A brief history of games
The appeal of games has broadened in recent years. More women play video games now than ever before and the average age of gamers has risen to 30 years old. Research suggests that four homes in five now own a games console or similar device, and two people in every household are regular gamers. Games offer enormous reach from traditional board games to mobile, augmented and virtual reality. At the same time, the cost of game development has fallen steadily. Today, games are an attractive, affordable marketing option for even small organisations looking to engage prospects, customers, partners and employees.
Gamification and marketing
Games can be used to help achieve a wide variety of marketing objectives from internal communications and product training to brand recognition and intension to purchase. In fact, the marketing possibilities are really limitless. Brands can leverage the power and reach of established game titles, such as FIFA Sports, the Sims and Need for Speed series by EA Games. Alternatively, you can design and build a game totally unique for your business purposes.
Permission based marketing
Unlike many other forms of marketing and advertising, games are permission based. Your audience chooses to play. Design the game well, so it’s a good match to Richard Bartle’s classification of player types, and your audience will quickly become engrossed. Make the game easily accessible across platforms and socially-friendly, and the players will soon become your ambassadors. In fact, it’s important to build in the four key intrinsic motivators of choice, meaning, mastery and community into your game design.
Games can certainly help brands raise awareness and influence purchase decisions. In a survey by Blackdot of over a thousand gamers:
- 83% of respondents said they have a positive impression of companies that sponsor free games.
- 70% of those polled said they were more likely to buy products from companies that produce or sponsor free games.
- 74% of respondents said they typically play an advergame title four times or more.
- 67% of respondents said they will pass along a game link to friends or challenge their social group to beat their high score at a game.
Education and training
In addition to marketing and advertising games can we used for a wide variety of education and training purposes. The US military have invested heavily in a series of video games to test leadership skills and decision-making abilities under battlefield conditions, for example. Today, e-learning games are commonplace in our schools and workplaces.
Return on investment
Certainly in-game advertising and marketing is very effective and growing rapidly. Back in 2004 advergames generated just USD $34 million. Today the sector is worth over $7 billion. However, games have a longer history in promoting products and services. Since the 1890s everyone from coffee companies, fast food restaurant chains and breakfast cereal brands have been using simple puzzles, quizzes and board games to grab and hold our attention.