Vodafone has launched a new Augmented Reality game that invites participants to rid the world of Buffers, those pesky little monsters that slow the world down – from delaying trains to causing slow Internet connections - via a new mobile app promotion that has its origins in both Ghostbusters and Gremlins.
The concept of Buffer Busters is relatively simple; players view the world through their mobile device, which in turn reveals nine different types of Buffer monsters – all of which are named, ranging from the Slowmo, to the Lagger and The Wall. The object of the game is to capture these pests and deposit them in Vodafone stores, via prominent QR code markers (much like the containment facility in Ghostbusters).
There are a number of prizes up for grabs to incentivise people to join in , including Smartphones and lifetime Vodafone flatrate plans for those who capture the most Buffers.
As with all alternate reality games, the sheer complexity can often be a barrier to entry for the mass market. Running around the streets and in an out of Vodafone stores, is not everyone’s cup of tea. ARGs require a fairly big leap of faith from consumers. Playing Angry Birds on the train is one thing, charging across the city waving your mobile in the air trying to catch non-existent monsters, is another entirely.
That said, the addition of the in store containment concept is a clever idea, driving players directly into Vodafone outlets (the QR code can be used online, but more points are awarded for in store visits) and with 344,802 buffers captured to date, the game certainly has its fans.