I presented at the end of the inaugural GameTech conference last week before a panel looking beyond console, revenue streams & individual game formats and looking at games breaking out into real space and becoming 24/7 – my talk was entitled

“Pervasive Entertainment – Games, Film, Physical, Print & TV merged with social networks”.

“Pervasive entertainment – entertainment that is all around you, 24 hours a day, persistent – probably location based – possibly merged with real world – driven by devices that are mobile, always on & location aware?” G Hayes

It was great to see industry heads gathered at the beginning of the conference such as this State of Industry panel twitpic I took featuring the Australasian heads of Ubisoft, EAGames, Sony and Microsoft.

Panel photolp, Ubisoft, EAGames, Sony, Microsoft heads at Gam... on Twitpic

As well as a government endorsement introduction from Brendan O’Connor, the Australian Minister for Home Affairs & Digital Culture who talked briefly about games as portable, ubiquitous & networked – yay!  He also talked about the R rating for Australia on the way which is a big relief for games distributors!

But my talk later was a broad brushstrokes whirlwind tour at the exiting period we are entering where the promise of ‘technology based’ pervasive entertainment for the last decade or two is getting very close. Another perfect storm as locative play intersperses with augmented reality, where socially produced media becomes embedded into real time broadcast networks and where game is truly dispersed across multiple platforms.

Here is the basic structure of the prez:

  1. What is Pervasive Entertainment / Gaming
  2. What is Multi Platform / Transmedia in a Gaming Context
  3. Games spilling into the real world Evolution of Experiential AR
  4. Business Models of Pervasive AR Entertainment
  5. Futures and Takeaways

The presentation is embedded below but before I launched into the definitions & case studies I asked the game industry audience –

“Who is the games industry? As all aspects of our lives become ‘gamified’ such as shopping, travel, social life, locations & TV/Film, has the games industry lost the initiative by allowing marketeers, AR & transmedia companies, ad agencies, film & TV producers to create & monetize these new pervasive forms of entertainment?” Gary Hayes – GameTech 2011 Sydney

It was too late in the conference for this to be tackled or even mean anything to those locked into AAA console title production line or part of an incumbent traditional media machine. Earlier in the conference there was a sense that if the game is not commoditized (delivered in a nice box on the shelf of the local games store) then it is outside the industry boundaries and therefore let those companies involved in more distributed, transmedia games fight over the scraps. Full slide show follows

I presented in very short timeframe key services that are either part of the pervasive entertainment heritage, its present incarnation or suggest where it is heading. The first ones I talked about were in the context of merged game across media or ones simulating locative gaming inside the shared world –

  • Empire Avenue – a life as online social network activity gamified
  • The Matrix – game, film, anime transmedia cycle linking media through story
  • Portal 2 ARG – how individual games themselves can be part of a promotional pervasive continuum
  • Cathy’s book – blurring the line between print, game, locative play and mobile devices
  • Conspiracy for Good – how 24/7 locative play and story can become a compelling game with real world benefits
  • PlayStation Xi – an alternate narrative inside a Social Virtual World (PS Home) that spills out into the real world

I then looked to the new kid on the block, experientially driven Augmented Reality games and referred to a few real and conceptual examples such as:

  • Locatinima, The Matrix story played in the real world – I had talked about this last year too, what would it mean to have to follow a film married to specific locations around cities – not just a film playing full screen at the location but actors comp’d or merged with the real world.
  • Various Zombie locative games – such as Zombie Run and Streetview Zombie Apocalypse. Intrinsic genre linked to ‘your’ location
  • The Witness – another early days film in the outernet, film fragments played out in real space but driven with a game mechanic
  • Time Treasure – my own, in development, ARMOG (Augmented Reality MultiPlayer Online Game)
  • Sony’s AR development – from Invisimals, to Eye of Judgement to latest PSVita and Reality Fighters
  • and DDB’s advertorially driven mashup campaigns such as the Advergame Mini Maps that has users driving through Google Maps

I then talked briefly about some of the driving business models, my own 16 Augmented Reality models and made specific reference to the early stage pioneering work being done by GoldRun and SCVNGR in the locative game space. I then finished on a key hurdle to overcome still in the tension between traditional linear video story (TV & Film) and how gamification (adaptation) of those by the Game Industry has been littered with failure. That they really have to think about story and game being carefully melded. I quoted below:

“If games are going to be a true dominant art form in this century, we have to elevate them beyond the simple mechanics of the gameplay or the graphics. All that matters is actually the experience. When we realised this, that’s when we started focusing on story.” Denis Dyack (Canadian Games Developer)

and finished with a summary in reference to my original positioning on the state of the industry:

  1. The traditional game industry is losing traction in pervasive game areas
  2. There are opportunities for all to take the lead and effectively blend real/virtual and go beyond just plonking arcade style games down ‘into the street’ but truly into social networks and film/tv integration
  3. Go beyond marketing and standalone PPE (pay per experience) and create high production value gameplay into transmedia environments
  4. The real and pervasive integration of games into peoples digital & real lives is close at hand – exciting times for all.
  5. Go forth and pervasify!

Finally thought I would drop this in as regards a near future of being bombarded with 3D actors and virtual characters on the street, similar to my own research LaanLabs have just released this – 3D recording using Kinect then attached to a marker and played through iPad Augmented Reality. Nice to see others in this space 🙂