Children today have more choice in their entertainment and playtime than any generation before them – a fact that will come into sharp focus as schools go on their long summer holidays. While there is still room for paper, pens and puzzles, mobile games play an essential role as children while away the hours – well at least they can do it outside!
Research from Communicus found that 83% of 6-9 year olds now regularly use a tablet as part of their playtime, so there is an ever growing responsibility on those creating mobile entertainment for children to ensure it is done with quality to the fore. Here at Amuzo we work closely with our biggest critics – the children themselves – holding regular brainstorming sessions with local schools to test out each new game and adjusting balancing, level design and difficulty to ensure we keep the players happy and engaged. This knowledge has been put to good use in the 50+ LEGO games we have created over the last nine years.
Check out one of our recent brainstorming sessions on racing and super hero games below:
The Amuzo game design team likes to ensure the game experience has a link back to the physical product and brand values. Finding a hook from the real world playtime features of a toy or brand and bringing this into the game can work really well to make players feel they are playing within the domain of their favourite characters.
This was achieved to great effect in LEGO Legends of Chima Speedorz on iOS and Android – the Amuzo game design team took the ratchet mechanism of the LEGO toys that made them zip along the ground and turned this into a pull down ratchet on-screen. Players could instantly link the two interactions together to create an affinity between the game and the LEGO sets. The result was a massively successful children’s marketing game with 1,000s of years of brand engagement achieved for LEGO.
The best games shine a light on the unique characters in a brand, drawing players into storylines and giving them the opportunity to interact with their heroes. This physical interaction is something games can offer marketing departments that the passive consumption of TV or online advertising simply can’t. The physical link can also be taken a step further with integration with packaging. The Amuzo LEGO Hero Factory Breakout game includes a code system for upgrades. Players find the secret codes on the inside of chest plates that are attached to the actual LEGO figures and enter them in-game for rewards for their heroes.
So what is the ultimate goal in creating quality marketing games? A focused shopping experience. If a child walks in to their local toy shop with £30 in their pocket there is no knowing what they will come out with. Every shelf is shouting “buy me” with colourful characters leaping out in all directions. If they have played with Bulk from LEGO Hero Factory in a game, entered his special code, upgraded his weapons and learned all about his backstory – it’s only Bulk they want to spend their £30 on. We have focused their shopping on the only shelf that matters.
It’s not just about the preteens – according to a study from Pew Research Center, 24% of teenagers are now online “almost constantly”, three quarters of them with access to a smartphone. Of these, 71% of teenagers are using Facebook to keep in touch with their friends and 84% of the boys are using their smartphones to play games, with girls following behind at 59%. Games aimed at players 13+ today must include social media links to enhance the experience and make it feel part of the player’s social world.
Amuzo’s first own brand game Cows Vs Sheep: Mower Mayhem, launching on the App Stores in August, uses Facebook and Twitter integration to maximum effect. Players are rewarded with in-game currency for liking and following, with the game celebrating high scores and achievements by posting to social media. Players get their all-important bragging rights and draw their friends in to the game to add to the fun.
The power of games in brand marketing is immense. If you want to know more about including gaming in your marketing strategy give us a call.
Head of Business Development
+44 (0)7951 534 334
Chief Merry Maker
+44 (0)1202 204 851