Dan Hon of MindCandy On Alternative Reality Gaming At The PSFK Conference London
In this 30 minute video, MindCandy's COO Dan Hon shows how to serve brand experiences with an injection of adrenalin and fun.
* Alternative Reality Games (ARGs) are a platform to tell engaging stories. “It’s all about creating experiences that give very good effective suspension of disbelief”… kicking off in similar feeling to Michael Douglas in The Game, or Keanu in The Matrix (get a thing in strange package & suddenly it starts…)
* There are no controls you have to learn – it’s role-playing yourself doing things you already do; and it gets you out into the world
* Most games also run live events – eg: 30k participants in recent game run co-branded with BBC at the music festival in Preston
* War of Worlds – Orson Welles radio play – the first ARG?? showed how much entertainment can move you if you believe it’s real
* Recent examples of ARGs: Lost game, Heroes 360, AI The Beast, Microsoft Halo2…
* 9 inch nails Year Zero… when you play CD it heats up and when you take it out the heat sensitive ink printed on it reveals a special message that takes you into the game. For Trent, it’s not only about the music anymore, he’s communicating his ideas in other formats too.
* Immersion breeds passion – narrative builds ties… Eg: players who handfolded paper cranes imitating a japanese ritual to commemorate death of a character. “Our players are very very driven… and sometimes a bit psychotic!”
* “Our audience lives eats and breathes Web 2.0” – Eg: they built a Wiki to track the story; they created a google map, they even collaborated to write a book that was printed on demand in order to pass a hurdle in the game. Right now they’ve built a system to crack a military code that would ordinarily need a supercomputer for, by running it across thousands of computers worldwide
* Perplex City stats: 40% UK, 40% US, rest english language markets; 50/50 almost 60/40 gender split in favour of women – think this is because it’s got such a strong story, it’s like following a soap opera. Average age 26 but ranges 14-70. Audience funnel: a small cadre who are seriously engaged and do everything, with larger majority who follow along on blogs etc
* Learning a lot from TV – how to cope with people coming in half way through (eg: short video recaps); doesn’t have to end on a bad note provided it’s written well.
* Marketing opportunities “Product placement on crack” … opportunities to showcase products within the story… opportunities to require people to interact with products in order to progress story (so great if require you to learn to use a new feature on mobile phone for eg). Driving foot traffic… eg: flashmobs to a retail store… Driving click traffic… they follow every link in depth