A Brand New Playground to be released during ‘Games for Brands’ convention in London

>This weekend I will be finishing my book ‘A Brand New Playground’… finally – a year of hard work comes to an end… 😉

The book will be released during the ‘Games for Brands’ convention in London on the 27th of October.

Also I will be handing out the Dutch version of my book (‘Laat met je merk spelen’) during the High Tea with our Prime Minister Mark Rutte in London in November 2011! How cool is that!?

Please feel free to download and spread the free summary of ‘A Brand New Playground’, which you can download HERE and let me know what you think.

I will make the full book available starting November 1st 2011 – so be sure to check out my post about that end of October!

Deloitte Business Simulation Game

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An interesting example of a real classic ‘business game’ to serve the three P’s: People, Planet & Profit for (in this case) TNT. Employees where challenged to think of creative solutions to help TNT expand without harming the planet.

I will try to add some slides of the pdf presentation I saw soon.
More information can be found on Deloitte’s website.

The Internet changed… an overview: 1993 vs 2011

>Thanks to my dear friend Lessie Hampton a great overview of the evolution of internet comparing the current (2011) with 1993…


Created by: Online University target=”_blank”

Gamification in the Toilets of Singapore Airport

>After a short holiday (21 days) on Bali I finally have time to write a new posting!

It’s been a very relaxing vacation, but as soon as I got back in Holland I moved offices (and home) to Amsterdam and I forgot to move my internet & Wifi connection… so that’s being taken care of and hopefully I will be online again starting next weekend, thanks to T-Mobile.

Just a quick posting of what I encountered during my trip to Bali at Singapore airport.

They actually have a touch screen hanging on the bathroom where you can rate the person taking care of the toilets! How cool is that?

I think it’s a great initiative and I hope that they pay a variable salary to the (wo)man in charge.

Be sure to send me your own examples of Gamification in Real life through Twitter (@BartHufen) or by email (barthufen@brandnewgame.nl).

Cheers!

Speaking at Games for Brands in London 27th of October

>Hi Guys (and Ladies of course! ;-),

Great news! – I will be speaking during the ‘Games for Brands’ seminar in London on the 27th of October. So that will be the date that my book ‘A Brand New Playground’ will be available in English FOR FREE (as a pdf)…

More information about the event is to be found HERE but basically you can expect what the title says. During the day you can learn how to use games as a tool to reach brand- organizational objectives.

My book (and the case I will be presenting) explains specifically how games can be used to train staff and changing their behavior in a fun way using intrinsic motivation!

Why should you attend?
You should attend if the following information is surprising to you:

I intend share my book on the web for a month so people can download it for free.

If you didn’t know already – you can download the free summary HERE (www.brandnewplayground.com)

Send me a DM through Twitter if you intend to visit me in London @BartHufen #GamesForBrands

Top Trends I spotted at GDC Europe & Gamescom 2011

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Last week I attended GDC Europe and Gamescom 2011 to spot the emerging trends for the upcoming year of game-development and how brands can utilize games as a marketing tool. These are my findings:

The workshop with Epic’s Developing Director was packed! 

1. A new business model: Free games & In game Micro transactions 

As described in my book (and earlier in the book ‘Free’ by Chris Anderson) the freemium model is a good way to quickly reach a large audience and then find ways to make money of your gathered crowd. The games industry is learning from these options and below I describe some options for your brand. Most of the options are especially interesting for digital content.

1. Provide a FREE tool (app), light version of your product (demo) or medium (website) to build up a large crowd and transform that crowd into a community encouraging them to become active on your platform (create postings, feedback, interact, helping each other, upload content, etc.) maybe even using a gamification layer to encourage people even more and challenging them to level-up and remain active.
2. Create innovative business models, not just selling banners and letting your community members pay for their membership. There are numerous examples of companies making an excellent turnover by selling additional services or in-game (virtual) products. Why not a pay per play model for games, literally paying per level I play. There’s so many games I never finished playing because I lost interest or just couldn’t push on. Most of FarmVille-like games use a freemium model where the game is free but you can buy interesting goods that help you booking results quicker.
In-game Transactions are key to make money on platforms like Facebook.
3. Promote sharing the game and create multiple discount. It lengthens the success of your game if you add multiplayer and let your crowd promote the content to other people by a ‘share’-button (or LIKE!)…

There was quite a row of people waiting to see Battlefield 3

Check a case description about the freemium model here by Flurry.

