Lady Mitra interacting with Wall of Balls.MOV

>

Last week I visited London, Manchester and Birmingham with a delegation of the most promising Dutch Creative Companies. During this tour we visited all kinds of events like the entrepreneur conference in the Milky Building in Tech City (Shoreditch) on Monday, the BBC studios, a match making lunch, a meet and great with our prime minister – Mark Rutte and a high tea in the town hall of Manchester. The third day we went to Launch – a game event in Birmingham and we visited RARE Entertainment – one of the key developers for Xbox Kinect. They created the best selling Sports series. I went back to London on Thursday to have a fabulous day with my good girlfriend Mitra and she took me to all kinds of museums (VNA & Science Museum) and a fantastic authentic Iranian restaurant near Paddington and Hyde Park (hidden park as we call it).


This is just a small video of Mitra interacting with a video wall that uses the Camera Interaction Technology. At first we didn’t understand what it was about until the balls started to copy the shape of her movement… Well done by the artist!

Below some pictures of the other stuff we visited during the tour in the UK and my moment with our prime minister! I handed over the Dutch version of the book (Laat met je merk spelen). Be sure to download your personal copy of ‘A Brand New Playground’ at www.brandnewplayground.com (it’s in English of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ 



Hope you enjoy!

Office games are Serious games!

> This article has been shamelessly copied from the newsletter by the Entertainment Software Association (check www.theesa.com to subscribe)

VIDEO GAMES IN THE WORKPLACE: A BOON TO BUSINESS

Companies know that keeping employees motivated and monitoring their performance are key to running a successful business, and many now view entertainment software as a helpful tool in these efforts. Increasingly, companies like IBM, Target, and Deloitte are integrating video game elements, such as achievements and real-time progress tracking, into the workplace to improve employee motivation and productivity. This new management trend gives workers an interactive platform to monitor their individual performance, motivate them to improve output, and encourage them to participate in trainings and other work-related education courses. 
Games have played a role in the workplace for several years, as many companies capitalized upon the engaging nature of games to train employees, build brand loyalty and advertise products to consumers. Given their effective role in the office, companies increasingly utilize the beneficial aspects of video games in everyday endeavors. In fact, tech-industry research firm Gartner projects that by 2014, roughly 70 percent of large companies will use video game elements for at least one business process. Additionally, the market research firm M2 Research estimates that by 2014, revenue from in-office game software, consulting, and marketing will reach $938 million, a substantial increase from this year’s revenue of less than $100 million.
Already, a number of major companies have incorporated video game elements into a variety of business processes. SAP AG, one of the world’s largest business software firms, uses a variety of games in the workplace, including a golf game that helps assign sales leads to employees and an environmental awareness game that awards points to employees for reducing their carbon footprint through various tasks like carpooling. At Target, cashiers receive a score based on the speed of each check-out transaction, and at the end of the day, receive a total success rate score. IBM integrates numerous video game dynamics into its business processes, including a game calledCityOne, an interactive simulator that helps corporate and government leaders learn how to solve complex business, logistical, and environmental issues faced by cities.
Other companies, like Facebook, Photobucket, Mozilla, and Fern Expo use tools such as Rypple, a social performance management platform that combines aspects of social media and game play with digital reward-giving. Rather than waiting for annual or semi-annual performance reviews, Rypple allows for active goal-setting and consistent, timely feedback in the workplace. Appearing similar to a Facebook page, the program enables project team members to interact with each other in a number of ways, including tracking the assignment and completion of work by using status bars and badges, taking and organizing notes from one-on-one meetings, commending specific team members for their efforts with achievement-like badges, and anonymously requesting feedback on projects and performance.
The application of video game components in the workplace produces significant results. LiveOps, Inc., which runs virtual call centers, provides one example. The company uses video game applications to improve the performance of its 20,000 call agents. Beginning last year, the company awarded agents virtual badges and points for tasks such as making concise phone pitches and closing sales. Additionally, digital leader boards allowed each agent to compare his or her achievements to fellow colleagues. Since the system’s implementation, agents reduced their average call time by 15 percent, and raised sales by 8 percent and 12 percent among certain agents. 
As an increasing number of companies infuse video game mechanisms into their processes and office culture, many employees will be able to leverage these systems and methodologies to produce greater results and generate increased energy in the workplace

Advergames and my tour in the UK next week!

>As you might know – I am going on a ‘UK-Tour’ next week organized by our Ministry of Funny Walks, I mean Economic Affairs and Foreign Affairs and we’re going to visit London, Birmingham and Manchester in four days time (and then some leisure time for me in London). During the tour we will meet a lot of game developers and brands that are interested in using games as a marketing tool. Amongst them are Matmi – and they have quite an impressive list of advergames and cool brands they  work for (amongst them: Lilly Allen!).

Check out the advergame below and be sure to check my blog next week to see the pictures after I handed out my book (Laat met je merk spelen) to our very own prime minister Mark Rutten during the high-tea in Manchester! You can still download the English version of my book HERE. Should be cool!

Also we are visiting the BBC Studio’s in Manchester (on Tuesday), Microsoft Kinect and the conference ‘Future gaming and digital media’ in Birmingham on Wednesday. I will be in London again on Thirst-day, Free-day and Sad-third-day when I leave again…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ so if you want to meet up – give me a shout through Twitter or Text message!

Matmi presents Iron Maiden The Final Frontier…

Check out more advergame concepts at their website: http://www.matmi.com/games_playgames.php

My presentation during Games for Brands in London today

>

Check out my presentation at Games 4 Brands below 



BrandNewGame @ games for brands final

This is the first version of my presentation for today.

To download a free copy of my book, please go to www.brandnewplayground.com and spread the word! Let me know what you think through Twitter @BartHufen

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… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

>

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

>

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.