Coca Cola unveils its game plan

Soft drink giant Coca Cola says it plans to incorporate gaming in its new marketing strategies, suggesting there are opportunities for game developers to align themselves with big brands.


According to David Elsworth, Coke vice president for creative excellence, gaming offers “untold opportunities” for marketing a brand.


“Gaming is as ancient as storytelling but it was never able to be used in marketing on a mass scale because we didn’t have the tools to do that before,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.


“Gaming is about getting people to move from passive receivers of a message to active collaborators… interacting and participating.”


The news comes on the back of a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, which predicts the interactive games sector will turn over $2.5 billion in 2015.


David Wiadrowski, PwC head of technology, information, communications and entertainment, says all sectors are undergoing a cultural transformation as they adjust to the digital world.


“Organisations [are looking for] new models to meet the needs of empowered consumers who are increasingly time-poor but digital-savvy,” Wiadrowski says.


Earlier this month, the gaming industry was dealt a blow when international video game publisher THQ closed two local development studios, triggering concerns the Australian market is suffering.


The company closed Melbourne-based Blue Tongue Entertainment and Brisbane-based THQ Studio Australia, both of which worked on series that have attracted international acclaim.


However, Melbourne’s RMIT University recently opened an international research laboratory in a bid to drive innovation in the games, entertainment and creative media industries.


The Games and Experimental Entertainment Laboratory will research new designs, products and business models while reflecting on the role of games and entertainment.


GEElab director Steffen Walz says gaming technologies and business models are changing the entire entertainment landscape, with games firmly embedded at the intersection of networked and increasingly social content.


“The GEElab will focus on next-generation entertainment visions and will work closely with industry to model the gaming prototypes of the future,” Dr Walz says.


“Researchers will work to ‘gamify’ traditionally non-linear media such as TV, film and radio, creating new design strategies, narratives and service prototypes.”


“Our research will also push the boundaries of games and entertainment, investigating how they can be used to positively influence and change behaviour.”


“While major institutions like the UN are already using gaming technologies to promote social change, this potential is only starting to be tapped.”


“Our work will pioneer new approaches for a more peaceful, sustainable and playful world.”


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