by Adrian Hon
Most ARGs are like icing on a cake - they make an existing TV show, movie, game or book taste even better by giving fans another way to explore and interact with the fictional universe. But you can't live on icing, so the question is: can an ARG ever work on its own, without relying on a massive audience from another medium?
Very few have tried, and there are no enduring successes (including my own Perplex City). As a result, many have implicitly concluded that a 'native ARG' can't be done, and are now moving on to transmedia. But at Six to Start, we think it can be done, and we've been developing Project 314 to prove it.
Project 314 is an online social game blended with an ARG, aimed at a mass audience (just like Zynga and Playfish games) but with a depth of gameplay, story, and world that they can't approach. During development, we found that there are enormous advantages in creating an ARG that's attached to an online game; for one, you can avoid the irritating friction that always occurs when switching between media; for another, it feels incredibly natural (and there are a few more to discuss)
It took us three years to come up with the idea for Project 314, and to assemble the right team. In this talk, I'll also share why Project 314 is so important for the future of games and storytelling, why it took so long, and how other game developers can create similar games (while avoiding the pitfalls we encountered).
For decades, TV show fans have sought ways to extend their connection to their favorite show characters with things like branded cereals, toys, board games, music or the like. Fans often can't wait for the next episode and especially dread the time between seasons. They want to interact and even play along with their favorite shows. This is a reality that TV networks are creating through branded online games and social games. This panel, consisting of online gaming experts and digital leaders at TV networks, will explore how TV networks are keeping fans engaged between episodes and seasons with quality online games that extend the show's brand and interactivity with fans - taking TV entertainment to the next level. The session will sample real case studies from experiences over several seasons with shows and branded games like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Biggest Loser, Survivor, and others. Panel members will also explore how games enable an additional channel for TV networks to reach global fans via social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 and Bebo, especially as we're seeing games being the number one used applications on many social networks.
Mobile is by far the fastest growing sector of the game industry. The growth of the app market is buoyed by an explosion in hardware. New mobile devices appear almost weekly, each promising heightened user experience. It’s no surprise that consumers are expecting better audio in their mobile games. This has created infinite revenue possibilities for composers, bands and sound artists. Join Ben Long as he reveals the technical, creative and business aspects of audio in mobile games. Also, Shane Vitarana and Adam Randall will shed light on the present and future of drum apps and how they relate to mobile games.
As the SXSW Interactive Festival continues to grow, it often becomes harder to discover /network with the specific type of people you want to network with. Hence a full slate of daytime Meet Ups are scheduled for the 2011 event. These Meet Ups are definitely not a panel session -- nor do they offer any kind of formal presentation or AV setup. On the contrary, these sessions are a room where many different conversations and (and will) go on at once. This timeslot is for registrants to network with other SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum registrants who are interested in how music is involved in the gaming industry. Cash bar onsite.
by Jon Goldman
The rise of social gaming, and its adoption within the world's mainstream cultures, has had a profound impact on many of the world's cultures, as well as the way in which we interact with each other, with digital content and how we consume media. No longer do people want to simply consume online media in a static and lonely fashion, randomly e-mailing and tweeting links to their friends. Today's consumer aims to mimic their real-life social interactions within their online experiences, bringing the full promise of the Internet - to enhance and expand our real-world lives - with them into their online experiences.
We are entering a time when neither the actual means of distribution, nor the content, are the primary driving forces behind consumer consumption of media, but rather, it is the socialization around that media that leads people to continually want to consume hours and hours of digital content every day and week.
We will take a look at examples of socially-interactive digital content in our everyday lives, as well as the impact it is having on consumers and advertisers. This discussion will also provide examples of how content developers can better incorporate socially-interactive features into their online content--music, videos, photos, etc.--and how they can get site users and other consumers to fully enjoy and appreciate the power of socially-interactive features.
Me: So you want to save the world, right?
You: Totally. What's your plan?
Me: We build an app that uses game design to motivate people to do good: conserve energy, change their behavior, etc.
You: Perfect. Let's copy Foursquare! Points, badges — people love that shit.
Me: Be careful — games can be gimmicky. Points and badges are only a superficial aspect of what makes Foursquare successful. Plus, they quickly tire on you.
Me: I'm not talking FarmVille either. It's not about games for the sake of games, but thinking about how to use different game mechanics, how they are right for different audiences, and in different social contexts. Some users want to play for the sake of playing; others like competition; still others like to work together.
You: Got an example?
Me: I was recently part of a design challenge for reducing paper cup waste. We wanted to get people involved in saving trees without forgoing their morning cup o' joe. But the solution won't be another reusable mug — people forget those all the time. Instead, we tried to change behavior using a game. We'll explain more on the panel but you get the idea.
You: So the Drive Less Challenge to encourage alternatives to driving alone is another example?
Me: You got it! The goal of this panel is consider a variety of games and game aspects for the design of a common good. And to think about how the user base and social dynamics of the community affect the decision to pick one kind of game over another.
Being geek is “in” today but how do companies and marketers talk to these currently-hip-but-not-hipsters and become part of the pop culture landscape themselves? Representatives from the pillars of geekdom: anime, comics, videogames and films share how they use social marketing to reach and win over the smart and the skeptical and reap the benefits of nerd word of mouth.
11th–15th March 2011