As the gaming community has known for a long time, a game is not just about winning or losing, its far more important than that. Games are increasing in complexity all the time and are now firmly rooted in our everyday lives. Recent daily news reports about the invasion of PokemonGO players to such diverse locations as The White House to Ayers Rock, causing mayhem in their wake, are proof of this. To ignore the power of games to influence people and create market share would be a mistake for business especially those involved in building their brand. The future of marketing is complex and apps and games are a very useful vehicle and tool to drive business forward. This is not surprising to us at Fierce Fun, but what does surprise us, is the amount of companies both large and small, that are completely unaware of the marketing potential a bespoke game can have to their bottom line. Not only do games have the power to influence our lives but they are a powerful force for marketing and in the area of education and learning.
The Olympic Gamers
The Olympics games for gamers is near at hand my friends. Not a separate Olympic Games but the actual one. Remember you heard it first here at FierceFun.Com. While Game developers like us at Fierce Fun have tried to emulate the excitement of live sports with our ground breaking animations and technology, check out our Rugby Rampage game, by the way. We never thought that the games themselves could become a sporting competition. But then when one thinks of it. Why not? Many seemingly strange pursuits have become Olympics sports over the years of its existence. I was surprised to see the following being regarded as feats of herculean effort.
Walking, I mean come on almost everyone, fortunate enough to have full use of their legs can walk, how is that a sport? Trampoline jumping, that’s just fun, so very dubious in my eyes. Synchronised swimming, hard yes, but a sport? I don’t think so. Roller Hockey, like ice hockey, but on wheels. Sounds a bit contrived. Live Pigeon Shooting, now that’s just wrong, at least us gamers only shoot at pixels. And what about this extended list which I will try not to pick apart as their combined silliness speaks for itself, Obstacle swimming, Tug of War, Le Canne (cane fencing), Club swinging, and Beach Volleyball. Oh sorry my mistake Beach Volleyball is actually very acceptable in my eyes.
Ok so anything can potentially become an Olympic sport with the right amount of money and pressure, I imagine. So next thing we need to do is explore the concept of the Gamer as an Athlete. Athletes are normally ultra-healthy. They need perseverance, fitness, stamina, single mindedness and determination. In fact athletes seem to be the complete opposite of gamers. Are not gamers anaemic, obese, house bound nerds that cannot even get up to make food, hence the need for copious amounts of take outs, which compounds the problem with regard to fitness. Well not necessarily. Gamers come in all shapes and sizes these days. The demographic has changed. “People of all ages play video games. There is no longer a ‘stereotype game player,’ but instead a game player could be your grandparent, your boss, or even your professor.” —Jason Allaire, Ph.D., Psychology, North Carolina State University and co-director of the Gains through Gaming Lab. In fact research has shown there is nearly an equal split in gender terms with today’s gamers. Yes guys the fairer sex likes gaming just like you do.
Okay, after discounting the stereotype view of gamers, let us look at the facts – Gamers do possess stamina as anyone who has done a 24 hour marathon session of gaming would know. In my case it was, GTA followed by HALO 4 then a few hours of Assassin's Creed. Gamers are dedicated for the same reason as athletes. They have determination to win at all odds, they are definitely single minded and with regard to fitness they may possess a unique dexterity and hand to eye coordination that is unique to their game playing. In other words they are very fit for performing in the gamer’s world or fit for purpose.
E-sports – As far back as 2015 E-sport has been sowing the seeds for its inclusion at some level in the Olympics games of the future. Initially a South Korean idea, this was an initiative brought about by their highly evolved E-sports network, the South Korean International e-Sports Federation (IeSF). But the critical event that points to E-sports becoming more mainstream is that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has agreed to look at the idea of competitive e gaming as a sporting activity. This is monumental, we all know how EA and other developers use the world of sports as a template for their games, but now the games themselves will be the sport.
So this is the playing field at the moment, excuse the pun, there is some interest by some reputable sporting bodies in providing a competitive sporting platform for E-sports. But the IOC , International Olympic Committee, are still some way away from allowing us gamers into those hallowed halls of Olympic respectability. But favourably, the gaming community has shown, they can host massive events and run them in a fair and professional manner such as the World Cyber Games (WCG) an international E-sport event in South Korea which attracted pro gamers from across the planet. Soon pro gamers will become the new elite sports men and women of this E-sports world. And just as pro athletes inspire amateurs in their chosen field. Pro gamers, will inspire ordinary gamers to go pro.
