Social Media Week London: Gamification

I’m liveblogging the session on gamification for #likeminds and as part of Social Media Week London.  Keep refreshing this page for updates.

18:45 Just getting set up here.  We start at 7pm.

19:00 We’re getting started now.  Andrew Gerrard starts the evening with a plug for our panel tomorrow night.  He then introduces the panel and the #likeminds concept.  He thanks Nokia and Skinkers as co-sponsors.

Scott Gould gets up and talks about social and getting people to interact and participate.

The panel gets started and the panellists are:
Raf Keustermans (Chair)
Katie Bell
Patrick O’Luanaigh
Arthur Barker
Olivier Audouze

(You can read more about the panellists on the event site.)

Patrick starts talking about the evolution of gamification.  he comes from the console games sector and he is trying to do is creating high quality games and alternate reality games, apps and more for major brands.  Hasn’t done the badges, prizes and tokens thing.  He’s interested in 3D content more than these badges technologies, and he feels that casual 3D is where it’s going.

Olivier says he needs to engage the conusmer not just for the brand but for the consumer.  80% of business related to video gaming.  What we see now is the link to social media from games.  There is a movement to integrate the apps with business.

Katie talks about stardoll, and the interest of children and the development of sims-style virtual workd living.  Her company are specialists on teens, and they now find themselves being approached by brands as a means of accessing this market.  Currently working on skin care products.  Growing by 100,000 girls a day in the network so there’s a huge opportunity to access this market. Brands had a shopping list of wants for accessing girls and raising awareness.  Stardoll then set up a club that girls could join where they would have access to a virtual version of the products.  Getting great signups and now finding that the clients are happy.

Steve Godman from Skinkers now up talking about the products he’s made for big brands in delivering what he describes as very dry communication.  He created ganme mechanics around very dry messaging.  He gives the example of Zurich sending messages out to people but no-one is reading the content.  By adding a simple game to messaging, there was a possibility of increasing reading.  He says that it’s possible

Arthur Barker  is up talking about his platform which sends content to various social channels.  He says that gameshaper can take branded IP on to his content platform and send it out to these channels.  Most people who would like to get in to social games, find that the relative unknown about the space or the cost of entry has reduced interest.  So now trying to overcome those barriers to implementation.

Raf starts the debate asking how do we bring brands into a games environment, and what are the risks?

Patrick says the challenege with traditional games is that the sector is splitting.  The revenue generation from really big commercial games is so huge that it’s almost not worth integrating brands into games envrionments.  However, there are chances for brands to create games for consoles even for £100K, so there’s actually a low investment now from what it was previously.  And that’s a low cost even when compared with traditional broadcast media.  Creating a game where the brand gets what they want out of it is better than investment on media.

Katie says that co-creation with content industries (such as Random House with Twilight series) was successful.  They built an online book, but they also built a game to dress characters and launched a fashion line that was associated with their Mortal Kiss brand.  Got 17.5million page views in 8 weeks.  Now have launched a book.  Can create a brand and customer base and then pull it out in to the real world.

Raf asks if there are any problems with alignment between brands and games.

Patrick says that the marketers have in the past had very ixed ideas that can be done with games.  But there are so many new things that companies can do.  Need to go in to discussions with companies with an open mind.

Olivier says that he is always tells the customers (brands) to think about technology as a means of enriching the relationship rather than necessarily adopting the best technology when it doesn’t fit the market.

Raf asks how to ramp up engagement with games.

Arthur says that for the Coronation Street game he’s involved with is interesting because there are ongoing costs associated with ongoing engagement.  While the show is ideal for situating a game, it needs ongoing relationships with the show in order to sustain the game.  But it’s clear that the value per user is 2 or 3 times that you get from a passive audience.

An audience member asks if it’s sensible to intentionally try to monetise games on top of the revenue streams.

Arthur says it is up to the client.  But monetisation will begin to take a stronger role, not just because people need to raise revenues, but because there is an expectation among customers to have a more active engagement with brands than traditional communications.

Patrick says it’s easy to monetise tv and content industries through games.  But most brands really need to look at merchandise and little purchases.  Trouble is there are some brands that are hard to monetise at all.

Raf asks if brands are getting smarter with games and how brands can be used as part of marketing.

Steve says that the brands that understand games are using it as an acquisition tool, targeting people who have grown up with games.  You build the long term experience and journey with a drip feed of content.

Olivier says that most of the time augmented/virtual reality is being used as a means of giving the user a chance to play with the product and to educate the user or give them something useful.  It’s better to build a social framework to allow people to interact with a product as a means of either reinforcing use or encouraging purchase.

Raf asks if there’s a risk associated with creating games that have nothing to do with the brand.

Steve says if you can capture the data, regardless of whether the game is relevant, it is valuable.  Potentially for the size of investment could be high for return.

Katie says that when they work with brands, you won’t necessarily get the ideas which the demographic itself will produce.

Patrick says that games are a great way of learning, so you need to have a great fun game where learning can happen.  Shouldn’t be in your face.

Question from the floor is about the relationship between existing marketing and games.

Steve says that games need to come up to the expectations raised in a tv ad campaign.  Patrick says that you have to ensure that the budget of games and tv need to be considered together if you are tying anything in.

A question comes from the floor on status, access, power as motivations for playing.

Raf responds asking what is the impact of games and whether agencies need to start using games studios people who understand these issues of motivations for playing.

Katie says that there are ways of increasing reputation and developing status levels in games.

Question from the floor is on CRM and learned behaviours.

Olivier says that Facebook, for instance is talking about embedding games (rather than relying on apps).  This may well be interesting in terms of generating clear data on learned behaviours as well as on developing better CRM systems.

Question from the floor is on games in education.

Patrick says games are being used in education. But problem is that there is less investment in games in education than there is from brands.

[JJ’s note: there’s a bit of discussion about game theory – but they don’t mean game theory, they mean game design theory. Game theory is something rather different.]

The panel finish up with discussions about the opportunities for games to be used as a means of encouraging ethical interactions as well as promoting social issues.  Katie says Stardoll is working with NSPCC for instance to ensure that kids are informed and protected both in-game and in the real world.

Andrew Gerrard asks the final question on gamification as a means of developing more efficient businesses.

Arthur notes that games will follow the trends of social media, in that strategies will be framed by acquisitions, retentions, optimisation, engagement or customer service and education.

Olivier says that when it comes to augmented reality, the technology has evolved so quickly it’s difficult to predict the future.  But certainly there is evidence that increased access to mobile technology will make the use of games more appealing.  When you can start to track user behaviour, you can begin to see how games can pay for themselves.

Raf wraps up the panel with a question about whether games need to be fun.

Arthur says that people do want to fulfil basic needs.  And fun is more loose as a term; people want to feel that their needs are being met. Patrick notes that there is a problem between fun and addiction, but as the sector matures the games will increasingly meet needs.

Raf thanks the panel and Andrew Gerrard closes the event with a call to drinks.

That’s it folks, hope this liveblog is useful.  🙂

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