2. Social, Social, Social Gaming Platforms 

It seems that most game publishers are focussing on building their own platforms. After MSN Games, Spil Games, Zylom, Facebook, Steam (Valve), Electronic Arts and many, many others, it looks like all publishers want to either have their own community of gamers (like Steam and EA) or are trying to plug their content on large community networks with certain specific target group, for instance Vkontakte in Russia or Qzone in China.

3. Controlling movement – movement controls

After I visited the booths of Microsoft (Kinect), PlayStation (Move) and Nintendo (Wii and U-Play) I could only conclude that they all believe that movement games are our new ‘living room entertainment’ concept. Games vary from sailing, rowing, fitness, running, boxing, cycling and even fishing (if that’s a sport to you ;-)! It’s a good development considering obesity with kids (especially in USA) and the fact that children are challenged to move actively – even when it’s raining.

4. Device Independent Gameplay  

In the past game developers would ‘port’ existing PC games to other Platforms without regarding the specific context the games would be played in on that specific platform. Luckily these days developers and publishers spend more time redesigning their intellectual property to other platforms which can easily turn into great new gameplay elements and enriched ways of play. For instance – it was quite impressive to see this first person shooter on an iPad – it looks like Unreal Tournament in 2000!

Thanks to Unity, games can look amazing on different platforms (phone, PC, PlayStation etc,). Unity is a stunning ‘easily-create-your-own-game’ engine for game designers that like programming the easy way.   It’s comparable to a programming tool like HTML5 but Unity is compatible with all platforms and is not just web-or browser-based. This tool makes it possible to – for instance – chop wood with your mobile phone on a train trip in a mobile mini-game and utilizing the ‘money’ you made chopping wood in the train on your PlayStation console as soon as you get home and continue playing that same type of game (World of Warcraft for instance).

5. Cloud Gaming 

Another trend game developers expect is what I call ‘Cloud Gaming’. Companies like Onlive and IQU are providing this game content and are serving you content that you do not even have to ‘own’ or download on your PC, console or Phone. I mentioned this trend in my book already. Consuming digital content will evolve from ‘owning’ content to being able to ‘acces’ content. The business models are either subscriptions or an in-game economy based on micro transactions.

6. Games for a Greater Good and Serious Gaming

Although there weren’t much companies around during GDC I am still convinced that the interest to use games for serious objectives and public welfare is still rising. In one month I have been approached to speak at an event in New York, London and Moscow, so it must be a ‘hot-topic’. One of the few companies I met during GDC was Playdom (Jude Ower). Jude is looking for venture capitalists and game developers that wish to team up and develop game concepts that can contribute to a better world. Feel free to find more information about that on their website: www.playmob.com They are based in London (United Kingdom).

7. Intelligent Interaction Design: Dynamic Content! 

Companies that still own a website without interactive or dynamic options really need to wake up (yes yes, mine is under construction)… Dynamic Feedback is the new norm. This means that based on the database that is filled with information about your visitors (thanks to cookies), the database should show different information based on your consumers surf-behavior. It means that when I always immediately click ‘Products’ when I come to your companies website, after my third visit ‘Products’ is the landingpage or at least dominant on the landingpage of your website. The same goes for gaming portals. If visitor X always plays puzzle games on your website, the amount of suggestions on the right hand side should show at least 8/10 puzzle games (and maybe two featured games). It’s all about showing and sharing relevant information. This enhances the chance that consumers will forward, share, show (or LIKE) it to friends.

8. Gamification

Of course this is a running topic on my weblog and although there were especially programmers on the GDC Gamification is a topic that definitely has potential according to all the game developers I spoke with during my three days in Cologne.

My latest presentation about Gamification is available on Slideshare!

