Day two at the Goafest saw founder and chief executive officer of Level Ex, Sam Glassenberg speak about the various aspects of gaming (focussing on video games). He also shared how Level Ex leverages gaming in healthcare, to avoid practising medical procedures on live patients.
Glassenberg started off by pointing out how marketers and brands, in a bid to increase reach through video games, get lost in the race to get impressions. “We are in the business of changing audience behaviour, literally rewiring the human brain. This is what the video games industry is exceedingly good at,” he stated.
Moving further, the gaming enthusiast busted some common myths around the gaming industry like the industry being dismissed as ‘an immature media format’, ‘a distractive toy’ and ‘played mostly by 14-year old boys’. He remarked that the gaming industry has crossed the USD 200 billion mark. “This means we are now bigger than the film industry and music industry combined,” Glassenberg added.
Shifting gears to the gender distribution, he mentioned that there is an equal distribution between males and females. However, he also stated that for certain genres of gaming, female players dominate. “In fact, there are twice as many women over the age of 18 that are playing video games, as there are boys under the age of 18 that are doing the same,” he said.
Advertising and Gaming
According to Glassenberg, with in-game advertising, nearly one-third of the world population can be reached. “Games are a great way to extend the reach of our advertising, it may be banner ads or video. But reach was the least interesting benefit of games as a medium,” he said.
Focusing on the human attention span, he said, “We’ve been measuring and studying the impact of web and mobile and modern technology. We measure that the human attention span has reduced to eight seconds. So there’s your challenge as marketers who have more time to get your message across to a goldfish.”
The Dopamine Effect
Glassenberg took the example of the game ‘Angry Birds’ and pointed out why people, after all these years, still want to play it. He mentioned how the triggers of the game are made to trigger a dopamine release in the brain.
“There’s explosions and animations and pigs flying everywhere, and sound effects and music changes. All of this is deliberately designed to trigger a dopamine release in your brain that physically reinforces those neural pathways you used on the last fire,” he stated.
According to him, expert game designers know how to perfectly balance reward and frustration, challenge and skill to maximise and keep one in the flow state. “Flow is a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus,” he said.
He spoke of the perils of gamification versus the importance of emphasis on real game design and ended the presentation explaining that gaming technology can assist even doctors and medical professionals in life sciences.
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