Low Tech Games Args Marketing


Dean O'Donnell, WPI.

Session Notes

Dean O'Donnell's Notes

(from his blog)

This is the session I proposed. I wanted to talk about indie ARGs and bring game design sensibility into what seems to be a "webbie" industry. At ARG Fest O Con, it seemed odd to me that not one local game developer was present, in fact, even though it was announced at Post Mortem, most every game developer at GameLoop didn't know about it. I deal with the problems of getting players for our ARGs, because they're quick, they're free, and most people "like the idea but just don't have the time." I described the inverted pyramid — hardcore at the tip doing most of the content, casuals in the middle watching the hardcore, cheering them on, but not really participating, and the lurkers who tune in, don't have time, and read about how it went when it's all over. This seems remarkably like a problem that MMO developers deal with. Do you make more content for the hardcore, or do you serve the casuals? One idea that came up for ARGs, was a very quick ARG (my class does 5 day ARGs) that you sell tickets to. That would monetize the ARG, localize the ARG, and everyone participating would know that the commitment was short. This really takes a page from LARPing and Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre. I'm going to think about this more. My one regret was that there were two other bitchin' sessions during mine, and I would've liked to go to both of them.

Jason McIntosh's Notes

First ARG was for the movie AI.

Non-marketing ARG Failure: "Majestic". Players would burn through each week of content in 30 minutes. 10 bucks for that? Nobody's figured out how to monetize it since then.

Zarf recommends Charlie stross' "Halting State", a near-future SF novel with people playing ARGs in augmented reality during their lunch break.

"Argfestivalcon" here in boston - attendees (ARG fans) skews female and web-professional.

How to get anyone excited: "Put a countdown on a website. People will come."

"Unfiction" is the website for ARG fans. But apparently it's all either marketing or hobbyist. There are only 200 or so hardcore fans who don't care what game they're playing; they just hop from one ARG to the next.

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