I went to an event a few days ago with Dave Orchard (who is our VP of Engineering) and I thought I’d tell you about it, since it had to do with our industry (social gaming) and how businesses can use social games to improve their bottom line.
The event was organized by the League of Kickass Business People, a group that is made up of Canadian entrepreneurs, digital media and marketing people. (An inspired bunch, most of the people in the organization like to stay ahead of the curve and on-trend when it comes to the tech world.) I was excited to represent Ayogo at my first gaming-exclusive industry event and I was pleasantly surprised by the turn out. The room was packed with influencers from the biggest gaming companies down to the smaller startups. It was also really nice to see a lot of women exes., mostly from the League and also from Women in Games Vancouver.
The panel of speakers included Steve Bocska, President of Pug Pharm Productions, Mac Flavelle from Compass Engine, Mark Magnusson of Magnus Media, Ian Clark with RealSpace and Victor Lucas, the EP and co-host of The Electric Playground.
For me, the most interesting part of the panel discussion had to do with social games and education. According to the panelists, social games are increasingly being used for educational purposes, but not necessarily marketed as such. So other than the more obvious games that are designed to teach through simulation, some less obvious examples included war games that (inadvertently) teach management and leadership skills. Who would’ve guessed that assembling an army and distributing commands in a virtual world can be used on your resume? (Although now, I am learning that this is all part of great game design.)
Another interesting take-away: according to many of the panelists, social games should be considered an essential part of a company’s marketing strategy. Why? Because these games not only have access to millions of people, but they’ve been shown to keep audiences engaged longer with the brand. Since Dave was also there, I thought I’d ask him his thoughts on the evening… this is what he had to say:
“I thought the speakers were well selected and gave interesting data and insights on the future of gaming as part of social interaction. It’s clear that businesses in Vancouver are just starting to think about how to involve and engage with their customers through games and playful interactions. In response to one of the questions asked of the panel, I added that there are some great aspects of social gaming from a brand’s perspective. Why? Because they can see clear measurable results for their marketing expenditures. These can be in new or returning users, branding messages given or received, actions completed (such as watch a video, do a tweet, answer a survey question), time of engagement, and so on. “
…and in today’s business environment, measurable results are the currency that matters. Play can be pretty serious business.