Sam Slaughter, Junior Planner at FRUKT, takes a look at experiential gaming activations that are taking to the streets.
Gaming and eSports is growing like nobody’s business and fortunately so are people’s perceptions towards it. As a result, the world of gaming is pushing into everyday life and onto the street more than ever; quite literally with Pokémon Go but also with experiential marketing. The gaming industry is marrying closer and closer to experiential environments, realising the potential possibilities of bringing awareness to their games beyond the usual digital outreach.
Many of the best games out there are successful because they encompass players into the game’s environment, and the same rules apply with an experiential activation. It’s about giving a passerby a taster of the all-enveloping and focused effect that games have upon you. Therefore, we’ve picked 6 gaming activations from the past year that we think are genuinely engaging:
Xbox challenged 8 contestants to survive 24 hours on a billboard to mark the release of ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’.
8 fans of the game were plonked on a billboard in London Bridge and exposed to simulated weather conditions. The public got to decide when contestants were subject to bouts of heat, wind and snow by voting via a website where their progress was streamed live. The winner remained on the billboard for 20 hours, 45 minutes, winning a Tomb Raider-inspired holiday.
This stunt was an eye-catching way of putting the fans directly into the hype around the game. Furthermore, a clever idea for a billboard is always going to turn heads.
Candy Crush created a giant bouncy castle for adults on London’s South Bank to celebrate the release of Candy Crush Jelly Saga.
The 7-metre-high "Bouncingham Castle" brought the game to life, with the walls emitting the smell of raspberry jelly, and pink and green blocks of raspberry and lime jelly firing noises from the game when you jumped on certain squares.
As adults and commuters are one of Candy Crush’s largest audiences this was a great way to catch the rush hour crowd and brighten up people’s day.
Board game brand Hasbro and crowdfunding site Indiegogo teamed up in the “Great Game Challenge”to give game designers the chance to bring their board game ideas to life.
2016's edition will see entrants whittled down to 15 contestants who receive $2,000 to make a prototype. Out of these, 5 will be chosen and helped to start a campaign on Indiegogo. The designer with the most interest and investment wins $25,000 and a trip to Hasbro's Rhode Island headquarters, where they will be mentored and helped to make their game with the company.
This initiative is a great way to encourage and develop the next wave of board game designers, as guidance and mentorship is often the most invaluable experience for any hopeful creator.
CLASH OF KINGS
The mobile strategy game Clash of Kings was brought to life as 125 knights descended on London in rush-hour. The knights, led by their king, marched through the city’s streets and across Tower Bridge to the bank of the River Thames where they battled huge lava monsters. Onlookers were invited to take part, and given swords and armour. After the battle a free event was held on Potter’s Field, where the knights mingled with members of public over ales and a hog roast to celebrate their victory.
This was an attention-grabbing and captivating way of integrating passersby into the drama of the storyline and the grandiose style of Clash of Kings.
BATTLEFIELD HARDLINE LIVE
For the launch of their new release, Battlefield created an immersive, theatrical game environment. Teams from around the country were tasked with getting into a secure complex, rescuing a VIP, breaking into a vault protected by multiple codes and getting as much loot out as they could! While all the time avoiding patrolling guards and CCTV cameras.
The team that raided the most money won £10,000. The winning team were massive Battlefield fans; “This was right up our street. We planned as much as we could and all had set roles for the mission.”
This was a brilliant way of truly immersing fans into the game, by letting them live it out with real-life missions, challenges and incentives, much like the addictive multiplier first person shooter that it is.
RED BULL ESPORTS
eSports hasn’t quite broken out onto the streets as far as mobile and console games, but Red Bull are deeply connected with the game, taking the experiential root with budding players.
The "Red Bull Proving Grounds" are monthly tournaments that aim to crown the best ‘Street Fighter V’ players across America. Six cities from around North America form a monthly regional circuit; Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Toronto area all represented. The circuit culminates in the best players from each city flying to Red Bull HQ in Santa Monica to compete for an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the Capcom Pro Tour North American Finals.
Red Bull are always adept at getting under the skin of the culture of a sport or activity, and here they’ve given new gamers a platform and a unique chance to rise up and become professionals.