To end with some more pictures of the Gamescom in a short film.

Mobile Gaming Report – Thanks to Distimo

>Our friends at Distimo, a research company in Utrecht – The Netherlands, just released a 27 pages report about the mobile gaming market. These slides are the highlights, in my opinion. 




The major findings are:

• Games are still the most popular downloads for Phones, whether paid or free 
• The average selling price of games declined by 28% over the last year, while the revenue generated by the most successful freemium games increased tenfold during this period in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
• The presence of virtual currencies within games is one of the main reasons behind the popularity and monetization success of in-app purchases. 35% of the 300 most popular free games in June use some sort of virtual currencies to monetize in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
• Looking at the 300 most popular paid for applications, 72% of downloads are
generated by games while the remaining 28% of downloads are generated by
applications other than games in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
• The total revenue generated by top grossing games increased by 79% year-on-year in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
• A small number of publishers dominate total game downloads: ten publishers
account for more than half of all downloads among the 300 most popular paid
games in the Apple App Store for iPhone.
• Notwithstanding the popularity of games, the growth rate of the number of
applications other than games is higher than the growth rate of the number of
games in most stores. The number of games has increased faster than other apps only in the Apple App Store for iPhone, the Apple App Store for iPad and GetJar, but the growth rate for games in other stores is lower than for other applications.




It’s interesting to see that more and more games (and apps) are using the freemium model and use ‘micro-transactions / ingame-transactions’ (as described in my book ‘A Brand New Playground‘) to make money. It’s a trend that is apparently evident if you look at the data. 


For more mobile research and consultancy, please visit Distimo’s website: http://www.distimo.com

SmartGate – the Game 2 just launched…

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I still discovered some bugs, but SmartGate the Game 2 has been released. After almost 16 months of talking, looking for the main problems around air cargo and in the offices of all stakeholders, IJsfontein delivered game 2 and my job as a consultant is done!
The first game was all about transporting cargo from shipper to airplane. Game 2 of the SmartGate project takes this a little bit further and brings more detail to the playing field. It let’s you experience the possible effects of your actions in a virtual logistic air cargo game.
My first thoughts at the time where that the ‘final’ game of the SmartGate project would be a sort of RUSE / Sim City / Logistic Tycoon in an air cargo environment where the player needs to build up a solid business (like the game ‘Jones’, if people remember the 90’s).
The main purpose of the game is to manage your air cargo business in a efficient, safe and reliable way. This means that, depending on the sort of cargo, it’s destination and the reputation of the trucker, you make decisions to either do the job or don’t and if there is a risk involved, that you manage that risk to your best ability (e.g. either employing specialist staff or having each shipment checked by Customs).

We also enclosed some minigames in the so-called ‘e-learning’ section where we challenge players on specific knowledge about exceptional situations and dilemma’s.

Besides this, we also included a badges system. The more efficient you are (planes leave the airport 100% full) or if you always check your cargo, you will receive badges and upgrades. The best thing to have in Air Cargo is an AEO status (Authorized Economic Operator) which means you are a reliable party within the chain.

And of course there is a leader board where you can check your score.

I challenge everyone to play the game and let me know what you think!

You can play it here: http://www.smartgatethegame.nl/game2/

RESULTS GAME 1 

The results of the first game where quite impressive by the way. There are about 2.000 people active in the Air Cargo sector around Schiphol airport and almost 1.300 of them played the game! That’s almost two-third of all people in the sector.

Apart from that we had 3.700 visits in four months time and a total of 184.000 page views!

Slide stairs at train station playful lifestyle

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What a great way to gamify physical surroundings. A train station in The Netherlands build a slide next to stairs. Go visit Station Overvecht in Utrecht and experience it for yourself!

This is where life should be going! 😉

Gamification – Playful Lifestyle – A Slide!

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Check out this great slide next to the stairs of a train station in The Netherlands (Utrecht Overvecht to be precise)… I will slide down later today, but it was wet when I was checking it out today and I did’n want to have a wet tush at the start of my day… hahaha. More 2 Come!