Gamification: '... and the geeks shall inherit the earth...'
Not too long ago, computer or video games were just for geeks. Back in the dark days of the 80s, if you wanted to shoot some 2D aliens or crash computer generated sports cars, you had to hang out in amusement arcades (and be prepared to part with a significant amount of loose change) or invest in very a basic home computer and endure the intermeddle and unreliable cassette loading process. Consequently, the appeal of video games was niche.
Twenty five years later, video games are everywhere – and that’s not just thanks to the all pervasiveness of desktop computers and mobile devices; it’s also because the games themselves have evolved to become more accessible… and downright interesting. Not everyone will want to play World of Warcraft, but a huge number of people will download Angry Birds on their iPhone. While the sophistication of the former makes it the object of obsession for committed gamers, the simplicity, accessibility and affordability of the latter makes it applicable to almost everyone. The barriers preventing widespread uptake of video games have been comprehensively demolished – in short, gaming is more fun and less threatening.
It’s this new breed of accessible gaming that is increasingly creating opportunities for B2B brands – see the cover story from our September 2011 issue. Allied with this, the web becoming more sophisticated and crowded on a near-daily basis, making engagement in conventional text-based content harder and harder to generate. Any type of messaging that offers a different level of engagement with a hard-to-reach audience is highly desirable to brands.
However, that’s not to say that gamification is a panacea – it’s clearly not necessarily the right approach for all brands or target audiences. But if used correctly it increasingly has the potential to create cut-through and even brand intimacy with hard-to-reach business decision makers and influencers. And that’s surely a game that every B2B brand wants to play.