July 15, 2019 / Technology

The State of The Game

Savvy brands are utilising technology as a method of connecting, engaging consumers in a playful way that helps build long-term loyalty.

Beauty retailer Chanel captured consumers’ hearts in Asia, turning traditionally one-way experiences into interactive and responsive activities. Games were skilfully outfitted with an element of learning – its version of “Pong” featured pixelated versions of Rouge Coco in place of the traditional paddles, giving consumers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the brand’s new products.

Moreover, A Stranger Things x Coca Cola pop up in London’s Shoreditch utilised a games arcade that featured dated games. Littered with lightly branded products, the pop-up featured classic video games, free to play and an upside-down room… just to make things a little stranger. Delighting the hardcore fandom with the 80’s connection, the arcade is a haven of nostalgic video games and creepy goings-on.

This creation of a unique form of third place is evolving to become more inclusive and experiential. Google’s development plans for its gaming platform, Stadia, will be a Netflix-style service that lets gamers play on almost all devices. From mobile phones to TVs to iPads, the platform will negate the traditional physical box and instead be hosted on a cloud-like server. Linked to Youtube, players will be able to instantly stream and connect with other players, forging deeper and more accessible communities globally.

There has been a significant update in games being played on handheld devices, as AR has bridged the gap between the digital and physical.

Seeing the success of Pokémon-Go, the Harry Potter franchise is set to release a similar type game, hoping to capture the attention of the millennials who grew up with the Harry Potter magic, exploring wizardry in real-time.

Using both AR and AI in conjunction, Taiwanese beauty company Perfect Corp, unveiled a device that scans the skin and creates a perfect make-up match that is then overlayed and shown on a smart mirror. Being used in Ulta and US Estée Lauder stores, using these mirrors has seen basket sizes increase by 9%.

Though AR is fleetingly popular, the same cannot be said for VR which has a particular niche following. Expensive to make and buy, VR experiences are completely immersive but not always convenient for home users. Needing a clear environment to move around in isn’t particularly conducive to gamers who preferably are sitting on a sofa. Having found a home in interactive exhibitions, VR has further to go before it makes its way into a household staple.

Making its mark on retail however, selected John Lewis and Macy’s stores now offer consumers the ability to design their interior using VR. Increasing sales in Macy’s 60%, consumers enter the dimensions and details of their homes to see chosen products in-situ via a headset and a shoppable list of these products is emailed later.

Branching out into new, unprecedented industries helping to reach consumers. 

In the political field, “This is Not a Game: The Game” co-created with Samantha Bee, has hundreds of thousands of people playing a political trivia game to increase democratic participation for the American 2020 election, proving that a game can truly impact consumer behaviour. Gamification has excelled in the last few years, with brands using gaming to nurture long-term loyalty and breach the gap between the digital and physical.

Key Insights

  • We should consider how to ingrain tech seamlessly into retail, treating it as an extension of the physical space, an additional element for consumers to explore, learn and build community within.
  • Gaming brings a fun element to exploring a brand. Whether it’s a means of creating loyalty or brand recognition, the gaming community is vast and inclusive.
  • Making seemingly mundane tasks joyful, gamification has the power to engage and communicate with consumers who would otherwise not be interested.

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