Next week we’re presenting a paper at the EURAM conference 19 – 22 May, in Rome. The paper is a short conceptual piece on how marketing has taken new dimensions using alternative reality games to promote products.

Peter Zackariasson and Timothy L. Wilson (2010). Alternative Reality Games Explorations. EURAM conference, Rome 19-22 May, 2010.

Presentation can be found here.

Abstract

We extend our interest in video games to make some exploratory observations on opportunities attendant Alternative Reality Games (ARGs). This sector is a genre of interactive narratives where the physical world is used as a platform, frequently involving other media, to encourage gamers to collectively solve puzzles. An analogy is made with the experience one reads about in the popular novel, The Da Vinci Code. The Beast, I Love Bees and The Art of the Heist are cited as examples of usage. Reflections are made along the lines of the one-time nature of ARGs, the segment they reach, the possible disassociation with purchases, expense and the potential failure of approaches. They are a cross between advertising and sales promotion because they bear a direct expense to the organization responsible for their commissioning. Their impact, however, has been along the lines of what one would expect from a publicity effort.