By Todd Serge – 11/20/2013
Now that you know what gamification is, let’s look at some of the criticisms by exploring different techniques and strategies that would aid in the gamification process like alternate reality games and augmented reality programs.
Gamification may be employed by some marketers and business men as a slapdash and simple addition to current marketing practices, but that doesn’t mean all efforts to increase engagement are filled with mediocrity and greed. With advancing technology and the use of alternate and augmented reality, some highly creative people have captured what gamification is all about: creating an enjoyable and engaging experience for the end user. An Alternate Reality Game (ARG) takes bits and pieces from fictional media, like a video game or television show, and has them leak out into the real world. ARGs started with a 2001 promotion for the movie AI and companies began to adopt them to create a buzz among the denizens of the internet boosting geek cred for products that would appeal to that market.
Halo’s “I love Bees” ARG generated nearly 2 million players. An episode of heroes entitled ‘godsend’ gave a brief glimpse of a business card that contained a phone number to one of the show’s fictional companies. People who noticed this and called the number were directed to a website that had several clues and puzzles which, when solved, revealed more intricate details about the show’s plot and characters. More recently, a Vancouver-based sci-fi TV show called Continuum combined the television show with a vlog and real world staged events at conventions, dead drops in parks, and even puzzles placed across the country in Toronto. Fans of the show had to figure out clues along with the characters in the show and play a well thought out and ultimately very engaging game.
In addition to ARGs, the advent of augmented reality technology could change the very idea of gamification and how audiences interact with their favorite shows. Augmented reality is different from ARGs in that it uses technology, like a tablet or smart phone, to add something virtual into a physical real world environment. This is a technology early in development, especially for use with TV. However, one German TV station was very successful in their augmented reality experiment: Junaio created an app for use with the German TV show Galileo. Viewers could point their smartphone at the TV and the quiz shows’ questions would appear on your device. A simple click and you have participated in the quiz, pitting yourself against the rest of the country, and instantly seeing real time results. ExploreEngage created an ad for the Australian Open that had a Kia logo transform into a 3-D model of a Kia optima on your smartphone.
These are simple applications but the technology is new and the possibilities for the future are endless.
Gamification can be an incredible way for TV to engage its audience but is not to be used as a solution to improve the performance of a bad product. If the product is bad no amount of marketing trickery will help. However, for those out there that want to give their audience a rewarding and lasting experience that can engage them like nothing else, for those that want to have a dedicated audience of fans that will always come back for more, for those that want to utilize ARGs and augmented reality in creative ways, gamification can provide results that you won’t find anywhere else.