How many banner adverts do people click on? How many register with the average person? Jeff Coghlan opens SAScon Beta with a talk about his early experiences with Matmi and changing game design, and his early experiences with advertising online.
Jeff runs through his early work with Comic Relief, where he offered to make them a free game. Believing in karma, Jeff made a game to highlight the water shortages in Africa, the brief saying the game had to be “fun” … not the easiest task! But Jeff adapted with elephants in an engaging game, and 76 million users picked it up, a case of karma coming back round.
Jeff later adapted his elephant game into both a plumbing experience and the toilet-humour heavy ‘Ho Ho Ho, Yellow Snow’ (the name speaks for itself). Jeff’s motto is don’t take yourself too seriously, and do stuff with a smile.
A website is like a TV channel which needs to entertain. How can these different screens interact? That’s what the future should be. Matmi, working on an ITV quiz game, came up with the concept of the dual screen, and this allowed for future campaigns which worked across television and the computer. Jeff discusses the rise of mobile and how this change crept up on the games industry to change it forever. Matmi adapted with the times – developing Monster Pinball on the iPhone which made Jeff a fair sum of money. Matmi took a risk on the newly developing mobile technology and the risk paid off.
Of course social changed too and Matmi had adapt too. Remember Farmville? Jeff points out that Farmville hurt social gaming with its close partnership with Facebook, which didn’t allow anyone else to get a look in. Other developers instead moved to mobile. This shortsighted nature hurt Farmville’s makers. Something similar is happening in mobile now, where the cost of acquisition is becoming too high for new developers.
With social, brands need to set clear goals before aiming for Likes and the like. Why are you after these likes? Brands need to think about their objectives when it comes to social. Jeff stresses the need for brands to adapt across every platform – TV, mobile and desktop, and that print, digital and traditional forms of advertising need to merge. HTML5 has been gaining steam recently, and Matmi has been working to adapt to this new form of development. But they had to check the possibilities first – make sure HTML5 wasn’t just another fad.
Always be ready to adapt, but don’t just jump onto the next big thing without a little forethought. Remember when QR codes where the next big thing? How many of you have used a QR code in the last month? QR codes do have their place – point of sale – but it doesn’t work for the sake of it. Don’t just do what seems “cool”. Jeff points out other tech which didn’t quite work. Who owns a Wii U for example? And what about 3D TV? People own them, sure, but who uses them for actual 3D? And 4K? How well can your eyes actually see?
Jeff points out iTagged as one to watch – a big player in the New Year.