diverse too: strategy, fashion, business simulation, art, sports and shooting

Gaming audiences are diverse – and mainstream. Games like FarmVille on Facebook, the Nintendo Wii motion controller, touchscreens and SingStar have brought new audiences to gaming. The average gamer is affluent and 33 years old. 25% of game-players are over 50. 48% are female.

Gaming principles are being applied to serious subjects. Games are good at creating behavioural and attitudinal change. Ecological, educational, mental health, political messages and challenges have been addressed with games. There is a growing field of research into the psychological and social principles underpinning effective games.

Gaming has to be done right. Some audiences have been playing games for 30 years now, or play multi-million dollar productions at home. A commissioned game has to have polished gameplay and game design in addition to graphics and technology. Experience has taught us that even a serious educational game has to be fun first.

Games can be evaluated. The learning and gameplay outcomes of a game can be tracked and responded to.