Viral strategies for content creation

I know that in Korea computer gaming is so popular that it is one of the most popular spectator sports. But I didn’t immediately think of this as a viral technique built in to the game play. Computer games can be a very solitary experience if they are played alone but online game play and mobile games move them out of the bedroom into a social space promoting their spread. But if we’re able to see games being played, what better incentive to try them out ourselves?

In the future, some amount (perhaps most) advertising could be replaced with the ability to view real-time, streamed games in progress, enticing players to click a download button and jump into the action. The more that games can expose real “live” gameplay to potential players, the more likely players are to try a game out.

This quote is from a Gamasutra article I’ve been reading on building viral aspects into games design. Many of the themes raised in the article are very games focused but are also very applicable to cross media creation. While this is a very foreign way of thinking to many film and television people the point is that the boundaries between ‘marketing’ and ‘content’ are breaking down. Most importantly, methods to encourage the audience or players to create their own content are central to any viral strategy. While only a small number of people will do it, they will, however, be your most die-hard fans who will influence others to come across. The conclusion from the article is particularly insightful.

Virality is no longer a catchword for the marketing department. It must be incorporated into a game while the rules are being designed and the technical architecture is being established. It is about making games that players feel invested in, that they want to share with friends—games they’ll go out of their way to show to others. When designing a game, developers should begin asking themselves not only “how will this make the game more fun?” but also “how will this encourage players to share the game with others?” Players will become your most active sales resource, if only you empower them.

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