• Delivering real brand engagement @ E3 Expo

    This article was first published on B&T here.

    One of the challenges in any live event experience is engagement. More specifically, it’s about engagement beyond the perimeter of a live experience. So, with this in mind, a key area of interest for me at E3 is how brands are building their brand experiences at the show. And, with so many big brands and big budgets in play, it would be fascinating to see what they come up with.

    Due to the size and scale of E3, I’ve not seen everything just yet, but more than ever before I get the impression there is an increased use in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification System) technology. Quite a few keynotes have featured RFID LED bracelets; essentially the bracelet worked with the presentation to give impact. It changed colour according to the game that was being showcased and the point the presenters wanted to make. In the darkness it looked fantastic and had serious impact on the crowd.

    IMG_0903 cropped

    Another innovative use of RFID technology happened around Activision’s Destiny. Brand ambassadors would sign in visitors, who would then be given a bracelet. Once they had completed the demo experience, which included a briefing and a multiplayer game player session, they would swipe their wristband and it would release the alpha and beta versions of the game. In addition, they could also pick up rewards in the forms of tees and badges. This was a fantastic and creative way of delivering additional value to the brand’s dedicated fans, and provided a money-can’t-buy experience for being at the show and enduring the long lines.

    Xbox also had a really simple but shareable idea. They had a Kinect camera set up that was constantly capturing footage. It would send the footage to nearby surfaces and it would then use a filter to alter the image. Once the image had been created, a unique QR code was then generated and made available for scanning. The image could then be shared through most social media channels or email.

    Xbox Photo Booth_Alien

    Ubisoft’s gave us a look at Just Dance 2015, which in itself is not that exciting. However, in this new edition, a user’s mobile could enable gameplay without even owning the game. The service, called Just Dance Now, lets any player with a smartphone, tablet (Android or iOS), smart TV or PC join in the game using the accelerometer on their phone. There’s no limit on how many players can connect at once using the Just Dance Now app. It’s available for free too. Imagine rocking up to a party and having an internet-enabled screen and being able to play with groups of your friends without even owning the game!

    Another really prominent feature of this year’s show is ‘Cooperative Gameplay’ or Co-op. It allows players to work together as teammates against one or more AI opponents. Every title that I saw on Ubisoft’s stand including Far Cry 4, Assassin Creed Unity and Rainbow 6 all included Co-op options. This underlines a trend I’ve highlighted before; the absolute need for connectedness. Working together as a team with a common cause is so important in today’s gaming environment.

    Of course, at any show like E3, you get the obvious take aways including limited edition figurines, merchandise and downloadable content, but the brands achieving real standout are the ones offering something unique. I think Activision got it right with releasing both the Alpha and Beta. Giving the super fans something that is so unattainable to the general gamer invokes loyalty, passion and brand engagement.