DIT, in association with Enterprise Ireland and IADT run the New Frontiers programme, which is designed to help incubate and grow new Irish businesses. Several companies have come through the programme and gone on to bigger and better things. As a way of sharing these success stories, passing down advice, and arranging some good old fashioned business networking, they organise an annual showcase event.
Last Friday, on the 5th of December, Fierce Fun was able to take part in this event, demonstrate some of our products, and speak with other businesses in the “Hothouse” programme. Peter Lynch and Jackie Jeter attended the showcase and were both very impressed with what they saw and heard.
There were five alumni of the programme, including Alison Stroh, from Dr. Coy’s Healthfoods, and Adrian Walsh of Checkventory in attendance. Both businesses have been quite successful in recent years, and fostered partnerships with more established firms. Dr. Coy’s products, for example, are available in stores like Brown Thomas or Avoca. Sean Mitchell, the CEO of Movidius gave a fantastic keynote address on adjusting to meet market needs and cracking into potential markets. Movidius, after graduating from the programme went on to achieve great success in the US markets over the last few years. For a digital company like Fierce Fun, which offers a product which is instantly available in all markets around the world, Movidius provides a great example for adapting our marketing plans and how to break into international markets.
The event gave us a great opportunity to showcase our company to potential investors, as well as getting some cheeky free beta testing done. Peter brought along his phone and demonstrated the Big Bad Quiz to a number of people. All of the reactions to the game were positive, and of course, since the game is designed to be a challenge, not many of the testers got past the first few rounds. For us, who have spent the last few months designing, writing and creating the game, this was a great thing to see.
Making a good trivia game can be a tricky thing to do. First, you have to actually create a lot of interesting trivia questions, then you have to present them in an interesting way. We have seen many simple trivia games come and go without creating much of a following, while game-shows like Jeopardy and Family Feud are still going strong after decades. Why? well, the answer is two-fold.
First of all, they have a host. The host is a vital part of a game, whether they are making friends, sharing jokes, grilling contestants with tough questions, or just declaring them the “weakest link”, the host brings something unique and fun to the show. Second, each game-show has a theme, and just like the host, they can vary from unforgiving questions, to light-hearted fun. When it came to creating the Big Bad Quiz, we here at Fierce Fun took that information on-board.
Thus, the Bag Man was born. He is our answer to hosts like Bob Barker or Anne Robinson, and his style of hosting is reminiscent of the “You Don’t Know Jack” series of quiz games. The Bag Man is sarcastic, insulting, but always encourages you to try a bit harder, to get the extra bonus points, or just to wipe the smile off his bag.
When making a game, especially mobile game, you need to consider the time constraint that people will be under. Consumers can’t devote an entire hour to a single session on a game. You need to be able to make a game that is engaging enough that it can be played during a quick-five minute break, or while commuting to or from the office. At the same time however, there needs to be a facility in place to keep people’s attention span over longer periods of time. Again, we looked at game-shows for the answer.
Rapid fire rounds were the best solution we found. You could quickly fly through a round or two while waiting for the bus, save your progress, answer a few texts, then come back to the game a little while later and pick up where you left off. Each round takes about ninety seconds to complete, which makes it perfect for “burst players”. In a survey of gamers in the United States, 44% of respondents said that they played on their phones for less than 30 minutes a day. Since the rounds are paced so well, and there is no limit on the number of rounds you can complete, the game can last however long or short you want it to. The biggest games these days, like Candy Crush, or Flappy Bird, also subscribe to this idea of rapid-fire gameplay.
Finally, we added some really tricky questions to the mix to liven things up, especially as you get further and further into the game. The rounds might go by quickly, but they won’t all be easy to finish. Adding that to the fact that there are almost two thousand questions, and they all appear in a random order each time you play, means that the game will be fresh, and tough every time you open it up.
So that’s our opinion, a good trivia game needs to have a unique host, the ability to be played for short or long periods and above all, needs to be fresh every time you play it, in order to keep players interested.
Fierce Fun has developed a software technology called Synchronised Gameplay System (SGS), that allows players to experience the same gameplay on different platforms. SGS technology combines a structured platform profiler and a user analytics system to ensure that game content and progress is synchronised on Web, social and mobile platforms. It allows players to move seamlessly between different platforms and never lose their previous gameplay and progress.