The Game-based Business Solutions use the game mechanics and dynamics of games to create solutions for enterprises. They can be reach using two instruments: gamification and game-based marketing.
So, Game-based Business Solutions are new communication and marketing instruments (sometimes almost a new media) that allow to extremely increase the engagement and the participation of the communication target public.
Engagement and participation, in particular, allow two main advantages:
- to drive the active interest of users toward the massage of firms;
- to stimulate an active behavior of users
As we already said gamification is the implementation of gaming mechanics in non-gaming context to involve people in the activities of a site or service.
A parallel concept is the game-based marketing, that uses real and complete games for raising the awareness and improving the image of a brand.
Game-based marketing uses many different instruments and environments to spread messages and reach users. We’re going to analyze all these instruments to help choosing the right one for every single business objective.
- Around-game advertising: it’s the simplest way to implement advertising in a gaming environment and it’s based on banner and ads around the gameplay window or during the loading of the game itself. It’s a common solution used on Flash gaming portals and aggregators such as Kongregate and is defined as around-game because the advertising message is not fully integrated in the gaming experience. It’s nothing more than the traditional advertising.
- In-game advertising (product placement): it’s the integration of a product in the gaming environment so it becomes part of the experience. Product placement offers numerous advantages to the advertisers because a game can guarantee a long lasting exposure of the users to the ads, driving a potential active interest toward the brand and, above all, it is an incomparable instrument to create a brand image. Moreover, a highly integrated product placement can also enhance the gaming world providing a more realistic setting. To be effective, in-game advertising has to be studied very well and the game concept has to be adequate to the product/brand.
- Advergames are games built with the only objective to promote a product, brand, organization or point of view. They allow the creation of an involving and effective communication, in which the user is attracted by the compelling game mechanics. Advergames are often the most successful part of a mix of media involved in the communication campaign of a brand or product because users are inclined to return to play more, starting a viral communication, inviting friends and colleagues an acting to give support using websites, portals and social networks – so, creating an user-guaranteed communication.
- Games for Employees can be divided in e-learning games, games to increase productivity and games to communicate the corporate culture. A game can be a powerful tool for e-learning because decrease or nullify the fatigue of the learning process and is simpler to monitor the progress of the audience, mainly because the learning steps are directly related to the advance in the game. In addition an e-learning game can improve the ability of the users to work in team and gather a complete view of the consequences of their actions in the learning context, using a simulation instead of a real situation. Even the productivity can be related to a game: a real work scenario it’s based on objectives, difficulty and clear feedback systems, the are the same factors that define a good game design. Games are a powerful instruments to boost the performance of the users, driving friendly competitions and providing objectives and achievements to reach that can be shared and compared. Finally, a game can effectively help to communicate the corporate culture, for example using personalization and creating evolution path.
- Virtual Worlds & Adverworlds: virtual worlds always existed in the gaming industry and in the last decade, with the birth of MMOGs (massive multiplayer online games), they evolved to more social environments. In very brief, adverworlds are virtual worlds created with the purpose of promoting a brand. The goal is to create a personal connection with the consumers, offering them the possibility to associate their identity with the brand. Virtual worlds and adverworlds continue to change, adding new and compelling ways that drive the interest of the audience, like virtual currency systems and innovative ways of interaction. Finally, virtual worlds can be a really powerful instrument to enhance corporate productivity: for example, improving the work environment, connecting better employees.
- ARG – Alternative Reality Games: ARG are experiences that take advantage of many kinds of media to involve a great number of users in a puzzle solving based story, that surpass the line that distinguish gaming and reality. Clues for proceeding in the game can be found in a wide range of media, both digital and physical, from websites to newspapers, from social networks to public events, and many people can cooperate with the same purpose. ARGs are a powerful tool to create engagement among users that voluntarily help to increase the general awareness around the game, starting viral communications that can reach and spontaneously involve traditional media.