Recent research shows that gaming now takes up more of people’s time online than email, video and auctions combined. It’s certainly a fast growing and deeply engaging market, but it’s still often misunderstood. And Pursuit PR is aiming to change that and help organisations apply gaming’s engaging and persuasive powers to marketing, training and social change with InGame, which director Stephen Knightly is touting as New Zealand’s first video games consultancy.
Knightly, who recently spoke at the TEDxAuckland conference on ‘serious games’ that create positive behaviourial changes and can also entertain, says the new brand builds on Pursuit PR’s heritage in technology and innovation marketing and offers a deep understanding of gaming—its psychology, the range of business possibilities and the expectations of audiences.
Its network includes several of New Zealand’s most experienced game designers along with training and branding experts. And the team has already developed programmes for industry training organisations, added game-based incentives to an online training business, contributed to a virtual world teaching financial literacy to children and developed games that encourage positive health outcomes.
“A key difference is that our team includes game developers who have created commercially successful games that have proven themselves in audiences’ eyes to be fun, as well as educational and effective,” he says.
Knightly says that computer games have gone mainstream and the timing is right for businesses and training organisations to embrace the medium. The Interactive New Zealand 2010 report found that the average video game player is 33 years old, 44 percent are female and that 85.5 percent of households have a device to play games on. Online games recently overtook email and online video to become the second most time-consuming activity online after social networking, accounting for 10 percent of all time spent online in the U.S. according to Nielsen NetView.
“Games are the single most engaging medium available today. Some people even accuse them of being addictive,” says Knightly. “They’re an ideal tool to sit your audience down for a period of time and simulate an experience such as your brand promise in ways that really bring it to life.”
In addition to designing and creating games, InGame provides consultancy on applying gaming principles to business strategies and ‘gamifying’ existing applications and websites, where game mechanics such as points, badges and leaderboards are added to applications and websites in order to incentivise specific user behaviours and loyalty.
InGame is holding an open roundtable event on gaming applications next Friday 15 October. For more information visit www.ingame.co.nz.